In general the issue is not price for the educational institution; Microsoft gives a very nice discount. In the states the other issue is that 'aid' money is put in buckets such as hardware, software, etc. Removing the cost with FOSS software could result in money that could not be spent because it is now in the 'wrong' bucket. Though to be honest if an educational institution was going to depend on Linux they might want to have a support contract and that should come from the 'software' bucket.
As an advocate who has presented at educational technology shows I have a strong opinion formed from discussing the issue with hordes of educators. The problem is not just the OS, but the applications that run on top of it. My current belief is that we should first advocate for a switch to FOSS applications that are cross platform (OS X, Windows, Linux); once the application stack can move to a new OS the resistance is no longer there.
Regardless of what OS is used in the non-comp sci curriculum I do agree that Linux should be taught along side other OSes.
The "tech" guys that work for these schools have some garbage Associates Degree in Computer Networking or some crap and are 99% useless.
The "teachers" that actually teach computers are more prone to read word for word out of their lesson plan, as they can only do email using Outlook themselves.
Installing linux in western schools that are NOT Technology based, would only
a.) Cause the already horrendous grades fall lower as both the teachers and students would likely be lost
b.) Cause curiosity in a very small amount of students, but turn 90% or so of them away from every touching anything thats not Microsoft
c.) Create even more script kiddie omg1337 haxxors.
Look at IE vs Firefox. Windows will eventually follow the suite. Linux only became sufficiently user friendly in the last few years. I expect things to change either withing a decade, or when the current generation of "we only know windows" sysadmins becomes extinct
Only if its marketed right like firefox.
I have rethought (slightly) my previous post.
Linux should only be tought outside of college/tech schools/or advanced highschools (college prep tech schools) when Linux manages to secure ~20%+ of the market share for desktop operating systems.
Maybe then, all of the problems, issues, and fractured communities will be looked at with serious eyes.
Or you never know, if google made Goobuntu available for widespread usage, then maybe it would be viable.
Dont schools and educational facilities get massive and I mean massive discounts, As a charity I paid about £30 for Windows Server 2008 and the CALs are about a £1 each, and thats not in bulk. So the cost isn't such a big issue.
I think it is more important to give Children what they are likely to use in real life, as remember many of them 90%, I recon are not and dont want to be particularly tech savvy. How many of you have worked on support and got a call along the lines of:
"help me, I'VE LOST THE INTERNET!"
"Sorry, you've lost the internet?"
"That little blue 'E', I can't find it anywhere"
Secondly if it become as popular as Windows then I think the amount of attack will go up, not necessarily infections, remember there are other ways to attack PCs.
Still thats just my opinion, please comment
There is a major movement towards schools using Linux in Russia. Apparently, the Education Ministry is not going to provide MS software to schools after Dec 31 2010. After that date, schools can either use Linux or negotiate deals with MS on their own.
The advantages are numerous, but the one often overlooked is - it's free to use and redistribute, so that, not only schools, but also students can get the software.
I'm new to Linux/Ubuntu and don't yet have any strong opinions on this topic, but I believe that being exposed to a variety of computers/OS's is a great opportunity for students to learn.
Looking back at my school years I realize I grew up during an amazing time technologically. In elementary school back in the mid-80s we used Apples in school. Our first home computer was an old Tandy running DOS and I wasn't exposed to Windows until high school.
Kids these days don't seem to get the kind of variety we older people got growing up and I don't believe that's a good thing. I say the more exposure they get to as many different platforms as possible the better. It all leads to a better understanding of computers in general.