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Have we raised a generation of technology drones?

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I received an interesting note today from the school my children attend. In order to save precious dollars, last school year, I suggested that they begin using OpenOffice and only install Microsoft Office where there are licenses. The note I received today listed computer needs, and one of the needs listed as "Because Open Office is a lesser program compared to the Microsoft office programs, it would be helpful to have either tutorials or at least manuals for these programs." Now, I agree that I should have provided books or pointed them to online manuals. However, since the school has been using OpenOffice for over a semester now, with minimal support requests, I incorrectly assumed everything was running fine, or at least they could google answers to any problems. However, the point that actually amused me was the assumption "Because Open Office is a lesser program..."

I have been in the IT field long enough to remember when we didn't live in a Microsoft centric world. Several office applications from different vendors existed: Wordstar, Ami Pro/Word Pro, WordPerfect, Word, etc. Everyone had their preferences, based on needs, personal preferences, support and sometimes just on having learned a particular application first. Microsoft's domination in the office and now educational desktop seems to have led to a generation of technology drones. How can competition exist when anything not produced by Microsoft is considered to be a lesser product?

Part of my involvement with the school includes introducing free and open source software where appropriate.

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