One of the terrible things about Wintel is that businesses feel pressured to “upgrade” their PCs and licences for Wintel every few years.
"We can do this again in the future, since we have to upgrade our computers every three to four years."
see Open source to run on PCs donated by Italian bank and France's La Poste.
This has one good effect, a huge supply of older PCs at decent prices and with a long life ahead of them. These are perfect for schools, minus that other OS , it’s EULA, malware, re-re-reboots and slowing down. Of course one can re-re-reinstall that other OS to keep it going but many businesses don’t want to mess with it. Hence, the donations, possibly with a deduction for taxation…
Schools in Canada have long had the option of getting PCs from Computers For Schools, recycled from governments and businesses, but with the burden of a shiny new copy of that other OS… The right way to do this is to pave it over with GNU/Linux before it spreads. I did that to 52 machines the last place I worked. They became snappy and trouble-free as a result.
Hmmm… I just noticed this on the central CFS page:
I sent them this feedback. They promised to respond within 24h…
“I read the evaluation posted at http://www.ic.gc.ca/eic/site/ae-ve.nsf/eng/h_03511.html
I am retired but for many years I was a computer teacher and used CFS machines a lot. The programme is wonderful but deficient in one major aspect, preparing youth to thrive in an IT-intensive environment. The programme supplies schools with PCs equipped with Windows XP and optionally, Windows 7. XP is deprecated. Windows 7 is still plagued with malware and vulnerabilities, high costs and low performance. In the real world, the Wintel monopoly is not the only game in town.
It would be very useful if CFS provided other operating systems such as GNU/Linux or Android/Linux so that students will have formal training and experience in newer technology. */Linux operating systems shipped on far more computers than Windows last year. Android/Linux is everywhere on smartphones and tablets. GNU/Linux is widely used by governments and schools for exactly this purpose. GNU/Linux does not suffer the malware attacks that plague schools. I have seen thousands of instances of Windows malware but never seen any malware on hundreds of GNU/Linux PCs I have set up in schools. Further, GNU/Linux is completely configurable and can run very snappily even on PCs too old/slow to run any version of Windows. GNU/Linux is also great at networking a lab, a cluster or a whole schools. Because the licence allows copying, students can actually learn to install the OS and take copies home. It’s the perfect solution to training youth in IT.
We should be preparing students for the future, not preparing them to preserve the monopoly of a convicted monopolist. It is unethical to allow a drug dealer to operate on school grounds. So should it be unethical to allow Microsoft to enslave the youth of Canada.
The last place I worked, I was giving a class in unboxing PCs and setting them up. A student responded to the performance of a brand new dual-core 64bit PC with a 512MB hard drive with “It’s so slow!” with attendant facial emphasis. She was used to working with GNU/Linux used on 8 year old PCs running as thin clients of a 4 year old GNU/Linux terminal server. On the old machines she could log in in 5 seconds and open the biggest application windows in 2s. I taught her and her classmates how to install GNU/Linux in 20 minutes. Every students in the class repeated the installation three times to gain confidence. Don’t we want all students to be able to see the difference between the standard fare found on retail shelves and a proper multi-user networked OS used by a hundred of million people around the world.
For more information on GNU/Linux see http://www.debian.org/
To see how European governments are using Free Software such as GNU/Linux see https://joinup.ec.europa.eu/news/all
An example of GNU/Linux in use is this video from YouTube made in 2005 showing children using obsolete laptops as thin clients of a GNU/Linux terminal server: