Open Source Alternatives to Microsoft

Ed Tech Dev: Microsoft vs. Open Source at NECC

I think educators and the general public still largely know nothing about OpenOffice, because if they did they'd realize there is no need to purchase Microsoft Office. They may not realize that OpenOffice and other free and open source software work just fine on Windows and MacOS too. Trying open source software doesn't require immediately leaping over to Linux and dropping Windows completely.

Over at Ed Tech Dev they discuss an article from the Seattle Post Intellgencer about the large Microsoft presence at NECC. While you had to hunt to find them, Paul Nelson of Riverdale High School had a group of students there in the poster session area running a Linux Terminal Server lab. He had quite a bit of traffic, even though you really had to hike to find the room. Maybe next year we can get someone to underwrite a booth for them on the exhibit floor. Maybe right across from Apple and Microsoft... :-)

I took two teachers from my school to visit his set up and they were very impressed. The lack of the ability to run Microsoft Office did not concern them As one of them said; "A word processor is a word processor. As long as my kids can browse the web and write, I really don't need much more than that."

She also was very impressed with the whole thin client set up. Each student has a login and can work from any terminal. You can even boot to it from Windows boxes and it will run in Mac OS X. This fall we are planning to set it up for her classroom and for our other 5th grade classes at Buckman.