Another USAian School District Goes To ChromeBooks

“According to research the administrators distributed, the U.S. Department of Education found students that had access to a computer anywhere, anytime “became more creative, more collaborative and better writers,” while University of Kentucky researchers wrote “improvements in writing, literacy, science, exam scores and GPAs all have been noted in various research studies.” ConVal has recognized the benefits of technology in schools, but approached a one-to-one model cautiously because of how much it could cost. After a decade of research, a comprehensive proposal from administrators and the affordability of devices, the board was ready Tuesday to say “yea.””
 
See ConVal: District goes digital, with one laptop for every student
I’ve long recommended GNU/Linux thin clients for schools. It works for people. These days a lot of schools in USA are adopting a similar but easier choice, a GNU/Linux thick client leaning heavily to web applications, the ChromeBook. There are a lot of advantages to this solution, particularly if the school goes paperless: fewer books, a lot less paper, a lot less printing/copying costs and a lot less time fetching and carrying that paper. On top of that the ChromeBooks are less expensive and last longer than the typical desktop/notebook PC. It’s all good. Finally, schools have a way to go to GNU/Linux and Free Software without needing as much local IT-talent.

The present system is the ConVal School District near Peterborough, NH. They had previously planned (page 115&152) for a 1:3 computer:student ratio with 4-year replacement. Good for them. They are going off the Wintel treadmill.

About Robert Pogson

I am a retired teacher in Canada. I taught in the subject areas where I have worked for almost forty years: maths, physics, chemistry and computers. I love hunting, fishing, picking berries and mushrooms, too.

This entry was posted in Linux in Education, Teaching, technology and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

40 Responses to Another USAian School District Goes To ChromeBooks

  1. oiaohm says:

    DrLoser if you go deeper google does provide the instructions to change the chromebook signing keys to your own if you want to risk replacing the firmware.
    There is no provision for modifying the firmware without physically taking the device apart
    Google provides the instructions to take the device apart to change the signing keys. Of course DrIdiot would not read that far. Google up front states if you wish to replace the firmware you have to physically open the device. This is not that you cannot use the 4 freedoms its just annoying.

    And incidentally, oiaohm, how does Pascal’s “writeln()” actually work?
    That is still crossing to a prehistory thread why I will never be answering it until a thread related comes up if ever.

    DrLoser what does GNU standard for. That is right “GNU’s Not Unix”

    So a system that does not look Unix like does not mean it cannot be GNU.
    userland doesn’t even approximate Unix.
    So this has absolutely nothing todo if something is GNU or not. If it using the GNU code base for core operations it GNU. So yes GNU/Windows exists.

    DrLoser what in the 4 freedoms says using them has to be simple? Answer is nothing. You can perform all the 4 freedoms on chromebook as long as you are willing to put in enough effort and take the associated risks of messing with things. Now if google did not consider that someone would replace all the firmware all the way up they would not provide the instructions how to open the devices to replace the signing keys with your own.

    So basically none of your points hold any ground at all.

  2. DrLoser says:

    I haven’t seen any counter-proposal yet that suggests that I am incorrect in saying that Android is not “Gnu/Linux.” Indeed, as Matthew Garrett points out, the userland doesn’t even approximate Unix.

    The whole thing is a hack on a free gift, as far as I can see.

    I don’t have a problem with that. At least the entity that benefits from that hack on a free gift — being Google, just in case you are too dense to recognise the fact — stands a chance of employing dozens of otherwise worthless people.

    Seems like a better prospect than some old miser in Manitoba getting all his IT needs for free, without even bothering to contribute back to the community.

    However, that is a side issue.

    There is no such thing as Gnu/Linux/Android.

  3. DrLoser says:

    The licence does not require revealing the source code of all of Android/Linux for every device. Read the damned licence.

    The Four Freedoms do require that, Robert. Or had you forgotten?

    Here. Let me refresh you on your lamentable lack of education in that area.

  4. DrLoser says:

    FLOSS or not FLOSS has nothing to do with the Store but the licence. The licence says you can modify and distribute the software. All kinds of folks do that.

    Absolutely nobody at all does that on an Android phone, Robert.

    Prove me wrong.

  5. DrLoser says:

    DrLoser stated, “the obvious fact that a chromebook is not a laptop”, something not obvious at all. A ChromeBook is a laptop/notebook PC.

    Did I say “laptop/notebook?” I think not.

    Now, here’s a thing that my laptop can do that, had you opened your moth-ridden wallet and actually purchased a Chromebook for the Little Lady — remember how excited you were about that idea? — the said Chromebook cannot do.

    It cannot run Visual Studio. My laptop can.

    Now, you may well object, and I encourage you to do so. But, but, you say, Visual Studio is as nothing compared to Eclipse! (I’m charitably ignoring that you are never going to use Eclipse even once in your life.)

    I accept that correction. Now then. How do you propose running Eclipse on a Chromebook?

    It’s a glorified Browser, man. You might just as well buy a mobile phone and have done with it.

  6. DrLoser stated, “the obvious fact that a chromebook is not a laptop”, something not obvious at all. A ChromeBook is a laptop/notebook PC. It has a folding screen, a keyboard and a pointing device, an OS, and it works for people.

  7. DrLoser wrote, “I own a Nexus 5.
     
    Save me some time, please, since you know where to look for the source code.”

    See https://source.android.com/

    I’m not claiming you can find the source code of exactly your device but you can find Android, build it and put it on your device. The licence allows that. The licence does not require revealing the source code of all of Android/Linux for every device. Read the damned licence.

  8. DrLoser wrote, “You can’t change it. You can’t improve it. You can’t even redistribute the non-changed, non-improved bits, because the Store has strict policies against that for paid software.”

    FLOSS or not FLOSS has nothing to do with the Store but the licence. The licence says you can modify and distribute the software. All kinds of folks do that.

  9. DrLoser says:

    DrLoser, not understanding FLOSS, wrote, “Your claim that Google provides the Four Freedoms falls flat on its face even under the present trivial circumstance cited, doesn’t it?”

    You can’t change it. You can’t improve it. You can’t even redistribute the non-changed, non-improved bits, because the Store has strict policies against that for paid software.

    In what way does this match up to the Four Freedoms, Robert?

    Not at all, that’s how.

  10. DrLoser says:

    And incidentally, oiaohm, how does Pascal’s “writeln()” actually work?

    And while you’re at it, how does duck-typing work in a statically-compiled language with no metadata?

    I can’t bring up the issue of “Bionic improving efficiency by removing comments from header files,” because that was a completely different thread. So I won’t.

    Bwahahahahahaha!

  11. DrLoser says:

    The source code of Android/Linux is out there for those who look for it.

    Really, Robert? I own a Nexus 5.

    Save me some time, please, since you know where to look for the source code.

    Where is it?

  12. DrLoser says:

    DrLoser something else a chromebook one of the few laptops where you can replace the complete firmware in the device since Google does provide the complete source code. So some ways a chromebook is more 4 freedoms than a normal laptop.

    Let us leave aside the obvious fact that a chromebook is not a laptop, Fifi. This has to be just about the most useless freedom that anybody can claim. Do you wish to speculate on the number of people, world-wide, who are going to replace the “complete firmware in the device?”

    I’m speculating nobody at all.

    But obviously it’s a possibility, simply because you, Fifi, claim that it is a possibility … Oh, wait.

    The Chrome OS firmware is always verified as signed by Google. Developer mode allows you to safely fiddle with the disk and operating system, but the boot process depends on unmodified firmware. There is no provision for modifying the firmware without physically taking the device apart. Modifying your firmware can result in permanent damage.

    Good old Google, eh? The Four Freedoms in action.

    And before you drivel on about “developer mode,” Princess:

    Warning: This has been known to work (more or less), but it’s pretty annoying and difficult to debug.

    Good old Google, eh? The Four Freedoms in action.

  13. Deaf Spy says:

    That’s right, Robert. Pretend this is not happening, and move on with your fantasy world, where 2,000 Chromebooks in a school are more than 4 million desktop seats.

    How does it feel to get support from someone who can’t understand how a basic thing like Pascal’s writeln() actually works?

  14. oiaohm wrote, “people like DeafSpy falls for them hook line and sinker”.

    Nope. They’re not fish. These guys read M$’s talking points while eating their breakfast cereal every morning… 😉

  15. oiaohm says:

    Deaf Spy LOL funny.
    http://www.bizjournals.com/triangle/blog/techflash/2014/09/u-s-department-of-defense-inks-contract-for-up-to.html

    Did you miss this in 2014 that is a 5 year contract. Microsoft and Redhat have equal size deals with the department of defense for numbers of seats.
    https://lwn.net/Articles/280419/
    4 million is small compared to the largest Linux OS deployment of 52 million.

    Next question is a good one. Total USA DOD personal is less 2 million, So why do they need 4 million systems? Remember USA DOD drones and fleet is controlled by Linux.

    largest enterprise deployment of the operating system worldwide.
    Need to read that line way more carefully DeafSpy. Compare to other operating system deployments that are Linux 4 million as one block is in fact nothing.

    The streamlining is not running multi versions of Windows. Not that the USA DoD is going to give up using Android and Linux any time soon.

    Yes Microsoft PR machine is good at getting false ideas out there and people like DeafSpy falls for them hook line and sinker.

  16. Deaf Spy says:

    Oh, numbers do matter, Robert.

    Here are some more numbers for you:

    “Over the course of the next year, some 4 million systems will be upgraded to Microsoft’s latest operating system in what must be the largest enterprise deployment of the operating system worldwide

    http://arstechnica.com/information-technology/2016/02/department-of-defense-standardizes-on-windows-10-certifies-surfaces/

    Compared to this, all your evidence of FLOSS winning is vapor.

    And, no, Android is not FLOSS. Not by any means.

  17. oiaohm says:

    Have you direct, or even indirect, experience of Google “improving” a piece of software you use or are likely to use, and releasing those improvements in the form of accessible source code so that the whole community benefits?

    DrLoser recent glibc dns look up secuirty issue/patch that you went of your head about was found and patch written by google and released up stream 60 days before public announcement of bug. Major distributions like Debian had that patch deployed before public was informed. So by the time it was announce over 90 percent of users were patched. So that is something us Debian users directly got advantage from and these glibc patches effect majority of applications on Debian. That security patch came straight out of Chrome OS development.

    At other times library patches start in google search sub company and so on. So like it or not Google does a lot of upstream development to them.

    If you check out the glibc list of recent patches Google personal have been busy. If you look around you do find google patching a lot of external projects. Really if google find a bug in a third party library used in Android or Chrome OS or General Chrome. they do push those fixes up stream very quickly. They want third party validation that what they are changing is correct.

    https://developers.google.com/open-source/projects Not that you have to look too far. Chromuim falls into camp of something I use.

    DrLoser something else a chromebook one of the few laptops where you can replace the complete firmware in the device since Google does provide the complete source code. So some ways a chromebook is more 4 freedoms than a normal laptop.

    DrLoser claiming could Google do more is correct. But Google is not doing nothing.

    Google has never had a stupid policy like Microsoft had. If Google is using a third party open source part and they fix it for any reason Google developers publish the source code and do attempt to upstream the code and this does not matter if the project is GPL, LGPL, MIT or BSD licensed and this action is mandated by Google Management. Google Management is a good idea to have alterations to third party libraries reviewed by the people who created those libraries to make sure they are not over looking some critical design point.

    Google is cagey with the code they write themselves from scratch.

    Like remember the Microsoft ISO to USB key writer. Used modified GPL library and Microsoft and Microsoft waited for someone to ask for the source code. So getting GPL code out of Microsoft is like pulling teeth. Anything in the BSD and MIT class you can fair much bet on not seeing a single patch from Microsoft even if Windows Updates show Microsoft patching those parts internally. So Microsoft idea is avoid third party review were possible even on stuff they may not understand.

    So Google not the best in all regards but compared to Microsoft actions Google are good.

  18. wizard emeritus says:

    Robert Pogson, it is you who continually celebrate the imposition of FOSS by fiat by governments and insitiutions. You have even advocated the dismissal of staff members in one institution who had the temerity to point out the drawbacks of “just going” to FOSS and who had as a result resisted the kind of wholesale migration to FOSS from commerciall software.

    It is you sir who advocate the slavery here,not us.

    It is you who name call anyone as “slaves” who says thanks but no thanks to your spiels.

    And now that the good Doctor has demonstrated how Google is nowhere near the friend of FOSS and that both CromeOS and Android are effectively just a proprietary as Windows. Your answer is after whining about his “promoting slavery” is to say tat yu don’t want to hear about it.

    Pathetic.

  19. DrLoser wrote, “This is a scant thousand or so seats “won” by Chrome OS, which isn’t even really Gnu/Linux.”

    It is GNU/Linux. Look at the source code. It’s out there. This is not just about one school division but a bunch of them:

  20. DrLoser, not understanding FLOSS, wrote, “Your claim that Google provides the Four Freedoms falls flat on its face even under the present trivial circumstance cited, doesn’t it?”

    The source code of Android/Linux is out there for those who look for it. It’s FLOSS. Anyone can run, examine, modify and distribute it as they wish. That Google ships something a little different on devices just doesn’t matter. They are allowed to do that. Much of it is their code. Anyone can take FLOSS with the licence Google uses and do that. If they had chosen the good old GPL we would not be having this discussion. Go bust Google’s chops. We don’t want to hear and we can’t control Google any more than we can control M$.

  21. DrLoser, promoting slavery, wrote, “almost as good as Gnu/Linux!”

    No one’s forcing folks to use GNU/Linux. They choose it willingly. Meanwhile M$ is using every trick in the book and some we’ve never seen before to trick people into using “10”. Meanwhile, if you include “mobile”, Android/Linux surpasses “10” and will likely overtake “7” in a month or two. It’s not victory to have one of M$’s armies wiped out while another is victorious. It’s slaughter. M$ is not driving */Linux from the field.

  22. DrLoser says:

    I repeat. Have you, Mr Pogson, direct, or even indirect, experience of Google “improving” a piece of software you use or are likely to use, and releasing those improvements in the form of accessible source code so that the whole community benefits?

    Well, go on, Robert. Have you?

  23. DrLoser says:

    Speaking of nonsense graphs, have you kept up to date with Reunion lately, Robert?

    Windows 10 has jumped since July last year from nothing to 16%!

    Gosh, that’s almost as good as Gnu/Linux!

    Oh, wait, it’s exponentially better.

  24. DrLoser says:

    Anyway, now that we are on the subject of exhilarating in the new-found freedom of 1,000 New Hampshire school-children (imposed upon them by the School Board, but hey, let’s not quibble), perhaps you would care to address my immediately prior post, Robert?

    You know. The one that talks about the Four Freedoms, and how dismally Google manages to match up to them.

    I shall be scrupulously fair here. I could mention Richard Stallman’s aversion to the Cloud. But it is not yet necessary to do so, is it?

    Your claim that Google provides the Four Freedoms falls flat on its face even under the present trivial circumstance cited, doesn’t it?

  25. DrLoser says:

    The number is irrelevant. The choice being taken matters.

    The number is relevant. Stick it on one of your beloved five-data-point graphs, and it is relevant.

    This is a scant thousand or so seats “won” by Chrome OS, which isn’t even really Gnu/Linux. Let me quote another number at you, from your cite: Ten Years.

    Unless you have a ton more “thousand wins” queuing up over a ten-year pipeline, Robert, this particular non-feat is utterly insignificant.

  26. DrLoser, making a snide remark, wrote, ” Roughly 1,710 of those are school students.”

    The number is irrelevant. The choice being taken matters. The number is also wrong. The Conval School District has 2179 students enrolled. Peterborough is only one town in the district.

    Further, Hillsborough county, wherein Peterborough is located found 452 people who voted for Trump in the primary. 1222 people voted for Sanders in Peterborough along. These are smart people.

  27. DrLoser says:

    Peterborough, New Hampshire. Ah, such an evocative location!

    It smells … it smells, Robert … of a total of 6,284 inhabitants. Roughly 1,710 of those are school students.

    Still, every little helps.

  28. DrLoser says:

    Robert, how does exactly Chromebook contributing to freedom and FLOSS?

    What a foolish question! Consult the Oracle, my man, Consult the Oracle!

    1) You can Run The Program For Any Purpose. Hallelujah!

    2) You can Study How The Program Works, Hallelu … and change it to make it do what you wish. No …jah! for you!

    3) You can Redistribute Copies So You Can Help Your Neighbor. Hallelujah!

    I assume this is a feature built in to the Google Store. I mean, obviously. It’s one of the first requirements of such a Store.

    It is, isn’t it? Please tell me that it is. I would hate to be disillusioned on the Third Freedom. Because I’ve already given up on the prospect of the Fourth:

    4) You can Improve The Program, And Release Your Improvements (And Modified Versions In General) To The Public, So That The Whole Community Benefits.

    I’m open to anecdotal evidence that the Fourth Freedom applies in the case of Android (not at all Gnu, but with handy pilfered bits of Linux for Corporate Gain).

    Robert, you may be in the best position to help me here.

    Have you direct, or even indirect, experience of Google “improving” a piece of software you use or are likely to use, and releasing those improvements in the form of accessible source code so that the whole community benefits?

    I don’t personally care, but as an Evangelist (in the sense of “good news distributor”), you should.

    I’ll forego the Divine Richard’s comments on Cloud Applications. Perhaps some other time.

  29. DrLoser says:

    Deaf Spy Really it shows how low your intelligence is that you cannot post on the right thread about stuff.

    It’s never stopped you before now, Fifi.

    And besides, there’s no rule against it. (Should Robert impose one as “benevolent dictator,” I would of course observe it to the best of my abilities. And apologise when I fail. And call you, Fifi, out, when you fail.)

    But until that point — so what?

    Incidentally, how’s your part-time hobby of figuring out the intricacies of duck-typing going?

  30. oiaohm says:

    Deaf Spy Really it shows how low your intelligence is that you cannot post on the right thread about stuff.

  31. oiaohm says:

    http://www.eweek.com/developer/googles-move-to-openjdk-to-benefit-developers.html
    This is also interesting. So this means GPL kernel and LGPL for a lot of the upper level after Android 6.0. So more places for ODM to infringe on licenses.

    So the area of code Google can close is reducing. So question now how important for Android is using non copyleft licenses..

  32. Deaf Spy says:

    A first advantage is the optimization of code due to the removal of all comments from the header files.

    Hey, Robert, is this still not enough to persuade you how empty of any intelligence Fifi is?

    Fifi, I believe this will replace your writeln fiasco. Definitely better.

  33. Deaf Spy says:

    Robert, how does exactly Chromebook contributing to freedom and FLOSS?

  34. oiaohm says:

    https://android.googlesource.com/platform/packages/apps/

    kurkosdr does pay to check your facts. Music the ASOP version is still updated by google as of Android 6.0.1 yes the most recent release.

    Camera still maintained but there is now a Camera2 that gets new features in ASOP.
    Gallery is still maintained but there is now a Gallery2 in ASOP that gets new features.
    Calendar still maintained and improved in ASOP.

    Android ASOP keyboard is not in fact called that.
    https://android.googlesource.com/platform/packages/inputmethods/LatinIME/
    Yes LatinIME that is what people refer to as ASOP keyboard is also maintained and feature improved by google.

    Reality out of your complete list “Google Search” was a ASOP app and it stopped being because third parties started abusing its interface to google search website.

    And a significant number of low-level plumbing such as app validation and cloud save game is closed-source too.
    I would not call this significant. Cloud save traces back to the same problem as Google Search. opengapps.org for example google could trademark challenge over but in fact have gone that is ok as long as it cloning the interface provided to applications using other providers.

    Is it possible to build quite acceptable apps for the Google app store without touching the closed parts the answer is yes and the majority of android applications work without emulating what is provided by gapps.

    Google stopped shipping the ASOP versions out by default but did not stop maintaining the ASOP versions as the ASOP versions are still required to check functionality on prototype devices in a lot of cases.

    kurkosdr you have been spreading these lies for way to long. There is a correct story its not that the asop apps are not maintained or improved.

  35. kurkosdr says:

    Which basically means: The Megacorporation is dead, long live the Megacorporation. Or do you think some source code thrown in a VCS means that Google is different from MS. Hint: Windows CE was shared-source. You could get the source, modify it and ship products with the modified version, as long as the royalty-per-product was paid.

    Most of the good stuff in Android (Google Music, Google Camera and Gallery, Google Search, Google Calendar, Google Keyboard) became closed-source apps anyway, while the respective AOSP apps (Music, Camera and Gallery, Search and Calendar, Keyboard) were abandoned the moment the Google closed-source app came out.

    And a significant number of low-level plumbing such as app validation and cloud save game is closed-source too.

  36. dougman says:

    Re: …while using a Google operating system.

    Just like all the people using Android already.

  37. kurkosdr says:

    The next generation will look at Windows and just laugh, as people today look at Kodak and Polaroid.

    …while using a Google operating system.

  38. dougman says:

    The next generation will look at Windows and just laugh, as people today look at Kodak and Polaroid.

  39. kurkosdr wrote, “You just cannot trust the “Computers Teacher” to properly lock-down everything because he isn’t an IT admin (ours had forgotten to lock-down the Program Files folder, you can imagine how that went), so a ChromeOS computer where all the good or bad things you have done are forgotten with a logout is probably a good choice.”

    That’s why I’ve like GNU/Linux thin clients from the start. Defaults were pretty close to perfect and I only needed to set up one computer, the server. With ChromeBooks, the admin still has to set up or monitor accounts but little or no expertise is required. The important factor is time. I remember checking on the status of servers a few times a day being all that was required to keep GNU/Linux going on ~100 PCs but it was hours per day with That Other OS because something or other was always getting messed up: malware mostly, but crashes and software updates and failures to boot were happening far too often. Chromebooks are a good solution if you trust the cloud or have a central server with web applications. There are still a few things schools need to do that are not done well over the Internet. They need a mix of thin and thick clients.

  40. kurkosdr says:

    Having witnessed the condition our school PCs were (despite being decent-for the time- Pentium IIIs with 256MB of RAM and Windows 2000), I cannot blame schools for going to Chromebooks.

    You just cannot trust the “Computers Teacher” to properly lock-down everything because he isn’t an IT admin (ours had forgotten to lock-down the Program Files folder, you can imagine how that went), so a ChromeOS computer where all the good or bad things you have done are forgotten with a logout is probably a good choice.

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