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Education Government Open Source Microsoft Linux

Schools In Portugal Moving To OSS 319

Posted by Soulskill
from the seize-the-opportunity dept.
New submitter thyristor pt writes "In light of massive national budget cuts, the Portuguese government will force public schools to move to free/open source software (Google translation of original in Portuguese). Schools with some 50,000 outdated computers won't see their software licenses renewed, the main reason being the cost of hardware upgrade inherent to mostly Microsoft software updates. Will the Euro debt crisis be a driving force to the spread of open source software?"
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Schools In Portugal Moving To OSS

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  • by Zemran (3101) on Sunday October 30, 2011 @03:40AM (#37884656) Homepage Journal

    It is not about the functionality. Most people use MS because it is all they know. They do not know and are not familiar with the alternatives. My mother went to university and studied art after she retired, and if you visit any of her uni friends, young and old, they now use Macs because they got used to them. If all the schools in one country switch to Linux, in few years all the universities will be full of people that are used to Linux and then, soon all the companies will be full of people that prefer Linux. It will be the OS that they are familiar with.

    Too many people get into the My Computer is Better Than Your Computer without realising that MS are playing a different game. They do not even try to be the best, they just make sure that they are what most people are familiar with. To do that they will happily offer free software and free 100% support to all education establishments if that is what is required to keep the status quo and the schools and universities know this. Portugal will be using 100% free MS next term.

  • by igreaterthanu (1942456) * on Sunday October 30, 2011 @04:32AM (#37884834)

    When's the last time you saw a version of Windows require a less powerful computer than the previous release?

    You mean like Windows 7 and soon to arrive, Windows 8?

  • by fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) on Sunday October 30, 2011 @04:41AM (#37884868) Journal
    I strongly suspect(as a linux user who has done some school dept. IT work, largely Windows with a sprinkle of Mac) that "they", the students, will neither lose nor gain all that much.

    Some of the admin layers will have it tough(so they probably just won't switch those people), because that is where the spreadsheet-jockies, the users of obscure proprietary student information systems, etc, etc. congregate. The techies will be split: the microsoft crew will resent losing relevant skill, the FOSS-enthusiasts-just-working-a-job will be gung-ho.

    As for the students, though, I doubt they'll see much change. Unless the computers are the explicit focus or means of pedagogy(as in something like the OLPC experiment), which is rare and nontrivial to do. Think what you will of their results, they built a previously unavailable sort of hardware along with a new security model and a variety of other tweaks to get that going. In the majority of cases, 'educational' computers are just tools. The teachers want them to be working, reliable, and running the browser/word processor/whatever required to get the classwork done. Admin wants them to be not disruptive, to be a not excessively good porn source, and IT delivers as it can. Because most of 'educational' IT is so peripheral to learning(yes, there are plenty of arguments for why office is better than LibreOffice. None of them have any bearing on whether you'll be able to learn to write a decent essay by writing a bunch of crap essays and revising. VI might be pushing it a little; but notepad should be enough), it is good that they are going with the cheaper option, to free up money that can be better used; but I'd expect virtually no change in how pupils are expected to interact with technology.

    Hey, you are using OSS! You can make changes however you want! No, actually, your user account on our system is locked down to keep you out of trouble, just like it was on Windows. The school wants you to be able to log in, get your files, and use programs X, Y, and, Z. We've delivered.

    Outside of strictly vocational schools(later in the student's progress, so they will still be fresh when they hit the workforce), where learning specific tools might be what the doctor ordered, or outside of ground-up computers-in-education-rethinks, which make student exploration of the computer a focus, not a problem, educational use of computers is really incredibly generic. Web, email, word processing, copy-pasting.

    A minority of specialist users will simply be un-switchable, certain specialized software isn't multi-platform, has no real competitors, and is too costly to try to duplicate. It just isn't worth it. The vast bulk, though, really get a very constrained view of computers at school. It barely matters what they run.
  • by hairyfeet (841228) <bassbeast1968&gmail,com> on Sunday October 30, 2011 @11:27AM (#37886280) Journal

    Actually that isn't very hard for MSFT to do, as they have an embedded version of Windows 7 that is quite miserly when it comes to system requirements. Personally I've said for years MSFT needs to hire the hacker that makes the "Tiny (insert version)" Windows as his builds frankly spank BOTH the embedded and FLP versions of Windows by quite a lot, but the embedded version would most likely run on their hardware quite well.

    As someone that runs a little retail shop I can tell you the problem with Linux is NOT the price, nor is it the basic look and feel, which frankly has been getting quite nice of late. No the problem is twofold, one you have the apps. The amount of specialty software on windows is just insane, education, medical, billing, literally hundreds of thousands of highly specialized apps for which there is NO Linux equivalent. having a dozen text editors and support for a bazillion programming languages really don't help when what you need is a drop in replacement for Quicken/Quickbooks does it? And please don't say GNUCash, because GNUCash is more like MSFT Money than a competitor to QB. In the case of a school I can imagine there is a ton of both educational and administrative software that is gonna be a royal bitch to change out, if there is even a Linux equivalent. Linux has been so focused on programmers and servers that the little apps just aren't there.

    The other problem is bad attitude, which in a way reminds me of the way online shooters have become. go to ANY forum and ask for a non CLI way to solve a simple problem and what do you get? Most likely a wave of pure hatred, with every filthy name in the book, ending with "RTFM or go back to Winblowz noob LOL!".

    Somewhere along the way too much of the Linux community was hijacked by those that think making things easier for the users is a BAD thing, and that the more fiddly and PITA it is the more "leet" it is. They remind me of the lamers in FPS that sit around trying to make things miserable for anyone new to a game just to show how much "better" they are than you. Frankly this kind of "We're leet!" attitude isn't healthy either for the community or Linux as a whole, and is more than a little crazy if you think about it. I mean wwhat are computers FOR anyway? why to do work and make your day EASIER and it has been that way since Visicalc! But sadly many in the community (and even some of the programmers) think that making things as obtuse and CLI heavy as possible is some kind of badge of honor that weeds out the "noobs" like turning people off of FOSS is a good thing. the community as a whole really needs to come down hard on those types and push that the ultimate goal is to make Linux as easy as possible so as many people as possible can use it freely.

    I wish them luck, I really do, but my guess is if MSFT doesn't just offer them embedded they'll struggle for a year or two before coming back to Windows for the reasons I named above, just as we saw when other countries have tried to switch. this conversion will NOT be cheap, it will require a LOT of dedication, training, and having to learn new programs or even give up ways they are used to as no program can be found to do the job, and if they are ONLY doing this to count pennies? Then they are in for a shock. If you want to use Linux because it is FOSS, because you can customize it to your workload, because you are free to modify it to your needs? Then your conversion has a shot at succeeding. But to do it ONLY because of the bottom line is just asking to fail because ANY major software conversion IS gonna be costly, and there simply is no way around that.

    Now you watch how quickly I get buried for daring to point out the problems logically and rationally with their plan. The same trolls that say "We're leet!" and teabag anybody that dares to ask for an easy solution get all butthurt if you dare to say anything other than "Gee isn't Linux perfect? Why it sure is Skip, and RMS' farts smells like roses and cure AGW!" which is exactly the kind of delusional mindset that often dooms attempts to switch.

  • by hairyfeet (841228) <bassbeast1968&gmail,com> on Sunday October 30, 2011 @04:05PM (#37887660) Journal

    Actually I just like pointing out that retards like you have taken over the Linux community and are frankly doing a better job of making sure Linux goes nowhere than MSFT could ever DREAM of doing, I mean I can give plenty of proof of the uberfails, such as Dell having to run their own repos [theinquirer.net] even though we are talking a teeny tiny subset of hardware? Oh right because Linux shits itself and dies if you use the default repos! How about how a decade old Windows beat the shit out of Linux on netbooks [computerworld.com] or how ASUS has given up on your bullshit [computerworld.com.au] or how about Walmart running away from linux as fast as it can [pcworld.com]? yet do you have enough sense to LEARN from your mistakes? To ask "What are we doing wrong that the competition is doing right"? Of course not, hell you can't even copypasta correctly! Instead you'll scream "They are noobs, we're leet!" while whacking off to the latest bash handbook.

    Yet here you are, being given gift after gift by the competition and what do you do? scream "I'm leet!" and shoot yourselves in the face while whacking off to a bash script, I mean you aren't even smart enough to copypasta a single sentence correctly yet to expect the masses to sit around and copypasta pages of CLI mess? And you wonder why you are dead fucking last? Hell you are actually lower than JavaME [netmarketshare.com] and there is a whole website dedicated To your bullshit and excuses [tmrepository.com]. Have you seen that site? It is a WHOLE SITE dedicated to NOTHING but laughing at you and your kind and you know what? Its pretty damned funny!

    So please go ahead, i consider it a wonderful chance to educate people on what pathetic failure losers like you have caused the community as a whole. Once upon a time they were making progress, but now there is nothing left of the community but pathetic fat losers like yourself that somehow thinks being able to copypasta into a term somehow makes you "better" than everyone else and that it is your duty to run off the "noobs" but you know what? You are just shooting yourselves in the face,making sure Linux NEVER gains any share, the hardware OEMs won't support you, and that mainstream users treat your OS like toxic waste, and i find that quite hilarious.

    MILLIONS of manhours dedicated to linux, TWENTY YEARS of hard work, what do you have to show? you are less than the margin for error, and in large part it is due to douchebags like you that make Linux look like the home of fat losers and trolls. Bravo sir, MSFT couldn't ask for a better useful idiot than yourself. You really should ask them to pay you, after all the village idiot used to get coins thrown at him, didn't he?

Your code should be more efficient!

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