Linux for schools

Novell is apparently becoming the leader in Linux installations for the education market:

Do these numbers make sense to you – $2,500 versus $100,000? This is the price difference felt between migrating over to Linux or instead, upgrading to the next version of Windows. What’s interesting is that I’m noticing that more often than not Novell is the company making this possible for schools.

I’ve recommended open source for our schools before, and even sent a letter to the Ministers of Finance and Education at the time, but to no avail. These cost savings are significant, but what is more important is that our education community can now own the primary means of production (operating system & applications) of knowledge artifacts, and not some multinational corporation. Students would be able to freely mirror their school computers and even play with new programs. Instead of just being consumers and users of software, students can become co-creators of software and the underlying knowledge.

With corporations like Novell behind Linux, it is difficult for education IT departments to continue to play the FUD [fear, uncertainty, doubt] card against open source. However, as Matt Asay reminds us, MS is not out of the game yet, “Importantly, the price comparison above may not be representative of reality, as Microsoft will likely discount to zero to keep a strong foothold in the Education market. ”

The bottom line though, is that open source in our government-funded institutions is one way to develop a sustainable Province, something that our Self-Sufficiency Task Force should know.

5 Responses to “Linux for schools”

  1. Chris

    What I find especially interesting is Microsoft’s tactic of donating software that they claim has a value of millions of dollars (tax receipts no doubt change hands, too). Actual cost? Less than $1 worth of plastic and an email full of serial numbers…

    Of course, there’s the cost of the lost “sale” (at educational rates), but the truth is they’d happily PAY to have students weaned on their software.

  2. Michael Gillie

    I am thoroughly fascinated by the Linux “industry”. I know there are some linux distro’s that sell COPYS of their Linux CD’s or DVD’s for nominal fees, or charge for memberships. Such distro’s include Linspire, Mandriva, and XandrOS, among others. I have a huge curiosity about the number of ppl who are in Atlantic Canada, that use Linux, and Open-Source software. Where can i find stats to let me know the average number?



  3. Harold

    That’s a tough question to answer, Michael. I know that most institutions (government, health care and education) don’t use Linux, except for some pockets of higher education. As for personal systems, I don’t get many *.nix users visiting this site. You may want to check out Linux User Groups in Canada:


Leave a Reply

  • (will not be published)