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Does Your College Or University Support Linux?

kdawson posted more than 5 years ago | from the country-and-western dept.


yuna49 writes 'Lately I've been visiting colleges with my daughter, who is a senior in high school. Every school has proudly announced that they support both Windows and Macs, and most of these schools report having about a 50-50 split between the two. However we've been a Linux household for many years now, and my daughter routinely uses a laptop running Kubuntu 9.04. Sometimes I would ask the student tour guide if Linux was supported and was usually met with a blank stare. We're obviously not concerned about whether she can write papers using OpenOffice and Linux. Rather we've been wondering about using other computing services on campus like classroom applications, remote printing, VPNs, or Wi-Fi support (nearly all these campuses have ubiquitous Wi-Fi). Given the composition of Slashdot's readership, I thought I'd pose the question here. Does your school support Linux? Have you found it difficult or impossible to use Linux in concert with the school's computing services?'

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1 semester of "Linux" is a required course (1)

rve (4436) | more than 5 years ago | (#29355825)

1 semester of "Linux" is a required course at my college

do tell :1 semester of "Linux" required course (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29355929)

What collage would that be?

Re:do tell :1 semester of "Linux" required course (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29356107)

Doesn't matter; you need to pass high school level English to get in no matter where it is.

Re:1 semester of "Linux" is a required course (2, Interesting)

A12m0v (1315511) | more than 5 years ago | (#29356211)

Same where I went to college. The OS course was all done on Linux for obvious reasons and that what got me to switch to Linux at home.

Re:1 semester of "Linux" is a required course (1)

Useful Wheat (1488675) | more than 5 years ago | (#29356227)

At the Colorado School of Mines our physics department only uses Linux on their computers. Every computer in every lab is equipped wiht Linux In addition to this, you can typically find a linux box in most of the computer labs. They even issue you linux notebooks from the laptop checkout center if you specifically request it.

"Does Your College Or University Support Linux?" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29355845)


wow, first post (1)

whiting (163605) | more than 5 years ago | (#29355847)

I've been out of school for a long time, but my alma mater doesn't support linux. Most of the computer services on campus are supported through old Novell servers.

ziggyw00t (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29355849)

Concord University, Athens WV proudly supports Linux =)

Does your car run on shit? (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29355857)

You don't like putting dog shit in your gas tank and I don't like putting Linux on my computers.

Let's just leave it at that.

Re:Does your car run on shit? (0, Offtopic)

maxwell demon (590494) | more than 5 years ago | (#29355931)

Actually, if you could put dog shit in the gas tank and power the car with it, it would solve two problems at the same time: It would save oil, and dog shit wouldn't lie on the street any more (it would be far too valuable!).

Re:Does your car run on shit? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29356175)


Move to Finland (4, Informative)

AliasMarlowe (1042386) | more than 5 years ago | (#29355861)

Most universities/polytechs/etc. are quite Linux-friendly here. They generally have a mix of machines, and avoid doing anything particularly hostile to any one platform.

TBH... (2, Funny)

janeuner (815461) | more than 5 years ago | (#29355863)

I've found it fairly impossible to use Windows in concert with my college's computing services....but I don't think that has anything to do with Windows.

Nope. (1)

nedgofast (843102) | more than 5 years ago | (#29355867)

I would speculate that most IT staff at many Universities have MicroSoft Certification- and have been told that Linux is insecure. There are exceptions of course, but I've met many people at three different universities where I have worked that fear Linux. -Those who don't understand Unix are doomed to reinvent it..... poorly. (the Spence)

Re:Nope. (2, Informative)

jhfry (829244) | more than 5 years ago | (#29356341)

Actually my experience is quite different. Most universities and Colleges I have attended or worked with/for (I used to work in higher education) are heavily dependent upon FOSS for infrastructure and servers. Though I will admit I spent much more time with smaller private universities where they were more likely to use homegrown FOSS solutions than expensive commercial products just to save money.

Re:Nope. (1)

millia (35740) | more than 5 years ago | (#29356345)

Fascinating. Of the universities and colleges in Georgia that I know of, at least a dozen, most of the tech staff uses and likes linux.
I think some quarters on a campus may gravitate one way or another, of course. The business dept. staff here is more strongly linux; the faculty is more Microsoft. Getting a monolithic 'yes' to anything at any large university is surprising...

UCSD is fine (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29355873)

I've had no problem connecting to the wireless here using Ubuntu. Sometimes finding a networked printer is a pain, but once you track down it's IP address you're good to go.

Re:UCSD is fine (1)

jedidiah (1196) | more than 5 years ago | (#29356125)

I have had similar sorts of problems on All-Windows corporate networks.

and... (1)

Bizzeh (851225) | more than 5 years ago | (#29355881)

.... do you care?

Who cares? (5, Insightful)

localman57 (1340533) | more than 5 years ago | (#29355883)

Unless she intends to pick a job in the future based on whether they use Linux, then whether the University supports it is probably a moot issue. It's like having cable TV, or private bathrooms, or a pool table in your particular dorm. Nice to have, but not essential.

Either she'll get a school that supports Linux (Good), or she'll get a school that doesn't, and be well prepared for what the rest of the real world is like, where Linux people are a minority who do what they want because they want to, not because their IT department puts their stamp of approval on it (Also good).

Re:Who cares? (1)

gowdy11 (1633435) | more than 5 years ago | (#29356031)

No college for me

Re:Who cares? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29356083)

Unless she intends to pick a job in the future based on whether they use Linux, then whether the University supports it is probably a moot issue.

Did you goto college? The whole point of the article is that the parent is concerned that Linux would be a disadvantage for his daughter's college future.

If the classes aren't required to support Linux then you might find IE only sites, Windows-only binaries and other things that are essential class materials. Without these, the girl will be forced to a non-linux platform to succeed.

Re:Who cares? (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29356223)

"Without these, the girl will be forced to a non-linux platform to succeed."


Re:Who cares? (5, Insightful)

cptdondo (59460) | more than 5 years ago | (#29356215)

Well, there's tolerant and then there's hostile. Take my workplace. If your PDA doesn't run Windows, you can't use it to connect to your desktop. You can check email through the web interface - but only if you use IE. You can use our groupware through the web - but only if you use IE. Unless it runs Windows, you're not allowed to connect to the network. So... Yup, I can bring in my Sharp Zaurus PDA with Angstrom, and my Asus eeePC with xubuntu, but I can't actually use them for anything, or, according to IT edicts, can't connect them to our network. So on the few occasions when I brought them in, I used the Public Library WiFi connection. So the question has real substance. If their email is MS Outlook, and their web interface is written in ActiveX, then you're screwed if you have linux.

Re:Who cares? (2, Insightful)

nine-times (778537) | more than 5 years ago | (#29356245)

Unless she intends to pick a job in the future based on whether they use Linux, then whether the University supports it is probably a moot issue. It's like having cable TV, or private bathrooms, or a pool table in your particular dorm. Nice to have, but not essential.

I wouldn't think it's comparable to cable TV or pool tables at all. Pool tables are for fun. If my kid wants to play on a pool table, he can find a bar to go play. Supporting Linux and OpenOffice is a horse of a different color.

Here's the thing: education is very expensive already without making it more expensive unnecessarily. Why should students be forced to spend hundreds of dollars on software licensing when perfectly good alternatives are free? In my mind, supporting free software and developing open source textbooks should be among the goals of any modern university. That both of these things aren't prioritized tells me that these schools are run by people who are either corrupt or clueless. Well, or maybe just apathetic and not very good.

Seriously? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29355889)

Really, I mean... really? I know this is /. , linux fan capital of the world. But, this is worthy of a story now? What's next "Linus Torvalds has allergies, we must sacrifice goats so that he may be cured!"

DB or VM, duh (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29355893)

Dual-boot or VM, duh. It'd be silly to choose a university solely on their level of Linux support. Besides, it would help to stay up to date with Windows in case she gets stuck with it at a job, and she will.

As far as classroom software on Linux, BlackBoard may work half-ass on Firefox with some workarounds (been awhile), and Pearson Coursecompass won't work at all(probably reads the browserUID string and rejects Linux, I used Firefox), but YMMV and didn't use a VM etc.

-- ethanol-fueled

I can not imagine a CS dept not supporting Linux (1)

nuttyprofessor (83282) | more than 5 years ago | (#29355895)

I imagine any CS dept (and maybe other technical departments) will support Linux.
Outside of that, its probably potluck between Windows and OS X.

Re:I can not imagine a CS dept not supporting Linu (2, Informative)

JSBiff (87824) | more than 5 years ago | (#29356055)

I was a CS major at a public University in Ohio. While the College of Engineering and the CS Department were pretty Unix/Linux friendly, the physics labs which every engineering student is required to take through the college of arts and science at this university, required the use of MS Excel 2003 or 2007, because the physics lab reports had to use a highly customized excel 'template' file which included Excel macros. Now, it may be possible that you could open and save the Excel file using OpenOffice, I was rather worried to try, because of the extensive use of macros in the excel template, I was afraid something would get screwed up, which would cause me to unfairly lose points for the lab(s).

The point of this story is, even if the college/university is generally friendly towards other OSes (Linux, *BSD, whatever), you may run into some classes which require the use of some sort of software which isn't available on your chosen platform. For example, in an Engineering program, there might be some sort of CAD program which is Windows only, or in an architecture or visual arts/graphical design program, they may require some software which is only available on a Mac. It might be worth taking some time to look at the required and elective courses that your student is going to be taking, and finding out the requirements for those particular classes.

Re:I can not imagine a CS dept not supporting Linu (1)

jedidiah (1196) | more than 5 years ago | (#29356259)

If you have some class that requires the use of some particular
application on some platform you down own, then use an emulator.
There are very good FREE ones. You just have to supply your own
operating system.

These are very handy for when there is 1 or 2 applications on
some other platform you might want to run.

Back in the days when this "other platform" would have been
MS-DOS, I had an MS-DOS emulator to deal with the Microsoft
only software that my University pushed on people.

You don't need to suffer Windows 24/7 just for the sake of a single app.

Re:I can not imagine a CS dept not supporting Linu (1)

techno-vampire (666512) | more than 5 years ago | (#29356317)

For example, in an Engineering program, there might be some sort of CAD program which is Windows only, or in an architecture or visual arts/graphical design program, they may require some software which is only available on a Mac.

Now that leads to an interesting question: would it be possible to sue the school for discrimination because they're unfairly penalizing students based on their choice of computer and/or OS? And if so, could you win?

Bigger problems (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29355901)

Your daughter uses Linux. Whether or not the university will support her OS/lifestyle/moral choice is the least of your problems. You need to figure out which one of the rooms in your house can be made into a makeshift nursery.

Spyware not available (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29355905)

Since the college's "mandatory" spyware only runs on Windows and Mac, you're out of luck.

Re:Spyware not available (1)

Zordak (123132) | more than 5 years ago | (#29356187)

When I was in law school, if you were running a Windows machine, you were required to let them install their "security suite" (including Norton) before you could connect to the network. But if you were running Linux, it just let connect.

OU (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29355907)

Last I checked, Ohio University did not support Linux. Granted, that was a few years ago.

Now, Microsoft's implementation of VPN tech, PPTP, is supported on Linux via "PPTP client" and Wi-Fi is fairly straight-forward once you get your card setup, which is becoming increasingly easy as more drivers make their way into the kernel. Getting support would be nice.

give me a break (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29355911)

are you such a freaking nerd that you care if your daughter has access to linux at college? there are more important things to worry about, like what she's going to major in, her grades, and how much partying she will be doing with the rest of the freshman.

give me a f*cking break.

all good here (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29355915)

Mine is pretty Linux friendly but that's because it's an engineering school. I'd imagine that you'd have less luck at a liberal arts school. There's always the odd program that requires Windows, but that's what VirutalBox and Wine are for. I'm taking a compilers class right now where we spent the last 2 weeks covering the basics of Unix.

Gre - Linux FTW (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29355937)

The Greenwich University proudly supports *NIX

You asked a guide? (5, Insightful)

0100010001010011 (652467) | more than 5 years ago | (#29355951)

Seriously? These are usually freshmen or sophomores in some club (for resume building) that are hyper outgoing and love showing off their brand new school. In addition they're trained to know quite a bit about everything. I bet they couldn't even tell you what some of the graduate students were working on either.

If you want an answer, find the school's IT department [] or LUG [] and ask them. I bet that my tour guide wouldn't be able to tell you that our CS department hosts a Linux Mirror for quite a few projects or that Debian was started by a student, doesn't mean that it didn't happen.

Re:You asked a guide? (1)

Goldsmith (561202) | more than 5 years ago | (#29356049)

Extremely good point! Guides *might* know what you can buy in the school computer store.

Re:You asked a guide? (1)

mcgrew (92797) | more than 5 years ago | (#29356141)

Universities' web sites are good places to get various distros (U of I, home of the Tevatron and with a supercomputing facility is one). I would think that any school that didn't support Linux would be a poor school, indeed.

support or allow? (4, Insightful)

qwertphobia (825473) | more than 5 years ago | (#29355957)

Let me ask you a question in return..

Do you think the average college helpdesk is prepared to answer random Linux questions?

Asking the tour guides is just plain silly. You might as well ask them what brand ERP the college uses.

Most colleges would allow a linux installation but are unprepared to provide support to every possible linux variation and configuration.

Re:support or allow? (1)

SlashdotOgre (739181) | more than 5 years ago | (#29356243)

This is an excellent point and probably generally the case these days. I would presume most colleges are fine with Linux under the condition that you don't expect support from them. Some colleges explicitly support certain Linux flavors. For example my younger brother is a freshmen at CalTech and was attending a summer program which he brought his laptop running Ubuntu 8.10 down for. There were instructions for XP, Vista, OS X, and Ubuntu (I'm not sure about others, but at least Ubuntu was there).

I attended UCSD from '01-'05, and switched to running Linux full time on my laptop somewhere around the end of my sophomore year. I was an engineering major, and I didn't find Linux significantly impeded me. Campus WiFi worked fine, and they even offered a Linux VPN client. For the rare case I needed Windows, I'd just go to one of the dozens of campus libraries or labs. I'd be a little concerned if it was a small liberal arts college, but these days finding a Windows PC on the rare case you need something Windows only isn't much of an issue.

Indiana University supports Linux, *nix, BSD, etc (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29355967)

I remember Daniel Robbins, the founder of Gentoo, coming to Indiana University to talk. I'm surprised that Indiana had such extensive support services when Purdue is known as the engineering power house in the state of Indiana.

Re:Indiana University supports Linux, *nix, BSD, e (1)

localman57 (1340533) | more than 5 years ago | (#29356045)

IU's Computer Science department is held in higher regard than Purdue's by many who attended neither. Engineering != Computer Science != Information Services.

University of Central Florida (4, Informative)

jojoguy (1347119) | more than 5 years ago | (#29355971)

I am currently attending UCF and my main laptop on campus is running ubuntu 9.04. I have no problems using any of the online course work/websites and have no issues connecting to the internet.

University of brussels does (2, Interesting)

PissedNumlock (1549859) | more than 5 years ago | (#29355987)

My university (university of Brussels, ) promotes Linux (and not mac/osx). Every program we write has to work on the CS server, which runs slackware. We (the CS student organisation/club) provide wireless network that works under linux (and not under vista >:) ), do linux InstallFests where people can bring their computer or just come into our room with a laptop and we'll happily help em. We try to promote opensource as well, for example when people had to reinstall and left their microsoft office disk at home (and somehow think we have an illegal version). In the courses no software that doesnt run under linux is being used by the CS department, but for courses like statistics with SPSS we're pretty much pooped. Luckily we had to make a task about Machine Learning instead of messing with SPSS, but that doesn't count for people not studying CS.

Full Trifactor (1)

JTeutenberg (1222754) | more than 5 years ago | (#29355989)

At my university, lab computers are iMacs with Vista, OS X, and Edubuntu installed. Almost all students use Windows, but the tech staff can easily handle requests from linux users. Seriously though, if you run a linux distribution on your laptop then you really ought to be capable to set up wifi and printing yourself.

Re:Full Trifactor (1)

MonsterTrimble (1205334) | more than 5 years ago | (#29356279)

If I had points I'd mod you up.

I think back to my university days and there is *NO* way I'd let any of the techs near my machine. My sister-in-law worked at the support desk and she doesn't even grasp *NOW* how a router works.

University of Cincinnati (3, Informative)

kungfuj35u5 (1331351) | more than 5 years ago | (#29355991)

Does. I'm actually the president of an organization that prominently supports and promotes free software (Laboratory for Recreational Computing). []

I haven't had a problem (1)

Monkeedude1212 (1560403) | more than 5 years ago | (#29355993)

But then again, I went to a Polytechnic where one of our classes involved remoting into the old Unix Box...

Fun times!

If the college campus has an Information and Computer Technology (or ICT) wing/branch/faculty, talk to those guys. Considering THEY are the ones who set up the servers, tested applications, WiFi, etc etc, they'll be able to give you the whats up on whether your linux box will work. DON'T waste your time with the "Techs" they have set up for the quick laptop repair. If its a Mac, they'll have you uninstall some software. If its a PC, they'll tell you just to have the image ghosted and it'll be fixed in a few hours. And if its Linux, they tell you to go try Windows. *FACEPALM*

how about... (2, Insightful)

buddyglass (925859) | more than 5 years ago | (#29356003)

Your daughter can consider her university's Mac/Windows-centric policy as simply part of her preparation for the "real world" in which application developers and IT departments favor Mac/Windows and largely ignore Linux.

Re:how about... (1)

H0p313ss (811249) | more than 5 years ago | (#29356087)

Your daughter can consider her university's Mac/Windows-centric policy as simply part of her preparation for the "real world" in which application developers and IT departments favor Mac/Windows and largely ignore Linux.

There you go dragging reality into the conversation. Won't somebody put our fantasy lives first?

Re:how about... (1)

jedidiah (1196) | more than 5 years ago | (#29356181)

...yes, because we all KNOW that Universities should be a mirror of the average fortune 500 company.

Not supported, but it works. (0)

slacktheplanet (303034) | more than 5 years ago | (#29356005)

I just went back to school this semester. I have 2 online courses that say they do not support my OS, but work just fine. The on-campus wifi uses a web login on the first http request, which works on my linux notebook as well as my Palm pre. Email is hosted through Gmail, so that makes it easy. I've been using Google Docs for most of my notes. It has made it easier to share notes and files with other users.

The only issue I've run into has been uploading my essays for a professor using the submission tool. The formatting was a bit odd, but I later found out that it is normal even if submitted with Windows/MS Office.

Blank Stare (3, Insightful)

Sethus (609631) | more than 5 years ago | (#29356009)

The reason you get a blank stare is because said student is usually a business or communication major and has no clue what Linux is. Heck as I computer science major, I don't know what you mean by 'support' Linux. Do you mean, do they have it in labs? Do they allow you to connect to the dorms using Linux? Do you mean as in what limited Tech support on campus and does it support Linux? Or do they have Linux in the computer labs?

Assuming you mean computer labs, I can tell you here at UNT they do not have linux, but they do have (on every computer) an ssh client that allows you to connect to your Linux account (CS Major).

Tour Guides Can Be Clueless (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29356011)

My college is pretty Linux-friendly. There have been a few issues with Wi-Fi and Linux, but most things are compatible. Also, the Computer Science program is done extensively in Linux, and the CS majors who haven't got Linux by the end of freshman year are clearly in a tiny minority who experience serious difficulty with things like homework. I know the average tour guide might know there are a few pro-Linux people around, but our school's tour guides are given a careful script of things they're allowed to discuss, and I am not sure what they can say about Linux.

University of Alaska Fairbanks (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29356015)

UAF sent out a general call for papers and presentations last spring for the Fall 2009 Tech Fair- an opportunity to give workshops and "how-to" instruction on any number of computer applications and facets of IT. I emailed back, offering to do either a general presentation on Linux with a focus on the more popular desktop applications and managers, or alternatively give a workshop in which students bring in an older laptop and I would walk them though the particulars of loading Ubuntu or Kubuntu until everyone was up and running and all the kinks were worked out. UAF never responded, and I did notice that people from Mac will be on hand this year with a number of presentations.

"Linux Support"? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29356019)

If you have to ask whether Linux is support then you probably shouldn't be using Linux.

Spotty support (3, Insightful)

Devil's BSD (562630) | more than 5 years ago | (#29356025)

Here at the University of Kentucky, Linux support is kind of spotty. Some IT guys support it, others don't. When I was doing biology research at the University back when I was a high school student, the sysadmin for the building with my lab was a diehard Windows/Dell guy, and discouraged use of other stuff, saying he couldn't guarantee data integrity, etc etc. When I moved on to computer science research, the sysadmins in that part of campus tend to be anything-but-Windows types. In the fine arts department, the sysadmins tend to be more partial to Apples.
If you live on campus, though, the campus internet (ResNet) people officially only support PC and Mac, and they only support it if your computer is directly connected to the connection they provide. If you have a router between you and the campus network, you are required to remove it and directly connect to the cable modem or other gateway device that they provide. I think the policy is bollocks, but judging from the stories I've heard of how inept some of the L1 techs are, maybe it is better that way...

Officially? No, Unofficially? Mileage will vary (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29356041)

I think what you will find on many colleges is that they don't officially support it, but will help you as best they can. Pretty much every college IT services department will have linux knoweladge, ranging from the lone 'Linux Guru', to the department where everyone knows some, and active support from many of the staff.

I believe that the biggest hurdle is simply the difficulty in documenting it.
Instructions for XX Distribution of linux using YY windows manager and ZZZ hardware/service/browser is simply not worth the time to document.
Sure something similar can be said for the various flavors of Windows (or even for Macs), but just not to the same degree.

My suggestion? Find someone in the school's IT depeartment help-desk area, buy them some of thier favorite caffinated beverage, and make a friend. It may not get 100% of everything working, but you'll get a lot farther than trying to do it on your own.

The University of Florida does, from what I've ... (1)

rekenner (849871) | more than 5 years ago | (#29356043)

seen, kinda. Certain classes require certain programs that only work on Windows, but that's down to a class by class basis. Hell, the lecture I'm sitting in as I type this, Digital Logic, requires Quartus, which ... you have to pay for if you use Linux, as opposed to the free version available for Windows. Some require certain discs that only work under Windows, etc. However, everything Uni wide works totally fine under Linux.

Why does it matter? (1)

nurb432 (527695) | more than 5 years ago | (#29356065)

A lot of 'services' like wifi, or citrix don't really care what OS you are running, so why do they *need* to support it? If you get stuck with a 'windows only' application they *require* you to use, you can run it under wine, or inside a VM worst case. Problem solved.

Not always solved. . . (1)

JSBiff (87824) | more than 5 years ago | (#29356159)

Wine doesn't run all programs perfectly correctly (some programs don't run at all). As for the VM, most VMs don't allow accelerated 3D graphics (I think I rememember recently hearing something about VirtualBox adding 3D support for VMs, but I think they may be the only one). Granted, not all programs require 3D graphics, but what if the program you are required to use is something like SolidWorks, which is a Windows, 3D-accellerated CAD program? If it doesn't work well under Wine, and doesn't work at all in your VM because of the need for 3D graphics, then you pretty much run the native OS for that package.

University of Arizona might... (1)

Plamadude30k (1271120) | more than 5 years ago | (#29356077)

I'm not sure my college "supports" Linux, as I'm not sure exactly what you consider supporting to entail, but my departments (astronomy and physics) only have linux computers in their computer labs (with the addition of one or two windows boxes. All of the personal computers and laptops owned by faculty and staff are Linux or Mac). Of course, the IT guys are incredibly lazy and it's still Fedora Core 1.0, but it works most of the time. If you're talking about software and hardware help, I wouldn't even trust the University with a windows computer-they are notorious for breaking things and voiding warranties, and most of the people working at campus computing services don't know what they're doing or even care.

NC State University (4, Informative)

toppavak (943659) | more than 5 years ago | (#29356081)

As a recent grad I can speak to the fact that NCSU supports Linux in a big way [] by deploying it in computer labs, supporting it for students, having a very active LUG (the mailing list is very friendly, they meet several times a month and host regular install-fests), making Linux desktops available remotely through a Virtual Computing Lab and giving students remote access to a couple of on-campus beowulf clusters. To the best of my knowledge support is strongest in the College of Engineering and in the College of Physical and Mathematical Sciences. I believe most of the other Colleges (Life Sciences, Humanities and Social Sciences, Textiles, Natural Resources etc) tend to use a mix of Windows and Mac workstations (and I'd heard somewhere that Design uses exclusively Macs).

Re:NC State University (2, Informative)

toppavak (943659) | more than 5 years ago | (#29356253)

After re-reading your post, I should probably also clarify that the University's IT infrastructure and services provided to students is one of the best I've ever seen, from personal experience its light-years ahead of UNC Chapel Hill and a lot more user-friendly and headache-free than GaTech's. I've heard similar stories from many friends that have gone on to grad school. With regards to Wi-Fi access, they use a fairly platform-agnostic web-based authentication portal supplemented by the ability to register your mac address (also a web-based tool) so you don't have to keep logging in. All VPN access either goes through Kerberos/AFS, SSH/SCP or, if you're checking out a virtual machine through the Virtual Computing Lab, RDP or a remote X-session. Remote printing is also a web-based interface and while some courses may require windows-only apps many, if not all, of these are available remotely (Solidworks and AutoCAD are the only two big ones that come to mind) and in computer labs.

Short answer: yes, but not through IT (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29356089)

Any school with a halfway decent CS department or even engineering will support Linux just not necessarily through IT. Most students will need to work to get their machine working with the various idiocies of the universities but your daughter will have an advantage. She is a woman. If she's able to find those poor lonely linux geeks, she can manipulate them into helping her do just about anything. Hell if she tires hard enough, she might even be able to get them to worship her like a goddess, so becarefull there. This is also good preparation for the real world where smart independent women are able to manipulate men in just about anyway they choose.
Just don't expect the university IT departments to be competent, they usually aren't.
Good luck.

Desktop Linux is a hobby (0, Troll)

cryfreedomlove (929828) | more than 5 years ago | (#29356093)

This is sort of like asking if the University is friendly to Ham Radio operators. The honest answer is 'no' and that the hobbyists will have to continue to cobble together their own solutions.

Chalmers University of Technology (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29356105)

I currently attend Chalmers University of Technology. In the Physics house basically all computers run Linux. New students are required to take a class to get familiar with the Linux environment. The computers that run Windows are only used if all other computers are taken.

My experience (1)

MikeRT (947531) | more than 5 years ago | (#29356113)

I graduated in Dec 2005 from James Madison University in Virginia. The main CS lab actually ran RHEL exclusively, so that might say something right there, but none of the Linux users I knew had any problems. Granted, Linux users began to become rare well before that because OS X became an attractive development environment right around the time the university adopted wifi en masse.

The ultimate question is how much she needs you in order to keep using Linux every day. If she can't handle most of or all of the details on her own because all she knows is KDE, then you might want to consider just erring on the side of caution with a MacBook.

One of the problems that I ran into back in college was that OpenOffice's MS Office compatibility is not perfect, and faculty in non-CS classes had no problem telling you to get stuffed if you ran into any problems because you weren't using MS Office.

UNM (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29356115)

The University of New Mexico certainly doesn't. Though you can ssh to the universities linux computers, their wifi is barely usable for linux users and is getting less usable as they implement "network access control" that only supports windows or macs, they have outgoing ports blocked off, you can't have more than 8 characters for your computer account, and you can't even contact the IT department via email. You have to call or go in person.

I've been out of school for a long time, but... (1)

greenguy (162630) | more than 5 years ago | (#29356127)

...I do live in a college town, so I have some contact with campus life. I've been able to get online with the school's WiFi without much trouble, so I imagine students can, too.

I think the important thing is not to try to reinvent the wheel. Probably every college and university in the US (and a great many other nations) has someone who's using Linux. Find those people. Ask them what they do.

Brunel University, UK. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29356129)

At Brunel the computer centre does not support Linux and will not provide assistance however they do provide settings details for WiFi and mail as well as suggesting the use of Evolution.

Our VPN is Cisco based, so if you want to go through the config file and decode the share secret then I suppose you could connect with any client supporting the protocol though this would technically break the rules/policy.

The university uses BlackBoard as it's e-learning portal, and Firefox is a supported browser. In general they are very Microsoft focused and are heavily dependent on Microsoft formats for word processing and such, though only supporting the 2003 versions.

Honestly their Mac support is little better than their Linux support in that there are step by step instructions for OS X (they won't help you with it) and they can point you to Cisco's own VPN client. They are still recommending Office 2004!

Do they really support the Mac? (1)

Yvan256 (722131) | more than 5 years ago | (#29356135)

Or are they just simply supporting the Mac version of Office? What happens if you want to use iWork or OpenOffice instead?

North Carolina State University (1)

drak0ntas (1023197) | more than 5 years ago | (#29356137)

NCSU provides help-desk support for Linux clients, and all Freshmen are required to pass (or test-out of) a class that covers basic competency of a Linux/Unix environment. No problems here when using the required online resources or connecting to the wired or wireless networks. Additionally, the university has deployed a mix of Windows, Mac, and Linux machines throughout campus (albeit with a dominance of Windows).

There's still a long way to go, it seems (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29356143)

My college doesn't even support Firefox, let alone Linux... every PC on the site has IE6 the only satisfactory browsing experience is using Safari on the Macs in the music department, of all places.

Southwestern Michigan College supports linux! (1)

FictionPimp (712802) | more than 5 years ago | (#29356147)

In 90% of cases, SMC supports linux. There are a few minor exceptions (ISYS 110 is windows focused and can be tested out of but is required), but in those cases you can simply use a computer on campus to complete the requirements.

Those of us in the IT department tend to use linux for most of our servers and even some of our desktops. I myself use a mac full time. I'm always pushing to remove the dependancies on a single operating system.

Yes and No (1)

Wolvenhaven (1521217) | more than 5 years ago | (#29356157)

Everything will work for a linux computer here as most of the techs run linux too, but if she takes any computer science courses she might need windows. Depending on the class it could be exel, word, or SQL/C# .net/specific compiler the teacher wants. I have managed two years in CS with a linux laptop and had no problems(have to VM windows for an assembler class). Also most schools require spyware on windows machines to check security, firewall, AV, and for "illegal" programs, mac and linux machines are exempt and if a virus goes wild on the network she won't get it.

"Sometimes I would ask the student tour guide... (5, Insightful)

DogDude (805747) | more than 5 years ago | (#29356161)

"Sometimes I would ask the student tour guide if Linux was supported and was usually met with a blank stare." I doubt that it was a "blank" stare. The student tour guide, and everyone else in earshot, was probably wondering if you're a complete jerk, or just utterly clueless. Why would you ask some 18-19 year old kid giving tours stuff like that? Are you trying to prove something, or do you really, honestly believe that some random kid giving tours is going to know what "Linux" is?

High School (1)

XPeter (1429763) | more than 5 years ago | (#29356165)

My high school is surprisingly high-tech. We have numerous courses from Java to Cisco, which are both courses on my list.

Last year in computer science we had a few old laptops and desktops lying around, so we bought the needed parts for them booted them up slapped Ubuntu and wine on them and played LAN Starcraft :)

Many of the students are trying to push for an open source movement. Every computer in the school has a browser choice of IE, Chrome and Firefox and on many of the older machines there's a linux distro running.

-Sophomores kick ass.

You will want Virtual Box with XP installed. (2, Interesting)

hellop2 (1271166) | more than 5 years ago | (#29356171)

But, for calculus, you may be forced to use Mathcad, which you will need to install in Virtualbox. There also may be some other trivial programs that require Windows. But, you will almost always have lab computers available for these. You may have to use Texmaker for math classes: aptitude install texmaker in Kubuntu. At my school, nobody prints from their laptops, so running linux on your laptop isn't much of an issue as long as you save your office documents in MS Word format.

Georgia Institute of Technology (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29356177)

Yes. In fact, most of my CS classes require linux.

Good support (1)

mrsolo (654948) | more than 5 years ago | (#29356185)

At the Naval Post Grad School, my Fedora laptop can do anything the Windows and Mac computers can do. This includes VPN, remote e-mail services, daily check-in, campus wide secure WiFi using a secure DoD certificates, printing, local/remote Intranet access, etc. Also, the school makes a lot of software (what's available) available to linux users. I've been a linux user for about 9 years now and I have never really had any complaints about not being able to do anything that I absolutely had to do.

kinda (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29356191)

I work in the IT dept. for a college.

I have used linux as my primary OS since '93/'94. But even with me as a strong advocate, some products are chosen which only work with windows (or are only supported on windows). For instance, I cannot use the VPN to connect from home.

Unless the school is willing to make a huge commitment to only use commercial/non-commercial products that support Linux (and other OSs other than Windows), I don't think you are going to find a school that is able to state "support" for Linux.

For example, the new line of wirless stuff Cisco sells (from Airspace), only supports M$ IE for logins to the captive portal. Of course, it works on other browsers (works better on other browsers; no ssl version issues with other browsers), but Cisco only supports IE.

Other things, like Luminis (a common student portal built on top of uportal) have had issues with Safari users on Macs.

There are a lot of folks involved in the purchase/selection decisions, and compatibility with non-windows is usually not even on those folks' radar. Hell, most of these folks think Windows is the only OS there is (although a number of them have started hearing about that "Mac thing" lately).

The school I went to didn't have a single M$ box for student use, but that was a long time ago-- Just 100's of Sun and SGI workstations with a few Macs, and an occasional Symbolics thrown into the mix (and one Linux box running 0.9 kernel with ~10K student email accounts!). So, if UCSD hasn't crossed over to the dark side, they were pretty *nix friendly, back in the day.

Colorado School of Mines (0, Offtopic)

GMThomas (1115405) | more than 5 years ago | (#29356201)

Here at Colorado School of Mines, most of the computers I've seen run Windows, but there is definitely a thriving Linux culture here. However, many teachers require assignments in .doc format, which is a real letdown.

Do bears defecate in times square? (1)

sajuuk (1371145) | more than 5 years ago | (#29356225)

I graduated in May, and my school did support Linux until my last year there. By supported I mean "let me get online with." The 'support' ended when they enabled the Mac OSX client for Cisco Clean Access NAC (AKA the biggest evil in the known universe), and in turn disabled the web login form. You could still go give them your MAC address for a device that wasn't running XP, Vistaids, or OSX, but they only allowed this for Xboxes, PS3s, and Wiis. I ended up having to set up a Server 2003 machine to act as a router to get my linux computers online (and remain the ONLY user of Linux that lived on campus).

"In Theory" (1)

Xs1t0ry (1247414) | more than 5 years ago | (#29356251)

I go to the University of Waterloo, so you would figure that we are big on it. After all, not only does our Computer Science Club (CSC) host the largest linux download mirror in the country, we are known for computing ("MIT of the North" is one of our less savoury nicknames). Despite this, while we have some computer labs running unix based systems (some distro I don't remember with just a basic WM over it), the big thing is our Mac labs. We have rooms upon rooms of shiny Apple computers. Pretty much the entire CompSci department has converted to Mac as well (some profs have two of those 30" apple monitors in their offices. Two!). I mean, linux exists here, but c'mon. We (comp sci & math students) picked Richard Stallman up from the airport, brought him to our school and he gave us stickers. Like wtf.

University of Michigan (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29356261)

I would say University of Michigan is quite Linux friendly. Although it is bound to vary from department to department, I never had a problem in my coursework (hard science major + liberal arts classes).

which distro? (1)

clockworm (1382531) | more than 5 years ago | (#29356275)

Had I been your school's IT policy planner, I would give the same answer I give to employees at the software company where I work: "We support Windows XP, OS X, Ubuntu, Fedora and OpenSolaris". The "Linux" title covers so many idiosyncratic distros that we can't reasonably offer to support them all. Many such distros are poorly documented/tested, to make matters worse for a support team.

Aberystwyth University, Wales, UK (1)

kdcttg (980465) | more than 5 years ago | (#29356277)

The wired network throughout the campus has not worked for 2 generations of ubuntu now, but all posts on the bug report are from Aberystwyth University students, so it seems the problem is to do with the setup of the network rather than something common to all networks... I would be interested to know what change broke compatibility though, since old versions of ubuntu and other most other distros work.

Wifi is unusable, the connection being lost sometimes within seconds of connecting, however certain parts of campus have a second wifi network that works if you use the VPN (see next line).

The VPN is awkward to set up in Linux, especially if you do not want to edit gconf.

You won't official get help with linux from the Information Services support desk, but depending on who is working you will sometimes get help.

The Computer Science department is very Linux friendly... infact, anything you do in the first year at least can be done using linux. A lot of the staff use Linux as their main system and so will probably give help within reason.

AMCAS (0, Troll)

castironpigeon (1056188) | more than 5 years ago | (#29356281)

Related to schools, if your daughter is looking to apply to med school in the US after undergrad make sure you have a Windows or Mac kicking around somewhere because AMCAS locks Linux computers out of their online application.

Michigan tech supports linux (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29356283)

Labs are either filled with Linux or mac machines, depending on which major they are for, and Linux is practically expected, at least for Computer related majors.

TESC Does (1)

slugicide (932022) | more than 5 years ago | (#29356285)

The Evergreen State College has Linux machines in the lab, but not the library. Last year I tried to send a document to the wireless printer and it didn't work. The kid in charge opened up a terminal on my lappy and futzed around for a few minutes, finally apologizing for not having it set up properly on their side, and sending to document to be printed. It worked fine after that.

USM is linux friendly. (2, Informative)

Nadaka (224565) | more than 5 years ago | (#29356289)

USM (University of Southern Mississippi) strongly supports linux. The default student userspace is hosted on linux (until recently you had to ssh into a shell account to check your campus email, they now have a web interface as well). The CS departments higher classes generally require the use of linux as a programming environment (more specifically ssh shell accounts into the CS departments server). As for IT support for linux desktops/laptops? I am not sure, but all the CS computer labs dual boot into SUSE and win xp when I was last there.

Acknowledged, Not Supported (1)

excelblue (739986) | more than 5 years ago | (#29356301)

Whether or not your campus supports Linux is a moot issue. As long as all their equipment is standard, you should be fine. The way to be sure is to just bring your Linux laptop to campus during the tour and try connecting to campus WiFi, etc. Also, look up security policies, class syllabi, etc. to ensure that there aren't anything Windows-specific.

Truth is, most professors don't care how you got something done, as long as you got it done properly and honestly. In many humanities classes, I've typesetted my papers in LaTeX and often became the only person whose papers aren't in MLA. Even then, nobody complained -- it was all about the content. Then, if the professor was really fussy, you can always use a package that formats your paper MLA and makes it basically indistinguishable from a Word document.

In fact, the only department that will probably notice that you weren't using Windows / Mac is probably the CS department. In that case, there will probably be better support for Linux anyways.

Point is, if you want to use Linux, you can. However, it's difficult to provide support to all the configurations, so if you can't set up everything based on OS-neutral instructions, then you should either get a geek friend to help or just use Windows / Mac like everyone else. Windows-specific app? No problem, virtualization is the way to go.

Do they only provide web apps for IE? (1)

Overzeetop (214511) | more than 5 years ago | (#29356311)

If they support Macs, then they probably do not require the use of IE to access their websites. It seems that practically all services which use IT at universities are served through a web gateway. If they truly support macs, then they're probably not using IE only pages. At that point, you're probably okay if you're daughter is competent running linux. If she needs a Linux help desk, see if there's a good LUG on campus, or make sure you can provide the remote support yourself (or pay for it).

I presume that most real applications which might actually require win/mac would be either runable under Wine, or she might just have to break down and dual boot or run win in a VM. There are fairly few classes which require specialized software - those that do are normally using the most common commercial applications, so she may as well get used to the native OS for those apps, or risk being hopelessly undertrained for a job when she gets out of school.

Do your own research (1)

elashish14 (1302231) | more than 5 years ago | (#29356327)

Check out the web. Search the college website for Linux, look in the IT departments for Linux. I found information on connecting to the WPA-secured wireless network in the darkest corner of the IT website for mine. Life isn't as easy as it is for Windows users (you'll have to edit text- based config files instead of having an automatic, friendly GUI), but it's still usable if you try hard enough, and for those tasks that are impossible, just use a computer lab. If she takes computer courses in say Matlab, then she may have problems. You should also find out if intro CS professors are familiar with students that run Linux too if she's going to take those types of classes.

Some universities (like Boston University) even produce their own Linux distro. So just do research on the website instead of asking people who aren't supposed to know

Mine didn't (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29356343)

The supported VAX though. In fact, that was pretty much all we had.


Dependencies (1)

confused one (671304) | more than 5 years ago | (#29356347)

There might be other issues here. At my university I was required to use certain software packages for various classes which did not have a linux version and would not run under Wine.

I don't care how "similar" or "equivalent" the linux version of the software package is, if the prof. says you must use Mathcad, then you're going to need a Windows machine. (note, this was just an example. Other situations may apply).

Barring stupidity, which is likely to occur at some point, if the universities program says they support Windows and Mac, then it's likely you'll be able to find software for both platforms that satisfies the course requirements. What the coursework will require, this should be your guiding force.

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