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Linux Taking Over Schools in India 84

Posted by Zonk
from the penguins-in-strange-places dept.
slashchris84 writes to mention a BusinessWeek article about the growing role of Linux in the classrooms of India. In a country with a long history of corporate problems and financial issues, the inexpensive and flexible nature of open source software is gaining a lot of ground. From the article: "Two years ago, New Delhi said the best way to improve computer literacy in India was to adopt open source software in schools. Although Kerala is the first to introduce such a program statewide, 18 of India's 28 states either are using Linux or have pilot projects for its use in various government departments and schools. The education ministries in most states, and in Delhi the federal ministries of defense, transport, communication, and health, are all using the software on server computers"
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Linux Taking Over Schools in India

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  • Tempered Enthusiasm (Score:2, Interesting)

    by ackthpt (218170) *

    from the penguins-in-strange-places dept.

    Hey, Zonk, what's strange about Linux in education and government? Or is it India you find strange? New to the adoption of Linux by India topic are you?

    The education ministries in most states, and in Delhi the federal ministries of defense, transport, communication, and health, are all using the software on server computers"

    Also worth pointing out that this statement says "are all using the software on server computers", but doesn't say "all servers are us

    • by drinkypoo (153816) <martin.espinoza@gmail.com> on Friday September 22, 2006 @05:46PM (#16163645) Homepage Journal
      So that's, what? (21/4100) * 1,500,000 ~= 7,682 computers? Not like it's going to make Microsoft sweat, but the comment from a student "Windows, never heard of it" might.

      Everyone knows that Apple gained what power it had from its influence in education. Microsoft learned this lesson from them, and since has been giving knockout educational pricing to schools.

      Microsoft was already as concerned as they were going to be when the Indians announced they were going Open Source. A statement like that girl's is only confirmation.

      • by ackthpt (218170) *

        Everyone knows that Apple gained what power it had from its influence in education.

        Then blew it because they didn't get Business on the bandwagon.

        Great analogy until that point.

        • by drinkypoo (153816)

          Everyone knows that Apple gained what power it had from its influence in education.

          Then blew it because they didn't get Business on the bandwagon. Great analogy until that point.

          While the two situations are somewhat analogous, they are not identical. Of course, I never claimed that they were, making your comment basically a big fat irrelevant waste of time.

          Linux already has Business on the bandwagon from the server side. Get a bunch of people who know how to use it on the desktop entering the job

    • by truthsearch (249536) on Friday September 22, 2006 @05:54PM (#16163683) Homepage Journal
      When the government of India suggested a major push into open source to help the country support its own IT a few years ago Bill Gates immedately made a special trip to India to meet with officials. Microsoft is definitely afraid a small shift in such a large country will turn into a major loss.
      • by ackthpt (218170) *

        When the government of India suggested a major push into open source to help the country support its own IT a few years ago Bill Gates immedately made a special trip to India to meet with officials. Microsoft is definitely afraid a small shift in such a large country will turn into a major loss.

        IIRC Mr. Gates also, about that time, made a $300 M donation to fighting some malady in India. No connection to the decision, I'm certain! :o)

    • by smitty_one_each (243267) * on Friday September 22, 2006 @06:01PM (#16163720) Homepage Journal
      It sounds good, but it's not like Microsoft is going to suffer a lot for this.
      Violently disagree.
      FOSS is to the Information Age as the printing press was the the Enlightenment.
      The realization in the public, business, and private sectors that we really don't need to fork over sizeable money for the Same Fscking Codebase They've Been Reselling For Years[1] is truly liberating, and could well lead to increased innovation, as more eloquently detailed by Moglen: http://www.redhat.com/magazine/020jun06/features/v ideo_moglen/ [redhat.com]

      [1] Albeit with some UI botox
      • by Slithe (894946)

        FOSS is to the Information Age as the printing press was the the Enlightenment.

        Uh, I think you meant the 'Renaissance'; the Enlightenment came several centuries later. Anyway, I do not think it is an accurate comparison. Operating Systems, Easy-to-use interfaces, such as the GUI, easy-to-learn programming languages, such as Python, comprehensive libraries, and the Internet are more similar to the printing press than FOSS. The printing press allowed the wide dissemination of information, and freed students

        • Thanks for the correction, you're spot on.
          As for your criticism of the intended analogy, you're focusing on the physical aspects, whereas I'm more concerned with the shift of control of information (specifically about how to write code) from an elite few to something that the common folk can work with.
    • Hey, Zonk, what's strange about Linux in education and government? Or is it India you find strange? New to the adoption of Linux by India topic are you?

      Ah, such a beautiful troll. It accuses Zonk of racism and implicitly calls Linux second rate. Best of all, it's completely wrong. Oh, but there's more, a defense of the Mighty Morphing M$ Monopoly. It could only be better by invoking religion, BSD and abortion.

      it's going to make Microsoft sweat, but the comment from a student "Windows, never heard

      • from the penguins-in-strange-places dept. So what does Zonk imply by this?
      • Ah, such a beautiful troll. It accuses Zonk of racism and implicitly calls Linux second rate. Best of all, it's completely wrong. Oh, but there's more, a defense of the Mighty Morphing M$ Monopoly. It could only be better by invoking religion, BSD and abortion.

        I've learned never to underestimate slashdot posters ability to get things completely wrong. Troll? Racism? Come on, dude, put your biases aside when you're visiting here, you'll find things are always as they seem to you.

    • by freakxx (987620)
      So that's, what? (21/4100) * 1,500,000 ~= 7,682 computers? It's not so simple. Think of the students who pass out these linux friendly schools. The computers may be only 21 out of 4000 students but the number of students who are getting taste of linux are 4000 (not only 21). After passing out of the school, most of them will prefer linux over windows in future as well [well, linux is addictive afterall :-)]. During my graduation, my institute were having plenty of linux boxes and very few windows and sol
      • Think of the students who pass out these linux friendly schools.

        Yes. How many will actually have any kind of impact on develpment or purchasing?

        Before you answer that, consider the same rule for the schools in your own community. How many students will actually have an impact on purchasing or development trends. All you need is one dumbshit who becomes an MBA who didn't do squat with computers in school making decisions because "Everyone Else Is Going This Way" and/or "A Free Admin Magazine, heavily

  • When I first read the headline I envisioned a hostile takeover by giant laptops with tuxeyes running fullscreen for laser shooting purposes. This is cool too though, I guess.
  • Was anyone else imagining scenes of guerilla penguin freedom fighters in air conditioned jump suits holding Indian children hostage demanding the release of politicl prisoners?

    -matthew
    • Was anyone else imagining scenes of guerilla penguin freedom fighters in air conditioned jump suits holding Indian children hostage demanding the release of politicl prisoners?

      Obviously, yes.
    • I was expecting the first of a series of journals by RMS writing about his guerilla penguin expedition into India.
  • Cue in all the jokes about war and how it's usually USA invading other countries.
  • by TheDarkener (198348) on Friday September 22, 2006 @05:29PM (#16163558)
    It's only a matter of time until most schools realise the full potential of open source software, let alone things like LTSP [ltsp.org]. It just makes sense to use things like this in an educational environment. Reduced cost, reduced administration, more portability between students...

    And given that the students will "know" Linux after they're out of school, it's only a matter of time until it starts populating in the business world.

    First there was Apple in education...And then Microsoft. Microsoft is shafting the educational system with their inflated licensing costs, and trust me, educators aren't standing for it any more.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by joe 155 (937621)
      I must say I'd love that to be true - But I fear it isn't. I posted on my university blog criticising the University about pretty much only using MS software and only offering support/education for people in MS products. I got verious replies (including one from a woman about how women don't know how to use computers and aren't capable of learning, and linux is too hard) but the one which stuck out most was a couple from IT staff, one claimed that Free Software wouldn't be cheaper to use because they woul
      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by sobachatina (635055)
        they couldn't control it with the same level of precision that they could with MS products

        Actually I'm sure this statement is true. They probably can't.

        It would be false if they said it was impossible. What I like about Linux is how much more control and "precision" it gives me.

      • by TheDarkener (198348) on Friday September 22, 2006 @06:01PM (#16163723)
        ...one claimed that Free Software wouldn't be cheaper to use because they would need to change their procedures and way of running (which would have a cost)

        Sure, but wouldn't upgrading to Vista as well? The fruit is worth the work of the harvest. ...MS sells them pretty cheap licences

        Cheap in relation to...? I met with the principal and director of technology for a pretty big school district yesterday and one of his main motivations for moving to Linux and LTSP was because Microsoft has decided to start charging them anually for licenses. ...they couldn't roll out updates through out the network with free software in the same way that they could MS and they couldn't control it with the same level of precision that they could with MS products

        LTSP updates the terminal server. The terminal server is what all thin clients run off of, so they are "automatically" updated when the server is (with a couple of rare occasions when you must update the chroot environment, but that is a one-stop simple procedure as well). Also, control is done through the terminal server. If you have multiple terminal servers for multiple sites and you're worried about updating them all at once, then there are things like Zenworks (though I'm not sure how it works with LTSP servers) and others I'm sure.

        I administrate a ~13 node LTSP setup for a non-profit after school hangout for kids. Before I came around (about a year ago), their hardware was running with Windows 95/98, and was riddled with illegal software, viruses and spyware. The machines were unusable and they were begging me to help.

        So, I sold them a cheap dual processor server and a bunch of PXE bootable NICs for their computers, and had an Edubuntu network running for them in a few weeks.

        They haven't had any major problems since. It just works. Now tell me that THIS kind of thing costs more than administrating Windows boxes.
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by naelurec (552384)

        they would need to change their procedures and way of running

        That is true. Admins that only know the Windows/Microsoft way of doing things would need to be removed and unix/linux admins would need to take their place.

        The second reply was saying that they couldn't roll out updates through out the network with free software in the same way that they could MS and they couldn't control it with the same level of precision that they could with MS products

        As others have said, they are looking at rolling out a Unix

      • by Nutria (679911)
        (including one from a woman about how women don't know how to use computers and aren't capable of learning, and linux is too hard)

        Do you still have her email address?
    • by winphreak (915766)
      The LTSP looks MUCH more efficient and secure than my school's Citrix system. Unfortunate that they only used it so teachers didn't have to learn something besides Microsoft Office (and I'll admit, Office can be powerful and useful in class). Citrix is inefficient, emulating every copy of windows logged on, and insecure, as client flash drives can run executables, allowing LCP to brute force, etc etc.

      Thanks for linking the LTSP though, I may email the administrator about the idea.
  • by Locutus (9039) on Friday September 22, 2006 @05:54PM (#16163682)
    This is a well known tactic for the IT press since viewership is far lower on Thu and Fri and almost zero on weekends. When we start seeing THESE kinds of articles published during "prime time", then we'll know that Linux and open source has arrived and the press is not worried about 'exciting' a particular advertiser.

    Seeing this in printed form would be a good indicator also.
    IMO.

    LoB
  • by Locutus (9039) on Friday September 22, 2006 @06:15PM (#16163799)
    That means it'll cost businesses( in 2010 ) $19.9 Million for Linux. They also say that businesses, etc already pay $200 Million annually for Microsoft Windows software but leave 2010 number out.

    No wonder Indian schools are looking to Linux, they'll save huge sums of money this way and at the same time, be building a workforce capable of supporting this shift.

    Who knows, in 2010, we may be seeing only IDC numbers on revenue from services around Linux and OSS.

    It sure seems strange that these kinds of numbers always seem to be equated with how much money Microsoft makes or how big their market is when infact, it's all about how much it's costing businesses. After all, they are not talking about services and are all about software sales.

    When US companies 'see the light' and realize these numbers are leaving THEIR pockets, they might be willing to look toward Linux on the desktop too.

    LoB
  • Does anyone know what distro they're planning to use? If financial factors are an issue, perhaps Ubuntu?
    • I don't know, but their servers will likely be Apache ; )
    • by Indras (515472) *
      Does anyone know what distro they're planning to use? If financial factors are an issue, perhaps Ubuntu?

      I would think that Edubuntu [edubuntu.com] would be more appropriate.

    • by JonJ (907502)
      Yeah, because Ubuntu is the only free-as-in-beer distro out there. Sheesh.
      • Yeah, because Ubuntu is the only free-as-in-beer distro out there. Sheesh.
        Is any other distro so free-as-in-beer that they send you CDs at no cost?
        • by JonJ (907502)
          They're going to do a stock install of Ubuntu on all the machines for 2,600 schools? Yeah, right.
    • Well, most people think there are better ones out there, but most of the educational institutions in India are using (or planning to use) the Fedora Core series, with a close second being Ubuntu. I've seen this first hand, since I'm an Indian. There are a lot of institutions (including my former university) who prefer the Fedora Core series for reasons of familiarity.
  • ...a country with a long history of corporate problems and financial issues...

    Ah yes, 'cause you'd never get government financial solvency issues [brillig.com] or corporate problems in America, would you?

  • Well duh! (Score:1, Flamebait)

    by supabeast! (84658)
    "...said the best way to improve computer literacy in India was to adopt open source software in schools..."

    Well of course it is! Nothing will teach stupid users how to use a computer like software with a man page that hasn't been updated in five years, has no written documentation, and responses to bug requests along the lines of "learn C and fix the problem yourself, noob!"
    • "Nothing will teach stupid users how to use a computer like software with a man page that hasn't been updated in five years, has no written documentation, and responses to bug requests along the lines of "learn C and fix the problem yourself, noob!"

      Quoted directly from the MS fast fud site. My experience installing Mpeg4ip was quite different. I directly emailed the lead developer, got a polite reply and was directed to the online forum. What kind of support do you get in closed source land, a phone cal
      • What kind of support do you get in closed source land, a phone call to Jameel in Bangalore who calls himself 'Dave' and speaks in a fake US accent.
        That's an interesting comment in a topic about open source in India. I imagine Jameel wouldn't like your tech support either.
  • If you want to be protected from hords of cheap programmers from India, then go with Microsoft.
  • I am from India, and yep, I am still in Highschool. And, Linux and Openoffice have made it to the High School curriculum, which *is not* a good thing. Why? Because most of the time, all these kids know is paint and wordpad, and ofcourse games! So, and the Linux we get in school books is all just plain bash. So, most of my friends are turned off By Linux, and by Openoffice as well, since they see it as a needless clone of Office. And, btw, most of the servers of the Indian Government run on IIS, as can be s

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