The Argument for Linux in Education

I am always researching how Linux and open source software are used in a classroom or education setting. I like to stay up to date with any developments. In reading countless blog posts, Google Slides presentation, and discussion threads, I’ve found a few patterns. Two points in particular are often brought up and used as the focus for the argument of “Why Choose Linux.” Linux is free and Linux works on old hardware.

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The Last Good OS?

Many years ago, I built my first computer. A Linux tower made mostly of spare parts. Choosing the free operating system (OS) because of price rather than choice. It was my first real introduction to computing outside of Microsoft Windows. It’s fair to say, it opened my eyes. I’ve used Linux in some form since that first desktop. When I moved on to using a MacBook and OSX as my main computer, I kept a Linux partition.

After a few years, Linux is back to being my main OS.

The newest operating systems are very underwhelming to me. So much focus going to touch and tablet, the PC as I grew to know it will soon be a thing of the past (not something I think is bad, but it hasn’t happened yet). I still need a traditional PC. I don’t need a graphic intense operating system, and I don’t need features that should only be on a touch device forced into my desktop. I need functionality and speed when I’m on my desktop.

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Linux Desktop

I finally got my Ubuntu desktop set up the way I want.  Its running on a MacBook unibody (I rarely ever boot into OSX now).  In the past I used linux for everything but have fallen out of touch lately.  Using it as my main computer for a few months should get be back into the swing of things.

So far I have very few complaint about the newest Ubuntu.  It’s fast.  It boots up and shuts down as fast, if not faster, than OSX.  It is sluggish when coming out of hibernation though (a minor problem since I rarely completely shut more computer down).

The software update and installation is getting better with every version of Ubuntu.  When I used Linux in the past, I remember having to go into the terminal to install most things, that is almost completely gone.  Anything in the Ubuntu Software Center is a simple one-click install.  The software updates work similar to Windows and OSX; it alerts you when updates are available and will download and install with a single click.

I have confidence that the average computer user would not see any difference in using Ubuntu compared to using OSX or Windows.  It’s a very polished operating system.

The one downside I have had, is my back-lit keyboard doesn’t seem to work at all with Ubuntu.  I haven’t found the driver yet to fix this.  Other than that, every other driver has worked right out of the box.

Ubuntu 10.04 LTS with netbook remix

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Fordham Keating Hall background