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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.

Those Ruinous Plurilists 29 November, 2008

Posted by aronzak in Open Office, Open Source Adoption.
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Oh wow. Linux Loop gives a list of things that aren’t liked. At the bottom, and prosumably is thus worst, is:

I just can’t stand those people who think it is OK to have a little closed code on your system. You know, the people who are too spoiled to use gNewSense.

Yeah, you wouldn’t want to be one of “those people“. In fact, just a single of that code will make you guilty as sin. And of course, since you can’t construct a good argument against the proponents of reasonable compromise, they must be ‘spoilt’. Obviously.

How can you stand touching any evil .doc files and MP3’s? Why can’t they just bug people into using other software! If their boss doesn’t like it, they should just get a new job.

Wow man, I thought that we were talking about software, not good and evil. The last prt is good. Imagine the conversation:

– I’ll send you a file
– Ok, thanks

– Umm, I couldn’t open the file
– Quick, quit your job, BEFORE IT’S TOO LATE!
– Umm…

Yes, I tried that once, to a guy that had sent me a .docx. Apparently, Hotmail, IE or both wouldn’t let him download the file, saying that an .odt is a security risk. It’s just not worth it. Use rtf if you can.

Some open formats work and some don’t. HTML is great, the internet wouldn’t really exist without it. But ODF just isn’t. There’s worse things. The sad thing is, some people just don’t get that there’s more to life than software choices. And borrowing from the ad hominem attack above, the software choices you care so much abut would actually make a difference if you had more than one friend.