Linux in schools
Mark J. Hershenson
markhers at green-ant.com
Sun Aug 26 22:17:11 PDT 2001
> > I'm afraid you would be pissing in the wind. We tried several years ago to
> > intergrate a few different systems in a couple of San Diego City Schools.
> > Who ever sold them their technology was a Mac nut and they have closed the
> > doors to other technologies including Linux.
> This has been my experience, too. Somewhere somehow Apple did a
> number on educators in K12 and they think Macs (which are more
> expensive than M$ and as far as I can tell do less) are the
> education machine.
> It's sad, really.
In light of the apparent technical proclivity of the members of this list
most of the time, I find this to be a very lacking line of thought.
Historically, and I don't believe this has changed too much in recent
years despite the advances in technology and the viability of Linux, large
organizations whose primary task is not (yet) wholly computer-centric,
such as education in this case, find a platform which meets their needs,
follow the recommendation of their advisors, and do not always choose the
most wise products or decide upon cross-platform standards.
They also rarely investigate the viability of the company who makes the
software that powers key sections of their new systems, as their advisors
and/or the company itself often obfuscate these fine points. For every
"Why would anyone choose a Mac..." inquiry there are numerous case studies
of a district that chose proprietary transmission protocols and software
packages that become unmaintainable when the company went under or dropped
support for the package, leaving them out tens and hundreds of thousands
of dollars, if not more, but more importantly, failing the students to
...which brings me to the unwarranted Mac bashing...
If you're voicing your dislike or lack of preference for the Mac OS or the
Apple hardware platform simply referred to as "the Mac," okay. As far as
price points go, I am pretty sure that you could probably get a school
full of iBooks and iMacs for about the same price as a school full of
cheap Wintel boxes with discounts and add-ons included. I think
productivity is certainly an argument to be had by people who aren't me in
a venue that isn't this one.
Remember, if it's somehow a mark AGAINST an operating system as a
candidate for educational use, an OS with a dedicated following and a
traditionally educated and creative user base, don't stop short of
lambasting Linux/BSD too.
With the recent release of Mac OS X, Apple delivers its users a product
* Runs older Mac OS 8/9 applications
* Runs newer "native" applications from TWO major, modern APIs
* Runs Java 2
* Ships with a CD burning application free
* Ships with DVD playback and burning (in a couple of weeks) free
* Comes with (I don't remember if it was on the CD, or a free download)
a video-editing software package (iMovie) for free
* Runs one of the highest respected web application platforms in
WebObjects natively (only $700)
* Uses a graphics layer that is better and sharper than any I've ever
seen, including OpenGL and QuickTime support
* SMP support out of the box
* Has built-in BSD
* Support for Unicode as well as Asian fonts out of the box for no extra
* Supports PPP, as well as DHCP, BootP and PPPoE over both Ethernet and
AirPort/802.11b (with card)
* Supports USB, Firewire
* Ships out of the box running Apache, PHP, mod_dav, and mod_ssl
* With Mac OS X Server, you can remotely administer (and boot) numerous
Mac OS X and Mac OS 8/9 clients with Macintosh Manager/NetBoot
* On and on and on...
* Costs a whopping $69 through Apple K-12 Education, which also includes
Mac OS 9.2.1
I think if it were demonstrated as the truly remarkable solution it is,
educational procurers would love this kind of technology...once they had
"This doesn't look like Windows" beaten out of them of course. :)
I use Mac OS X every single day for my personal use, as well as my web
application development use, and I think it's the best thing to happen to
my computing experience since Apple switched to the PowerPC processor. It
may not be for everyone, but it's darn good, and the promise on the dream
of a real *NIX with a real GUI.
If you choose to or choose not to use a Mac, that's totally cool, and your
right to choose - a by-product of choice in a free and competitive market.
But your characterization of the platform, especially to those like myself
who have used Macs for over 12 years, is shallow and unfounded. If you
don't care for it, ok, but there are plenty of us in this world that excel
using our Macs and wouldn't give them up.
Mark J. Hershenson
markhers at green-ant.com
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