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22,000 Indiana Students Using Linux Desktops

samzenpus posted about 8 years ago | from the open-school dept.

321

Anonymous writes "Indiana's Department of Education has moved 22,000 students onto Linux desktops, and it's looking like that's only going to accelerate with SLED 10, Linspire, and other distributions getting better."

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Way to go Tux! (1, Offtopic)

W3BMAST3R101 (904060) | about 8 years ago | (#15925144)

You go.. Gir.. Dude.

In indiana... (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15925154)

Now there is truly more than corn in Indiana!

Re:In indiana... (-1, Offtopic)

hackwrench (573697) | about 8 years ago | (#15925170)

There's also a theme park!
http://www.indianabeach.com/ [indianabeach.com]

Re:In indiana... (-1, Redundant)

sbrown123 (229895) | about 8 years ago | (#15925394)

Just shows you there is more than corn in Indiana.

Re:In indiana... (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15925466)

Yes, there are kernels! Sorry, but the pun had to be made.

Re:In indiana... (3, Funny)

Peyna (14792) | about 8 years ago | (#15925292)

Soybeans?

Re:In indiana... (1)

simontek2 (523795) | about 8 years ago | (#15925326)

They have a point. There is no standardize API's or installers. There is a difference between propierty and a standard. I have said for a long time a standard needs to come to place.

~SimonTek
  PS WHO makes these logon screens? Who can read the picture no problem?

Re:In indiana... (1)

Nutria (679911) | about 8 years ago | (#15925499)

There is no standardize API's

Please be specific.

Re:In indiana... (2, Interesting)

flumps (240328) | about 8 years ago | (#15925641)

I think he's talking about Microsofts COM and DCOM, and probably OPENGL and DirectX or something..

.. but then there's Gnomes Bononbo [wikipedia.org] for a COM layer and the directx alternative SDL [libsdl.org] , so I think hes just sounding off.

Re:In indiana... (2, Funny)

Durrok (912509) | about 8 years ago | (#15925789)

As a hoosier I can tell you that although there may be more then corn in Indiana it is the most exciting thing around.

Terrorist targets? (3, Funny)

Pete Brubaker (35550) | about 8 years ago | (#15925188)

Hey, wait a second, isnt that the number of "terrorist targets" they claim to have?

thats nice (3, Funny)

rhesuspieces00 (804354) | about 8 years ago | (#15925193)

but does it run...

oh wait, i guess it does.

Re:thats nice (1)

RLiegh (247921) | about 8 years ago | (#15925595)

Yes, indeed it does [usermodelinux.org] .

One or two Linux "flavors" are not enough? (5, Insightful)

RuBLed (995686) | about 8 years ago | (#15925204)

When I RTFA, I noticed that yes, they are using one flavor of Linux now but what worries me is that they're "planning" to use more flavors in the future, ranging from Ubuntu to Freespire. I don't have anything against it but if it is under the state grant program, it should try to standarize on one or two flavors of Linux. I think they're getting too excited on this and not thinking of the small consequences when 22000+ students are divided into 10 or more Linux flavors. Although they said those are "future" plans, I really would like to see them standarize. (or it is just me that wants them to use Ubuntu, hehe...)

Re:One or two Linux "flavors" are not enough? (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15925217)

It must be this new abstinence-only doctrine in action: install linux to deny students access to P2P pr0n.

I am fine with that, but how are they going to be able to download viruses and gamez?

Re:One or two Linux "flavors" are not enough? (1)

RuBLed (995686) | about 8 years ago | (#15925311)

you should know the obvious answer to that :)

Re:One or two Linux "flavors" are not enough? (2, Insightful)

megaditto (982598) | about 8 years ago | (#15925327)

VMware??

Re:One or two Linux "flavors" are not enough? (5, Insightful)

Denial93 (773403) | about 8 years ago | (#15925305)

The various flavors aren't that different from each other, especially in the areas that (should) matter to students. As long as they all run OOo and Firefox, are free of spyware and WoW clients, and can talk to each other, little more will be required. A heterogenous Linux environment isn't the end of the world, nor an administration nightmare. This has the same reason as the switch in the first place: the OS matters less and less. (Of course it'd be all different with proprietary business software or groupware, but these aren't needed here.)

Re:One or two Linux "flavors" are not enough? (5, Interesting)

Skrynesaver (994435) | about 8 years ago | (#15925325)

when 22000+ students are divided into 10 or more Linux flavors.

The article mentions SLED and RedHat. They also mention Ubuntu being used successfully by a different school district, I presume because of the edubuntu project. No sane admin is going to roll out 10 distros, "apt-get emerge rpm, Oh sod it install the bloody thing yourself!". However what's happening here is that different school districts are approving A distro for use on their systems, not some poor support tech trying to work out what distro is being used in a given instance.

If my experience is anything to go by students who are introduced to linux early find Windows is broken if they are asked to move over. Employers of Indianna, prepare to be swamped with demands for cheaper OS installs in 6 years!!

Re:One or two Linux "flavors" are not enough? (5, Insightful)

sbrown123 (229895) | about 8 years ago | (#15925329)

A good quote in the article states that they don't bring up Linux or open source with the students but keep the focus on the cirriculum. Thats good, and makes Microsofts job really, really hard when they want to undo this. As for the different distros you will notice that they point out that these are being implemented at a school by school basis. But why should that matter? They are using the OS to just be an OS and thats about all. They probably just want it to run a web browser and Open Office. I live in Indiana, and have several friends who teach in the school system, so I know from talking to them that the hardware is dated and just keeping Microsoft Windows running is a fulltime job on its own (patching, removing kids "tweaks", spyware removal, etc).

Re:One or two Linux "flavors" are not enough? (3, Interesting)

FLOOBYDUST (737287) | about 8 years ago | (#15925816)

One of the largest drains on IT school budgets is the cost of licenses. From the article it appears they are focused not on "wow we use Linux" but we can put laptops in the hand of the students for substantially reduced cost. What needs to happen next is true integration of the laptop into the curriculum. I believe the algebra, geometry and calculus curriculum is ripe for improvement using laptops in the classroom to learn advanced concepts such as three dimensional coordinate systems , graphing, integration, integration etc. It is easier to understand if you can see it. The TI graphing calculators in use today are improvements on pen and pencil calculations but don't really represent a step change in the teaching methods. Unfortunately (or fortunately depending on viewpoint) the TI calculators have cool games which get alot of use during monotonous lectures. Has the teaching of advanced math changed at all in the last 50 years? Hopefully low cost laptops will inspire development of tools to bring about fundamental changes . The ultimate goal is to have the laptop and its underlying software transparent to the user. Any discussion of distros in the classroom defeats the purpose.

Re:One or two Linux "flavors" are not enough? (2, Insightful)

csubi (950112) | about 8 years ago | (#15925335)

I really don't think that would be of such a big problem - as soon as you get the hang of using any of the most popular distros, you're set to use most of the others (again, speaking about the popular ones like Fedora, Suse, Mandriva, Ubuntu, etc).
    I started with Mandrake 9.2, suffered like hell for a few months, two years later I use Ubuntu at work and Gentoo ~x86 a home.
    So as long as they see something else than Windows, it will be a largely beneficial experience, making them learn more!

    Idealism apart, one should still assure that the workstations deployed fulfill a few criteria:
      1. have functional local networking capacity
              Samba works like charm
      2. network printing
              CUPS
      3. don't be distro package format limited when installing software
          what I mean: I often had problems with Mandrake 9.2 in such regard that the compile toolchain was broken - the distro of choice sould give you the capacity to compile anything from source. In such case, the sysadmin is not tearing his hair out when tryong o install something that is not in the correct .rpm/.deb/whatever format.

    And why standardize the Linux distro to be deployed? Let the kids choose which distro suits them best.After all, all these distros aim at the same thing : be a capable and functional desktop OS

 

Re:One or two Linux "flavors" are not enough? (3, Insightful)

ComputerizedYoga (466024) | about 8 years ago | (#15925495)

Let the kids choose which distro suits them best.

The kids aren't going to have any say in what distro gets chosen (which is fine, in my opinion). But each district's IT department will certainly have that degree of autonomy.

Incidentally, that's also the response to the fears of too many distros. It's not going to be the department of education (as in statewide) micromanaging things, doing OS installs and maintenance, etc. It's going to be the IT people in every individual district ... the people who've been trying to get by on freeware and the cheapest possible systems management solutions for ages.

Districts need to train, hire/fire people for the required skillsets, and will probably also have time to work out a way to come into line with the state's policy. That'd be my expectation anyway.

Re:One or two Linux "flavors" are not enough? (2, Interesting)

BoberFett (127537) | about 8 years ago | (#15925580)

And why standardize the Linux distro to be deployed? Let the kids choose which distro suits them best.After all, all these distros aim at the same thing : be a capable and functional desktop OS

Apparently you missed the part where the student stated that he "Didn't care" whether it was Windows or not. Do you really think he's going to be concerned about which Linux distro is installed?

Re:One or two Linux "flavors" are not enough? (2, Informative)

csubi (950112) | about 8 years ago | (#15925599)

Sorry,

    It's true that I did not explain myself 100% clearly:
    The "let them choose" meant that kids might develop prefences toward using a certain distro if more than one present in the same classroom?
    And if ever such a thing would become apparent, it is logical to equip more PCs with the given distro.

   

Re:One or two Linux "flavors" are not enough? (2, Insightful)

BoberFett (127537) | about 8 years ago | (#15925611)

I guess I still don't understand. To most people, a computer is a tool. It's like a hammer. As long as it pounds in nails, it really doesn't matter if it's yellow, red, wood, plastic, it just doesn't make a difference.

Those of us who inhabit nerd havens such as /. seem to lose sight of the fact that most people simply don't care about computers enough to develop preferences. As long as it performs the task they want to achieve, it doesn't matter what's under the hood, so to speak.

Re:One or two Linux "flavors" are not enough? (1)

ozmanjusri (601766) | about 8 years ago | (#15925835)

"it really doesn't matter if it's yellow, red, wood, plastic, it just doesn't make a difference."

I love my silver hammer, you insensitive clod!

</Maxwell>

Re:One or two Linux "flavors" are not enough? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15925794)

Let the kids choose which distro suits them best.

Kids don't know what's best of them because they are stupid. That's why we don't let the little fuckers vote. Kids must be disciplined hard and often and punished even more often. Fuck it, were we to let them decide what to eat for dinner it would be candy, candy, candy and ice cream.

Ever seen MySpace? That's what kids end up doing if they're calling the shots. Fuckin' little losers.

Mark my words: you see a kid, you beat the crap out of the fucker until his nose bleeds for a week. Serves him right. And it doesn't matter if you don't know why you had to beat him, he sure as hell knows.

Re:One or two Linux "flavors" are not enough? (2, Interesting)

online-shopper (159186) | about 8 years ago | (#15925456)

They're using two distributions, Linspire and SLED. And if you want them to standardize on one distro, best get used to the thought of it being SLED.

Re:One or two Linux "flavors" are not enough? (5, Insightful)

Chaffar (670874) | about 8 years ago | (#15925498)

I don't have anything against it but if it is under the state grant program, it should try to standarize on one or two flavors of Linux

Err, no. The "biodiversity" of Linux is one of its strong points, and one that is frequently brought up by supporters of OSS. If we start "standardizing", then all we are doing is replacing Windoze by 2 (or 3) different Linux distros. Better, but not the optimal solution.

Of all people, students should be the first to learn how to cope with new OSes (or distros) as they arise, to build fundamental computer skills instead of learning through the click here to do this approach.

Re:One or two Linux "flavors" are not enough? (1, Troll)

oyenstikker (536040) | about 8 years ago | (#15925807)

I agree with you, but there are two problems.

1) Linux is not well documented. Fundamental computer skills would have to involve wading through tens of thousands of entries in mailing lists archives, reading pages and pages of forums, patiently asking the same question for 2 days in an IRC channel before somebody knows the answer, trying driver versions 0.96.3-r1, 0.96.3-r2, 0.97.5, 0.97.6 (oops. with .6 it switched from firmware version 1.5 to 1.6), and 0.98.1 before you find one that works, even though the changelog mentions no changes that should affect your particular model (but then when 0.98.2 comes out, it doesn't work anymore), and what to do when you want to upgrade MajorApp from 2.2 to 3.0 because it has a new feature you want, but not it requires libDoStuff 1.5, but your distribution doesn't have a package for that, and all your other applications need 1.4. (Most distributions have a way to handle this, but it is absent from the documentation and only partially explained on a HOWTO in a forum, or on some incomprehensible Wiki page.)

2) Hardware support. Or more accurately: wireless card support, video card support, and non-post script printing. I tried every version of the driver for my wireless card that my distro's package system had before finding that for no documented reason, only one particular version that isn't packaged works. I finally got a combination of no framebuffer, a video driver, and an X configuration that supports 3d acceleration, but it randomly and inexplicably crashes the kernel (Not just the console, but the kernel. I can't even ping it anymore.) when I switch VTs or log out of a session stared with XDM. And everybody knows what a mess printing is. I know, this is the fault of Intel, ATI, and Hewlett-Packard. But blaming them does not make the problem go away.

Re:One or two Linux "flavors" are not enough? (2, Interesting)

alx5000 (896642) | about 8 years ago | (#15925574)

Although they said those are "future" plans, I really would like to see them standarize.
The ones I would really like to see standarize are those developing distros. I got friends who regularly use ubuntu and still 'wtf' when you show them a fedora.

Stigma (5, Insightful)

treak007 (985345) | about 8 years ago | (#15925205)

Using Linux in colleges provides two benefits. First, colleges can provide very powerful applications such as blender, bluefish, etc to college students without the cost involved. Secondly, if these students, after using Linux in college, begin to realize the stigmas about Linux are wrong, they are more likely to use the distributions on their own, if at least to run the software they are used to using, thus expanding the OSS community.

Re:Stigma (3, Interesting)

Peyna (14792) | about 8 years ago | (#15925287)

The article is about high schools, not colleges.

Re:Stigma (1)

theshibboleth (968645) | about 8 years ago | (#15925303)

What cost is there in using Blender?

Re:Stigma (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15925452)

> What cost is there in using Blender?

Apparantly none. That'll be why the OP said `without the cost`.

Re:Stigma (0, Offtopic)

adolfojp (730818) | about 8 years ago | (#15925379)

[sarcasm]Using Linux in universities is be great for graphic design courses that use Photoshop and for engineering graphic labs that use AutoCad.[/sarcasm]

A lot of college courses cannot be taught using Linux computers. And if I have to pay for a college education I would like to be taught how to use the software that is used in the workforce.

Linux is a great operating system. However, an operating system is only as useful as the software that it can run.

Re:Stigma (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15925411)

That's not a good argument. Why should every student in the college use Windows, just because some courses require Photoshop/AutoCAD?

If the students require it, just run it using a terminal service.

At my University I can just type "windows" at the Linux command prompt, and up pops a connection to a Windows server (Citrix based software I think). Then the colleges can also just pay licences per usage, so that they don't have to have multiple installations just in case someone needs it.

For heavy use, perhaps VMWare is required, but the terminal experience is very fast for me at least. It can't compare with VNC etc.

Just so that you know (1)

WindBourne (631190) | about 8 years ago | (#15925712)

This is the difference between a multi-year college education and a simple vocational school. The vocational schools will teach you how to use a simple tool, without the underlieing theorys. The college is suppose to teach you how to think and give an understanding of the theorys. Once you know how a tool works (say gimp, blender, etc) rather than what button to push when, then you can easily jump to a new tool (say photoshop).

Re:Stigma (2, Interesting)

gripen40k (957933) | about 8 years ago | (#15925455)

We use Linux at the U of Calgary engineering dept., and all it did was ADD to the stigma. Before I thought all the 31337 people used Linux to hax people and did generally c00l things with it. Then I grew up a bit and started using Linux only to realize that to do something so little like write a report just sucked (using OpenOffice), writing code sucked (using xemacs *barf*), and surfing the web sucked (using a restrictive, buggy, and old version of firefox). I'm not trying to dis Linux here (to it's credit we had gaim msnger, which I now use on my win comp at home :), I'm just saying that it seemed a bit anti-productive, and this is mostly due to crappy programs and the time spent trying to do *anything* was too great to really get into it. Of course I don't have the privileges to load my own programs, but damn, those high school students are really up against a wall if they are facing the same thing (most likely). Anyways, I'm going to try loading ubuntu on my lappy and see how that goes, also have a 'media center' version of knoppix that I should try on my hacked together media comp. I'm not giving up *yet* but I'm still skeptical...

Re:Stigma (1, Insightful)

Bottlemaster (449635) | about 8 years ago | (#15925517)

Then I grew up a bit and started using Linux only to realize that to do something so little like write a report just sucked (using OpenOffice), writing code sucked (using xemacs *barf*), and surfing the web sucked (using a restrictive, buggy, and old version of firefox)

Come on. Just because you didn't like the worst applications available on Linux doesn't mean that Linux is bad.
That's the same as saying "Then I grew up a bit and started using Windows only to realize that to do something so little like write a report sucked (using Notepad), writing code sucked (using edit.com *barf*), and surfing the web sucked (using a restrictive, buggy, and old version of ftp). Heck, I've never seen a worse graphing calculator than Microsoft Paint.

I'm exaggerating, but the point is that you have to use the right tool for the job. I write reports with LaTeX, I write code with vim, and I surf the web with with a more recent version of Firefox. I'm more productive than I've been.

Re:Stigma (1)

Ginger Unicorn (952287) | about 8 years ago | (#15925579)

provided there isn't a hardware problem and you realise to use Automatix or EasyUbuntu to install non free stuff like mp3/dvd support i think your opinion will be changed by ubuntu.

Re:Stigma (1)

themonkman (877464) | about 8 years ago | (#15925515)

This is an awesome decision for not only the students who get a chance to see the power and usefulness of Linux, but for the tax payers as well. Like the Indiana school district, the institution I work at is funded largely by the government (grants mostly) and needs to make every dollar go as far as it can. I've been introducing Open Source solutions such as SLES/SLED 10, Open-Xchange, OpenOffice and the such to our staff and many are adopting it with little qualms. In fact, many of our administrative staffers appreciate the extremely intuitive advances in the Xgl/compiz UI that makes their jobs easier. OSS has saved us well over $40,000 alone in the last 3 months, as we would have had to pay for exorbant MS licenses to upgrade our Exchange Server, upgrades from Windows 2000 Server (which SLES 10 does just as good of a job or better), and not to mention the heavy costs of CALs which add up very quickly! The measly amount we pay for upgrade/update protection and support is damn near hilarious in comparison to closed source products. Our CFO is still laughing his way to the bank. I'll also be enjoying a decent future raise and a nicer budget for next fiscal year.

gotta get my eyes checked. (0)

phreakv6 (760152) | about 8 years ago | (#15925216)

i read it as 22,000 indian students. its wrong by a 10 fold or more then.

Re:gotta get my eyes checked. (3, Funny)

MillionthMonkey (240664) | about 8 years ago | (#15925347)

Yeah I didn't see it right on first glance either. I saw "India" and "laptops". I thought for a second this was going to be about those $100 WiFi laptops where you turn the crank, actually. But I'm sure those of you from Indiana are familiar with your state getting confused with India, and vice versa.

And remember... (2, Funny)

shani (1674) | about 8 years ago | (#15925523)

...there are no kangaroos in Austria.

Yay, more to choose from... (3, Funny)

crazyjeremy (857410) | about 8 years ago | (#15925228)

Fortunately, each of these students will now get to conceive their own linux distro as part of the curriculum.

22,000? (1)

NoGuffCheck (746638) | about 8 years ago | (#15925237)

22,000 is a nice number, i wonder how many instances of the OS that really is...

Re:22,000? (1)

Reverend528 (585549) | about 8 years ago | (#15925753)

One, plus 21,999 thin clients.

Can someone explain to me the Relevance (2, Insightful)

Goalie_Ca (584234) | about 8 years ago | (#15925252)

Can someone please explain to me the relevance of all these "Switch" stories. Maybe back a few years it would have been news but nowadays people are switching every day. Newsforge had a story a while back on why switching isn't news anymore. Maybe /. should take a hint from its sister site.

Re:Can someone explain to me the Relevance (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15925286)

It's a state sponsored switch (in a very conservative state at that).

Indiana is quietly attempting to become a leader in the Tech Industry in small steps taken by the government (instead of the populace).

Our telecommunications bill was a step in the right direction.
Bayh actively supports Net Neutrality (with Dick Lugar seeming to favor it, as well).
State-sponsored research into improving the conditions for tech companies here in Indiana (and taking necessary steps to accomplish this).
Governer Daniels voicing his desire for Indiana to move from manufacturing to tech; and expressing his wish to stop the 'brain drain'
This recent OSS adoption

Not all of it will pan out, of course. But, I applaud my state knowing that it is trying to move toward these goals. Amazing, considering how 'red' we are.

Re:Can someone explain to me the Relevance (3, Interesting)

megaditto (982598) | about 8 years ago | (#15925341)

How much are they going to save in licensing costs, does anyone know? (not just over Windows, but Office, Photoshop, etc.)

And how much are they going to need to spend on training up the competent tech support?

I remember MS claiming the TCO total cost of ownership is lower for Windows than for linux because of training...

Re:Can someone explain to me the Relevance (1)

joshier (957448) | about 8 years ago | (#15925537)

Not joking around here, but I get really confused about net neutrality...

Are you saying that they support the current situation of the internet as it stands now? or do they want to make it a big competition, shutting small companies down and so on?

Re:Can someone explain to me the Relevance (1)

tbone1 (309237) | about 8 years ago | (#15925706)

Yes, Indiana seems to be moving to a more tech-oriented economy, and not just in computing. Governor Daniels is trying to get Indy back to being the center of the auto racing industry (and if you want to talk about a high-tech business ...), and we seem to be leading the push in the growth industry of ethanol. I don't think we're going to leave manufacturing behind; that would be foolish, and it does provide a lot of good paying jobs for some smart people who didn't necessarily go to college. Recently Honda announced that it would build a big plant in Greensburg and that Toyota would add about 1000 jobs to its Lafayette plant. And while the Michigan governor was blasting Delphi and GM, the Indiana government was telling them "Look, we know this whole thing sucks, but your cheapest and most profitable facilities are in this state, so why not move more of your operations here?"

Now, if we could just get the Colts to play in the playoffs like in their regular season games ...

Re:Can someone explain to me the Relevance (1)

edmicman (830206) | about 8 years ago | (#15925722)

At least they're doing something to move on from the time zone and toll road debacles. ~ recent new Indiana resident :-/ (how do you make a freakin' arrow in a comment?)

Re:Can someone explain to me the Relevance (2, Informative)

zalt (764947) | about 8 years ago | (#15925291)

Really? The only Linux users I've met has been extremely computer-savvy. To this day I've never (afaik) met a regular Joe (as in "Internet explorer? Ah, you mean the blue internet button!") who's using Linux at home or at work so I have to say stories like these are still news to me. Keeps the hope up you know.

I don't know about the states but I have a feeling Linux is still just as a) unknown b) scaring c) looked at as a server OS to the general population as here in Sweden.

Re:Can someone explain to me the Relevance (1)

l3v1 (787564) | about 8 years ago | (#15925516)

a) unknown b) scaring c) looked at as a server OS

Usually people are afradi from the unknown. By reducing the average level of computer ignorance, a) will pass, which will eliminate b) and while c) can still be valid for some, it seems that the whole issue will not be a problem once the general computer literacy level will raise above the level we have today. As with many things, this is also only a matter of patience and a moderate will to learn and adapt to new things. Which, mind you, is one of the most important parts of general intelligence.

Re:Can someone explain to me the Relevance (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15925470)

Sheeesh. Another "this is not news" whiner...

Indiana (2, Interesting)

8ball629 (963244) | about 8 years ago | (#15925260)

After growing up and going to high school in Indiana, this is a surprise to me because our school was VERY outdated =S... of course this was a few years ago and it was in a town of about 7k people.

Re:Indiana (1)

pimpimpim (811140) | about 8 years ago | (#15925296)

Probably they still use the same pc's and will end up running old versions of slackware on it ;)

Linux Flavor (1)

flaakmonkey (976143) | about 8 years ago | (#15925280)

This is very cool. That would be a schooll I consider going to. :) But i do think either letting the students pick their flavor or standardizing two flavors would be nice.

Well... (2, Interesting)

Lord Aurora (969557) | about 8 years ago | (#15925297)

If it's anything like my school, those 22,000 kids are actually using about 20 Linux desktops per school, in the "new" computer lab, while the other lab down the hall has 20 brand-new Macintoshes and the teachers are using networked Windows XP on those ubiquitous Dells.

All that to say that 22,000 students using Linux probably translates into ~150 Linux desktops in the better funded schools.

But maybe Indiana has a better public school system than California. Wouldn't be surprised.

Re:Well... (4, Interesting)

davmoo (63521) | about 8 years ago | (#15925449)

I can't speak for all of Indiana, but I can speak for what I see in Bartholomew County, one of the richer counties in the state. Both of our public high schools have astroturf on their football fields. And both also have libraries that are woefully behind the times, with poor book collections that are held together with tape, and very little money to upgrade anything. If its for athletics, money can be found to do anything, and people will be fighting each other to be the first to donate. If its for academics, it takes a back seat and is ignored.

Using Linux here might appeal from an older equipment standpoint, but computer labs are not a priority here in the first place.

Re:Well... (1)

k_187 (61692) | about 8 years ago | (#15925643)

sounds like most of indiana. Those with the money spend it on crap they don't need, while everybody else just suffers cause they don't have enough. Actually, I'd imagine that's what its like in most of the country.

Re:Well... (1)

tbone1 (309237) | about 8 years ago | (#15925716)

sounds like most of indiana.

Sounds like most of America, actually. Then again, when you are spending person A's money on person B, these things happen.

Re:Well... (2, Interesting)

Sol_Web_Dude (889149) | about 8 years ago | (#15925738)

It's pretty much that way all over the state. All around the Indy metro area, you see local news rags carry on about HS Football, Baseball, etc. Not much about academics.

And the tax money spent on athletic programs, ug!

I would like to hope that this is a step in the right direction.

Re:Well... (1)

online-shopper (159186) | about 8 years ago | (#15925462)

guess again.
The state is giving out *VERY* large grants to provide five labs of thirty machines each to schools. In addition to that, we have schools which are working towards this on their own.

Common Installer? (5, Funny)

NcF (847200) | about 8 years ago | (#15925312)

"I think within five years, we'll see a huge market shift," Huffman said. "But the Linux community really has to come together. They do have to have a common API; they've got to have a common installer. If those things don't exist, it will not be a competitive market again. If they do exist, I think it will."


./configure && make && make install

Re:Common Installer? (2, Interesting)

JonJ (907502) | about 8 years ago | (#15925447)

I was also wondering about that, more specific: The API-part, what does he mean? Does he want a stable Linux-api? KDE? GNOME? X? OpenGL? From my point of view, it looks like he just hasn't completely understood what he's talking about. And common? They all share the Linux-kernels, and a lot of them uses the same graphical user interface(Red Hat, SUSE and Ubuntu have sort of standardized on GNOME)

Re:Common Installer? (1)

strider44 (650833) | about 8 years ago | (#15925827)

Brings up an interesting point there as well. Why does there need to be a common installer? There's no common installer in Windows. People dish out loads of money for Installshield or use (for free) NSIS, and if you want similar functionality in Linux why don't you you use Bitrock or (for free) Loki? I'm not sure about API since you're always going to have Linux from Scratch to stuff developers over, but it's never usually been a problem - if you want apps just install the required libraries.

fitter, happier, more productive (5, Insightful)

elmartinos (228710) | about 8 years ago | (#15925318)

When I switched to Linux I have noticed an instant productivity gain. Not because it is better, more secure, faster or anything, but because of the lack of Counterstrike et al. This effect should not be underestimated, especially in schools.

Re:fitter, happier, more productive (1)

Hobbled Grubs (651827) | about 8 years ago | (#15925342)

Yes but what about the effect of muds!

Re:fitter, happier, more productive (2, Insightful)

phalse phace (454635) | about 8 years ago | (#15925356)

I know a lot of people who use Windows as their OS and they are very productive. Why? Because they are responsible and are able to manage their time. It has nothing to do with Linux. It's about getting your priorities in order.

Re:fitter, happier, more productive (1)

Anarchitect_in_oz (771448) | about 8 years ago | (#15925361)

So in other words...

This doesn't worry Microsoft,..
It means more Xbox 360 sales.

Re:fitter, happier, more productive (2, Insightful)

debiansid (881350) | about 8 years ago | (#15925439)

I guess you haven't tried NetHack yet. It gets you really really hooked.

... and then even happier and less productive. (1)

Savage-Rabbit (308260) | about 8 years ago | (#15925453)

When I switched to Linux I have noticed an instant productivity gain. Not because it is better, more secure, faster or anything, but because of the lack of Counterstrike et al. This effect should not be underestimated, especially in schools.

Unfortunately this effect only lasts until your Linux users discover Cedega.

Re:fitter, happier, more productive (1)

l3v1 (787564) | about 8 years ago | (#15925522)

When I switched to Linux I have noticed an instant productivity gain.

Me too. But not because the lack of Counterstrike et al. but because most things come easier or faster or more natural to do, other things can be customized to the extent that I feel it comfortable, and yes, because it's "better, more secure, faster or anything" :)

Re:fitter, happier, more productive (1)

Aladrin (926209) | about 8 years ago | (#15925624)

I agree that I'm more productive now due to things coming 'easier or faster or more natural to do', but the initial hit was quite painful. I have always been more at home on the command line than a GUI, so that wasn't an issue for me. But the initial 'how do I do this' for everything is quite involved. And some linux things are nearly impossible to look up on the internet.

Don't believe me? There's a utility called 'screen'. It's one of the most amazingly useful utilities ever. I defy you to find a webpage that actually explains, to someone with no idea what it is, what it does.

I tried linux for a desktop many years ago (I forget what distro) and then Debian a few years later, and found them both very unstable. I then set up a Debian server and kept it for years. Last year, I got a job that used linux for the entire IT department and used Slackware for a desktop. Then I found Kubuntu and it convinced me to switch at home as well.

Kubuntu has had me MUCH more productive than Windows ever did, simply because I can do nearly everything I want with what's installed, instead of searching the web for it. And if I need something, it's probably in apt-get (adept, aptitude, whatever.) And updates are almost always painless, unlike windows.

And 1 more reason... I hard EVER have to reboot. That's huge for productivity because I can pick up exactly where I left off the day before, immediately.

Re:fitter, happier, more productive (1)

scum-e-bag (211846) | about 8 years ago | (#15925695)

There's a utility called 'screen'. It's one of the most amazingly useful utilities ever.


Highly insecure, but it has been one of the most useful apps i've used also.

Solution (4, Insightful)

joshier (957448) | about 8 years ago | (#15925352)

The problem that has been with linux always has been the popularity.

The more users, the more development, the more programs, the more users, the more .. you get the picture.

I'm very happy with this, and I don't mind what distribution they use.

Looks great but (2, Funny)

BeoCluster (995566) | about 8 years ago | (#15925396)

Can I make a Beowulf cluster of these students ?

22,000 is a good start (1)

NoSuchGuy (308510) | about 8 years ago | (#15925429)

22,000 is a good start.

Especially these are students that will work later at companies. The Linux knowledge (using a Linux desktop != not server admin) is a plus!

It's the same viral marketing that MS has used for ages: Let students work with our products later in their working life they want to use the same software tools they are familiar with.

Unhappy with SLED 10 (2, Interesting)

Bender Unit 22 (216955) | about 8 years ago | (#15925454)

I have been running SUSE on my desktop at work since v8 and just tried the latest.
Luckily I installed another harddisk in my pc before trying to install.
It looked great but I ran into some installation problems very unlike other SUSE installs I have tried. Even on my notebook it has worked perfect, even WiFi and Bluetooth.

Although the install itself ran fine. Getting the right drivers for my nVidia (6200) card failed. I got a trial key and went on to install the drivers in hope of running XGL. But it failed to make use of the card so I ended up installing my own drivers and forced XGL to enable. I did get that to run but then I had another problem, which was a show stopper.
I was happy to see the Citrix client included, but it seems to have problems with multiple desktops on this SLED 10. When I change to another desktop, all the Citrix applications vanishes. I can see in the process list that they still are there, I just can't see them. That worked great on the others.
So now I am installing it again from scratch, with KDE instead of Gnome, without XGL to see if it works then. Interesting to see what happens when I try to register the same license again. I hope that it was just XGL that broke Citrix.

But think of the Children !! (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15925459)

But think of the Children !! They aren't going to a bottom-tier school (close, but not quite) so how does this help them? They go out in the job-market in some 4 (to 10+ years) and what experience do they have? How to boot Linux? Nothing useful. Too bad. While this school does "take students from Iran and Syria" (better to know where they are), using Linux only damages its reputation.

Re:But think of the Children !! (2, Insightful)

l3v1 (787564) | about 8 years ago | (#15925532)

Nothing useful [...] using Linux only damages its reputation.

You know, there are people on this planet, who think knowing only the other os and nothing else is what damages your reputation. And also, FYI, people are capable to learn and use not just only one os, and there are plenty of tasks that can be done with plenty of tools, not just one and nothing else. If I'd hire someone who said that can do word processing, then I'd expect him/her to know word processing, not using a one and only word processor application to compose some documents. Oh well, whatever.

Change and fear (2, Insightful)

jolterhead (995713) | about 8 years ago | (#15925464)

This all boils down to fear. Fear of making a change in the infrastructure. In every sector of the government, it's up to the IT dept. what system is used. Not the administration or central regulations. They trust the IT dept. with this decision. As long as it "works". If all IT depts. were competent and fearless like those pioneers running Indiana Schools, all would probably move away from Microsoft products. Arguments like "but we need Microsoft products to run program x", is just plain fear. It should be "but you (developers) need to make this program run on x".

A common API? (5, Interesting)

vogon jeltz (257131) | about 8 years ago | (#15925473)

"I think within five years, we'll see a huge market shift," Huffman said. "But the Linux community really has to come together. They do have to have a common API; they've got to have a common installer. If those things don't exist, it will not be a competitive market again. If they do exist, I think it will."

Like libc? I mean, seriously, I want some of the stuff that guy's smoking. First they go to great length explaining how they diversify on Red Hat, SUSE, Ubuntu and (sigh) Linspire and then he asks for a common API and installer? Like one kid stated when asked which system it preferres, either Linux or Windows the reply was:"Who cares?" Same thing here: who cares for a "common installer" (technically impossible) or a "common API" (it's there: libc, GTK, Qt, etc.). As a user you either see a Gnome or a KDE desktop anyway.
"Mike Huffman, special assistant for technology at the Indiana Department of Education", gimme a break!

Re:A common API? (1)

scum-e-bag (211846) | about 8 years ago | (#15925659)

Same thing here: who cares for a "common installer" (technically impossible)


synaptic and yumex can install nearly everything depending on your choice of package manager. They are the common installers. Conversion between the two formats is simple, although not yet fully integrated into the GUI of many distros (please proove me wrong). Installation is from a common repository... it's very possible and debian users have been doing it for years.

If you do find some of the shit that Mike has been smoking, please send some my way :)

Indiana Doing Something Progressive? (2, Informative)

baronvonchickenpants (696100) | about 8 years ago | (#15925485)

In a small Indiana public school, our Middle School "Computer Lab" consisted of 6 Commodore PETs, While I used an Amiga at home. In High School we didn't even have a Lab... typing classes actualy used typewriters!

Anyway I'm glad to see this so maybe my child will get to use a real computer with a real OS other than at gome.

Why open source is so attractive (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15925489)

From the article:
"We have a million kids in the state of Indiana," he continued. "If we were to pay $100 for software on each machine, each year, that's $100 million for software. That's well beyond our ability. That's why open source is so attractive. We can cut those costs down to $5 [on each computer] per year."

Finally someone in the school system with a clue.

Great? (-1, Flamebait)

ChTh (453374) | about 8 years ago | (#15925570)

And in a flash 22000 Indiana students can't use websites using Flash.

Re:Great? (1)

nosfucious (157958) | about 8 years ago | (#15925601)

I'd call that a bonus.

Re:Great? (1)

scum-e-bag (211846) | about 8 years ago | (#15925698)

In 12 months macromedia will be releasing flash9 for linux.

Maybe it would be great, if it were true (4, Informative)

njdj (458173) | about 8 years ago | (#15925703)

And in a flash 22000 Indiana students can't use websites using Flash.

Of course they can see Flash animations. Personally, I find more than 95% of Flash animations on websites to be a waste of time and bandwidth, and currently disable Flash, but there are several Flash plugins for Linux, including one from Adobe.

Re:Maybe it would be great, if it were true (2, Interesting)

thejynxed (831517) | about 8 years ago | (#15925825)

But, what IT department manager in their right mind, when having the option NOT to install any Flash plugins for Linux, is going to do so willingly, knowing what everyone knows about Flash?

If you ask me, it is a perfect way to say, "Sorry, no Flash for you." No more annoying Flash adverts, or other exploits.

Also, this is a perfect time for them to prevent alot of things - remove the CD/DVD-ROM drives from the cases (or alternatively, setup the optical drive access to be ROOT-only), disable installation of P2P apps, etc. This will prevent students from wasting alot of educational resources playing around with crap like Limewire or Diablo II, and frankly, it's been needed for a long time now.

I admin on a few online games, and let me tell you, the amount of students that are on there during school hours never ceases to amaze me and piss me off at the same time, as I know they are wasting valuable school resources and educational opportunities to play games, instead of doing something useful like learning how to administer a web server, etc. There is a time and place for games, and during class is not one of them IMHO. We have, in fact, as administrators, turned in students to their school principals for precisely this reason. As a staff, we believe in education first, socializing and leisure time second when it comes to our games.

Re:Great? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15925829)

Parent AC was just pointing out one of the many ways in which this benefits students (and ultimately everyone, unless there is general consensus to make the web proprietry?).

But think of the teacher! 22,000 students (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15925633)

using compiz, multiple rotating desktops ... argh!

And meanwhile... (1)

martinultima (832468) | about 8 years ago | (#15925708)

My school district's still mad at me for SSH tunneling! (I'm so proud of myself, they've got a new acceptable use policy this year and it's all my fault... :-) Anyway, here's hoping my own school district will hear about this and take a hint, I say this is important stuff...
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