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Promised NSW Laptops: Linux in the wings? 30 November, 2008

Posted by aronzak in Linux, Netbooks, Open Office, Windows.
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In the 2007 Australian Federal Election, the incoming Labor leader, now Prime Minister, Kevin Rudd, promised federal spending on the state’s education systems, particularly to increace access to computers, calling it an ‘education revolution’. Reading the Sydney Morning Herald this morning, it turns out that the New South Wales (NSW) Government will spend money by buying netbooks, probably 10″ models, for secondary school students.

A prize phrases in the article is

“NSW stands ready to deliver teenager-friendly, custom-built laptops to the nation,”

What does the phrase ‘teenager friendly’ mean? It is likely to refer to the design, being lightweight and portable. But when I read it, it just sounded like the OS. There’s another interesting phrase here:

These custom-made laptops are … powerful enough to support all the IT needs of our high school students.

Just what are the IT needs of the high school students? Facebook? MySpae? But I digress… If you consider the needs of a student to be working on documents in an office suite, then Linux should be fine. In fact Linux may be an advantage, given that it will be harder for students to install games. Unfortunately, OpenOffice is not percieved to be fully compatible yet. Students typing out a document in OO then wanting to work on in on their school computer, that has MS office, there will be problems. Will there be pring servers set up to work?

So, I think that Linux is a good posibility, but the education department probably isn’t that smart. They don’t understand Linux, and that’s a problem. If they go Linux, MS will probably come along and lobby. Nothing is beneath them. When I first heard this issue discussed, over a year ago, the only $500 netbook was the Linux EEE. Now there are plenty of XP models for less.

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Over 50,000 PCs in Government and Business Running Ubuntu 4 October, 2008

Posted by aronzak in Linux, Windows.
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The site WorksWithU is a site that shows, with a limited degree of accuracy, the number of PCs knwon to be running Ubuntu in business, bovernment and educational settings. This lists at least 45,570 PCs (or far more, I took the bottom level for some) and 676 servers running Ubuntu Linux. Impressive. The rael number may be much higher, and will continue to grow.

The number of total Linux machines must be far higher.  I can remember a few occurances of other events in the news that show great Linux adoption. Japan has replaced Windows 9x with Dream Linux in some areas, and schools may switch to Linux entirely. In Germany a tax authority moved 12,000 desktops to SuSE Linux. And the BBC has suggested that two thirds of computers in Latin America may be running Linux. And here’s a reason why:

“(Microsoft) are the big monopoly and they come from America. The xenophobic mentality in Brazil actually is what drives people towards open source software in some cases.”

And another:

Gross National Income (GNI) per capita $44,710 $4,710
Cost of Windows Vista Business $186 $364
Cost of MS Office 2007 Standard $289 $587
Cost of Business Licenses as % of GNI per capita 1.06% 20.1%
Cost of Windows Vista Home Basic $116 $252
Cost of Office Home/Student $109 $117
Cost of Home Licenses as % of GNI per capita 0.5% 7.8%
All figures in US dollars. An exchange rate of USD$1 = R$1.70 was used to compute the cost of licenses in Brazil.