Linux ain't free, y'all!



  • Hi!

    I've joined just to post this and I'm not really sure if it was posted before. So without further ado:
    [url=http://linuxlock.blogspot.com/2008/12/linux-stop-holding-our-kids-back.html]Clicky![/url]

    Now, I'm not a Linux user nor am I a fan of it, but come on!



  • @ramdiv said:

    Hi!

    I've joined just to post this and I'm not really sure if it was posted before. So without further ado:
    Clicky!

    Now, I'm not a Linux user nor am I a fan of it, but come on!

     

    The blogger posted a thought-provoking follow-up a few days later, after the teacher was crucified on /. etc. Might be worth folks reading this before the inevitable happens:

    http://linuxlock.blogspot.com/2008/12/character-assasinations-aint-us.html

     

    [link linkified for ease of clicking -mod]



  • Linux is great for people, as it has been said, who think vi is a good configuration tool.

    I have no complaints with the under-the-hood part of Linux, but when it comes to consumer-facing aspects, it's just not ready for prime-time.  Certainly it's better than it was two years ago, but it's still not ready, and I've got a long-term perspective, having been into computers as a professional and a hobbyist for nearly 35 years now. 

     Some bullet points:

    * Linux (and indeed, Unix, Solaris, and all the other variants) are OSes for people who like to get their hands dirty.  That wouldn't include my senior-citizen parents or in-laws.  That doesn't include most people.

    * I know the GUIs are there, but there's more than one, if I remember correctly, and that can be confusing to average users, who like to have the same thing at home and at work.  (Unless they're Mac users, in which case they've learned to deal with the difference.)

    * Having so many different distributions of Linux simply confuses the marketplace.  Having 25 brands of clothes-washing detergent is okay because all the brands operate the same; pour detergent into washer, add clothes, close lid.  Unfortunately, all those Linux distros are not quite so interchangeable.  This causes low adoption among the potential consumer base.  (It ain't all about the code, kiddies.  The world of commerce is larger than that.)

    * The drivers still aren't where they need to be.

    * The business applications aren't really there.  Open Office and Star Office are darned good, but they lack performance.  (Java is good, but native code is still best.)  Running the usual Win Office stuff under WINE is reasonably good, but in the long run, still second-best.

    I read the blog posting, and it's interesting to see how the Linux crowd reacts.  Unfortunately, Linux remains an underdog in the consumer arena, and teaching kids to use Windows apps is the best training for now.  I know the Linuxians don't like that.  I don't see them trying to do much about it, though.

    To be fair, though, not knowing that Linux is free--or at least not checking--is downright sloppy.



  • The human mind is at its most receptive when young, so giving young people experience with Linux is only a good thing. Exposure to alternatives will help prevent people being brainwashed into whatever system is prevalent, which these days is generally Windows (unless your parents and schools all use Macs); it also offers people a stronger position from which to evaluate and judge various systems.

    A text editor is a good configuration tool; this cannot be denied. You are trying to argue against the idea that it is the universally best tool, but there is no such thing -- the best configuration tool will depend on context. (Anyone who's tried managing a Windows server will recognise how Microsoft have managed to construct a config GUI that's more painful to work with than a stack of text files and your favourite text editor.)

    Children are more likely to want to dabble in whatever new toys come along -- as a child, you have the time to play and experiment and little to lose when it fails. You may find that many children abandon Linux for being too confusing, but some will stick at it, and learn a lot of useful knowledge and skills. In the case of TFA, the kids were being handed out copies of a particular distro, which curiously sidesteps the awkward problem of choosing a distro; it does instead assume that the chosen distro ends up being compatible with a large range of hardware!



  •  I think some things just need to be said:

    @mrprogguy said:

     Some bullet points:

    * Linux (and indeed, Unix, Solaris, and all the other variants) are OSes for people who like to get their hands dirty.  That wouldn't include my senior-citizen parents or in-laws.  That doesn't include most people.

     

    This I think is manifestly false.  The desktop user oriented distrubutions (SuSE/Redhat/Ubuntu) are as easy to install as Windows (i.e., my grandmother cannot do it, but anyone at least marginally skilled with computers can), and as long as you are "www and internet are the same thing, right?" kind of user, you won't notice any significant differences in usage.

    @mrprogguy said:


    * Having so many different distributions of Linux simply confuses the marketplace.  Having 25 brands of clothes-washing detergent is okay because all the brands operate the same; pour detergent into washer, add clothes, close lid.  Unfortunately, all those Linux distros are not quite so interchangeable.  This causes low adoption among the potential consumer base.  (It ain't all about the code, kiddies.  The world of commerce is larger than that.)

     

    This would be true, if all  the different distributions of Linux were aimed at the same kind of usage.  However, you want different things from a distro you would place on your grandmothers computer, from the one you use as your desktop, from the one you would place on mission-critical servers, from the one running your cellphone, ... Of course, there is a lot of choice even if you decide what you want, but that is unavoidable.  I agree that this has some unpleasant consequences, although I still prefer the fact that the competition makes the things move forward.

    @mrprogguy said:


    * The drivers still aren't where they need to be.

     

     In last three years, I did not have a problem with getting drivers for linux (in fact, most of the things worked out of the box, the only exception being that I had to download drivers for wifi separately).  Although I agree the drivers problem is far from solved, there certainly have been much of progress.



  • @rakdver said:

     I think some things just need to be said:

    @mrprogguy said:

     Some bullet points:

    * Linux (and indeed, Unix, Solaris, and all the other variants) are OSes for people who like to get their hands dirty.  That wouldn't include my senior-citizen parents or in-laws.  That doesn't include most people.

     

    This I think is manifestly false.  The desktop user oriented distrubutions (SuSE/Redhat/Ubuntu) are as easy to install as Windows (i.e., my grandmother cannot do it, but anyone at least marginally skilled with computers can), and as long as you are "www and internet are the same thing, right?" kind of user, you won't notice any significant differences in usage.

    I know it's true. Getting my wireless to work on windows is stupidly simple, windows did all the work for me.

    Getting my wireless to work in Ubuntu went something like this:
    Install NDISwrapper (using the package manager, which was nice).
    Edit the modules file to add a line needed for NDISwrapper
    Load the NDISwrapper program, and set it up to run at boot.
    Attempt to use Ubuntu's network tools to setup my wireless.
    Discover that said network tools don't work.
    Read the man page for wireless.
    Realize that the network tools don't come close to properly configuring things.
    Edit the interfaces file to that it's correct.

    Entering commands by hand, troubleshooting the wireless problems, and editing configuration files are not things that someone who is "marginally skilled with computers" can do.


  •  Thanks to this thread I found out theres a continuation post. Everyone in the conversation should seriously read it. It clarifies a lot of things, and is written in a lot more positive tone than the original post. 

     One thing most people tend to forget about blogs that they're not any be-all-end-all entertainment/information highway. Most of the time, they're just one person writing about something he feels strongly. In this case, it sparked a huge reaction and I for one am glad he didn't include any contact information of the teacher in question in hig blog post. He apparently got offered $1000 for that information as it is... that makes me scared. We'd be talking about 'an hero' all over again, and nobody wants that (except for /b/).

     Thankfully it's past the internet news cycle -- until it gets reposted in a random forum like thedailywtf ;)



  •  Please...

     this is old news.



  • @Seraph said:

    Getting my wireless to work in Ubuntu went something like this:

    [snip]



    Entering commands by hand, troubleshooting the wireless problems, and editing configuration files are not things that someone who is "marginally skilled with computers" can do.

     

    For me, it was quite the other way 'round. I posted this before on this forum, but my wlan card (it's pretty old, Netgear MA 311 or something like that) worked out-of-the-box on ubuntu (nothing to install, easy GUI config dialog), while I had to bring in some drivers for windows on an USB stick, and they were rather hard to find on the internet (I've lost the installation CD).

    My dvb-s card however was very easy to install and get working on windows. there was just one slight problem that I never got fixed: The drivers would cause a blue screen approx. 5 minutes after starting the tv software. On Linux, the drivers came with my distribution, so I only had to get some TV software. I decided to use "MythTV", which was quite difficult to configure and the GUI sucked a lot. Very powerful software, as it includes a web interface and a lot of other fancy stuff (i don't need). I got it working eventually and enjoyed watching TV without blue screens.The other day, I found a software called "MeTV" in the software repo and decided to give it a try. As I had already created a "channels list" before, I simply imported it so configuration wasn't that difficult now, but I guess for a new user it's not that easy. I like the program, it's lightweight and easy to use, so I got rid of MythTV and all the stuff it came with (a MySQL database, etc.).

    Up to this day, I'm still unable to watch TV on windows. Well, that sucks, but I don't care - most of the time I'm on Linux anyway.



  • @Seraph said:


    I know it's true. Getting my wireless to work on windows is stupidly simple, windows did all the work for me.



    Getting my wireless to work in Ubuntu went something like this:

    Install NDISwrapper (using the package manager, which was nice).

    Edit the modules file to add a line needed for NDISwrapper

    Load the NDISwrapper program, and set it up to run at boot.

    Attempt to use Ubuntu's network tools to setup my wireless.

    Discover that said network tools don't work.

    Read the man page for wireless.

    Realize that the network tools don't come close to properly configuring things.

    Edit the interfaces file to that it's correct.



    Entering commands by hand, troubleshooting the wireless problems, and editing configuration files are not things that someone who is "marginally skilled with computers" can do.

    Unfortunately a lot of hardware vendors choose to keep their implementation details a secret.  Some of them can't even produce well-working Windows drivers.  Why they do that can only be guessed.  Do they truly have some business secrets to keep?  Doubtful, as many devices from more open-minded vendors work better.  Are they trying to hide the flaws in their hardware by providing proprietary software that kludges around the flaws?  I find this more likely.  There are examples of it, such as graphics card vendors adding benchmark-specific tweaks to their drivers in order to score better.

    Since you have used NDISwrapper, I assume you now know that it works by loading Windows drivers.  Sometimes this works well, but most often the result is rather mediocre.  Important functionality goes missing etc.  And sometims it just plain doesn't work.  A lot of Linux users would rather use open source drivers.  Some of them would be willing to be the ones that write those drivers.  But with no specifications, the progress is slow.

    So, a lot of hardware doesn't work well in Linux.  I freely admit this.  However, I claim that the hardware vendors are more at fault than Linux developers.  If you know enough (or have knowledgeable friends) and can afford to be choosy, you can get hardware that works well.  I did that with my laptop three years ago, and got a machine where almost everything works.  The only thing that doesn't is its MMC reader, and I don't have that type of memory cards anyway.  Were I to use the fancy graphical autoconfiguration tools, I'm sure the ipw2200 wireless networking hardware would present no problems.

    There are some emerging movements towards [url=http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Open_source_hardware]fully open source hardware[/url].  One aims to produce [url=http://lekernel.net/prism54/freemac.html]open source firmware for the prism54 wireless chip[/url].  I'm particularly interested in the [url=http://wiki.opengraphics.org/tiki-index.php]Open Graphics Project[/url].  This hardware may be more expensive than proprietary components, but I'll happily pay a bit extra for the openness.  Perhaps one day I will be able to live in a world where all information is free and accessible to anyone.



  • @mrprogguy said:


    I read the blog posting, and it's interesting to see how the Linux crowd reacts.  Unfortunately, Linux remains an underdog in the consumer arena, and teaching kids to use Windows apps is the best training for now.  I know the Linuxians don't like that.  I don't see them trying to do much about it, though.

    I have to disagree with this.  The best thing would be to teach the principles behind the applications and not the applications themselves.  How to use styles properly in word processing, what fits in a spreadsheet and what would be better stored in a database, etc.  Did I hear someone say that the kids are too young to grasp this stuff?  Then perhaps they don't need to learn it yet?  Teaching a specific program too strongly will lead to the kids learning that specific program.  When faced with a similar program with a different name, they panic.  In the worst case, they may decide that learning the new program is impossible for them, and that sort of mindset is very difficult to turn around.

    The same goes for many different things.  It's best to learn the principles behind a tool, rather than the use of any specific tool.  I have witnessed several cases of people that ask a simple programming question, then a bit later ask the same question in a slightly different context.  "How do I declare an array in C?  Oh, that way.  Now how do I declare an array inside a struct?"  (This example was made-up.)  It also scares me how ready these people are to get their homework made for them, even to the point of paying for it.  This is how we get all those incompetent technical managers.

    A fine example of learning gone wrong is [url=http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cargo_cult_programming]Cargo Cult Programming[/url].  These people have learned some programming patterns which they mechanically repeat with no real understanding of why and where they are important.  When the pattern is unsuitable for the problem at hand, they come up with all sorts of twisted solutions.  Questioning the sacred pattern never occurs to them. 



  •  You know if the linux community were to stop spawning a gazillion different flavours, some of which have only marginal differences from one another, and create a single distro we'd all be better off. Sure we can use spinoffs that specialise in something (for example DVD player-only distro for old machines) but as far as the major distros go...is there any practical reason for having all of them?

    I'm getting really tired of having to track down software packages for the particular version of the particular distro I happen to be using. For example we're moving the company's main server to a newer distro and I recently discovered that I can only get Subversion 1.4 for this system in source. So much for RPM architecture. On windows on the other hand I can install the 1.5 version by double-clicking. 

    IMHO if linux could establish a single distro as the standard and you knew for a fact that all modern linux programs would work on it, it could easily take a larger bite of the market.



  • One of these days, everyone will realize that your choice in OS is like
    your choice in music, or clothes, but not while statements like this
    are hanging around.

    @The HeliOS guy said:

    That's because she's trapped in a world of Windows. Most people are.




  • @belgariontheking said:

    One of these days, everyone will realize that your choice in OS is like
    your choice in music, or clothes, but not while statements like this
    are hanging around.

    @The HeliOS guy said:

    That's because she's trapped in a world of Windows. Most people are.


    That's because she's trapped in a world of the Jonas Brothers. Most people are.

    That's because she's trapped in a world of boot-cut jeans. Most people are.



  • @belgariontheking said:

    One of these days, everyone will realize that your choice in OS is like
    your choice in music, or clothes, but not while statements like this
    are hanging around.

    @The HeliOS guy said:

    That's because she's trapped in a world of Windows. Most people are.

    Most people are more or less afraid of new things, and thus effectively trap themselves to the comfort of familiar things.  With music or clothes it's at least readily apparent that there are choices, but with computer operating systems, I bet many people are not even aware of the alternatives.  If that's not being trapped, then what is?



  • @tdb said:

    If that's not being trapped, then what is?

    You've obviously never been the the SwampShack.



  • @DOA said:

     You know if the linux community were to stop spawning a gazillion different flavours, some of which have only marginal differences from one another, and create a single distro we'd all be better off. Sure we can use spinoffs that specialise in something (for example DVD player-only distro for old machines) but as far as the major distros go...is there any practical reason for having all of them?

    Specialist distros that exist simply to preinstall a bunch of apps, scream "Installing software under Linux is abominable!" to me. Unless software installation under Linux requires sacrifies to Codethulhu, what's the matter with the idea of these sites simply providing a package to download and install on a mainstream distro? Or instructions for fetching it via a regular package manager (Synaptic, Aptitude, etc)

    (Probably a lot, and this is where the focus of effort should be.)



  • @Daniel Beardsmore said:

    @DOA said:

     You know if the linux community were to stop spawning a gazillion different flavours, some of which have only marginal differences from one another, and create a single distro we'd all be better off. Sure we can use spinoffs that specialise in something (for example DVD player-only distro for old machines) but as far as the major distros go...is there any practical reason for having all of them?

    Specialist distros that exist simply to preinstall a bunch of apps, scream "Installing software under Linux is abominable!" to me. Unless software installation under Linux requires sacrifies to Codethulhu, what's the matter with the idea of these sites simply providing a package to download and install on a mainstream distro? Or instructions for fetching it via a regular package manager (Synaptic, Aptitude, etc)

    (Probably a lot, and this is where the focus of effort should be.)

     

    Ubuntu does something similar to this.  You install the basic package and from there you can do an install extras feature that allows you to select from a HUGE list of available apps for the distro and you can easily select and download from there.  Very nice feature, and if they all came as "Linux" and you could select that feature and customize from there, I think that would help out a lot.  Just my opinion though.



  • @mrprogguy said:

    Linux is great for people, as it has been said, who think vi is a good configuration tool.

    I have no complaints with the under-the-hood part of Linux, but when it comes to consumer-facing aspects, it's just not ready for prime-time.  Certainly it's better than it was two years ago, but it's still not ready, and I've got a long-term perspective, having been into computers as a professional and a hobbyist for nearly 35 years now. 

     Some bullet points:

    * Linux (and indeed, Unix, Solaris, and all the other variants) are OSes for people who like to get their hands dirty.  That wouldn't include my senior-citizen parents or in-laws.  That doesn't include most people.

    * I know the GUIs are there, but there's more than one, if I remember correctly, and that can be confusing to average users, who like to have the same thing at home and at work.  (Unless they're Mac users, in which case they've learned to deal with the difference.)

    * Having so many different distributions of Linux simply confuses the marketplace.  Having 25 brands of clothes-washing detergent is okay because all the brands operate the same; pour detergent into washer, add clothes, close lid.  Unfortunately, all those Linux distros are not quite so interchangeable.  This causes low adoption among the potential consumer base.  (It ain't all about the code, kiddies.  The world of commerce is larger than that.)

    * The drivers still aren't where they need to be.

    * The business applications aren't really there.  Open Office and Star Office are darned good, but they lack performance.  (Java is good, but native code is still best.)  Running the usual Win Office stuff under WINE is reasonably good, but in the long run, still second-best.

    I read the blog posting, and it's interesting to see how the Linux crowd reacts.  Unfortunately, Linux remains an underdog in the consumer arena, and teaching kids to use Windows apps is the best training for now.  I know the Linuxians don't like that.  I don't see them trying to do much about it, though.

    To be fair, though, not knowing that Linux is free--or at least not checking--is downright sloppy.

     

    Linux would be both boring and useless if it tried to emulate Windows and OS X. I'm rather fond of the route Linux has taken to find its users. I use it myself because I think the quality and usefulness of Linux applications are second-to-none. I installed Linux on my mother's notebook because as a first-time computer user she needs a system that won't break and won't become infected with malware and viruses.

    Overall I'm very happy with how Linux has grown over the past decade, but I think I have a different definition of "ready" than do many people who criticize Linux. It's ready for me and it's probably ready for nearly anybody who buys a system with Linux preinstalled. I think the biggest problem is Windows power users who aren't ready for Linux. They've grown accustomed to the way they work and it's not easy going from being a power user to a beginner. Many of these people spend hours looking for Linux equivalents to things they did in Windows, which I think is a primary reason why a lot of people don't enjoy Linux. When you upgrade to a new version of Windows you need to find where a few things have moved... you are looking for equivalents to how you worked in the previous version. This is like when you buy a new car and you need to find the headlights and wiper switches. Running Linux is more like buying a boat and then trying to find all the items equivalent to your car.

    I happen to think that switching from Linux to Windows or OS X has the same problems. Half the stuff I do in Linux just doesn't work in Windows or is different enough that I have a hard time adjusting. I have to learn how to do basic tasks in Windows that I can do blindfolded in Linux. Even something as simple as moving a window around seems laborous in Windows when compared to Linux. Then again, I do understand that a lot of people are productive in Windows so the problems I experience are my own and not everybody's. I think a few Windows power users should learn that the reverse is also true: there are many productive Linux users who don't think twice about drivers, installing programs, multiple GUIs, etc.

    Linux is ready for everybody, but not everybody is ready for Linux.



  • I have a great idea, let's change the driving licence procedure to require knowledge of the operation of electric and fuel cell cars! They're better!

    The fact that the teacher didn't check about the price of Linux is a mistake, but in a world where almost everyone uses Windows, schools should use Windows and not some operating system that isn't used by anyone and doesn't teach important skills.

    Ever seen a non-computer job ad that asked for knowledge of StarCalc instead of Excel? What do you think would happen if you were a young graduate trying to convince the interviewer why you're an asset to the company despite your lack of job experience, and you mention that you never used Excel but you use Calc and it's 'almost the same thing'? Correct! The interviewer will call you back and just recruit someone else who did bother to learn the skills necessary in the real world instead of a hash smoking rebel!

    ......

    I guess Linux is the better choice if you don't like the Windows EULA or can't pay the licence fees... As an adult, this is a choice you have to make yourself. But teaching kids with the wrong operating system will not prepare them for the real world.

    It is not the job of a school to impose its worldview. Capitalism is not perfect, but we teach our kids how to function in society and embrace the capitalist principles. Windows is junk, but we teach our kids with Windows because it is the best way to achieve the main aim of a school: using community money to prepare kids for the world.



  • @Brother Laz said:

    I have a great idea, let's change the driving licence procedure to require knowledge of the operation of electric and fuel cell cars! They're better!

    The fact that the teacher didn't check about the price of Linux is a mistake, but in a world where almost everyone uses Windows, schools should use Windows and not some operating system that isn't used by anyone and doesn't teach important skills.

    Ever seen a non-computer job ad that asked for knowledge of StarCalc instead of Excel? What do you think would happen if you were a young graduate trying to convince the interviewer why you're an asset to the company despite your lack of job experience, and you mention that you never used Excel but you use Calc and it's 'almost the same thing'? Correct! The interviewer will call you back and just recruit someone else who did bother to learn the skills necessary in the real world instead of a hash smoking rebel!

    ......

    I guess Linux is the better choice if you don't like the Windows EULA or can't pay the licence fees... As an adult, this is a choice you have to make yourself. But teaching kids with the wrong operating system will not prepare them for the real world.

    It is not the job of a school to impose its worldview. Capitalism is not perfect, but we teach our kids how to function in society and embrace the capitalist principles. Windows is junk, but we teach our kids with Windows because it is the best way to achieve the main aim of a school: using community money to prepare kids for the world.

    Holy shit, I did not expect a sane, coherent post to come out of this thread.  Mad props, bro. 



  • @Brother Laz said:

    I have a great idea, let's change the driving licence procedure to require knowledge of the operation of electric and fuel cell cars! They're better!

    The fact that the teacher didn't check about the price of Linux is a mistake, but in a world where almost everyone uses Windows, schools should use Windows and not some operating system that isn't used by anyone and doesn't teach important skills.

    Ever seen a non-computer job ad that asked for knowledge of StarCalc instead of Excel? What do you think would happen if you were a young graduate trying to convince the interviewer why you're an asset to the company despite your lack of job experience, and you mention that you never used Excel but you use Calc and it's 'almost the same thing'? Correct! The interviewer will call you back and just recruit someone else who did bother to learn the skills necessary in the real world instead of a hash smoking rebel!

    ......

    I guess Linux is the better choice if you don't like the Windows EULA or can't pay the licence fees... As an adult, this is a choice you have to make yourself. But teaching kids with the wrong operating system will not prepare them for the real world.

    It is not the job of a school to impose its worldview. Capitalism is not perfect, but we teach our kids how to function in society and embrace the capitalist principles. Windows is junk, but we teach our kids with Windows because it is the best way to achieve the main aim of a school: using community money to prepare kids for the world.

     

    I hate this kind of crap.  It is the responsibility of the educational institution to not only teach our kids skills that they can use in the real world but to also open their eyes about everything out there.  Views like the one posted above only lead to intolerance, much like the religeous intolerance that was displayed hundred of years ago whenever somebody would try to teach anything that went against the views of the church. 

     

    Windows is the most widely used so we should all accept our MS overlord and worship it?  We can't enlighten kids about the other possibilities in the world?  Should we also be teaching them that the world is flat and that the Earth is the center of the universe?  Come on, seriously, the teacher was simply showing the kids what Linux could do and offering them a CD to take home should they wish to install it, he was not forcing them to use it in the classroom or anywhere else. 



  • @amischiefr said:

    I hate this kind of crap.  It is the responsibility of the educational institution to not only teach our kids skills that they can use in the real world but to also open their eyes about everything out there.  Views like the one posted above only lead to intolerance, much like the religeous intolerance that was displayed hundred of years ago whenever somebody would try to teach anything that went against the views of the church. 

     

    Windows is the most widely used so we should all accept our MS overlord and worship it?  We can't enlighten kids about the other possibilities in the world?  Should we also be teaching them that the world is flat and that the Earth is the center of the universe?  Come on, seriously, the teacher was simply showing the kids what Linux could do and offering them a CD to take home should they wish to install it, he was not forcing them to use it in the classroom or anywhere else.

     



  • @morbiuswilters said:

    Holy shit, I did not expect a sane, coherent post to come out of anyone to agree with me in this thread.  Mad props, bro. 

    FTFY



  • @Brother Laz said:

    I have a great idea, let's change the driving licence procedure to require knowledge of the operation of electric and fuel cell cars! They're better!

    The fact that the teacher didn't check about the price of Linux is a mistake, but in a world where almost everyone uses Windows, schools should use Windows and not some operating system that isn't used by anyone and doesn't teach important skills.

    Ever seen a non-computer job ad that asked for knowledge of StarCalc instead of Excel? What do you think would happen if you were a young graduate trying to convince the interviewer why you're an asset to the company despite your lack of job experience, and you mention that you never used Excel but you use Calc and it's 'almost the same thing'? Correct! The interviewer will call you back and just recruit someone else who did bother to learn the skills necessary in the real world instead of a hash smoking rebel!

    ......

    I guess Linux is the better choice if you don't like the Windows EULA or can't pay the licence fees... As an adult, this is a choice you have to make yourself. But teaching kids with the wrong operating system will not prepare them for the real world.

    It is not the job of a school to impose its worldview. Capitalism is not perfect, but we teach our kids how to function in society and embrace the capitalist principles. Windows is junk, but we teach our kids with Windows because it is the best way to achieve the main aim of a school: using community money to prepare kids for the world.

     

    I think the purpose of schooling our children is to educate them. Somebody else in this thread already mentioned that you can teach principle skills that work regardless of which program or operating system you are using. For example, teaching how a spreadsheet works and how one can be used for various tasks equips the student to identify and solve problems using spreadsheets. The differences between StarCalc and Excel are trivial in comparison to the difference between understanding the theory behind a tool and not understanding it. I know lots of Excel experts use Excel for inappropriate tasks because it's the tool they know. If they had been taught the theory they would recognize that they are using the wrong tool rather than try to adapt Excel to their bizarre requirements.

    I happen to agree that students should be taught Windows. There is definitely a time and place for practicing theory as long as practice isn't a substitute for theory. The old saying goes that if all you have is a hammer every problem looks like a nail remains true in computing. We must recognize our responsibility to our children and make sure we equip them with as many tools as we can. It's valuable for a student to learn Windows, OS X, and Unix because all three are commonly in use today in various capacities. A student should be able to sit down in front of any operating system and feel at home because basic usage doesn't change all that much between them. My 8 year old son has used Windows and Linux since he was three and I don't think he's ever even asked me why the laptop and my computer are different from his computer. He just sits down and uses whichever OS it is without thinking about it. He installs programs on either system (Google for Windows, Synaptic for Linux) without bothering to wonder why he needs to use two different methods. The operating system is a means to an end, not the end itself.



  •  Did farmer brown hack your account again morbs?  Because you're just being an ass today with no valid arguement in any thread posting.



  •   Amendum:  So by your (morb) and Brother Laz's own reasoning we should be teaching in Computer Science ONLY Java and Oracle since they are the most widely used.  If we are to only teach Windows because it is the most popular and widely used then we should apply this to all areas as well.  Maybe only English should be tought everywhere in the world because it is the most widely used language, and we could only have kids in gym class play soccer since globally it is the most popular sport.  Lets forget about opening the eyes of young minds and ONLY teach them what is most popular.



  • @amischiefr said:

    Amendum:  So by your (morb) and Brother Laz's own reasoning we should be teaching in Computer Science ONLY Java and Oracle since they are the most widely used.  If we are to only teach Windows because it is the most popular and widely used then we should apply this to all areas as well.  Maybe only English should be tought everywhere in the world because it is the most widely used language, and we could only have kids in gym class play soccer since globally it is the most popular sport.  Lets forget about opening the eyes of young minds and ONLY teach them what is most popular.

    Java and Oracle are the most widely used?  What color is/are the sun(s) on your planet?

     

    Also, CS is not equivalent to public school education.  Obviously engineers in a highly-technical field would do well to learn a variety of technologies: mainstream and obscure.  However, what is taught in public school is computer use which is almost exclusively a Windows affair.  You might as well advocate teaching how to rebuild a carbuerator in Driver's Ed if you're going to support teaching a non-mainstream platform like Linux.



  • @morbiuswilters said:

    You might as well advocate teaching how to rebuild a carbuerator in Driver's Ed if you're going to support teaching a non-mainstream platform like Linux.
     

    That's not the point. The point is to teach children how computers/word processing/the internet etc. works, not how Windows happens to work. There's a difference there; think about it.

    When you learned how to drive, did you learn how a [insert car manufacturer of choice] works, or did you learn how to drive? Dunno what it's like in the US, but where I'm from getting a driver's license requires minimal knowledge of the car's interiors. And yes, it's part of our exams ;)



  • @Monomelodies said:

    @morbiuswilters said:

    You might as well advocate teaching how to rebuild a carbuerator in Driver's Ed if you're going to support teaching a non-mainstream platform like Linux.
     

    That's not the point. The point is to teach children how computers/word processing/the internet etc. works, not how Windows happens to work. There's a difference there; think about it.

    When you learned how to drive, did you learn how a [insert car manufacturer of choice] works, or did you learn how to drive? Dunno what it's like in the US, but where I'm from getting a driver's license requires minimal knowledge of the car's interiors. And yes, it's part of our exams ;)

    So I suppose then that one is required to drive a manual on the driver's ed exam?  Of course not, they're testing whether you can drive a car, not whether you can drive a car given something other than the status quo.



  • @Seraph said:

    I know it's true. Getting my wireless to work on windows is stupidly simple, windows did all the work for me.



    Getting my wireless to work in Ubuntu went something like this:

    Install NDISwrapper (using the package manager, which was nice).

    Edit the modules file to add a line needed for NDISwrapper

    Load the NDISwrapper program, and set it up to run at boot.

    Attempt to use Ubuntu's network tools to setup my wireless.

    Discover that said network tools don't work.

    Read the man page for wireless.

    Realize that the network tools don't come close to properly configuring things.

    Edit the interfaces file to that it's correct.



    Entering commands by hand, troubleshooting the wireless problems, and editing configuration files are not things that someone who is "marginally skilled with computers" can do.
    Funny, Ubuntu supported my wireless card right out of the box. Only thing I had to do was give it the WPA key. Whereas in WinXP (and this was before Vista was out), I had to download the drivers from the manufacturer's website, and then any time I wanted to connect, I'd have to 1) Tell it to connect to my AP. 2) Delete all saved APs. 3) Add a new AP, enter my WPA key, and save it. 4) Try to connect to the AP I just added. 5) Repeat steps 2-4 2 or 3 times.



  • @amischiefr said:

    Windows is the most widely used so we should all accept our MS overlord and worship it?  We can't enlighten kids about the other possibilities in the world?  Should we also be teaching them that the world is flat and that the Earth is the center of the universe?  Come on, seriously, the teacher was simply showing the kids what Linux could do and offering them a CD to take home should they wish to install it, he was not forcing them to use it in the classroom or anywhere else. 

     

    You didn't actually read either the original blog post or the follow-up, did you ?

     



  •  @bstorer said:

     So I suppose then that one is required to drive a manual on the
    driver's ed exam?  Of course not, they're testing whether you can drive
    a car, not whether you can drive a car given something other than the
    status quo.

    Uh, accually, yes.

    You are allowed to get a special "handycapped" exam for driving only with a automat, but then you get a limited drivers license. 



  • @Brother Laz said:

    The fact that the teacher didn't check about the price of Linux is a mistake, but in a world where almost everyone uses Windows, schools should use Windows and not some operating system that isn't used by anyone and doesn't teach important skills.

    Speak for yourself, dude. The reason I got a much better paid job than the rest of my colleagues was precisely because the higher paying jobs were, um... Linux shops. At least my boss at my previous job was proficient in both mainframe and Unix environments, and didn't know jack about Windows, which pretty much served as the place where his 50 SSH terms were spread upon.

    Of course, those who are trained in the dark arts of the mainframe can earn even more than those who know their Unix-fu, but that's another story.

    @Brother Laz said:

    Ever seen a non-computer job ad that asked for knowledge of StarCalc instead of Excel? What do you think would happen if you were a young graduate trying to convince the interviewer why you're an asset to the company despite your lack of job experience, and you mention that you never used Excel but you use Calc and it's 'almost the same thing'? Correct! The interviewer will call you back and just recruit someone else who did bother to learn the skills necessary in the real world instead of a hash smoking rebel!

    Except some universities switched to the StarOffice/OpenOffice bandwagon when the BSA started scaring organizations from using pirated software. Some cheap SMB's have just gone down the OpenOffice route to save $$$ on the Office licensing they'd need.

    Go BSA Go!

    @Brother Laz said:


    I guess Linux is the better choice if you don't like the Windows EULA or can't pay the licence fees... As an adult, this is a choice you have to make yourself. But teaching kids with the wrong operating system will not prepare them for the real world.

    Show 'em both. Some will like it, some will hate it. My High School (which shares space with the University) used to have Macs (running System 8, IIRC), RS/6000s and 486s. Engineers and would-be hackers loved the RS/6000 workstations, graphic users and computer newbies loved the Macs, and the rest of the sheep would use the PCs. Any of those three would be useful later in the student's lives, especially if some of them went down the IT path.



  • @rakdver said:

     In last three years, I did not have a problem with getting drivers for linux (in fact, most of the things worked out of the box, the only exception being that I had to download drivers for wifi separately).  Although I agree the drivers problem is far from solved, there certainly have been much of progress.


    I remember that less than 3 years ago ATI still didn't have any drivers for my 9600 Pro on a 64-bit Ubuntu. The suggested workaround was that i should a create a virtual machine on my 64-bit Ubuntu and install a 32-bit OS on it if I should want to play any 3d games.

    Also Ubuntu didn't recognize the back- and forward buttons on my mouse and didn't even provide a GUI to configure them so I had to UTFG and edit some file manually to get them working. Of course I didn't get it right the first time so i had to restart my computer a couple of times as well.

    Somehow Windows XP recognized those buttons right away when i plugged my mouse in and didn't even require me to restart my computer or install any additional software that came with the mouse.

    @shakin said:

    Linux would be both boring and useless if it tried to emulate Windows and OS X

    So you're saying that a OS that is free and easy to manage is useless?

    @shakin said:

    Linux is ready for everybody, but not everybody is ready for Linux.

    And that's the reason why Linux is not able to compete with OS's that everybody is ready for.

    @amischiefr said:

    Maybe only Chinese should be tought everywhere in the world because it is the most widely used language, and we could only have kids in gym class masturbate since globally it is the most popular sport.

    FTFY

    @morbiuswilters said:

    However, what is taught in public school is how Homo sapiens came into existence which is almost exclusively a Flying Spaghetti Monster affair.  You might as well advocate teaching how to kill stupid people in biology lessons if you're going to support teaching a non-mainstream platform like natural selection.

    FTFY too



  • @mrprogguy said:

    Linux is great for people, as it has been said, who think vi is a good configuration tool.

    I have no complaints with the under-the-hood part of Linux, but when it comes to consumer-facing aspects, it's just not ready for prime-time.  Certainly it's better than it was two years ago, but it's still not ready, and I've got a long-term perspective, having been into computers as a professional and a hobbyist for nearly 35 years now. 

    I agree with everything you said, but to put out a counterargument: the number one app is email. Web browsing and lightweight word processing are numbers 2 and 3 (I think). Anybody who can use Windows for these tasks can use Linux for these tasks.

    But overall, I agree with you... consumer Linux is really still mostly attractive to tinkerers and DIYers.



  • @Seraph said:

    I know it's true. Getting my wireless to work on windows is stupidly simple, windows did all the work for me.



    Getting my wireless to work in Ubuntu went something like this:

    (big list)
     

    FWIW on my case the experience was almost the opposite. When my laptop's HDD crashed and I reinstalled both Ubuntu and Windows on a new one, the wifi under Ubuntu worked out of the box with no fooling around. I used the GUI to search for my network, enter the WPA key and away I went.

    With Windows at least the wired network was working so I  at least could get on the Internet (after the several reboots of installing updates etc) and tried my manufacturer's (LG) website. There I downloaded all the drivers required, but the wireless one just wouldn't work. It took me several hours of searching the Internet for similar drivers to make it work.

    @Seraph said:

    Entering commands by hand, troubleshooting the wireless problems, and editing configuration files are not things that someone who is "marginally skilled with computers" can do.

    If you purchase good hardware (or at least can control it) then configuration issues are negligible. I remember when I first got my laptop (in 2005) there were issues with a lot of the hardware, but now everything is sweet.



  • @Seraph said:


    I know it's true. Getting my wireless to work on windows is stupidly simple, windows did all the work for me.



    Getting my wireless to work in Ubuntu went something like this:

    Install NDISwrapper (using the package manager, which was nice).

    Edit the modules file to add a line needed for NDISwrapper

    Load the NDISwrapper program, and set it up to run at boot.

    Attempt to use Ubuntu's network tools to setup my wireless.

    Discover that said network tools don't work.

    Read the man page for wireless.

    Realize that the network tools don't come close to properly configuring things.

    Edit the interfaces file to that it's correct.



    Entering commands by hand, troubleshooting the wireless problems, and editing configuration files are not things that someone who is "marginally skilled with computers" can do.

     

     

    Serious? For me it was a case of turning on my laptop and it all worked. With windows trying to get it to connect to a WPA2 router resulted in massive headaches, but then there was the deleting of a crappy operating system that made up for it. Have to say I am so happy to have made the move from the shit i used to use to linux as now I have had trouble free computing since deleting windows. Best thing I ever did.



  • @mrprogguy said:

    * Linux (and indeed, Unix, Solaris, and all the other variants) are OSes for people who like to get their hands dirty.

    From my R&D into cross platform development, Linux is essentially programmer masturbation (probably where the 'hands dirty' part comes from).  Its for those who want to be challenged by their operating system.  They want it to be as opaque as possible.  That way, when a problem comes along (distro incompatibilities anyone?) they can feel like champs for figuring out just the right set of make scripts and config flags it takes to get something to compile, let alone start.



  • @jay019 said:

    Have to say I am so happy to have made the move from the shit i used to use to linux as now I have had trouble free computing since deleting windows. Best thing I ever did.

    Yeah, I bet Windows really made your life hell.  You'll tolerate having to deal with compile errors, but some wireless configuration made you SOOOO MAD you just "quit the windows omg!".  I love how people try to make it like Microsoft is trying to keep them down by offering the largest set of compatible software on the planet, including all the OSS stuff everyone's talking about!

    Its funny, I just clicked "WPA2", typed in my password, and it worked.  Funny how my experience was a good one since I didn't have some retarded nerdy predisposition to hate Microsoft.



  • You mean like on the rare occasion that you have to compile something, and the also rare occasion that compiling something fails, and you need to Google the error message to find out what package you need to install (using "sudo apt-get install x") to make it work? Yeah, those are a real bitch.
    @Soviut said:

    @mrprogguy said:

    * Linux (and indeed, Unix, Solaris, and all the other variants) are OSes for people who like to get their hands dirty.

    From my R&D into cross platform development, Linux is essentially programmer masturbation (probably where the 'hands dirty' part comes from).  Its for those who want to be challenged by their operating system.  They want it to be as opaque as possible.  That way, when a problem comes along (distro incompatibilities anyone?) they can feel like champs for figuring out just the right set of make scripts and config flags it takes to get something to compile, let alone start.

    That's just the Gentoo users, just ignore them.



  • @Soviut said:

    From my R&D into cross platform development, Linux is essentially programmer masturbation (probably where the 'hands dirty' part comes from).  Its for those who want to be challenged by their operating system.  They want it to be as opaque as possible.  That way, when a problem comes along (distro incompatibilities anyone?) they can feel like champs for figuring out just the right set of make scripts and config flags it takes to get something to compile, let alone start.
    I assure you that I just want shit to work no matter what OS I'm on.  I gave up on a bunch of things that didn't "just work" on both Windows and Linux.



  • @Soviut said:

    Funny how my experience was a good one since I didn't have some retarded nerdy predisposition to hate Microsoft.
     

    Yaaaaaaaaawn, or how about your experience was a good one because it was your experience? For me, Linux just works, straight out of the box.  The only thing that needed doing was the installation of an NVidia driver.  Not had to compile anything and don't spend hours tweaking configuration files.  It's the exact same reason I have an xbox for playing games on, it just works.



  • @Soviut said:

    From my R&D into cross platform development, Linux is essentially programmer masturbation (probably where the 'hands dirty' part comes from).  Its for those who want to be challenged by their operating system.  They want it to be as opaque as possible.  That way, when a problem comes along (distro incompatibilities anyone?) they can feel like champs for figuring out just the right set of make scripts and config flags it takes to get something to compile, let alone start.
     

    Yes and no.

    Linux distros are so diverse, that for some (gentoo, some micro distros), your claims are an understatement, while for others (Ubuntu) they need [sarcasm] tags.

     

    I'm considering giving Ubuntu to my parents, telling them only to "put this CD in", and saying nothing. As an experiment, you know.



  • she is right, Linux isn't free.  In fact the cost to the school is far higher then microsoft.

     




  • @Soviut said:

    @mrprogguy said:

    * Linux (and indeed, Unix, Solaris, and all the other variants) are OSes for people who like to get their hands dirty.

    ... Linux is essentially programmer masturbation ... Its for those who want to be challenged by their operating system. 

    That reminds me of my favorite poster:

     




  • There is no such skill that you learn in school and requires Windows. Knowing how one application does something is not a skill. Finding out how any application does something is. Children are best prepared for the inevitable and often uncontrollable change in the real world with the knowledge that there is more than one way of achieving something.



  • @julmu said:

    @shakin said:

    Linux would be both boring and useless if it tried to emulate Windows and OS X

    So you're saying that a OS that is free and easy to manage is useless?


    If Linux was trying to work like Windows then why would it need to exist? We already have Windows. Linux is doing its own thing. Many people manage Linux systems all the time and the fact that you think it's difficult to use just goes to show your own ignorance about it. Personally, I think Windows is easier to use in some ways (setting up multiple monitors, installing new drivers) and Linux is easier to use in other ways (software updates, automated configuration). I'm sure there are plenty of examples both ways, but they don't really matter because either way you need to learn a skillset to become an expert. The particular skillsets you require to become an expert in Windows differs from those skills needed for Linux, but I don't think either one is more difficult than the other.

    @julmu said:


    @shakin said:

    Linux is ready for everybody, but not everybody is ready for Linux.

    And that's the reason why Linux is not able to compete with OS's that everybody is ready for.

     

    While there is some overlap in government and education, Linux is not generally trying to compete in the same markets as Windows or OS X. It's a different operating system with different purposes.



  • @Brother Laz said:

    I have a great idea, let's change the driving licence procedure to require knowledge of the operation of electric and fuel cell cars! They're better!

     

     

    While I'm not if favor of forcing any given vehicular architecture on potential drivers, I think it would be wise for them to have soem basic understanding of electric and fuel cell (and hydrogen, etc) cars and their operation. Moreover I feel that every driver should have some fundamental knowledge about the workings of their vehicle. Not to assemble it from parts (not many people make their own linux distro, even less make their own flavor of Microsoft Windows or OS X), but rather enough to be able to understand how to change tires, not just their own, but other types too.

    If the metaphore is too opaque; in computing this means computer users, in general, should know that there are various OS choices, and they should understand the fundamentals of using a person computer; those fundamentals should be generalized sufficiently that they can apply that knowledge to whatever OS they use. This would save us from massively infected windows populations and smug non-windows-os users, who somehow believe that their OS is immune. It would save me from getting calls from my wife about how to open a particular type of file, when she already knows which program to use to do so. It would save companies money, because they would be able to, in true capitalist fashion, shift to different OSes in order to save money and perhaps repurpose old high-end (used to be high end, I mean) machines for now low-end purposes. 



  • @Soviut said:

    @jay019 said:

    Have to say I am so happy to have made the move from the shit i used to use to linux as now I have had trouble free computing since deleting windows. Best thing I ever did.

    Yeah, I bet Windows really made your life hell.  You'll tolerate having to deal with compile errors, but some wireless configuration made you SOOOO MAD you just "quit the windows omg!".  I love how people try to make it like Microsoft is trying to keep them down by offering the largest set of compatible software on the planet, including all the OSS stuff everyone's talking about!

    Its funny, I just clicked "WPA2", typed in my password, and it worked.  Funny how my experience was a good one since I didn't have some retarded nerdy predisposition to hate Microsoft.

     

     

    Well as a matter of fact it did. From wireless being more hassle then it should be to apps asking for "latest video/sound drivers" which were installed, yet run the same app in wine on linux and it works fine, i mean seriously WTF!!! Not to mention the fact that a default install of windows didnt have any of the apps i needed yet a default linux install came most things i needed. And it aint no nerdy predisposition to hate microsoft, its a hate that built up after years of paying a high price for what is essntialy shit in a nice wrapping. Once i found i could have something better without a high pricetag i was finally set free.


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