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Australian State May Give Students Linux Laptops 302

Posted by kdawson
from the keep-it-cheap dept.
Whiteox writes "The Australian Prime Minister's plan to equip high schools with 'one laptop per child' may go open source. Kevin Rudd's $56 million digital revolution will include 'laptops [that will] run on an open source operating system with a suite of open source applications like those packaged under Edubuntu. This would include Open Office for productivity software, Gimp for picture editing and the Firefox internet browser.' So far this has been considered for New South Wales and I think other states may follow."
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Australian State May Give Students Linux Laptops

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  • by plover (150551) * on Tuesday October 14, 2008 @06:02PM (#25375969) Homepage Journal

    That strategy worked great for Apple back in the late 1970s / early 1980s. Get Apples in front of schoolchildren and by the time the IBM PC came along it was too late. Kids were already in love with the Apples, and many "stuck with what they knew." It was the most effective long term marketing move Apple ever could have made, and I doubt they even realized it at the time.

    Times have changed, though, and the ability to monopolize the hearts and minds of kids with the only computer they're exposed to is long gone. Many of the kids will already have PCs at home, many will have (or at least have played) X-Boxes, PS3s, Wiis and a host of other devices, including smart phones. I don't think this can have the same social effect that Apple had on us 30 years ago, because the environment is now so different. The novelty won't be there.

    • by MichaelSmith (789609) on Tuesday October 14, 2008 @06:08PM (#25376041) Homepage Journal
      My nephew is a grade one student at a primary school in Victoria. The school uses macs so he has his heart set on a macbook for christmas. His mother definitely can't afford an expensive laptop and I can't see what a 7 year old will get out of a mac. I have been trying to steering them towards an eeepc. You can pick one up for $300 aud now, about one fifth the price of the mac.
      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        Getting him a Vista laptop will ensure his parents will never have trouble getting him out of bed on school days.

      • by nawcom (941663) on Tuesday October 14, 2008 @07:14PM (#25376691) Homepage
        You could always go both ways [maceee.com] and install OS X on the ASUS Eee. Ignore the random blog posts on the net; they're outdated - Eee is well supported as of now. Everything is pretty much taken care of driver-wise. And of course this assumes you purchased a licensed copy of Leopard.
      • by Capsaicin (412918) on Tuesday October 14, 2008 @08:30PM (#25377343)

        My nephew is a grade one student at a primary school in Victoria. The school uses macs so he has his heart set on a macbook for christmas.

        My son is 7 and in year 2 in a NSW public school and they use Macs as well. He hasn't got his heart set on a Macbook for christmas because the school intends supplying all kids year 2 up with take-home / bring-to-school Macbooks. Years 4,5 and 6 have theirs already.

        I can't see what a 7 year old will get out of a mac.

        You would if you came to our school's open day, its amazing how creative these kids are on the right equipment. It would not have been my first choice (based on cost), but I have to confess the results speak for themselves. We have an iMac at home (which has left the poor *nix box a little neglected :( ), and our 7 year old taught his mother how to make a podcast on it last week. The little brat even solved a problem his grandmother was having on her macbook (something that needed to be set on the Dock of all places).

        I have been trying to steering them towards an eeepc.

        Well so long as you can get OSX running on it, he should be able to do his school work on it. It might be a little inconvenient working in GarageBand or iMovie with such a small screen though.

    • by grizdog (1224414) on Tuesday October 14, 2008 @06:15PM (#25376127) Homepage

      That strategy worked great for Apple back in the late 1970s / early 1980s. Get Apples in front of schoolchildren and by the time the IBM PC came along it was too late. Kids were already in love with the Apples, and many "stuck with what they knew." It was the most effective long term marketing move Apple ever could have made, and I doubt they even realized it at the time.

      Times have changed, though, and the ability to monopolize the hearts and minds of kids with the only computer they're exposed to is long gone. Many of the kids will already have PCs at home, many will have (or at least have played) X-Boxes, PS3s, Wiis and a host of other devices, including smart phones. I don't think this can have the same social effect that Apple had on us 30 years ago, because the environment is now so different. The novelty won't be there.

      I agree, but there is still something very positive for Linux going on here, and that is that now Microsoft has to run around trying to put out fires like this one, and has less time to spend doing... other things. I know that people here think Microsoft has more money than God, but eventually the moles start popping up faster than you can whack them down, and you have to start losing some.

      Australian students may not choose Linux when they leave school, but they will be more likely to have a choice when the time comes.

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward

        Australian students may not choose Linux when they leave school, but they will be more likely to have a choice when the time comes.

        This is definitely where the hammer meets the nail-head as the biggest thing these types of initiatives will do is create awareness that there IS a choice to begin with. Most people i speak with who are not tech savvy assume that "Windows" is simply a property of any computer still.

      • by Fluffeh (1273756) on Tuesday October 14, 2008 @06:58PM (#25376537)

        Australian students may not choose Linux when they leave school, but they will be more likely to have a choice when the time comes.

        I would argue that you are close to right, but not quite on the head of the nail. When the time comes to choose, students will be able to make the choice based on two FAMILIAR products. The windows PC that mum and dad have at home, and the OSS system that they have now become used to at school.

        What held me back for such a long time to have one open source install at home? I didn't want to go through the learning process of getting used to it. That won't be an issue for these kids.

        • by cheater512 (783349) <nick@nickstallman.net> on Tuesday October 14, 2008 @07:28PM (#25376827) Homepage

          They will not only learn how to use the open source apps, they will also then get on a Windows computer and realize how much it crashes and does quirky things.

          One problem with Windows users is they dont consciously realize when something has gone wrong.
          They just think 'Oh its crashed' and re-open the app.
          They think its just how computers are.

    • by Nefarious Wheel (628136) on Tuesday October 14, 2008 @06:24PM (#25376205) Journal

      It was the most effective long term marketing move Apple ever could have made, and I doubt they even realized it at the time.

      Heck yes we knew it, that was the whole and entire point.

      Disclaimer:I wasn't in the Apple educational group at the time, but our early MIS development group shared the same (tiny) building with them on Bandley Drive, and there was a little bit of crosstalk.

    • The Kansas City, Kansas school district has provided MacBooks for all of the students. Ours all love them. I think, given a choice, they'd go with a Mac. Of course they're comparing a shiny new Mac to my 8-year-old Inspiron with half a GB or RAM. My sis also went with a MacBook and I think her decision may have stemmed from them offering a free iPod Touch with the computer. I'll bet that could sell more of them than the school program if enough people could afford the things.
  • by MavEtJu (241979) <slashdot@mave t j u . org> on Tuesday October 14, 2008 @06:08PM (#25376027) Homepage

    NSW secondary school students could be issued with $56 million worth of Linux-based laptops as part of Kevin Rudd's digital education revolution.

    The real reason behind this is that the federal government would supply the *hardware*, but that the schools would have to pay for the *software licenses* and the *support*. At least the price for software licenses would be greatly reduced now.

    (Despite being a FreeBSD user,) I consider this is a good step forward: Give the children wooden blocks to play with, and they will build bridges with them.

    • by Brain Damaged Bogan (1006835) on Tuesday October 14, 2008 @06:17PM (#25376159)
      " Give the children wooden blocks to play with, and they will build bridges with them"

      Give the children technology that they, and their teachers don't understand and the laptops will end up gathering dust.
      I'm all for using OSS, but somebody needs to take responsibility and ensure that teachers and students are properly educated in their use.
      on the one side the govt says "hey, we've paid enough, you get free laptops!"
      on the other side the schools are saying "this will eat into our already slim budget, more money please!"
      net effect: the kids lose out, better off investing the money in better teaching programs than laptops that the students don't even need.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by pembo13 (770295)
        Maybe the teachers can take some (albeit added) responsibility and take the relatively few steps to teach themselves.
        • not all teachers are tech-savvy, and who picks up the tab for hardware failures? again, back to my previous point of govt budget vs school budgets
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by QuantumG (50515) *

        They're giving these laptops to High School students.. the project has already failed.

      • All for computer education in schools (of course, I make my living programming)... BUT.

        A laptop per child? For what really? It's just not needed. Have excellent rooms of computers where the kids can do work etc. in a supervised environment in and out of classes (heck, have one room that has no scheduled classes in it, just for kids to do extra curricular stuff).

        But give all kids a laptop? A real waste I think, a real waste.

      • by seeker_1us (1203072) on Tuesday October 14, 2008 @07:14PM (#25376693)

        " Give the children technology that they, and their teachers don't understand and the laptops will end up gathering dust. I'm all for using OSS, but somebody needs to take responsibility and ensure that teachers and students are properly educated in their use.

        How difficult is it to use firefox, Openoffice, and Gimp? Seriously? It's not like we are asking them to use LaTeX.

        Neither students nor teachers are idiots, despite being treated by idiots for years by Windows software.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by gregbot9000 (1293772)

        Give the children technology that they, and their teachers don't understand and the laptops will end up gathering dust.

        My M&P got there comp when I was like 7 and no one knew how to use it. I figured out every aspect of windows 95 in about a year and a half, and it only took two dozen reinstalls of the OS. The problem isn't the teachers not showing the kids how to use them but worrying that the kids will breack them and looking them up.

        This actually happened at my high school. My school spent a ton of money to buy laptops for students to use and checkout, and ended up locking them away in a back room and lent one out

      • by grcumb (781340) on Tuesday October 14, 2008 @07:27PM (#25376819) Homepage Journal

        Give the children technology that they, and their teachers don't understand and the laptops will end up gathering dust.

        That's not what experience teaches us.

        I'm of an age (born in '64) to remember when the pupils were the only ones who really knew how the computer systems worked. It was a time when 'hacking' was a positive term, and those happy few who had access to their systems became the people who have driven this whole technological revolution.

        I'm a perfect example. I have exactly zero formal computer training, and am in the process of negotiating a director's position for an online company.

        In my experience - and I have applied this method countless times - all you need to do is identify the bright, curious ones and give them time in front of the keyboard. The rest takes care of itself. A cultural effect sets in, in which bragging rights go to the most innovative, and the whole process takes on its own momentum.

        I've spent the last 5 years working in a part of the world where academic opportunities are very limited, and even here every single one of my apprentices (only one of whom had any post-secondary experience) has gainful employment in IT.

        Courses are all well and good. They serve a definite purpose. Teacher training serves an important role as well. But your premise that any shortfall in this regard will result in systematic failure is demonstrably false.

        • by QuantumG (50515) *

          I don't largely disagree with you, but in the last few years the personal computer has evolved into the personal entertainment device. Where 10 years ago I would sit down at my PC and program for my fun, now there is so much distraction that I have to unplug to get any work done. The consumption culture in this latest generation has blossomed to such an extent that the idea that one might be forced to learn something, be it on a computer or elsewhere, has become a drag.

          Which is why I say these computers a

    • by CRCulver (715279)

      I consider this is a good step forward: Give the children wooden blocks to play with, and they will build bridges with them.

      This is the sort of metaphor that reminds me of Star Trek: TNG. Data would probably say something cute like, "But captain, there are no examples in Federation records of children building bridges from wooden blocks."

    • Support doesn't come cheap, in Victoria schools share one government provided technician amongst a local cluster of schools and the hours assigned per week are assessed on how many students are in the school. This can be about 10 hours per peek per school amongst 3 to 4 schools per technician. Some area's especially country area's one tech might only have 3 hours per school shared amongst 6 or 7 schools.

      Any extra hours they have to pay for another technician out of their own budget.
      A few years ago I was hir

      • by symbolset (646467)

        Support doesn't come cheap, in Victoria schools share one government provided technician amongst a local cluster of schools and the hours assigned per week are assessed on how many students are in the school.

        If this was an elementary in East Timor or a government department in Iowa, you might have a point about support. But it's a high school in a reasonably developed nation. Providing support is educational. Broken computers are good course material. Some of the students are probably more proficient th

    • by mjwx (966435) on Tuesday October 14, 2008 @08:22PM (#25377249)

      I consider this is a good step forward: Give the children wooden blocks to play with, and they will build bridges with them.

      I agree, unfortunately the Nanny Staters and NIMBYs took the wooden blocks away because they were afraid that the children would hurt each other with them.

      We need to get schools back to what they were meant to do, teach kids how to think. I was fortunate enough to finish school before it became more of a babysitting exercise rather than an educational institution (completed Year 12 in 2000). Now days there is more emphasis on children just turning up as opposed to actually learning and benefiting from classes. The problem stems from the bureaucratic mismanagement (much of this is due to excessive "interest group" (churches, PTA and the like) interference) that both measures teachers performances by pointless metrics (Student attendance for one, if a kid turns up to class it doesn't mean they have learned anything), making pointless rules for political correctness/expediency (They got rid of the "F" grade when I was in year 9 because they were afraid it would demoralise students) and placing ridiculous restrictions on teachers (Group A says you cant teach B, or teaching method C must be used) as well as this the Principals are not permitted to tell students or parents that a kid is going to fail or should get a blue collar job, the school must carry them no matter how stupid or lazy they are.

      I don't blame teachers, they tend to get a bum rap over this (I also agree that their class sizes are too large, this is the main reason they strike) I met one of my high school English teacher recently (turned out to be a friend of my house mate), he still cares about his students but his job isn't made easier by stupid rules and pointless interference by groups with no idea what they are on about. Many teachers are becoming disaffected and leaving the profession because of this.

      FOSS (Linux) is more difficult to use than Windows or Mac and that's exactly what we need, the dumb kids will learn just enough to survive and the smart students (even the average student, Linux isn't that hard to use) will excel and benefit from learning how an operating system works as opposed to memorising where to click to do exercise 3. At this point in time if a high schooler cant pick up and use Ubuntu they aren't destined for a job involving technology anyway. As for primary school it's a great place to start with FOSS, licensing aspects aside, if we teach children to be inquisitive about technology and help them develop the ability to fix their own problems they will get a huge advantage early on. I started playing with computers when I was 6, playing around with DOS when I was 10 but now days Windows is far too easy and just not a challenge for someone who is 10-12, the only answers they can learn from Windows is "reboot", "re-install" or "wait for patch" which isn't learning, it is at best drudgery.

  • ...This is going to make me even more employable :).

    The biggest opposition to Rudd's "computers in schools" plan has been that he's funding the hardware/software but no the support or training. No doubt this will give more weight to their argument.
    • by Nefarious Wheel (628136) on Tuesday October 14, 2008 @06:39PM (#25376373) Journal

      The biggest opposition to Rudd's "computers in schools" plan has been that he's funding the hardware/software but no the support or training. No doubt this will give more weight to their argument.

      This Australian is not opposed to that. I would love to see Linux laptops in Victorian schools, and I would love to see the kids and teachers in those schools learn and develop their own methods for support and training -- it would be a hugely educational and involving experience, and would help break down the idea that true innovation in computing only comes from above, from the commercial package houses.

      I'm willing to volunteer 3rd level support for such myself, but only if they spend some time scurrying about themselves and learning what they can do. Access to a help desk won't really help them learn the basic skills necessary to operate in a society that increasingly depends on densely-packed transistors written on melted sand. Learning the rote behaviour of running common commercial packages may help them in basic knowledge management, but doesn't grant the curious among them visibility under the bonnet.

      Example: How would you set up a Wiki under Windows -- build a Sharepoint server and call it a knowledge base (Urk!) or have them set up a Mediawiki LAMP stack? Which one would they learn more from? Which one could they do with the smallest infrastructure spend? (Yes, I know about virtual appliances, it was just an example.)

      You've got to give kids clocks to take apart.

      • by jc42 (318812) on Tuesday October 14, 2008 @07:41PM (#25376905) Homepage Journal

        You've got to give kids clocks to take apart.

        No, you don't. ;-)

        I remember back when I was in maybe the 4th or 5th grade, and I found an old mechanical clock in the house that wasn't being used. I took it apart, studied the pieces, and put it back together so it still worked. I did this several times, to figure out more about how the pieces worked. Then one day, my mother found me with the clock disassembled. She blew up, gave me a lecture about ruining the clock, took it away from me, and disposed of it.

        If she had been around when I found the clock, I'd have never been permitted to take it apart, even though it wasn't being used. She didn't believe that kids like me were smart enough to handle something that she couldn't understand, not even when the teachers kept telling her how smart I was.

        People don't have to give kids anything that's educational. Many people would prefer not to. The kids might get the idea that they can learn about such things on their own. We wouldn't want kids to get such ideas, would we?

        • +1 "Irony"
          • by jc42 (318812)

            +1 "Irony"

            Nah; 99% of the /. moderators would have no idea what the word means. They'd use it for articles that were sarcastic or merely deprecating, and think the mod was appropriate.

      • by Neoprofin (871029)
        Slashdot posters may disagree, but most people will never have the desire nor the necessity to set up up Wiki or a server for that matter. If you're going to argue which route is the best to take with this laptop rollout I can't argue against Linux, nothing wrong with free and the learning curve difference simply isn't there for the average user.

        I would however argue that giving laptops to every child, regardless of support, is a high tech solution to a problem that doesn't exist, and the comments to thi
        • Your implication that not all children are proto-geeks may have merit (my two are evenly divided on geekery, although both have excellent minds) but with hard science and math education on the skids, isn't it worth it to provide some technology focus in an interesting and broad-scale school project? The future HR execs and MBA's can use it to crib notes from Wikipedia, but the "I wanna be an astronaut" crowd are only going to benefit from something they have control over. And I will maintain that "somethi
  • Don't worry (Score:5, Insightful)

    by QuantumG (50515) * <qg@biodome.org> on Tuesday October 14, 2008 @06:09PM (#25376047) Homepage Journal

    Microsoft will be forthcoming with massive discounts 5 minutes before the deal with RedHat is signed and our government will renege on any promises they made.

    It's the traditional "what do you mean we don't get a discount? Well, ya know, Open Source is getting more and more acceptable..."

    Unfortunately, the moral imperative for schools to use exclusively Free Software [linux.com] is not even a consideration here.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by deniable (76198)

      They already do. I've done support for W.A. schools that were having problems with their internal Exchange server. They were shocked when we discussed the 'real' price for Exchange. They paid less than $1000 for it including CALs and hardware. MS has some serious sweetheart deals for schools and I bet if it came down to providing even cheaper Windows and Office for schools they will do it.

  • Don't believe it (Score:4, Informative)

    by nighty5 (615965) on Tuesday October 14, 2008 @06:12PM (#25376085)

    The NSW State Govt can't organise a chook raffle let alone something such as equiping kids with open source laptops. It has bigger fish to fry.

    Besides, the topic is slightly wrong. Rudd isn't part of an Australian State, his part of the Federal Government. Two different beasts. The State won't 'give', it will 'receive'.

    Rudd wants to give lumps of cash to a number of States based on need, spending not just on technology, but more importantly on infrastructure, health and education.

    • by QuantumG (50515) *

      Wither the state.

    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by lysdexia (897)

      The NSW State Govt can't organise a chook raffle let alone something such as equiping kids with open source laptops. It has bigger fish to fry.

      /me digs through boxes of books in the basement, finds collection of "Footrot Flats" cartoons given to him by Aussie roomate in the 80's.

      Aha! It says right here that a *chook* is a chicken... and yet, the reference to *other* fish. Have you dastardly antipodean meddlers in GAWD's sacred genome finally perfected the chickenfish?

      (Man, I'd forgotten how good Footrot Flats was. I like some barnyard humour, me.)

      • by deniable (76198)

        You do realise that Footrot Flats is from New Zealand, right? Actually, I'm not sure how many Australians now it.

        • by mjwx (966435)

          You do realise that Footrot Flats is from New Zealand, right? Actually, I'm not sure how many Australians now it.

          Doesn't really matter, the only way a Kiwi gets international recognition is by pretending to be an Australian.

          Kiwi's, once were warriors, now are scaffolders.

          • by deniable (76198)

            Yeah, but listen to Americans do an 'Australian' accent. It's more Kiwi than Aussie.

  • Gives, huh? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by clarkkent09 (1104833) on Tuesday October 14, 2008 @06:18PM (#25376163)
    It's easy to give something that isn't yours. Now wouldn't it be better if students buy their own laptops and choose which particular model or OS they like. I am not opposed to schools requiring students to have a laptop, in the same way they are required to have certain books, and perhaps offering assistance to those who can't afford it. But giving each child, even those who already have it, and those who are not interested in it and will simply sell it on ebay, a government approved computer seems like an idea that sounds good as a soundbite but terrible waste of taxpayer money in practice.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by 1u3hr (530656)
      Now wouldn't it be better if students buy their own laptops and choose which particular model or OS they like

      Yes, that would make it so much easier for the schools to support. Everyone with different hardware, operating systems, installed software. And everyone would pay full retail instead of getting the massive discount that a purchase of thousands of laptops gets.

    • by deniable (76198)

      I thought that was the current plan. During the election, Pixie promised laptops for every child. The mechanism was a $700 tax credit for parents to buy one for their children. If you look around Australian shops now, you see a lot of laptops in the $550-$700 range to target this. Has the plan changed? I wouldn't have a clue.

      I agree with the other guy. Given that the average school has one under-trained, over-worked teacher doing double duty as 'tech support,' letting the kids bring any old machine to schoo

  • by NoobixCube (1133473) on Tuesday October 14, 2008 @06:21PM (#25376189) Journal

    During his campaign to be elected, he announced this plan, but never really elaborated on it. I took it with a barge-load of salt, as you should anything a politician said, but I still sent him (or rather his office) an email asking him if he was considering open source, and gave rough figures per student of the licensing associated with giving every student a copy of Windows, MS Office, Photoshop; for music students, something like Reason. My figures were retail price ones, as I said in the email, since I'm not aware of the bulk licensing prices companies offer for education, but even a 90% discount doesn't beat free. If he'd spent just $100 on software licensing on each student, it would quickly become a ridiculously large figure to throw around. The Labor government is a little wary of overspending, I would think, since the previous Labor Prime Minister, Paul Keating, plunged the country into recession. In his words "a recession we had to have".

    Anyway, I doubt he read my email, or any of the other emails Australian open source fans could have sent. It's pretty much common sense, and if he has a brain, he's probably asked his IT department (not his IT minister :P).

    • by dbIII (701233)

      since the previous Labor Prime Minister, Paul Keating, plunged the country into recession

      The value of the Australian dollar was tied to the US dollar at the time which in retrospect was a really stupid idea - as we saw with Argentina where they kept hanging on to it to the point of economic collapse. Floating the dollar had to be done to avoid a future financial disaster however the unfortunate side effect was "a recession we had to have" as the value of the Australian dollar took a drop (as distinct from

  • I bet I know why... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by thetoadwarrior (1268702) on Tuesday October 14, 2008 @06:41PM (#25376399) Homepage
    Purely because:

    A. It's cheaper
    B. They think nothing runs on Linux thus they can easily stop kids from playing games, chatting etc.

    It's nice they're using linux but if my assumptions are correct then that sort of mentality doesn't help in the long run.
  • Good for them! (Score:3, Interesting)

    by gillbates (106458) on Tuesday October 14, 2008 @06:47PM (#25376443) Homepage Journal

    You know, this is slightly OT, but I think it applies to the bigger picture. My Mom has been hyping prevention.com lately as a nice way to learn about health-related stuff. I just received an email from her today regarding what happened...

    In short, prevention.com got hacked somehow, and she got a "nasty rogue-spyware". She spent quite a bit of time cleaning it up. She even warned me not to go there in her email. I wrote a nice reply, stating in effect, thanks for the warning, but we've switched to Linux.

    Now I can just imagine how this would play out in a school running a bunch of Windows machines. One teacher hears from another than prevention.com is a good place for health information; teacher recommends it in class, and next thing you know the whole school is owned.

    So who is going to clean up the mess? Will it be:

    • The already overworked teachers who have only the most tenuous grasp of technology?
    • The volunteer, part time administrator who has to work another job to put food on the table?
    • The kids themselves? Even assuming there's a few bright bulbs in the lot, is it really fair to take time away from their education to deal with a situation like this?

    Windows: who is going to clean up the mess?

    • by Neoprofin (871029)
      Are you implying that a situation involving school networks running Windows and hacked websites is some new phenomenon. Instead of talking about this like it's some sort of hypothetical why don't you you ask the people who actually deal with that exact situation on a daily basis.

      From my experience, school districts, much like any large business, have a staff that handles things like this as well as other IT related matters. So the answer to your question is most likely none of the above. I understand sma
    • by deniable (76198)

      You assume they'll notice the problem. How many people are running zombie machines now? If anything, it will sell site licenses of Norton FsckYourMachine 2009 and that only runs on Windows.

    • by shird (566377)

      At least with Windows there are people experienced to clean up the mess. Imagine going to prevention.com and it had a Firefox exploit which installed a rootkit/backdoor or whatver in Linux. Good luck finding someone knowledgeable enough to clean up a linux box. Not many exploits for Linux exist? This has nothing to do with the OS, (afterall, its the apps that have the exploits) but everything to do with its popularity. Of course, if its popularity was enough that such exploits were in the wild, then so woul

      • by shird (566377)

        And don't tell me you are safe in Linux because you aren't running as root. A spambot/advertising-downloader-popup does not need to run as root.

        As for your question - the IT staff are tasked for cleaning this up. I see it regularly at my sisters school (every kid has a laptop) when the latest worm/virus does the round, the entire school gets hit overnight.

  • by daBass (56811) on Tuesday October 14, 2008 @07:01PM (#25376565)

    "Australian State Threatens To Give Students Linux Laptops to Force Microsoft to Lower Prices"

    There, fixed that for you.

  • Fools! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Un pobre guey (593801) on Tuesday October 14, 2008 @07:06PM (#25376613) Homepage
    No no no! Can't you see? Spending more on the OS and applications promotes freedom! You know, Free to Choose! Open Source software poisons the marketplace and inhibits innovation! We need to make sure that when students become employees, they are ready to use market-leading best-of-breed commercial software to increase ROI and reduce training and maintenance costs. This way companies and organizations can streamline their purchasing and maintenance processes, and take advantage of industry-standard solutions.

    When everything is free to obtain and upgrade, students learn it all in school, and interfaces don't arbitrarily change every 4 or 5 years, the whole system collapses. There won't even be any big companies to bail out, either.

  • This would include Open Office for productivity software

    So they want the kids to be "productive" in the business-office sense right from the early grades.

    Doesn't Australia have any child labor laws?

    (This seemed like an obvious and cheap shot when we were discussing putting MS Windows on the OLPC. But when free/open systems like ubuntu are being pushed and one of the reasons is the availability of "office productivity" software, it's high time we start asking some pointed questions about what they're trying

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Can I mod the article summary (and everyone's pro-OSS hopes) down for a couple of reasons?

    - The summary lets you read in an implication that it's being considered by the NSW Government. It's NOT, it's being suggested by the President of the NSW Secondary Schools Council, which REPORTS to the NSW government.

    - Even if the NSW government WAS looking at it, that would still be irrelevant. State governments make noise about being standards compliant, but still stay fairly fierce about doing things their own way.

  • by Minix (15971) on Tuesday October 14, 2008 @11:03PM (#25378535)
    I just spoke with the bloke who's behind this, and he pointed to the following source material which forms a background to their proposal: <a href='http://www.aspa.asn.au/images/conferences/aspa/2008/workshopmcalpine.pdf' background>

    Reading it, seems like they really have a solid grasp of the issues, and have made a cogent and excellent proposal.

    Here's hoping it doesn't get subverted or ignored.

I am not now, nor have I ever been, a member of the demigodic party. -- Dennis Ritchie

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