One objection I hear many times around here but only rarely in the field of education is “It’s out there.” referring to that other OS. That is given as a reason to retain that other OS in schools.
Usage: Education, properly a drawing forth, implies not so much the communication of knowledge as the discipline of the intellect, the establishment of the principles, and the regulation of the heart. Instruction is that part of education which furnishes the mind with knowledge. Teaching is the same, being simply more familiar. It is also applied to practice; as, teaching to speak a language; teaching a dog to do tricks.
Training is a department of education in which the chief element is exercise or practice for the purpose of imparting facility in any physical or mental operation. Breeding commonly relates to the manners and outward conduct.
Let’s be clear. Education is preparation for more than the current version of some product currently used in IT. Our students will likely be employed long after current products expire. A student exposed to FLOSS in school will certainly be able to compute for himself using his own equipment indefinitely and will achieve all the objectives of the curriculum being knowledgeable of the functions of computers and how to find, create, modify and display data.
It is possible that having a certification for use of a particular product may be valuable to a student but they can take such courses of study after school hours. There is no particular need for publicly funded schools to provide such courses as only a few students will benefit. Everyone can benefit from exposure to FLOSS because there is a low barrier to acquisition and use that students can use the software immediately in their lives.
Schools should choose appropriate IT. FLOSS is very suitable for education because the licence permits installation on multiple PCs and copying to share with students. Teachers and students can more rapidly implement applications because no shopping, purchasing or transportation is involved. FLOSS is certainly easier to use because there is no “activation” required by non-free licensing. FLOSS licences like the GPL permit use, examination, distribution and modification freely. With a distribution of software like Debian GNU/Linux schools also get a package management system that helps take care of all the software needed for their PCs.