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Linux should be in every school

Linux is doomed as a realistic challenger to Windows on the desktop if open source activists (yes, that would include me but I’m still in school) don’t get Linux into schools.

With the growing number of desktop-friendly, easy-to-use distributions like Ubuntu, I see no reason why the government shouldn’t at least carry out a pilot study into running Linux on the desktop in schools. Think of the money that the taxpayer could save on Windows licences. Yes, OK, getting Linux people to support the networks might cost a bit more, but it is worth looking into this possibility.

I think more home users would be convinced to use operating systems other than the mighty Microsoft Windows, if they knew about them. With the open source community virtually unable to advertise Linux as a desktop platform (we need a corporate sponsor here *cough* Red Hat *cough* Novell), it will be very hard to actually get people to realise that there are alternatives to running Microsoft Windows on their desktop.

Not only do people not know about the alternatives to Microsoft Windows, people in school (speaking from my personal experience) aren’t adequately educated about the whole open source movement. ICT (why the extra C?) seems to be all about how to use Microsoft Office, and I understand that using an office suite is an important skill, but who says it can’t be OpenOffice? The open source movement just isn’t in the curriculum.

I’m not saying Windows should be banished from everywhere. I’m an open source kind of person, but I do believe there is still a place for proprietary software. So before you judge me as a Linux geek with no flexibility of mind, I use both Windows (and not *just* at school) and Linux every day and I think there is a place for both in the world. I just think Windows shouldn’t completely dominate it.

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