Foisting computers on schools has been a lucrative business, one easily disguised as charity. Among Pearson’s allies is the Gates Foundation, which works alongside Microsoft’s education arm to promote the Common Core in schools and support libraries, with Microsoft software in hand. Gates’ competitor for the richest-person-in-the-world slot, Mexican telecom monopolist Carlos Slim, has proposed to bypass schools altogether by bankrolling the online-only Khan Academy. Now Rupert Murdoch is trying to enter the education tech business with a tablet of his own.
One might, for instance, consider replacing the iPad with a little device called a Raspberry Pi. About the size of a credit card, it’s a fully featured computer, though a keyboard and screen need to be plugged in separately. It comes as a single circuit board with no casing, which reflects its philosophy; the basic parts of the machine are plain for a student to see — the video card, the CPU, the power system, the USB ports. The nonprofit Raspberry Pi Foundation sells it for as little as $25, compared with $299 to $929 for an iPad. One Laptop per Child (OLPC), another nonprofit project, produces low-cost laptops and tablets with education in mind.
Software can be even cheaper. The Raspberry Pi and OLPC run on Linux, a free, open-source operating system, which is constantly being improved and expanded by thousands of programmers around the world. An enormous variety of free, community-developed programs, including fully featured office suites, graphics tools and games — as well as popular commercial programs such as Skype and Dropbox — can be installed on the device. Apple and Microsoft often tell us that open-source software is unreliable and unfriendly to use, but that hasn’t stopped Linux from being the basis of Android phones, many everyday appliances and most of the Internet. The computer I used to write this article runs Linux.
The new mayor of Munich is a self-proclaimed Microsoft fan and he wants to waste all the money that was invested in moving away from Microsoft’s vendor lock and incompatible technologies. His deputy is also a Microsoft fans so it’s not surprising that the new office of the mayor wants to bring back Microsoft technologies.
But that will be a very dangerous move for Munich.
Josef Schmid, teh deputy, points out two issues with LiMux – one is incompatibility with Microsoft technologies and other was increased support calls.
Incompatibility with Microsoft products is a huge problem and it’s a problem for everyone who is using Microsoft technologies. Linux or Open Source are not the cause of the problem as Schmid says, they are victims.
Then what is the cause?
In a recent interview one of the directors of The Document Foundation disclosed how Microsoft users various tricks to break compatibility and that leads to people like Schmid to blame open source technologies without fully understanding where the problem lies.
Microsoft is copying competitor’s models so vigorously that they should move their head quarters to China. After pushing ‘cheap’ (in terms of price and performance) Netbooks to combat Chromebooks, Microsoft is now about to flood the market with ‘cheap’ Windows tablets.
Toshiba is going to be the first company to launch cheap 7-inch Windows tablet. The tablet will be launched at IFA tradeshow in Berlin.
Microsoft is well known for spreading FUD to harm their competition. A business strategy that may work to some extent, but is also a sign that Microsoft lacks confidence in their own products.
Microsoft recently published a Microsoft Educast on YouTube where they compared Chromebooks to Windows 8 laptops. The video has been set to private in the meantime, I suppose the feedback wasn't very positive.
Unsurprisingly, Microsoft can't see many good things in Chromebooks, admitting they are super low-cost, but of course there are reasons for that. In the 9 minute video they manage to get several things wrong though. Maybe not as embarrassing as other MS FUD campaigns, but still worth a closer look.
Although there are those who think the systemd debate has been decided in favor of systemd, the exceedingly loud protests on message boards, forums, and the posts I wrote over the past two weeks would indicate otherwise. I've seen many declarations of victory for systemd, now that Red Hat has forced it into the enterprise with the release of RHEL 7. I don't think it's that easy.
I think more media attention needs to be brought to Linux [an open-source operating system] nowadays. I've tried many platforms and have found Lubuntu in particular to be a very sophisticated and extremely lightweight operating system. Even on computers with as little as 512MB of RAM the system boots, runs programs and shuts down like a bullet.
M[icrosoft] has deliberately violated the laws of competition in USA and elsewhere repeatedly, systematically and with malice. They are out to get us. At first they got an exclusive deal with IBM to get their foot in the door, piggybacking on IBM’s branding with business, then they demanded exclusive deals with ISVs and manufacturers, then they punished any manufacturer who stepped out of line and installed competing products, then they created an endless chain of incompatible file-format changes and created whole industries based on the existence of overly complex secret protocols and finally forced the world to accept a closed standard as an open standard… That whole burden has served to render IT more expensive to own and to operate and much more fragile than it should be just on technical merits.
Linux doesn't have any kind of PR, and in the collective mind of the people, there is still an impression that Linux users spend their time inside the terminal and in dreary desktops. In fact, most of the current Linux desktops are much better than anything made by Apple of Microsoft.
When a new operating system is launched from Microsoft or Apple, it stays pretty much the same as long as it's supported, and even when updates are released, the desktops change very little. On the other hand, Linux developers are pushing the boundaries of what can be done in an operating system every day, and new ideas and applications that enhance the desktop experience are popping up all the time, regardless of the OS devs are doing on their front.