Forgot your password?
typodupeerror

Indian State Logs Microsoft Out 142

Posted by Zonk
from the player-one-has-lost-the-match dept.
slack_prad writes "An Indian state, Kerala has chalked out a plan for migrating its high school students to free software platforms in three years. This was apparently in response to RMS's recent visit to the place. The education minister for the state said that the Free software guru Richard Stallman's visit last week had nudged the schools to discard the proprietary software altogether. 'Stallman has inspired Kerala's transition to free software on the lines of an exciting model of a Spanish province.' Initially, schools were given the option to choose whether teachers were to be trained in Linux systems or Microsoft. The option has now narrowed down to migration."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Indian State Logs Microsoft Out

Comments Filter:
  • kerala (Score:3, Interesting)

    by legoburner (702695) on Saturday August 26, 2006 @01:46PM (#15985363) Homepage Journal
    A quick google shows that Kerala has a population of 33 million people, so (depending on how many are in school) this could be a fairly big test to see how useable linux is in this sort of environment, especially with other indian states as a control. I hope RMS is not just talking it up and has some real plans in place to measure the benefits that are thought to be possible.
    • Re:kerala (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Whiney Mac Fanboy (963289) * <whineymacfanboy@gmail.com> on Saturday August 26, 2006 @01:53PM (#15985388) Homepage Journal
      I hope RMS is not just talking it up and has some real plans in place to measure the benefits that are thought to be possible.

      Dumb.

      RMS travels around attempting to persuade people/states/organisations the benefits of Free software. MS no doubt is similarly talking to the Kerela govt to persuade them to use their software.

      The government makes the choice, then it's their responsibility to monitor the outcomes.

      Would you suggest that MS should monitor each sale they've made where they've caused a switch to ensure there's 'real benefits' of the switch.

      I know random RMS bashing is popular on slashdot, but please, try to make your trolls less stupid.
      • Re:kerala (Score:5, Informative)

        by legoburner (702695) on Saturday August 26, 2006 @02:04PM (#15985423) Homepage Journal
        RMS travels around attempting to persuade people/states/organisations the benefits of Free software


        I didnt mean to sound like I was bashing RMS, I meant it as being a good opportunity to get some decent, large-scale statistics about the benefits of free software with alternative indian states as a useful comparison, not as a demand that RMS act as an institution on his own, and that I hoped RMS or people affiliated with him use it as a chance to further the cause of free software (or learn from any potential problems with free software).
        • Re:kerala (Score:5, Interesting)

          by honkycat (249849) on Saturday August 26, 2006 @02:24PM (#15985483) Homepage Journal
          You have a good point and I, too, hope that (a) this experiment works and (b) it's well documented, whether it succeeds or fails. If it succeeds, obviously, it's great ammunition for future debates. If it fails, then it'll be an excellent opportunity to evaluate the shortcomings and try to address them rationally.
        • In this case... (Score:4, Informative)

          by vivin (671928) <vivin@paliath.gmail@com> on Saturday August 26, 2006 @03:38PM (#15985729) Homepage Journal
          In this case, I think he will be successful. The mentality of Malayalees is very different compared to the rest of Kerala. They are highly politically aware - in fact, the first thing they will do every morning is read the paper - you can see it all over Kerala. They are highly involved with what goes on in the government. Also due to the fact that Communist parties are strong in Kerala, there is a socialistic trend and as a result they're not too fond of Monopolies. Recently they banned Coca Cola because of issues with contamination - they weren't passing certain tests. RMS picked a good environment to push foss.
        • You know, I don't think RMS really cares about the practical benefits of free software. If you want someone who cares about that, try Eric Raymond instead. RMS believes everyone should use free software for ideological reasons (we all know them -- help your neighbor, etc. -- if not, just read up on gnu.org). Mind you, this is not a bashing of RMS, because to a very large extent I agree with him -- I'm just not being as active about it as he is. I just don't really think he's prepared any procedure to measur
        • Well, saving money wouldn't be the big statistic to look for because Microsoft would surely offer an educational discount. There are costs in training teachers.

          The long term implications may be considered. Students may either find themselves unfamiliar with a Microsoft world in the workplace or they may drive a large changeover to free software when they go to work.

          Another statistic of interest - will free software evolve fast enough? Will large groups of students, given the large supply of students, corrob
      • by jesterzog (189797)

        Exactly what part of that comment was bashing RMS? Calling it a dumb, stupid troll is a bit ridiculous. The rest of your comment actually was insightful, but it's a shame to had to surround it with that crap.

        • *sighs* you're probably right - I'd just come from reading a long thread describing RMS as a 'fascist' and was a little annoyed.
      • Would you suggest that MS should monitor each sale they've made where they've caused a switch to ensure there's 'real benefits' of the switch.

        I'm sure the OP wasn't suggesting that, but MS and companies like them always make great play of case studies, and sometimes work closely with companies embarking on big projects using their software, because it helps the software co. as much as the customer, allowing them to understand how their users use the software and what they need. So yes, MS will monitor some

    • Re:kerala (Score:5, Interesting)

      by belmolis (702863) <billposer@@@alum...mit...edu> on Saturday August 26, 2006 @01:55PM (#15985391) Homepage

      Indix, a localized GNU/Linux, is already available [ernet.in] in Malayalam [ethnologue.com], the principal language of Kerala, so they're in good shape on that score.

      • by JimDaGeek (983925)
        What is Indix based on? It would stink if Kerala used a poorly done and poorly supported Linux distro. I hope they go with one of the bigger ones with Unicode support like Ubuntu or Fedora. At least that way there is a very large community that can help to make sure that the roll-out in Kerala is as smooth as possible.

        Did you happen to look at some of the screenshot of Indix? Take a look here [ernet.in]. They look _really_ bad. It looks like GTK 1.x and Gnome 1.x both of which are _very_ old and outdated. Gt
        • Look at some of the other screenshots. The guy ran the 'date' command...those screenshots were made in 2001.

          A look at the distro home page has the numerals 2003...maybe that's when it was last updated?
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by richlv (778496)
      wtf ? do you expect rms to personally deal with every project on the world than involves oss/foss ?
      the local authorities, businesses and citizens are the ones who should evaluate, choose and rate the decisions. which, i suppose, already happens.
      rms is evangelizing - which is good - but it is not feasible for him to push his preferences, make decisions and overall control processes in whole world.
    • Re: (Score:1, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      I hope RMS is not just talking it up and has some real plans in place to measure the benefits that are thought to be possible.

      The benefits RMS advocates consist of freedom to run, modify and share software. It's difficult to "measure" that. It's like asking whether we've measured the benefits we get from freedom of speech.

      Note that I'm not saying that you have to value those freedoms as he does. In fact that's the point, it's subjective. If you think those freedoms are vitally important then they're going t

    • by blueZ3 (744446)
      He appears to have no interest in the practical outcome of his evangelism, either in regards to implementation or tracking results amongst converts. His MO seems to be to come in, spout the benefits of Free Software, and immediately leave the scene before any questions of practicality arise.

      That's fine if you're interested in Free Software solely as a political tool (which seems to be the case with RMS). But if you're actually interested in the long-term viability of the model, how it is interwoven with the
    • Kerala (Score:5, Informative)

      by vivin (671928) <vivin@paliath.gmail@com> on Saturday August 26, 2006 @03:18PM (#15985674) Homepage Journal
      Kerala [wikipedia.org] - the state with the highest literacy rate in India. And one of the two states with a democratically elected communist government.

      Compared to the rest of India, the state is much more advanced. It's the subject of what economists call the Kerala Enigma [utne.com].

      I'm sure there are a lot of benefits. Kerala might be poised to become another IT hub in India. There are computer courses and classes almost EVERYWHERE in India. I remember when I visited my hometown this may when I was on R&R from Iraq - it's changed quite a bit over the past few years. The people are a lot more tech savvy and there's a LOT of interest in Open Source stuff - mainly due to cost benefits. Hopefully Malayalees look to Open Source as an alternative for M$ - it will be a good boost for Open source.

    • by thePig (964303)
      Kerala is quite a unique state.
      It [wikipedia.org] has the highest human development index and a very high standard of living, while it's economic development is sub par.
      It has the highest literacy rate in India which reaches 91% [wikipedia.org]. This is much more than the avg literacy rate of India.
      They have a very strong socialistic tendencies and is against any sort of monopoly which can affect the people adversely.
      One of the prime examples of fusion of captilastic and democratic socialistic views.

      People there have very strong views a
    • Kerala is wierd place.

      Some more facts:

      1. http://science.slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=06/01/0 7/0711224 [slashdot.org]
      2. Literacy: 91%
      3. Had the first elected communist government which was brought down soon after.
      4. Some notable keralites
      • M. Night Shyamalan, the guy who makes boring movies,
      • Arundati Roy, Pulitzer Prize Winner for "God of Small Things"
      • George Sudarshan, the physicist who NEVER got nobel prize for Sudarshan-Glauber representation in quantum optics in 2005. (But Glauber got it).
      • d. Edwin Jose Palathi
    • It's interesting to note that Kerala is technically India's only technically communist state (currently governed by elected representatives of the Communist Party of India), a holdover from India's stated neutrality during the Cold War, which led it to embrace parts of both sides. However, it is more like a socialist state in practice. I don't mean this as a "dis" to Kerala or RMS, just to note that Kerala is not indicative of a general trend in any way. So far Free Software has Massachusetts, the Netherlan
      • by eliot1785 (987810)
        PS, I am aware that Bekeley's OSS claim to fame - BSD - is not Free Software as defined by FSF. I was just making a joke in my last sentence, so don't flame me. Thanks ;).
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by benomathew (998066)
      as a person whose been in Kerala for 14 years, who've studied in different schools and college there, i've crossed paths with thousands (literally) of youngsters around my age... and i am yet to see one with a linux only box.. this includes the guys who helped richard stallman setup a seminar at my college!! if at all someone has linux, he'll also have a dual boot machine with some version of windows...

      from what i've read, i understand that it is the government aided schools that is going to have the o
  • by hector_uk (882132) on Saturday August 26, 2006 @01:47PM (#15985365)
    my schools network is pure hell and the school is half a million quid in debt because it never works, and they refuse to hire more tech to fix it due to lack of money, ironically the staff are pro linux/mac but the stupid headteacher is a Microsoft bitch.

    schools need to actually do a proper investigation into what'll actually work best rather than the idiot head teacher who's only expertise were woodshop in my case choose based on what they use at home.
    • by EvilIdler (21087) on Saturday August 26, 2006 @01:57PM (#15985407)
      That's a familiar story - schools waste a lot of money on MS products around here because
      the one making the decisions either hasn't a clue there are alternatives, or because they don't WANT
      to look for them.

      I've worked briefly for one of many schools where the head of IT had seen the benefits, but simply
      didn't have enough experience to roll out Linux (or the other alternatives), and the school was wasting
      its budget (which they could have spent on keeping me employed there ;) on an expensive terminal
      server system that had all sorts of problems. For example, to install software for the students, the
      teachers had to go through a not-always-present admin at the company with the servers, THEN they
      had to set the permissions themselves. Security holes and instability was still a problem when I left.

      They would have loved to use something like Skolelinux, as it covered all their software needs, or
      could easily have some webservices written for what was missing. Unfortunately their contract was paid
      for, so they bloody well wanted to get the system working :P

      • That's a familiar story - schools waste a lot of money on MS products around here because
        the one making the decisions either hasn't a clue there are alternatives, or because they don't WANT
        to look for them.


        All kinds of organizations, public and private sector, educational, charitable, and commercial, do the same thing. Big businesses find themselves in nasty traps because they spend huge amounts of money on centralizing their office automation tools but don't bother considering what parts of the company are
      • That's a familiar story - schools waste a lot of money on MS products around here because the one making the decisions either hasn't a clue there are alternatives, or because they don't WANT to look for them.

        I will say I'm just as in favor of getting rid of Microsoft as just about everyone around here...but considering that most businesses currently use MS Office, as well as a host of other MS products, that maybe the people in charge want to train the kids on what businesses actually use?

        Myself, I thin

        • by cgenman (325138)
          I will say I'm just as in favor of getting rid of Microsoft as just about everyone around here...but considering that most businesses currently use MS Office, as well as a host of other MS products, that maybe the people in charge want to train the kids on what businesses actually use?

          I hear this argument a lot. The counter argument is simply that if you learn one word processor, you're stuck, but if you've learned two word processors, you've learned them all. And if you need to use any partiular feature
        • "that maybe the people in charge want to train the kids on what businesses actually use?"

          No, they don't. They make their decisions on the IT field out of the greatest ignorance, you can bet it.

          And even if they did for the reason you exposed (but they don't) just some practical cases: in the late 70's/early 80's, Apple managed to fill universities and schools with their Macs; Apple is still collecting benefits from that movement (they avoided bankrupcy while all the other domestic computer/os manufacters -S
      • by aralin (107264)
        I agree with this. It is really important the schools especially universities hire their staff in the student ranks. My university had Linux servers in all of their departments because their hired students as System Admins. I was one of those. But the important part is that not only we were in charge of the computers for the department, we were full employees of the university with a presence on the budget meetings of the department we worked for. And also we had a fund of stipend to hire students for IT su
    • by Jekler (626699) on Saturday August 26, 2006 @02:24PM (#15985482)

      "schools need to actually do a proper investigation into what'll actually work best..."

      Ah, classic "No True Scotsman Fallacy".
      First you're operating under the assumption that they haven't performed a proper investiation.
      Second, it wouldn't matter what investigation they did. You want the school to, (ahem), "investigate" until they come up with the answer you've predetermined to be the correct one. It's obvious that you want an answer that doesn't involve Microsoft, therefore any investigation which results in a Microsoft platform being preferred you'll just claim is not a "proper" investigation.

      It's entirely reasonable to think that an instutition with political and financial concerns, that are invisible to its attendants, are at play here. You might think their decision is wrong, but how sure are you that the head teacher is even the one pulling the strings? I've seen plenty of situations where the person who appears to be making the decisions is really just doing what their superior has determined they should do. The person who makes decisions is seldom obvious or directly accessible to the underlings.

      • by hector_uk (882132)
        I basically worked as a tech for my school in the last two years i was their and hung around the department, i knew how things worked, the head would choose a brand and tell the system admin to "buy 10x workstations from them" or buy 2x servers or whatever, the system admin suggested buying a few linux boxes to try out and even ran linux some old pc's in the common room which were used well but the head would have none of it, he just said "the real world uses windows so that's what we'll use". we ran windo
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      Well, sort of, perhaps, maybe...

      An awful lot of schools in the UK haven't had RM networks for many, many years. I have been working as IT Support for schools in Norfolk (UK) for the past decade, and have seen only one RM network, and then only in passing as it was thrown out into the skip. The norm is a pure MS based network, with something like Winsuite on top if it is considered that local expertise is insufficient to set up and maintain proper security profiles, etc.

      There are reasons for this. Pragmatica
  • Huh? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by PhrostyMcByte (589271) <phrosty@gmail.com> on Saturday August 26, 2006 @01:49PM (#15985371) Homepage
    I love to use and code Open Source stuff as much as the next guy, but shouldn't schools/governments be worrying about the best tool for the job instead of making blanket statements like "100% open source by 20xx"?
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by richlv (778496)
      they could have investigated the situation and decided that the opensource nature would radically promote incentive and ability to explore and learn it field.
      they might have made estimates and came out with figures that show big savings over a longer period of time.
      or it could be that actual policy is more sophisticated and longer than the headline.
    • Re:Huh? (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Whiney Mac Fanboy (963289) * <whineymacfanboy@gmail.com> on Saturday August 26, 2006 @01:58PM (#15985408) Homepage Journal
      I love to use and code Open Source stuff as much as the next guy, but shouldn't schools/governments be worrying about the best tool for the job instead of making blanket statements like "100% open source by 20xx"?

      I see where you're coming from - but consider, if you're in a position where you need a certain amount of control over the software you're running, then nothing but F/OSS is going to cut the mustard.

      Vendor independance, ability to control your own destiny, freedom from the possibility of foreign government intervention, possibility to independantly audit code, etc etc etc.

      You can write all of that in your requirements or just 'OSI approved license". *Shrug*, the second is certainly shorter....
      • If you need full control, you make your own proprietary software.

        OSS will only provide you control if you spend a lot of money to develop for it.

        You aren't vendor independent if you want support, which you'll need since none of your IT guys will know what to do with it.

        Most businesses aren't paranoid enough to waste money on having code audited.

          Some companies may be willing to do some support for you, but you have to pay for that.
        • by grcumb (781340)

          I was going to moderate this thread, but I couldn't pass up the opportunity to knock down so many canards in one little reply.

          "If you need full control, you make your own proprietary software."

          Rubbish, and an utter non-sequitur. You're conflating 'control' with 'custom software development'. (I was going to say 'customisation', but a great deal of customisation is often possible with little effort or expertise because of the open nature of the software and the communities that support it.)

          "OSS will on

      • but consider, if you're in a position where you need a certain amount of control over the software you're running, then nothing but F/OSS is going to cut the mustard.

        Define "certain amount of control." Your statement is extremely vague. I'm not aware of any user that doesn't require a "certain amount of control" over their software. Most businesses and organizations seem to operate just fine using closed source software. Are you suggesting that this high school needs the ability to modify the source co

        • by cgenman (325138)
          Vendor independance
          This can be achieved with closed source as well. I can choose a closed source OS from one vendor and any number of closed source applications from other vendors as well. Writing this in your requirements wouldn't rule out closed source software.


          Actually, it does for platform. You can choose a closed source OS from one vendor, but you can never then choose a compatible closed source OS from another vendor, with the exception of DOS. So unless you're on an open source (or BSD-licensed) O
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by anagama (611277)
      Maybe the "best tool" is one that allows people to get work done without exporting millions of dollars or pirating software. It may be relatively easy to pirate now, but who knows what the political climate is like ten years from now. Or perhaps the best tool isn't the one that will saturate network infrastructure with spam from zombies -- helps keep the infrastructure costs in check.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by macshit (157376)
      shouldn't schools/governments be worrying about the best tool for the job instead of making blanket statements like "100% open source by 20xx"?

      Governments and goverment agencies often have other goals which they try to satisfy (e.g., "buy american"). Typically that kind of thing will slightly increase the cost, but the other goals are deemed worthy enough to make this acceptable.

      There are a number of worthy goals which can be helped by adopting free software, and presumably they judge the increased cost of
    • by mpcooke3 (306161) *
      Only if you take the short term view.

      Countries like India and China can think a bit more about the long term. If I was them I wouldn't want to be paying Microsoft/UnitedStates for software forever.
    • by Eric Damron (553630) on Saturday August 26, 2006 @02:33PM (#15985521)
      I gather that they have looked at this carefuly but there are other reasons as well.

      From the article: "A sting operation by Microsoft in October 2005 had not endeared the proprietary software to PC and peripherals dealers."

      Remember a while back when Microsoft tried some strong arm tactics of threatening to audit schools who ran anything but Microsoft operating systems. Well.... Payback is a bitch ...

      Seriously though, they are switching because they see the value in FOSS and Microsoft gave then a good look at the dark side of corporate tactics.
    • cost/benefits/longevity/support

      You have to take all those factors into consideration. What's the best tool? Will that tool be viable 5 years down the road, after you have committed a lot of time and money into it, or will it turn out to be an expensive white elephant, and just keep costing and costing until such a time as supporting the tool with time and money costs more than getting your original job done? MS wants you to keep the tool as the most important part, forever and ever, and keep shoveling cash
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by pirhana (577758)
      As someone who pays tax in kerala , I have something to tell you. I want my tax money to be spent wisely. I dont want that to be spent on something which teach the students that is not free, open or even technically superior. I want that to be spent on something upon which students can learn further without any issues like license restriction, closed nature etc. I dont want him/her to be entrapped in any particular technology.
  • Why does it have to be one or the other? How about some PCs with Windows and some with Linux. Not all machines have to be Microsoft OS/Office/Outlook/etc. but at the same time why migrate all machines? I know, I know, to save money but how about saving some money (most money perhaps) migrate a good chunk of machines to Linux and teach the kids commandline, Open Office, free software and still let them use Windows as well.

    Why teach kids that everything in life is just one or the other. Let's have the best
    • Although I agree with you in theory that kids should be exposed to all different OSes, this would be a logistical and financial nightmare for most US school districts, never mind poorer ones in India.

      They'd have to train all their teachers and administrators in all three OSes. Many of these teachers and admins can barely manage working one type of computer and require heavy training to do that. If you're hoping they'll use these to enhance their curriculum, rather than simply teach kids how to use a compu

      • by GreatDrok (684119) on Saturday August 26, 2006 @02:41PM (#15985551) Journal
        Ah, that old straw man. Are schools teaching computing or Windows? All the basic skills they need to use any computer GUI can be taught with Linux just as well as Windows. In fact, having variety will make the students much more comfortable with the idea that things move and so in order to find the setting you want you need to hunt about a bit. People worry about the time to retrain users but you can put a Windows user on a Mac and within an hour they will be able to function and quite possibly be as capable as they are on Windows within a day. Most people who claim to know Windows really don't know much beyond using a bit of Office (badly) and the file manager. I say to people that if they can use a keyboard and a mouse they can use a Mac and the same is true of Linux, especially in a supported environment where all they need is to be able to do their work and someone else will keep it running. Sure, for home users Windows may be the best option (well, no, it isn't, buy a Mac, but that is another story) but where you don't have to run the system yourself you should be able to cope with whatever you are put in front of. At our site we have a mixure of Windows, Linux and Macs and the only people who really have problems are the PA and secretarial types who really don't know anything about their computers and function by remembering where stuff is. Move anything and they panic. Everyone else, the younger more computer literate types are happy enough on whatever they get. There is no benefit teaching students where to find something on version X of Windows, teach them what to look for based on what it is that they are trying to do and when it moves they will still be able to function.
        • But you're shooting yourself in the foot at the same time because you forget the basic function of schools.

          Schools are ment to make you a "normal well rounded person", which means teachers often have to teach several subjects (in my primary school we had 6 teachers whole, most of them had a PC in their room but they weren't even remotely familar with them). These teachers are a jack of all trades and a master of none. They don't much care for computers and use them only when they have to and act just like t
        • At our site we have a mixure of Windows, Linux and Macs and the only people who really have problems are the PA and secretarial types who really don't know anything about their computers and function by remembering where stuff is. Move anything and they panic.

          And that's where a lot of teachers are. I've been through an MAEd program, and one at a halfway decent college. A lot of my classmates in that program would have needed a LOT of training to master three OSes. I took a class on technology in curriculu

          • by GreatDrok (684119)
            So, we should cripple our education system because the teachers aren't able to learn anything new themselves. Heck, we'll have people complaining that they'll have to come up with a new mneomic for the names of planets next.....

            Teachers are supposed to impart knowledge to our kids. If the teachers are unable to learn new stuff then the kids would be better off being given a book to learn from. Teachers have to be able to explain what they are trying to teach. If the teachers simply learn parrot fashion
            • You are absolutely right that we should have high enough quality teachers that this wouldn't be an issue. But unfortunately, we don't in most places, and you'd have to solve that problem first. And that gets into an ENTIRELY different discussion (such as how to make the profession of teaching more attractive to the most qualified people). You're talking about ideal situations, I'm talking about reality as it is right now. Having all schools on three OSes would be great, but it would not be practical or even
              • by GreatDrok (684119)
                I agree. One of my friends trained as a teacher and after a few jobs quit and went to work in an electronics store because the teaching work was horrible. I considered being a teacher myself but decided against it because the incentives are not there. However, the reality that teaching is not treated with the respect it deserves and so the good people are not encouraged to join the profession does not mean we should make the education system poor to cope with the crap teachers that do join. There is a
                • Fix the fundamental problem rather than trying to limit the damage to the current teachers.

                  Deciding that all teachers shall learn three OSes is not "fixing the fundamental problem." It's ignoring the problem and thinking that if you proceed as if it's not there, it will go away. You need to fix the fundamental problems FIRST, then you can can focus on making sure all teachers are super-computer-literate. Because that's not one of the fundamental problems.

                  The fundamental problems are more things like tea

        • by asuffield (111848)

          Ah, that old straw man. Are schools teaching computing or Windows? All the basic skills they need to use any computer GUI can be taught with Linux just as well as Windows.

          Wrong question. Here's the right one: what are the schools teaching?

          I spent some time doing tech support at a few secondary schools once, and I observed what passes for 'IT' lessons. The teachers don't know how to use Windows, let alone the pupils, and they certainly aren't teaching them anything about Windows. What they do is teach them h

    • by mikeswi (658619) * on Saturday August 26, 2006 @03:32PM (#15985715) Homepage Journal
      I agree. There should be that one Windows computer in the back of the classroom that takes 5 minutes to boot and then crashes an hour later because all the spyware pop-ups have run out all the memory. That would be the example for why all the computers in the classroom run something else. ;-)
  • I forsee (Score:4, Funny)

    by Cheapy (809643) on Saturday August 26, 2006 @01:57PM (#15985406)
    I foresee a massive discount for a certain Indian state by a certain U.S. company...
    • by Poppler (822173)
      I foresee a massive discount for a certain Indian state by a certain U.S. company...

      If they're doing this after a visit from RMS, I doubt that cost is the only consideration in their decision.
    • by zlogic (892404)
      In fact the discount may be the state's original goal - first threaten MS, then get a sweet deal. But I doubt that India wants to abandon Microsoft.
      MS's Indian HQ is providing a lot of jobs. And India seems to have lots of Visual C# programmers. Not to mention that Visual Studio 2005 shows photos of ONLY Indian people during installation - suggesting the biggest market target for VS2005.
    • by cyanid3 (998026)
      I foresee a massive discount for a certain Indian state by a certain U.S. company... We don't pay for anything; school or no school ;)
  • Diversity is a good thing. Students and teachers should have SOME experience on Linux and Windows boxes. Let them make their own decision about which is truly "best for the job."
    • by xilmaril (573709)
      And how would they pay for these (basically) redundant systems? I've never seen a school system with money to waste on letting everyone make that kind of choice, as it would either drastically reduce inefficiency, cost twice as much, or both.

      It would be sort of like buying a set of gasoline busses to transport children to school, and a set of diesel ones, and letting everyone choose which they want to take. Totally unfeasible, which is why some high-ranking school official consults some experts and decides
  • I wonder if they're going to go for a school biased distro, although I don't suppose it will matter. Would their choice then lead to other bigger and better things such as using Linux at the firewall/router level also? I'm sure they'd want to use squid. It'd be very nice to see India become a linux house. I better brush up on my Indian though.
  • by David Off (101038) on Saturday August 26, 2006 @02:11PM (#15985449) Homepage
    My old company (the OSF) had a visit from RMS once. He spent the whole week with some wierd GNU logo stuck to his forehead which I think frightened my boss. I hope, like Linux, he's more user friendly these days.
  • GNU/Kerala?

    Seriously it probably doesn't hurt that RMS looks like an Indian Sadhu with that hair of his. Congrats RMS (or RMSji)
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday August 26, 2006 @02:17PM (#15985467)
    I am originally from Kerala..the mentality of the people there is quite unique from anywhere in India. Almost totally against all forms of monopolies. It may have done lot of harm to the economy, but Keral booted out CocaCola when it allegedly did not meet the stringent quality tests. BMW was also stopped from having a factory there over working conditions.
    The Govt was always receptive to Stallman - way back in 2001, I was the the capital and RMS had a seminar over there. He had put on a long robe and a CD around his head as halo and announced himself as prophet stallman - or to that effect, I dont remember.
    But the crux is people at Kerala are ready to put that extra effort needed for moving on to Linux
    • Re: (Score:1, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward
      RMS had a seminar over there. He had put on a long robe and a CD around his head as halo

      He got you: It's obviously the "I put on my robe and wizard hat" thing.

  • For a second there I thought the headline read "Indiana State Logs Microsoft Out".
  • The schools need something more complex, it's just not working what they have at my school. Nearly any kid with half a brain about computers can get into our school computers without the security software. It takes about 2 minutes and you're in, totally unmonitored and no extra security features. If they had Linux on there, it would be much harder, because probably 1 in every 100 kids has even used a Linux operating system at my school. Mainly because "It's crap" and "My iPod doesn't work on Linux!", they
    • Wow, Slashdot needs to let me space out my stuff, that's really hard to read. Breaks work I guess...
  • This is education? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by jc42 (318812) on Saturday August 26, 2006 @03:24PM (#15985693) Homepage Journal
    An obvious observation here is that however they decide such a question, the decision is profoundly anti-education. Anyone with the slightest interest in education would start by rejecting the dichotomy that the only choices are Microsoft and linux. And deciding on only one means that you have no intention of allowing your students to get a real education in the subject.

    Any actual educator would want their students to become familiar with many different kinds of computers. They would have a bias against Microsoft, of course, because MS systems don't permit the students to study much of the system's innards. Apple would also be fairly low on the list, since their software's inner workings are somewhat more accessible to students, but not as accessible as most of the alternatives. The list of accessible systems would rate linux highly, of course, but not a lot better than the various *BSD systems or OpenVMS. Or OpenDOS, for that matter. And the iTron system should be on the list, as the world's major open real-time system.

    OTOH, I suppose those Americans and Europeans worried about a takeover of the computer industry would applaud this decision. A cohort of students who grow up knowing only linux would be nearly as damaging to India's computer industry as if they knew only MS Windows. OK; not that damaging, but damaging enough.

    Of course, enough schools in America and Europe are MS-only right now that we can look forward to a general loss of dominance in computing, as schools graduate students who think that computer expertise consists of knowing how to make Word docs and Powerpoint presentations.

    A real educator would more likely reject them all, and set their students to the task of building their own computer system, following the precedents of Tannenbaum and Torvalds (and the Berkeley gang). They'd have a lab with a few of each available system, for showing what has been done and asking "How could we do it better?" But they'd put the emphasis on learning by doing.

    But having only linux in a school makes about as much sense as, say, having only Honda in the auto (driving and shop) classes. OTOH, having only Microsoft computers would be like having only drivers' ed classes using Honda; the "shop" classes would only read about cars but would never be permitted to open up an engine compartment or remove a dashboard.

    Sorry; that's not a real education program.

    • by kie (30381)
      > A real educator would more likely reject them all, and set their students to the task of building their own
      > computer system, following the precedents of Tannenbaum and Torvalds (and the Berkeley gang). They'd have a
      > lab with a few of each available system, for showing what has been done and asking "How could we do it
      > better?" But they'd put the emphasis on learning by doing.

      I don't think that "build your own and do it better" is a good starting point for computer education.
      It would first re
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by belmolis (702863)

      Before you can say anything intelligent about what kinds of computers/OSs are needed, you have to be clear as to what you want to use them for. What is appropriate depends on the application.

      • If the purpose is to enable students to use computers as part of their education, they just need systems that let them surf the net, write, maybe do calculations and so forth. This they can do perfectly fine using just Linux or FreeBSD or indeed pretty much any single system. I don't see any particular benefit to di
    • the decision is profoundly anti-education

      Actually, these are primarily infrastructure decisions, and they are properly based on cost/benefit over the lifetime of the infrastructure. It's incorrect to suggest that such decisions are either pro- or anti- education. They are neutral with respect to education.

      More correct than the tired auto analogy, I think, would be if the decision were to standardize on a certain type of lighting system for school buildings which only lets students read books printed o

  • by jesterzog (189797) on Saturday August 26, 2006 @03:51PM (#15985754) Homepage Journal

    Initially, schools were given the option to choose whether teachers were to be trained in Linux systems or Microsoft. The option has now narrowed down to migration.

    I realise that schools have other priorities (eg. teaching reading, math, science, history, etc), and limited resources, not to mention that having computers in schools isn't always primarily to teach about computers. It's a shame, however, that children can't be trained using multiple platforms.

    I feel I have a much better appreciation of computers, and feel more comfortable using them, because I appreciate the differences between things like Windows, Linux distros, Macs, Amigas, even DOS, and whatever else. (I'm sure many people here could run off a long list.) I know what I prefer to use for different tasks, and I know why I prefer it..

    Restricting teaching to one OS and accustomising students to one way of doing things doesn't seem like preparing them to make their own choices at all.

  • I predict (Score:2, Informative)

    by t_ban (875088)
    that the state of West Bengal will follow suit soon. Kerala and West Bengal are ruled by the same party's government, and a decision of this level usually comes from their central politburo.
  • Its not about what is "best for the job".
    Its about software freedom.
    For RMS and the Free Software movement, what's "best for the job" is not nearly as important as what helps and guarantees freedom.

    RMS and people in the Free Software movement, believe that there is no room for software that takes away the freedoms of the user. And its important to teach kids in schools just that, so that they know to respect those freedoms as they grow older as well.
    • by petrus4 (213815)
      >RMS and people in the Free Software movement, believe that there is no room for software that takes >away the freedoms of the user. And its important to teach kids in schools just that, so that they >know to respect those freedoms as they grow older as well.

      There is at least one license [ucsc.edu] which some of us feel actually accord users greater freedom than the GPL, yet Stallman doesn't advocate it...if anything, he's In the same way as Stallman himself does, you've actually said here that the only type
      • by Peaker (72084)
        accord users greater freedom than the GPL

        You talked about using your own brain, so maybe you should try doing it too.

        The "which license is more free?" is a silly semantic question and its answer depends on your definition of freedom and who it applies to.

        The question "which license is more free?" may instead be phrased: "which license's popularity makes it more possible for people (en-masse) to view, modify, and redistribute copies of their software".

        The BSD style license allows people to redistribute lock-
  • A much more comprehensive article [newsforge.com] about this decision and its background context is on Newsforge.

Imitation is the sincerest form of plagarism.

Working...