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January 2006

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From:
Chris Moran <[log in to unmask]>
Reply To:
Technology Discussion at UVM <[log in to unmask]>
Date:
Thu, 5 Jan 2006 09:59:16 -0500
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Quoting Jim White <[log in to unmask]>:
>> On Wed, Jan 04, 2006 at 01:15:32PM -0500, Geoff Duke wrote:
>> > Of course, enterprising students always have the option of installing
>> > Linux. But would there be any advantage to offering a "supported" Linux
>> > OS option?
>> > If not, is there enough community interest that we can plan an 
>> install fest?
> My primary concern would be the aftermath.  It is all well and good to have
> an install-fest, but how about adminstrating Linux after-the-fact?

I agree. It's great that we have a community of *nix users, but it's 
not really
all that inviting to bringing newbs in. VAGUE is great, but it is still vague.
And it's really for the geeks among us for the most part.

> UVM does not even offer a Unix administration/maintenance course (to 
> my knowledge).
> As much as I'd like to see Linux replace Windows (ha!), I wonder if 
> this would
> be classified as something we should "be careful we wish for".

Well, unless I'm mistaken, the stand up terminals in the library are running
live linux CDs.. no? UVM is using it and people are getting exposed to it. I
see no reason why we aren't ADVOCATING more linux use... ADVOCATING more
general public education on linux and other open source options.
I recognize that there are some reasons why sticking with appldoze software is
perceived as a necessity, such as some software suites/options being harder to
break away from (adobe/macromedia being a big one), but for most users, 
if they
aren't gaming, there is no reason why combinations of open source 
options and a
free *nix variant wouldn't just plain be a solid idea.

People complain about the training time [of teaching people hwo to use a linux
desktop], yet just this morning I was talking with a traditional M$ user who
bought a Mac last semester... and she STILL doesn't understand everythign she
feels she need to know about it. How is that different than putting a 
user on a
linux system? Culture. Our culture (UVM, etc) accepts linux as a "geek 
OS", but
seems to ignore the potential of freeing up, in many ways, the computing power
to more people. How much did the campus license for XP/Office cost? How 
much do
all the campus licenses cost for various software? How much might it cost to
hire some linux experts to serve as culture changers, with a cohort of linux
savvy work study students? How many people are already repurposing older
machines with linux on them because it's overheaad is so much smaller than
M$/OSX?

There's no need to geek it out. I don't like ubuntu, but most say it's really
good. Fedora and Mandrake come out of the box extremely easy for a user 
to pick
up, and knoppix is still my fave live cd. Pushing "the geek distros" does
nothing more than proove the "user unfriendliness" of linux/open source.
We are an EDUCATIONAL institution... why are we so afraid of teaching linux?

Chris
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