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Microsoft and the U.S. School System

michael posted more than 13 years ago | from the give-us-your-lunch-money dept.

Microsoft 501

4/3PI*R^3 has the dubious honor of being the first of dozens of submissions: "Salon has a story on how Microsoft is bullying cash strapped school districts into purchasing "compliant" licenses for Microsoft software. Best quote from the story concerning financial problems of education and the added burden that Microsft is placing on them: "It's kind of like AIDS in Africa and the drug companies," Kowalski says. "Can anyone expect a dying person to be concerned about the drug companies' profits?"" It seems silly to bitch about this - work at getting schools to use Free and free software instead.

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Please (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#95251)

How can Microsoft prosecute schools when they're all still running on Apple IIs?

Hey you troll.... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#95254)

Not at all. Put it this way: would you trust Microsoft to educate your kids

I wouldn't, but other parents might. It should be the parent's choice to send kids to Microsoft School, not the government's.

All they care about is the bottom line; they couldn't care less whether the kids are educated correctly or not

You forget that private schools get profit be educating students correctly: education is essential for the bottom line.

Private schools are great evil that not many see for what it is: an indoctrination into corporatism.

Since "corporatism" does not exist and is a left-wing myth, we are left with the reality of this: private schools allow parents to take control of the education of their children by choosing better schools.

Re:Education is education (1)

richieb (3277) | more than 13 years ago | (#95266)

People round here might demonise Microsoft, but at the end of the day education is education and it doesn't matter how it is provided or who by, as long as it is impartial and rounded.

But you have to be careful to try and educate the the children, not just train them in using MS Word.

The idea of using computers to write should be introduced, but this can be done just as easily with Emacs as with Word (and Emacs ha been in use much longer than Word has).

Imagine how much you'd learn about computers from setting up a network of Linux machine, setting up web servers and setting up some usefull cool apps (like a web site on which homework assigments are posted daily by the teachers).

...richie

Re:Application Software (1)

richieb (3277) | more than 13 years ago | (#95267)

Does anyone have FIRST HAND experience with educational software for Linux that they could recommend? Not just a site that promotes the stuff, but specific programs that are worthwhile.

Basically I think that all the so called "educational software" is trash. AFAIK these are just simple games, that follow try to make boring drills of spelling or arithmetic little more exiting.

The real education in computers should in learning how they work and how they are programmed. See all the writings of S. Papert on LOGO.

What you need to give the kids is computer "Legos" and let them build their own stuff. Be it web sites, games, etc. You can learn a lot more stuff from building things, than from all the "educational" software.

...richie

Unpopular Opinion (1)

skroz (7870) | more than 13 years ago | (#95272)

While it may seem rather unfair to the schools, the law is the law, and these schools are violating it. Microsoft, for better or for worse, is in the business of making money, and this particular school system is impeding their ability to do so. The licensing terms are clear, and the school system obviously violated them. They should be held responsible, regardless of their financial situation.

This is, however, a perfect opportunity to introduce these poorer school systems to the benefits of Free Software. Unfortunately, there is very little if any OSS available that is suitable for widespread use in such an environment. Linux, Gnome, etc., are all fine and good for those of us that know what we're doing, but teaching a computer illiterate person how to use a Linux based system is far more difficult than teaching them, say, a Windows based one. Yes, the software would be free, but it isn't doing anyone any good if no one can figure out how to use it.

If MS were wise, and a little less profit hungry, they'd consider offering even ddeper discounts for public school systems. It might make for some effective positive PR, something they desperately need these days.

Useless... (1)

um... Lucas (13147) | more than 13 years ago | (#95278)

It seems silly to bitch about this - work at getting schools to use Free and free software instead.

Until more business' make a switch from Wintel, its really just not that valuable a skill to be teaching kids linux in high school... They need to be using what they'll be using later on in life, which currently is Windows...

Linux in education... (1)

Vapula (14703) | more than 13 years ago | (#95283)

From a previous article on Slashdot, I learnt that Mexico took the step of installing Linux + Free software on the computer it bought for Education as Microsoft licenses were too costly...

Here, Microsoft is pushing other school to behave the same way... I'm wondering what Microsoft is after these times... It seems pissing off it's users everywhere...

  • Microsoft Passport to access MSDN
  • The Microsoft activation system
  • The change in it's Passport policy with it's implications to privacy
  • ...
That looks like Microsoft is on the falling way... and try to catch something to stop the fall... That makes me remind a financial analysis from Bill-Parish telling that Microsoft is cheating on it's reports by using a pyramidal scheme and that the efective losses are greater and greater (instead of greater and greater earnings)...

Re:schools and computers... (1)

Amanset (18568) | more than 13 years ago | (#95284)

Maths may have changed a lot in the past 100 years, but school-level Maths hasn't changed nearly as much. How many theorems are taught at schools today?

University level Pure Maths is all proof, using these theorems you state, but school-level Maths is a completely different kettle of fish. In my UK A-Level Further Pure Maths (a more advanced maths qualification taken when 18, before going to university) we only briefly touched upon group theory (and I mean VERY briefly!). When I was 16 I was taught differentiation as a method for checking my answers - the syllabus only required the drawing of a tangent to a curve at a point to find a gradient.

Briefly, in school you do not have the mathematical background to do the more interesting and advanced stuff you mentioned. You have to go through basic training first - and basic training hasn't changed much at all.

If there ever was a reason. . . (1)

Salgak1 (20136) | more than 13 years ago | (#95286)

. . .to take a slightly obsolete computer (something Pentium II or Celeron), load your favorite distro, and give it to a school, this is it.

M$ hit my office for a Software audit several months ago, and after doing it, and finding we were compliant. . .they asked for ANOTHER audit.

This, plus the widely mentioned corporate licensing changes, and Product Activation, all signs that Microsoft is scrounging for money any way they can, is likely also the beginning of the end for Microsoft. Hopefully, it's the beginning of wide-scale acceptance of Open-Source, GPL'd, and similar software. . . but I'm not betting the farm on it, sadly...

Re:schools and computers... (1)

jmauro (32523) | more than 13 years ago | (#95297)

Errr...if time is money, and effort is time...how does it not equate that effort=time=money? We're talking not about taking a kid to the park (which would probably get you arrested nowadays.) We're talking about funding an institution. You seem to forget that.

Amen! (1)

_Quinn (44979) | more than 13 years ago | (#95306)

It's chickenshit like this that gives alternate vendors the best `ins' to challenge Microsoft. Although as much as I'd like to see Free software step in, I rather doubt many schools have the people (person, if small enough) to take advantage; but I wouldn't mind Apple getting back to its golden age, where IBM and its PCs were a distant nightmare on the horizon in K-12 education...

-_Quinn

disease (1)

dostick (69711) | more than 13 years ago | (#95310)

If windows is a cure from piracy, why we all take the medication being healthy?

they should pay for licenses, but... (1)

quick_dry_3 (112334) | more than 13 years ago | (#95331)

OK, they should have to pay for the licenses to the software they 'stole'. Yes, its one of those things that just about everybody has done, but now they're caught they should cop it sweet. Maybe they should investigate alternative options, as the article suggests.

The article seems to be about much more than just some computer teacher down on his luck, but with the way in which MS and BSA are 'infiltrating' organisations and collecting information before demanding big $$$ in compensation.

In cases of non-profit piracy, especially with respect to non-profit organisations, shouldn't they just be charged for the licensing costs?...

Actually in an organisation shouldn't they do some homework and get something that won't get them in trouble - buy licenses to the software, or get cheaper (possibly free) software.

To bad Microsoft is right (1)

Ghoser777 (113623) | more than 13 years ago | (#95333)

Even if microsoft products are over priced, schools aren't given free reign to pirate them. That'd be sort of like saying "I don't like the restrictions of the GPL, so I'm going to ignore them." The solution for poorer schools is two-fold: one, use cheaper software (aka free). Even if Linux was to mysteriously fall off the face of the earth, the general computer skills the students would gain would still be very helpful. Hey, I learned on AppleWorks for an AppleIIgs up through 1993ish, and that really hasn't hindered my ability to figure out other word processors.

The other solution doesn't have to do with software, but how we fund schools. It's too bad politicians give lip service to providing equal education to all, while not funding all schools equally. Schools with low funding not only can't afford Microsoft products, but not even books, classroom supplies, musical instruments, gym clothes, good teachers (as they usually lean toward the better paid schools, and who can blame them?). Heck, if I hadn't moved from the central Illinois school system (meaning: no money), to a suburban Chicago school system (meaing: tons of money), I wouldn't be going to a 30,000+ student University. The opportunities to simply travel around the country were infintely more available than at my old school.

If anyone tells you funding doesn't effect the ability of students to succeed at all, they've just never seen under funded schools.

F-bacher

Why not StarOffice? (1)

jea6 (117959) | more than 13 years ago | (#95335)

Judging by the article, these computers were probably Macs. I think Sun should really use this to push StarOffice into the Edco market, where Wintel boxes are gaining prevalence.

Free software is needed badly in schools (1)

Adler (131568) | more than 13 years ago | (#95347)

I meet alot of fresh out of school types that have some geek skills, and they're all fed Microsoft, and when they seem to know some shit I'll start talking Linux with them and they almost always say how it's crap compared to Windows and nothing comes close to Bills magic OS of wonder.

Can you say "Brainwash" ?

One kid I meat was all pumped about doing Unix SysAdmin work for a living yet said to me "It pays better that windows work but it's not as good an Windows." I wanted to burn him, he then continued to argue the point that Windows, not just NT/2000 but 95/98/ME also, was better and MORE SECURE than any *nix OS, I then kindly changed the discusson to gaming, but then he hadn't heard of Counter Strike so I left.

So bombard local schools with info on NTs weakness, and Linux freeness and security, and hopefully we can stop shit like that kid from ever being spawned again.

Also that kid had been kicked out of school for breaking into the schools NT network from home, if he did that, how could he claim it was so secure right out of the box like he did? he couldn't answer me that one. But just continued to say "Trust me, it is." Isn't that what Bill always says "just trust ME" *grin*

goddam weazely fuck, i'd like to kick him in the beanbag...another nice start to a day ruined by MS *sigh*

I feel a Pink Floyd song coming up... (1)

HiQ (159108) | more than 13 years ago | (#95358)

We don't need no education
We just wanna be in control
Just dark sarcasm in the class room
... All in all it's just another sign on the wall

History repeated? (1)

CaptainZapp (182233) | more than 13 years ago | (#95371)

This sort of reminds me of one of the reasons, why VMS isn't quite dead today, but smells funny; to say the least.

DEC at it's prime had a very good relationship with universities. A lot of VAXen war installed and the punters puntered happily away.

In the eighties DEC became fat, lazy and arrogant, employing too much managers & sales droids, with too little clue and too much time on their hands.

As far I recall some genius implemented a new software licensing scheme and DEC software - albeit excellent (save for the application crap) was also very expensive and DEC suddenly started to charge universities redicoulous licensing fees, which they couldn't or didn't want to afford.

Of course universities jumed to cheaper alternatives, namely U/X and it was Suns finest hour, which jumped on the chance to infiltrate the decision makers of tomorrow.

So, in terms of ever repeating history this could actually be good news...

Re:A solution: Linux for Schools: K-12LTSP v1.0 (1)

hyperstation (185147) | more than 13 years ago | (#95373)

i've read about this, i think it's a really great idea - and it puts older hardware to work that would otherwise be collecting dust...

--

Re:PR Head (1)

Fredge (186975) | more than 13 years ago | (#95388)

It's one thing to bully businesses and city govts, but to start hammering schools? Not real smart.

So it's okay for schools, via the government, to hammer me for financial support at the point of a gun (government's ultimate answer should I refuse to pay for what they deem necessary) but it's not okay for Microsoft and other companies to expect to be paid for the use of their product?

Re:PR Head (1)

Fredge (186975) | more than 13 years ago | (#95392)

I have no problem paying for the education of any kids I might have. I don't expect you to pay for my kids' education and I don't think I should have to pay for your kids' education.

It has nothing to do with being cheap or an elitist, it has to do with responsibility. If you can be made to pay for other's kids' education, why not pay for their food, clothing, and entertainment while we're at it? I don't think other people's kids should be my responsibility.

Don't things like this... (1)

Munelight (192694) | more than 13 years ago | (#95398)

...usually require a warrant? Now granted, Microsoft themselves aren't breaking into your place of work or residence and rummaging around there, but it's the next best thing. Do they have the authority to order something like this? I mean granted, it's not really an official thing - it's Microsoft saying 'do this, or we unleash our formidable lawyers and robotic Richard Simmons', but even so... Issuing such ultimatums is pretty heavy handed and kind of scary when you think about the kind of power Microsoft thinks it is wielding.

How soon till we can expect hired goons in Microsoft uniforms breaking into our homes, scanning our hard drives and then requesting licenses for all our software at the risk of unspecified injury? </PARANOID>

Re:Bad Analogy (1)

ThomK (194273) | more than 13 years ago | (#95399)

I somewhat agree, but its makes a good point.

Perfectly Applicable (1)

Quila (201335) | more than 13 years ago | (#95404)

Corporations putting financial pressure specifically on those who need their products (school: already MS infrastructured, can't afford to re-do) but can't afford to pay. This is what similes are for.

Elementary and Jr. High... (1)

maddogsparky (202296) | more than 13 years ago | (#95406)

...was the only time we used Apples. In Senior High, we switched to Intel machines (for business software, methinks).

Applications (1)

Root Down (208740) | more than 13 years ago | (#95409)

The GNU project has been embraced by many pennywise university systems due to its cost - free. It seems that the primary and secondary educational systems would have picked up on this trend and noted its effectiveness in all areas of student development, but for some reason, they have not. The question arises - Why?
The bulk of Free Software applications tend toward either recreation or programming, generally. This lack of adoption, apart from the ignorance of the general populace on alternatives to MS, likely stems from a lack of open-source software that covers topics that these children need to learn. If we want open source in our schools, we need to develop open source programs that they can use. Gnutella is great, but won't help Junior learn his math. MS platforms support a variety of software geared toward younger users, with all the bells and whistles that keep them both interested and occupied. I am all for what seems to be a viable alternative to both technical literacy and reduced educational budgets, but we need to supply something valuable to their needs. Sounds like a great open source project, to me. Any takers? ;)

grep what I sed?
Root Down

another analogy (1)

layyze (216392) | more than 13 years ago | (#95416)

I guess until the school system finds a way to pay up for all those copies of Office, Microsoft is going to break one child's legs a day.

Re:Application Software (1)

opkool (231966) | more than 13 years ago | (#95432)

Consider using WINE [winehq.com] . Nowadays, WINE really works for many applications.

Try the CodeWeavers [codeweavers.com] release. CodeWeavers release packages WINE in a GUI installer-config application. It's easy to set up right first time.

Please, give it a try with that software. You will be nicely surprised.

I was.

Isn't it time for everyone to grow up? (1)

WindowsTroll (243509) | more than 13 years ago | (#95443)

Call me a troll if you like - I will probably get modded as such, but it is increasingly frustrating to read /. The tag line, "News for Nerds", used to accurately describe /., but it seems that lately every fourth article is one which lambasts Microsoft. Articles such as this, looking for another reason to say "Microsoft Sucks", are becoming tiresome.

With a name like '/.', it is obvious that this is a pro-*nix site, which is fine. And I think that most people here will agree that they don't like Microsoft's business practices. Again, this is fine. However, to constantly look for articles for justification to say that "Microsoft Sucks" is infantile.

The childish behaviour is not limited to Microsoft bashing. Posts extolling the virtues of Napster (before they went corporate) and Gnutella as ways to pirate music such that they can "screw the man" are also childish. There may be reasons to disagree with existing copyright laws and the the policies of the RIAA, and perhaps the use of tools to steal music is your form of protest. If you firmly believe in your position, be civily disobedient. Send the RIAA a letter that you are going to steal music and you feel that you are justified in doing so. But to engange in this practice anonymously is not civil disobedience - it is criminal.

Similarly, articles posted on how to defeat serial number protection schemes are equally childish, and rather frightening to see on /. (See article posted earlier this morning). How long will it be before this is nothing more than a warez site when all of the articles deal with how to steal stuff - whether music, movies or software?

Re:schools and computers... (1)

punchdrunk (257279) | more than 13 years ago | (#95450)

we dont need computers, we need teachers..

The only flaw with plan is that it doesn't make any profit for Microsoft, and must therefore be A Very Bad Thing and unAmerican.

In other news... (1)

somethingwicked (260651) | more than 13 years ago | (#95455)

In other news, other evil corporations are also charging schools for their products:

Desks, chairs, paper, cleaning supplies, books, food, buses, etc.

Georgia Pacific should just give the kids paper and pencils for free *smirk*

Re:schools and computers... (1)

somethingwicked (260651) | more than 13 years ago | (#95456)

meanwhile my grandparents were taught in a one room schoolhouse with no AC (its now used as my parents garage)

Damn, I hope the kids were able to get out of the way first *grin*

Free viewers for most M$ products (1)

somethingwicked (260651) | more than 13 years ago | (#95457)

but I put Office on their computers because they couldn't read the Microsoft Word attachments they kept getting from the district's central office. It was easy to do, and it made sense since our schools are in dire financial straits

BTW, for those that don't know, M$ has free viewers for most of their file formats available for download. Not that I expect your average teach to know this.

Fair Use (1)

dvoosten (261568) | more than 13 years ago | (#95458)

Books are also intelectual property. When a library buys a book, it doesn't have to pay for all the people that are going to read it. There are special rules for this that make it possible to run libraries, because it is in the public interest that people ecan read books.
The same goes for software licenses in my opinion. Schools should not and cannot be held to the same financial standard as companies. If the BSA wants to build a case with intelectual property law, take them to court, because they have no case. Libraries are a clear example of how intelectual property is protected to such a degree that it is to the benefit of the public. Once again it shows that something is very wrong. Copyright was invented to give artists and insentive to create. Microsoft earns enough money to justify continuing their work, so there is no reason trying to scrape money where there is none. If Microsoft thinks that piracy costs them so much money that they are losing the insentive to create more, then by al means: quit creating, 'cause you're not helping anyone.

Re:schools and computers... (1)

pdiaz (262591) | more than 13 years ago | (#95459)

Well, indeed Math has changed the last 100 years. For example, some of the most important theorems for primarity (testing if a number is prime-->encryption, RSA, ssl, etc etc etc) came from the XIX and XX century. Just an example.

Look at the main problem. (1)

Martigan80 (305400) | more than 13 years ago | (#95465)

These schools have a hard enough time to get M$, a program they already know. You introduce Linux ( which is a great idea) then you have to find somebody to hook everything up, and do the administration on it. Sure some of the kids will know it well but do you want a kid running your schools network? Any how go ahead and give them Linux, but make sure they can use it too.

Re:Ahem (1)

Guil Rarey (306566) | more than 13 years ago | (#95466)

Helloooooo....Is anybody home?

Because there is NO MONEY. None. My wife established and maintained a 1200 user 200 node network 3 server LAN/WAN on a shoestring. Her annaul budget was well less than $100K including salary costs and licenses. (not hardware). Grant-making institutions will fund hardware, but not administration or licenses.

You can bitch about software piracy; you can bitch about crappy education. Just don't bitch about how much (little!) you pay in taxes at the same time.

This is the worst Idea I've ever heard... (1)

Win-Developer (316016) | more than 13 years ago | (#95470)

So I take it when *anything* goes wrong with these Linux Boxes that you propose to have in schools, the /. community or some Open Source/Free Software guy is going to be right there to troubleshoot it?

I really believe that this kind of thing is completely assinine. Teachers, at least in my area, don't know how to use anything except Apple IIe's! Even the *remotely* computer literate teachers know OS 9, and even a just a scant bit of Windows. How are you going to teach the teachers to monitor this?

With school budgets dwindling faster than VA Linux's stock price, teachers are being paid less and less. The lucky few who do make a fair amount aren't likely to give back $$ so that a Linux professional can be brought in to teach/admin the computers.

So /. is going to be Mr. Bigshot, drop 10 Linux workstations in an environment where no one will know how to use them, but they will be saved from Microsoft...Are you going to teach classes to the kids/teachers? No. Are you going to be the one to troubleshoot them when something happens? No. Unless you or anyone else can answer "YES" to any of the above, please can this idea of Forcing Linux into the schools, unless the Open Source/Free Software/ /. community is willing to pay out of their own pocket for these educators to come into the schools and do this.

Also, just out of curiosity, why are schools in fear of being audited? Schools are a business, should pirating be acceptable for them, and not other businesses? Also FYI there are only 50 WINDOWS total machines in all of my cities schools(40 of them are at the high school). The rest of the computers in town? Macs, Apples, Amigas, and a Huge AS/400 that is Broken.

A good direction to take (1)

Claric (316725) | more than 13 years ago | (#95471)

A lot of people think that free unixes should be installed at uni, then worked backwards through the school system. I say this is wrong. I think that to REALLY make an impact you need to be using free unixes when you start school. You should start at the beginning and work forward.

Claric
--

Re:It IS silly (1)

sofar (317980) | more than 13 years ago | (#95474)

I totally agree, in education there are a lot of people developing their own software, choosing an expensive platform because it's *easy* means you have to pay for it as well, no excuses!

Considering the support for writing open source software vs. e.g. visual basic software, open source educational software should have been promoted more and earlier, which means *we* (developers of open source) should have reacted earlier and embrace the educational sector!

Re:It IS silly (1)

OSgod (323974) | more than 13 years ago | (#95480)

and that's the reason the Mac still has 5% of the market -- they owned the schools.

Does that also mean that owning the schools will give free/Free software only 5% of the market?

Re:PR Head (1)

chemical55 (446280) | more than 13 years ago | (#95488)

What's so unnecessary about paying for kids to have an education? Are you cheap or just an elitist?

Re:schools and computers... (1)

sgups (449689) | more than 13 years ago | (#95493)

Top 6 reasons to have computers in schools:
6)If not for anything else, then to show the kids that there is a world beyond the east and west coasts, north of buffalo and south of texas. Not like what CNN and ABC would have you believe. But that's another rant.
5) Help them keep up to date with the latest happenings with BOTH sides of the story.
4) There's a lot of info and resources out there. Which is free at the moment. (Till AOL-TW take over all content creation)
3) Free music!!
2) Unreal Tournament!! (My cuz's high schools computers are powerful enough to run a quake server and its a public school.)
1) Plus we do need to expose them to slashdot.org

Well maybe my priorities are wrong. but the point is there

Re:schools and computers... (1)

night_flyer (453866) | more than 13 years ago | (#95498)

I didnt say history hasnt changed in the last 100 years, I said it changes every year, but what MAJOR event has happened in the last say 10 years that would warrent upgrading all the books? (when a insert could suffice)

I see reading wasnt one of your strong points :)

as for math... Kids are FAILING addition, subtraction, multiplication and division... THAT hasnt changed... if they cant get that right what makes them think putting a computer on their desk will help them out?

_______________________

Re:schools and computers... (1)

night_flyer (453866) | more than 13 years ago | (#95499)

Investing in children costs money, and the money just isn't there.

BS... Investing in children cost TIME and EFFORT... how much money does it cost to take your child (or your neighbor's) to the park to play some basketball? to talk with them? to share your wisdom? to show that you care?

why is it in the 1930's durring the great depression (when there was NO money around) people were being educated? 99% or the people growing up in that era (including your grandparents) had very little money... yet they arent stupid...

_______________________

Re:disease (1)

Zen Mastuh (456254) | more than 13 years ago | (#95502)

What you say !!

Oi oi! (1)

Purple_Walrus (457070) | more than 13 years ago | (#95511)

And congress is wondering why American schools are behind the rest of the world: lack of goodstandardized tests, too much political correctness, and Microsoft.
---

Re:Useless... (1)

LatJoor (464031) | more than 13 years ago | (#95525)

The school's job isn't to teach the kids on-the-job skills, it's to teach them concepts, and teach them how to learn. Learning Free Software teaches you how to learn, because it allows to you participate in software at all levels rather than just learning the interfaces that the company tells you to learn.

Furthermore, it doesn't take that much to learn Windows, so if you learn Linux or some Unix distro it should be a fairly small step to read a few MS books and move into the MS world, if that's where you want to go.

One of the greatest strengths of Free Software is its potential for education. People often overlook this point, but it's not lost on RMS and the GNU project, who have pointed it out.

Why don't techies just become K-12 teachers? (1)

LatJoor (464031) | more than 13 years ago | (#95526)

If the objection is that teachers just don't understand how to use Free Software OS's, then why don't more of us 'enlightened' technical people just become school teachers? For all the complaining that goes on around here about people being ignorant about computers, you'd think there would be more of an investment in trying to overcome the deficiency in our technical education.

It would also be a great covert way for free software to infiltrate the world's youth... just think if more and more places told MS sales reps, "Sorry, it's just not worth it to retrain our empolyees in MS software, because they are already familiar with Linux and X."

Of course, that might mean a cut in your $80,000+/year paycheck... but hey, where are all those homeless ex-dotcommers?

Granted, I'm sure a lot of us geeks (I can't decide whether I am one or not anymore, actually) didn't have such a great time in school and aren't too eager to go back there, but personally I plan to give it a shot.

Re:Application Software (1)

atif_ghaffar (464452) | more than 13 years ago | (#95527)

I dont know of any educational softwares, but if you post the purpose they solve, the opensource community may help to write some if they dont exist.
Count me in.

PR Head (1)

jobugeek (466084) | more than 13 years ago | (#95531)

Did Microsoft get their head public relations person from the KGB or something? It's one thing to bully businesses and city govts, but to start hammering schools? Not real smart.

Re:schools and computers... (2)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#95541)

we dont need computers, we need teachers...

Or at the very least, some apostrophes, and perhaps a Shift key.

Re:schools and computers... (2)

jandrese (485) | more than 13 years ago | (#95542)

Apparently the moderator was one of the students you talk about. Your troll got modded insightful!

Math has changed tremendously in the past 100 years (although very basic math remains mostly unchanged). English is a constantly evolving language (read something from the turn of the century if you don't think so), HOW many "major events" did we have in the last 100 years? Are you sure you really want kids using 100 year old textbooks?

I do love the use of random quotes, the unattributed sources (a poll even!), and the call back to the "good old days." What a masterful troll, I salute you.

Pbthhhhhhhht!

Down that path lies madness. On the other hand, the road to hell is paved with melting snowballs.

Free Software (2)

Wyatt Earp (1029) | more than 13 years ago | (#95547)

Having worked in technology in a Public School District, and now in a Private School. It's not that easy to shift your OS even if it's free in a School District.

Why?

Training at the Administrative level. Most district's admin staff and school administration don't get any time off like teachers do. It would be *very* hard to train them. It's hard enough to get them used to Windows 9x or NT. The shift to KDE or Gnome would be very difficult to pull off and not lose alot of productivity.

Then at the State level, there are files that have both platform and program requirements. The people at the State Education department arn't going to accept files not done on Windows.

Microsoft pushed administration into a corner by cutting deals with the State, and now they know they have the power to dictate terms.

Re:Application Software (2)

Wyatt Earp (1029) | more than 13 years ago | (#95549)

Yep.

Until Linux runs Reader Rabbit and all those other annoying K-3 applications with the annoying beeps and tones...Linux will not have a place in the classroom.

Now I know there are schools using it, but we need to dumb it down some for the K-12s where the technology staff is overworked and underpaid. In my public school job, there were 3 of us to support 1600 computers across 8 locations.

Re:Microsoft, what a dumb move. (2)

acroyear (5882) | more than 13 years ago | (#95567)

Given the number of platforms it runs on now, and the fact that Sun wants a Java version soon, StarOffice is gonna fit that bill...

Either that or the other suggested remedy (M$ opens up and publishes ALL file formats and changes BEFORE the software that runs those changes is put on retail) will be pushed as part of the consent decree. Its the same sort of thing that the DoJ got for IBM back in the 60s...
--
You know, you gotta get up real early if you want to get outta bed... (Groucho Marx)

The School's Problem (2)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 13 years ago | (#95575)

Linux/Open Software in schools is a grand and awesome idea. On paper it looks great, and in a presentation it will make anything else look downright expensive. Except: What IS/IT people they have will fight it tooth an nail as they are usually MS drones, the CS teacher (Who is a MS preacher), some other teacher that knows a little bit about networking, students (and the faculty dont trust them), or volunteers from the professional community which are MS zombies with the letters MCSE tattooed on their brain.

Over the course of one summer, an entire schools IT can be converted to linux, the administrators trained, the teachers trained, and in full swing as if nothing has changed.... But it wont happen.

The volunteer Computer professional will rant and pout like a 3 year old, demanding it be NT/2000 (or worse XP).. The teacher that knows sometinhg will be scared because he has never touched anything but Windows 95/98, and the CS teacher will kick and scream that he cant teach kids on anything but microsoft... Complaining that you cant program or teach without a GUI based lanuage.

until we get someone to mandate the changes to schools it wont happen.

Math change: Only for serious academics? (2)

swb (14022) | more than 13 years ago | (#95579)

Math has changed tremendously in the past 100 years (although very basic math remains mostly unchanged).

OK, math has changed. I'm sure the field of mathematics as an academic pursuit has changed, and it probably has had a major impact on science, engineering and fields for whom statistics plays a major role.

But how much of the math that even well-educated people actually know and use in everyday life has changed in the past 100 years? Most educated professionals who aren't in a math-intensive field seldom use much beyond very basic algebra. Have significant new digits in Pi changed much? Are there bold new techniques for solving for X?

Even in the calculus classes I took in college school, much of the "soft" education about the subject involved guys like Newton, Leibniz and other people who were long-dead. We never learned about significant advances in calculus in the past 100 years (although I don't doubt there were at least a few), let alone the past 10 or 20 years.

I'm sure math has changed, but I'm willing to bet that most of the math taught in high school hasn't changed meaningfully in the past 25 years and only trivially in the past 50. Academic math in colleges has probably changed dramatically, but that's largely meaningless for most high school students.

I have very little sympathy for the teachers... (2)

sethg (15187) | more than 13 years ago | (#95581)

...quoted in the article who said, Oh, yeah, we violated Microsoft's copyright, but we're a poor school district, blah blah blah. I'm no libertarian, but there's a difference between setting aside private-property rights for the public good (e.g., Brazil's cheap AIDS drugs) and putting an altruistic spin on one's individual violations of the law (this case).
--

Re:There is no monopoly situation (2)

GauteL (29207) | more than 13 years ago | (#95589)

The anti-trust case has certainly proved otherwise. Both the original court case, and the appeal concluded that MS has a monopoly, and that they abused it.

Thus, my statement is not exactly without merit.

Windows is not necessarily the way... (2)

Jeckle (30833) | more than 13 years ago | (#95590)

I have often thought U.S. schools don't focus enough on computers. I remember there was one computer lab in the school I taught at briefly in Opelika, Alabama. Students were allowed time there to work on class projects and what not. These were old IBM PS/2 boxen that were so out of date it was pathetic. Not to mention the fact that programs like "Carmen San Diego" and "Oregon Trail" were long considered excellent ways of incorporating computers in the classroom. How wrong could taht be? All that does is use new technology to teach the same thing a book or movie can. Pretty much in the same fashon too!

If school systems are honest about teaching computer use in schoool, teach students how to use tools such as search engines and newsgroups to find information for reports. Use programs like powerpoint (or Star Office/KOffice/whatever Gonme's calling it's office app today) to add multimedia to their reports. Better yet, partner with someone like Macromedia and/or Adobe to use flash annimations on web pages designed through GoLive or Dreamweaver (after learning HTML programming by hand of course). Get copies of "Learning Perl" or some of Laura Lemay's "21 Days" series. Teach kids how computers are used in the world. Teach them why they're useful and how they work. Teaching the standard Microsoft line will not allow students to see how applications work in anything beyond a superficial standpoint (a diagram in a book). It will also more than likely produce more people who expect an AOL-ized or M$-ized version of computing -- simplicity to the point of absurdity. Don't get me wrong, computing for Joe User should be pain free, but wouldn't things be great if Joe User could remember something from high school computer class like, "if your password's not working, check the CAPS Lock key!"?

Microsoft is not necessarily needed for all of this. For programming-based classes (which should be limited to basic web programming (HTML, with intro to JavaScript, DHTML, and possibly XML), Perl and C to cover the basics). Anything from Linux to one fo the BSDs would work fine. Schools could arrange a deal with local vendors to sponsor computer purchases through fund matching programs and what not. Imagine how far universities could go with CS programs if most incoming freshmen already knew all this information.

I know more and more students are learning this stuff on their own these days, but why can't schools look to expand their computer learning beyond learning Office apps and playing outdated and useless geography and history games with little to no interactivity. I realize most people qualified to teach this stuff can make lots more money than a school system can offer, but when you think about it, lots of teachers could make more money doing something else too! It's not about money so much as it's about how passionate someone is about his cause. In this case, I'm asking how passionate people are about teaching school kids about computers and programming rather than how to use one OS and a handful of marginally useful applications.

Re:schools and computers... (2)

jmauro (32523) | more than 13 years ago | (#95592)

English, Math, Social Studies change all the time. New ideas, formualas, and ways to teach math are available all the time. English is constantantly evolving. And we're learning more about the past than we every thought we would, this has lead to a re-interpretation of everything. It happens all the time. Part of this change involves actually getting kids exposed to computers and showing the right and wrong ways to use them. Computers are part of the "basics". Things have changed even in Kansas. Failure to realize that in the modern society is a failure of education.

Investing in children costs money, and the money just isn't there.There is a teacher shortage, but that is directly due to teacher salary. There simply is no money for anything. The government would rather give ill concevied tax uts to everyone instead of paying for education. When the government is ready to really, really invest in education, and pay teachers a reasonable wage then, things will begin to change. Till then , we're stuck on the same cycle of not enough money.

I doubt though that American Kids are the DUMBEST in the world. That seems a little drastic. We do score lower on test, but that is because we test everyone and not just those who'd pass the test. We end up with the same or more numbers of phds and master students per capita.

Re:good idea, (2)

Microlith (54737) | more than 13 years ago | (#95621)

Most teachers in elementary schools haven't a clue how to use windows effectively.

As long as you give them a desktop and a start-menu like object (or even something better), and easy access to word processors, spreadsheets, and maybe a few other programs, and make printing painless, there will be no problems, regardless of OS.

Linux + Gnome/KDE + StarOffice + MSO Converters + Wine could EASILY replace Windows, the trick is getting our foot in the door.

It's the applications... (2)

q2k (67077) | more than 13 years ago | (#95624)

The bottom line is, no matter how much MS OS's suck, not matter how much they charge or overchage for the software and applications, no matter how much we hate it - until "Ready to Read with Pooh" and about a zillion other education software titles can run on Linux - Windows will own the school systems, and Windows will own the parents. People buy computers for the applications they run, and 99.9% of the useful educational software runs on Windows or Mac, almost none of it runs on *nix.

Re:Funny... (2)

barneyfoo (80862) | more than 13 years ago | (#95628)

Linux is certainly easier to use than the Apple II-e and II-gs that our school system used *exclusively* in the 80's and early 90's. Don't give me this shit about how linux is hard to use. You go to school to learn. You might as well learn how to be self-sufficient, and not reliant on $199 software from The Man.

Re:In other news... (2)

lovebyte (81275) | more than 13 years ago | (#95629)

As always, there is a big difference between hardware and software. If people could copy food, chairs, ... they would do it. Your remark is thus pointless.

You are seing it in reverse ... (2)

Aceticon (140883) | more than 13 years ago | (#95645)

If kids now get used to use Free Software programs instead of Commercial ones, then 10-20 year from now you will have a whole pool of new workers that are actually used to working with Free Software instead of Comercial software and cannot concieve of ever paying for a Spreadsheet or a Word Processor ("Why should i pay for it now if i've got if for free all my life?").

When confronted with the options of:

  • Re-train all new personnel AND pay for the software
  • Use Free Software
what will be easier for a company to choose?

Public Schools and Free Software (2)

pizen (178182) | more than 13 years ago | (#95651)

Does anyone know of a school that actually uses Free Software? I know that back when I was in high school all we used was NT and Mac OS. Why? Because that's what the teachers knew. Even the teachers that tought computer classes only knew Windows. No school district is going to use a system that only the students are capable of using with any skill. Also, no district is going to pay for teachers to go learn computer skills. The vast majority of teachers are not there to know computers. They are there to teach and don't have the time to learn something new. The education about Free Software has to occur while the teachers are still learning...in college. Get the colleges and universities to promote this in their classrooms. Then the districts must attract these new teachers. But because teachers are so underpaid (at least in the US) anyone with any computer skills is probably going to go for a higher paying job. So these school districts need to raise teacher salaries. But they can't because they can't afford it (and buying MS licenses isn't helping). It's a horribly vicious cycle. The solution? RAISE TAXES!!! (got your attention, didn't I?) Then the schools will have more money to attract technology-savvy teachers and you, the Slashdot reader, will have your Free Software in public schools.
---

an amazing opportunity (2)

Alien54 (180860) | more than 13 years ago | (#95654)

This is an amazing opportunity for the geek community in the big cities like Philadelphia.

Heck, it is even a business opportunity, selling things and services to the city.

someone should get cracking.

Check out the Vinny the Vampire [eplugz.com] comic strip

good point, (2)

Ratteau (183242) | more than 13 years ago | (#95655)


most of the teachers in elementary schools don't have the first idea how to use Linux, or other non-windows os's

but it would probably be cheaper to hire a full-time person to maintain the systems and train the teachers than pay the licencing fees - especially after the .NET scam begins...


--------

Oh, come on (2)

Elvis Maximus (193433) | more than 13 years ago | (#95661)

First of all, comparing the lack of legal Windows licenses to AIDS in Africa is stupid at best and unbelievably offensive at worst. It's not like people in South Africa are whining because they want GlaxoWellcome anti-AIDS cocktails rather than some Indian version that also works. They have no alternative. Then there is the minor point that nobody is likely to die for lack of Freecell. There are perfectly legal, free alternatives to Windows that work very well. You don't like the alternatives? That is unfortunate, but I cannot think of any other area where you can choose not to play by the rules just because you do not like the readily-available alternative that you can afford.

The fact that this complaint is taken seriously shows that Microsoft has managed to convince an awful lot of people that Windows is a necessity.

-

Re:good idea, (2)

elefantstn (195873) | more than 13 years ago | (#95663)

I'm not sure where you went to school, but where I did, the teachers didn't know anything about Windows OS's, either. Face it, apart from the sysadmins the school hires (or doesn't, to save money), nobody really knows what's going on with the fancy schmancy computer lab the school bought. With Free/free software, the school can save money on installation and spend it instead on a knowledgeable admin who can double teaching kids how to administrate/program. And *never* have to worry about a Microsoft inquisition.

Re:Education is education (2)

tmark (230091) | more than 13 years ago | (#95672)

Imagine how much you'd learn about computers from setting up a network of Linux machine, setting up web servers and setting up some usefull cool apps (like a web site on which homework assigments are posted daily by the teachers).

Sure. Now imagine just how much they would learn if they tried to do the same thing using, say IIS. They would learn nearly as much. And while some students may well learn a lot about hacking around with Unix (perhaps largely because they would have to do so !), I find it hard to argue that this (by itself) is a good reason to install Linux. Let's face it, most people are NOT going to be sysadmins when they grow up, most people are NOT going to use Emacs at work, most people do NOT care whether or not you learn Perl.

Right or wrong, it is HUGELY important these days that people learn to use MS applications. There are far more jobs for high school students and college students that require people who know Word and Excel than there are jobs that require people to know StartOffice or Gnumeric.

[Humour] Re:Its a virus (2)

opkool (231966) | more than 13 years ago | (#95675)

Actualy, it is like a Cancer. Or even more, MS Office is a Pac-Man like application. So useless, so dumb...

And, oh! yes!, it's unamerican and endangeres business around the world, by threatening their intellectual property by forcing yo to accept silly virus-like licenses.

What? that all this is not about MS Office? Mmm

Re:Useless... (2)

UberLame (249268) | more than 13 years ago | (#95682)

I thought the idea was to teach people how to use computers, not how to blindly follow some steps that lead to results on only certain configurations. Back when I still ran Windows, some people would come to my house, sit down at my computer, and be parallelized because it didn't look exactly the way they expected. I didn't do anything wierd, other than rearrange the templates in office, and completely rearrange the start menu. Office had numerous changes made, but only of the kind that added new things, not stripping away old menu items.

Re:US Ph.D's (2)

daniel_isaacs (249732) | more than 13 years ago | (#95684)

ACtually, a significant number of medical students are Indian/Pakistani. And Lawyers don't usually get PHD's. They get JD's.

I wasn't able to find decent stats, but it appears about %60-%70 of PHD's are US Citizens. That's just a guess based on limited numbers. If anyone has stats that include more than just one state or University, please post.

Re:Bad Analogy (2)

daniel_isaacs (249732) | more than 13 years ago | (#95685)

Umm..I think he was being facetious. What with MS calling Linux a "Cancer" and whatnot.

Ahem (2)

sharkticon (312992) | more than 13 years ago | (#95697)

Just out of interest, apart from any other considerations (I agree it's more practical for schools to use free software from a purely economical point of view), but why aren't these schools already in posession of compliant licenses?

Is it suddenly alright for educational establishments to pirate software?

Intellectual Property Deserves to be Respected. (2)

jdavidb (449077) | more than 13 years ago | (#95705)

The message we need to get to them is that intellectual property deserves to be respected.

When the educational establishment promotes a message that a significant minority disagrees with, that is indoctrination, not education. Not everyone feels that intellectual property deserves to be respected, like the BSA. The school system ought to teach good citizenship, but it doesn't have to assert that every law and philosophy is just.

I'd rather they send the same message Jack Webb did in Dragnet years ago: "We live in a democracy, a nation of laws. And when you don't like the laws, you don't break the laws. You work within the system to change the laws.

Re:Intellectual Property Deserves to be Respected. (3)

UnknownSoldier (67820) | more than 13 years ago | (#95717)

> And when you don't like the laws, you don't break the laws.

Uhm, sorry no. Civil disobediance at an unjust law works faster then any "by the book" method.

From one hand into the other (3)

lovebyte (81275) | more than 13 years ago | (#95718)

BGates is giving money and HW/SW [yahoo.com] to schools on one hand.
The other hand is making profit from other schools.

He must have read Machiavelli [utm.edu] . Look like an angel in the public eye, act like a devil in reality.

Its a virus (3)

drnomad (99183) | more than 13 years ago | (#95720)

Unfortunately, Microsoft Office is like a virus. If one of the offices you connect to uses it, it means that you have to use itserlf. In that way, Office usage is spreading like a infectious disease.
--

Apple II Plus Basic was written by Microsoft (3)

yerricde (125198) | more than 13 years ago | (#95722)

How can Microsoft prosecute schools when they're all still running on Apple IIs?

The version of Basic [everything2.com] built into the ROM of all Apple II computers from II Plus to IIGS is copyright Microsoft. "Pay up on Office, or we'll terminate your Applesoft Basic license, and you won't be able to use your IIGS lab."

I don't remember school being like this.. (3)

phaze3000 (204500) | more than 13 years ago | (#95728)

"The copyright law should be applied universally," she says. "What is it we're trying to teach these children anyway? Are we teaching them that its OK to steal? The message we need to get to them is that intellectual property deserves to be respected."

That's funny, at my school we were always taught to share. If you had something that someone else could use, and you didn't need it, you should give it to someone else. This was never portrayed as stealing at any point during my education..

--

New Product: Microsoft Spice XP (3)

tenzig_112 (213387) | more than 13 years ago | (#95729)

The 9x OS is a bit of a commodity, something consumers think they cannot do without, something with only one source. Perhaps only a psychological monopoly, but real enough.

And with the growth of the industry stagnant, the Baron has ordered Raban to sqeeze all he can from Arakis, SQUEEZE!

[New slogan = "Through Windows I set my mind in motion."]

I'm less worried about what the move does for school budgets as much as what it will do to kids. "Dad, when I grow up I want to be a robber barron."

The education squeeze is nothing compared to the hurt they're putting on the suits. The new Software Assurance program may increase software operations costs for some businesses as much as 40%.

The deadline delay is supposed to make them look magnanimous: Kinder, Genter Microsoft Delays Buggery of Corporate America [ridiculopathy.com]

schools and computers... (3)

night_flyer (453866) | more than 13 years ago | (#95732)

kids arent learning, math hasnt changed in 100s of years, english hasnt changed in almost as many, history, well it changes once a year, but major events dont happen that often (besides that is what "current events class was for) books are reusable and dont need to be "upgraded". instead of using this money on computers and internet access that is NOT needed, why dont they invest some TIME and EFFORT into the children themselves. the latest polls show we have the DUMBEST KIDS in the WORLD... meanwhile my grandparents were taught in a one room schoolhouse with no AC (its now used as my parents garage). they learned ALL the basics PLUS a whole lot more... and their parents were POOR farmers in the southeast corner of Kansas... we dont need computers, we need teachers...

_______________________

Education is education (4)

euroderf (47) | more than 13 years ago | (#95733)

People round here might demonise Microsoft, but at the end of the day education is education and it doesn't matter how it is provided or who by, as long as it is impartial and rounded.

I read an interesting article on this topic at adequacy.org [adequacy.org] , the controversial discussion site, regarding the education of children.

The article [adequacy.org] considered the sort of education that children get from unlikely sources, such as games, and the dangerous relations of this to commercial companies and some of the adverse effects.

Seems to me that we should not be overzealous and deny education and educational equipment, nomatter the provider.

That would be taking zealoutry too far.
--

Application Software (4)

chill (34294) | more than 13 years ago | (#95734)

I've donated a couple of old PCs (and their respective Win95 licenses) to my kid's school. I've considered installing some Linux boxes (ThinkNICs) to assist but...

When I walked in the class there was a shelf full of (properly purchased -- for the most part) Windows educational software. None of that would run on Linux. Not much point installing a PC that couldn't run any of their existing programs.

I am in the process of gathering as much educational (elementary, middle & high school) software for Linux as possible so I can present them with an alternative.

Ideally GPL, since it will be installed on 8-10 workstations. (That's the "for the most part" part of the Windows software -- they own 1-2 copies of each, not 8-10.)

Does anyone have FIRST HAND experience with educational software for Linux that they could recommend? Not just a site that promotes the stuff, but specific programs that are worthwhile.

--
Charles E. Hill

Bad Analogy (4)

Foxman98 (37487) | more than 13 years ago | (#95735)

I think comparing a very horrible, deadly disease to software problems is very tasteless.

Good Analogy (4)

maddogsparky (202296) | more than 13 years ago | (#95737)

...comparing a very horrible, deadly disease to software problems is very tasteless.

I believe he was refering to the practice of large companies applying the same arm-bending tactics to financially-stricken individuals and groups as they do to organizations and individuals that clearly have the capability to pay without severely impacting the other parts of their existence.

If schools have to pay outrageous prices for software that costs next to nothing to reproduce, at the expense of paying for teachers, facilities, books, computers, etc., the kids attending those schools are disadvantaged because it will be difficult to get a good education. AIDS is bad because of the quality of life it bestows on the stricken. A poor education often results in poverty. Either way, a person is reduced to scraping to get by in life, when it doesn't have to happen.

If the means exist to treat both (drugs for aids, better teaching aids in schools), and large, profit-centric companies exacerbate the problem instead of helping, how is this a bad analogy?

good idea, (4)

Gehenna_Gehenna (207096) | more than 13 years ago | (#95738)

but most of the teachers in elementary schools don't have the first idea how to use Linux, or other non-windows os's. The applications and operating systems have yet to come to the point where "joe Elementary School Teacher" would be able to use it effectivly, much les instruct others on how to use it. Please do not flame me, all you computer literate elmeantery school people, you KNOW that most of your collueges are apart of the AOL crowd...

A solution: Linux for Schools: K-12LTSP v1.0 (4)

opkool (231966) | more than 13 years ago | (#95740)

Celebrating the release of version 1.0 this last July, 4th. let me impersonate a car-dealer:

Do you want a computer-lab in your school?

Do you need 100% uptime?

Do you want to have a maintenance-free environment?

Do you want to teach, not re-install Windows?

... but you do not want to spend $20,000 and need crash-less computers?

Well, we have a solution. The K-12LTSP v.1.0 project

For about $6,000 (less if you already have "old" computers), you can set-up a lab with e-mail, browsers, office suites, image programs...

On Linux, of course.

Newsforge article [newsforge.com]

K12LTSP home page [k12ltsp.org]

Work with Legacy equipment [k12ltsp.org]

... and a " girl magnet [k12.or.us] " as stated on their site:

Salut and education,

Linux in education (4)

jneves (448063) | more than 13 years ago | (#95742)

A good reference for schools to use in this area is SEUL [seul.org] .

Re:Useless... (5)

Enry (630) | more than 13 years ago | (#95743)

Bull pucky. *honks your nose*

The reason why most people (businesses) won't make the switch from Windows to Linux is that Linux will take too long to retrain employees. Teaching Linux and OpenOffice in schools is the perfect way to get this training done right the first time.

These students then go off into the world, wondering where OpenOffice is and what this crap software called Word is supposed to do.

US Ph.D's (5)

Per Abrahamsen (1397) | more than 13 years ago | (#95744)

> We end up with the same or more numbers of phds
> and master students per capita.

Really? You may be right, I have no numbers, but the places in US I have been most of the Ph.D. students have been Asian or European. I sometimes think that the only reason USA hasn't become a third world country is the amazing number of bright minds they import from the rest of the world. They don't seem to produce many of their own.

Of course, this is in science and technology only. Maybe USA produce the worlds finest doctors and lawyers.

It is their right (5)

GauteL (29207) | more than 13 years ago | (#95745)

Although it is most certainly distasteful, it is (under current law) their right to do so.

I'm not sure it is in their best interest though. It may seem so right now, because of their monopoly-situation, that trying to maximise short-term profit using this kind of strategy is wise.

I believe it is just this sort of thinking that may eventually lead to their downfall.
If schools get sick enough of forced-upgrading, high prices, anti-piracy-schemes etc.. they will switch because of their low budget..
And since they may very well help influence thousands of kids each, I think Microsoft should continue to be gentle to them (which my understanding is that they've mostly been so far).

Re:Application Software (5)

sstaton (51605) | more than 13 years ago | (#95747)

Good luck getting any non-Microsoft software into school districts. At one time, Apple was the defacto king of educational computers, but in the last couple of years Microsoft has very successfully marketed their way into most middle and upper-middle class schools. My local elementary has "Microsoft nights" where parents are shown Microsoft products -- all pitched under the auspices of the local school district (McKinney ISD, with which I have recently had a few disagreements [deltos.com] and which has been noted in Slashdot here [slashdot.org] ).

It's unlikely that Linux or branded Linux systems would ever be permitted in this environment. I'll be that Microsoft has sold the MISD licenses that forbid alternative operating systems on any desktop or server in the district, all in exchange for a cheaper Windows license. Well, Linux costs nothing, and as a tax payer, that really fries my bacon when tax dollars are spent on more expensive products that don't really offer any services that the school district's rather restrictive IT policies allow in the classroom.

I wonder if another monopoly court case could be construed from this?

It IS silly (5)

nowt (230214) | more than 13 years ago | (#95748)

to bitch.. open/free software the way for schools to go... this would foster a generation of people who are knowledgable in open/free appliactions.

Take away Microsoft's demand at this level and this will most likely continue through the student's lives.

Re:schools and computers... (5)

daniel_isaacs (249732) | more than 13 years ago | (#95749)

We do need computers. But we need teachers that understand how to use them. Not as you and I use them, but as a pervasive tool to incorporate into the classroom. Like desks.

But what they really need are roofs that don't leak. Stomaches that aren't empty. Hearts that are not hopeless.

It's silly to think a computer or ten will substanitively improve one's education. At least, when more basic needs are not met. Most of the hurdles facing Education in the US are Socio-Economic. Not technological.

Please pardon my spelling. I went to a public school with no computers.

M$ is just plain nuts (5)

GreyPoopon (411036) | more than 13 years ago | (#95750)

Mark it up to arrogance or stupidty, but they are on a path of desctruction. Years ago, Apple Computer worked tightly with educational institutions (mostly universities) to get their hardware (and software) installed for students. Many times, their products were provided at little or no cost. This investment paid off big time. Many college students ended up buying Macintosh computers when they left college. Why? Because it was what they were used to.

Now, Microsoft is irritating the people that educate young minds. They are very clearly handing the very places where people are first exposed to computers a darn good reason for jumping on the Open Source / Free Software bandwagon. Honestly, somebody with some financial resources should contact these schools and offer to help them transition to Free Software that will prevent them from ever being hassled over licenses again.

After reading all of these latest releases about Microsoft bullying people, I can't help but think that they are either incredibly stupid (not likely), or they have an ace up their sleeve that nobody knows about yet. All of this sheds light on an experience a company I used to work at had. A few years ago, Microsoft did a license audit at the site (a hospital, BTW), and mysteriously discovered that they weren't in compliance. Now, I wondered how that could possibly be true, as we had more licenses than were being used. Anyway, under the disguise of benevolence, Microsoft agreed to forget the penalities from being "underlicensed," as long as the institution agreed to purchase an "Enterprise License." So, many many budget dollars were redirected to purchase the Enterprise License so that the institution wouldn't get sued. Quite a few high profile projects had to be scaled back or dropped altogether. I wonder what effect that might have had on patient outcomes....

GreyPoopon
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