# Austrian Schools

“As well as all the small problems with our Windows installations, hours lost in updating Java, Flash, Quicktime, Silverlight and so on, Microsoft turned off the KMS server in Vienna and this introduced new problems with the key management service. Let’s make it short — I wanted to get rid of Windows in the classroom and enforce free and open standards. I have this weird belief that proprietary pseudo-standards like OOXML Transitional and expensive software like Photoshop, MS Office and so on have no reason for existence in public schools.”

See Interview: Thomas Weissel Installing Plasma in Austrian Schools
Here it is 2017 and Austrian schools are using GNU/Linux and folks are still having problems with That Other OS in schools. I was in a similar situation back in 2000 when I first installed GNU/Linux in my classroom. TOOS didn’t work for me then and it still doesn’t work for schools today. Any time you have a monopolist telling you what you can and can’t do in your classroom, you’re going to have problems, especially if that monopolist isn’t particularly supportive of your objectives. In my case, M$was celebrating its monopoly and didn’t even care if the software crashed hourly. I later discovered there were all kinds of evil consequences of the EULA from Hell, like limiting the size of networks without a server running their software and fat licensing fees. M$ may have changed a lot in the meantime but the EULA still stifles creativity, there is no package management system making updating easy, the file-format war continues, lock-in still happens… OTOH, with GNU/Linux schools, teachers, and students have great freedom to teach and learn the way they want. I had students install operating systems and applications in my classroom without a budget, licensing issues, and students could run the same software at home and at school. It cost nothing to turn a PC into a server as an educational project. It cost nothing to create an ad hoc network of PCs into a class’s model of the Internet. It cost nothing to let students practice taking PCs to bits and installing all kinds of software with no licensing issues due to restrictions or prices. GNU/Linux is perfect for schools. It’s perfect for Austria, why not your country?

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.
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### 37 Responses to Austrian Schools

1. oiaohm says:

And none of these are used on a daily basis for actual production. Just as toys. TLW does her job on a fat client, with idling eBil Intel cores. If you remember to manually turn on her WiFi, of course.
Deaf Spy at least that is not like some windows laptops where they hibernate and the wifi fails. Only way to fix is reboot. Wifi is a curse to Window and Linux systems with different wifi cards. OS X is able to avoid this by building the hardware and having only sane cards in their system.

Deaf Spy sometimes there is no point throwing stones when it a universal problem.

2. Deaf Spy wrote, “TLW does her job on a fat client, with idling eBil Intel cores.”

No, she doesn’t. Most of the time she’s doing work, she’s on the Odroid-C2 thick client near her paper files, printer/scanner/telephone/desk. She can’t juggle the monstrous Intel-notebook and much else simultaneously. In her office she has the desk, the floor, the filing cabinet, and Odroid-C2 running Debian GNU/Linux on a big screened TV with indirect light from a north-facing window. The notebook occasionally makes it to the dining room table but then she has to move around all that paper and the printer doesn’t move at all… TLW knows what she’s doing even if we don’t.

3. Deaf Spy wrote, “none of these are used on a daily basis for actual production. Just as toys. TLW does her job on a fat client, with idling eBil Intel cores. If you remember to manually turn on her WiFi, of course.”

A new server will take care of TLW and me at the same time. That’s in the pipe. TLW’s WiFi is working fine these days. I got systemd to do its job. WiFi comes up and NFS mounts go online at boot. She’s getting 72megabits/s. Her Odroid-C2 is working fine too. It would make a dandy thin client so she will have her files and setup wherever she goes. Replacing that aging Intel chip in the living room with an Odroid-C2 will permit her to do her work there with wireless keyboard, mouse and the TV. No need for that big clumsy Intel boat.

4. Deaf Spy says:

Those have been used successfully in my home and in my work

And none of these are used on a daily basis for actual production. Just as toys. TLW does her job on a fat client, with idling eBil Intel cores. If you remember to manually turn on her WiFi, of course.

5. oiaohm says:

Deploying Raspberry Pi in the Classroom
Deaf Spy would be a good read for you is a formal book on the topic. This include thin-client usages and other usages.

There are school who have used PI to run Libreoffice. To be correct the 512meg editions without server as something to take home to use with TV and keyboard and mouse at home. So yes fully running office suite on a PI. Of course you don’t want to go nuts attempting to have calc perform or do something really massive but that is not most school work. Fairly much first 10 years of school is rare to produce any large documents. So the new PI 3 with 2G of memory is quite suitable for that role.

Also when teach english having less proofing tools and having student depend on their own mind is better for teacher to gauge students language progression.

Just look at his recommendations of ARM, thin-clients LO, when he doesnâ€™t really use any them full-scale in his household.
So it a real existing deployment case so even that Robert scale is not large it been tested past the 300 student point many times over and found functional.

Deaf Spy so please learn to read up on the topic before commenting. Just because Robert has not done something does not mean there are not books and documented deployments doing the same thing.

6. Deaf Spy wrote, “ARM, thin-clients LO, when he doesnâ€™t really use any them full-scale in his household.”

Those have been used successfully in my home and in my work. LO is on every desktop PC here. ARM is on one machine and a smartphone. We’ve retired the old thin clients but when we get a new server, an Odroid-C2 may serve that role. I often open a window to a GUI on one machine (real or virtual) to another. That’s the essence of thin client technology.

7. Deaf Spy says:

Another analogy for our dear old Robert.

Some years ago, an already retired professor in Math was bragging about his work to define a complex set of integral equations to find the surface of a funny-shaped sheet of metal. A colleague of his, a then young, brilliant mathematician and programmer, asked:
– Do you have another piece of the same metal sheet you can use to cut a small square of like 10×10 cm?
– Yes, I do!
– Then, just cut such a piece, weigh them both, and there comes your answer.

This is what Math does to the weakly minded.

8. Deaf Spy says:

Next out of your mouth, youâ€™ll be saying â€œI strongly recommend Solo Electra Meccanica for schools and commercial enterprises. Try it. Youâ€™ll like it.â€

That is well expected, Douglas. Robert is very fond of recommending things he’s not actually tested properly himself. Just look at his recommendations of ARM, thin-clients LO, when he doesn’t really use any them full-scale in his household.

9. oiaohm wrote, “schools is somewhere that open source has been deployed repeatable and successfully.”

Yes, it’s a great match: price tag, convenience, flexibility, GPL…

10. oiaohm says:

Reality what was found in Austrian Schools is also found in School District #73 in Canada then schools in Brazil then Schools in France and basically I can keep on going and going.

So schools is somewhere that open source has been deployed repeatable and successfully.

11. oiaohm says:

Meh, youâ€™re just talking out your ass again. I am willing to bet you never even used a hammer in your life, let alone a wrench or a Mig welder.
Hammer and wrench usage is mandatory in Australia in year 8. So only USA idiot who did not get a good education would have said that.

True I have never used a Mig welder as all my welding has been stick. For doing Hard Surfacing coatings for excavators and other digging equipment Mig does not work to produce the same level of hardening. The best a Mig can do is quite soft.

I have a boom pole for my tractor for field work
Lack of field experience. I said ground counter to wheels this include tractors.

The fixed height of the frame means you can guy-line stabilise the frame once it walked into place. Unstable ground you are after particular equipment.

So the fix shape frame with block and tackle under it is for a particular operational problem. Basically Dougman is a smart ass who one day if he does not learn the correct usage case limitations is going to get self killed.

12. dougman says:

“On properties its not uncommon to have heavier frames built the same kind of way as Roberts without wheels or joints.”

Meh, you’re just talking out your ass again. I am willing to bet you never even used a hammer in your life, let alone a wrench or a Mig welder.

I have a boom pole for my tractor for field work, and a 5-ton hoist in my barn. What more do I need? People bring over an engine to tear down, we make a party out of it tearing it down, pulling the head and block with air tools.

13. dougman says:

“particularly if he knew what he was doing with it you would learn something.”

My God, Hammy is correct! If Pogsey and Hammy, knew what they were talking about and doing, perhaps, just maybe, they would leaned something.

14. oiaohm says:

I would pay a bitcoin to see you carry 75 lbs. all over your yard for five minutes.
dougman particularly if he knew what he was doing with it you would learn something.

On properties its not uncommon to have heavier frames built the same kind of way as Roberts without wheels or joints. Mostly because you can walk without lifting most of the weight. If you attempt walking one of those fold up frames you normally end up with a joint failure.

Dougman the two you pointed to have a place when used on a concrete floor. Now used in open field different matter where you have to walk into position on soil that is not wheel cooperative. Walking a lifting frame into place is not friendly on joints that allow frame to fold up.

Jesus Pogsey, where is your ingenuity, you could replace said wheels with pneumatic tires and use an air bottle over your hydraulic lines.
Sorry Dougman at times it in fact having wheels that is the problem.

So there are two very distinct ways of doing a lifting frame that can do a lot of the same things but with their unique advantages and disadvantages.

15. dougman wrote, “I would pay a bitcoin to see you carry 75 lbs. all over your yard for five minutes.”

I would not bet on the speed but I sure can cover the distance especially if it rides on my cart and the tractor is pulling it. The thing is I can put it on the cart.

16. dougman says:

“my device is lighter, so I can carry it around easily all over the yard. Yours is 109.5 lb. Mine is 75lb.”

I would pay a bitcoin to see you carry 75 lbs. all over your yard for five minutes.

“The designs are not dissimilar but mine doesnâ€™t have useless wheels and the hydraulic jack.”

Jesus Pogsey, where is your ingenuity, you could replace said wheels with pneumatic tires and use an air bottle over your hydraulic lines.

17. dougman wrote, “dropping $15K on a power-wheels kids toy that only goes 40-miles.” 100 miles is the nominal range. Even if it were only 40 miles it would still be useful to me. I could reach all the nearby towns and back in 40 miles. 100 miles is a lot more interesting, giving access to most of the densely populated southern parts of the province except for the extreme southwest and southeast. It is inconvenient to have to recharge frequently but I can’t drive long distances safely in any case. I need the breaks. dougman also wrote, “youâ€™ll be saying â€œI strongly recommend Solo Electra Meccanica for schools and commercial enterprises. Try it. Youâ€™ll like it.â€” I suppose it could have some use in schools as an affordable EV for vocational courses. EV growth is huge. It definitely is useful to some businesses for deliveries or services. In fact some businesses are in the pipeline to buy thousands of them. The biggest market will likely be Asia where small vehicles are widely accepted. It’s a step up from bicycles and motorbikes and scooters. 18. dougman wrote, “Why would you take the time to design and build something, that is already been done?” I’m retired. I like to build things. Also, my device is lighter, so I can carry it around easily all over the yard. Yours is 109.5 lb. Mine is 75lb. The designs are not dissimilar but mine doesn’t have useless wheels and the hydraulic jack. 19. oiaohm says: Rightâ€¦ because learning to use the pin light filter instead of two separate layers each with a soft light filter and a different blend mode WAS. SO. FREAKINâ€™. HARD. How can anyone cope with having to learn something new? For standard conforming operations done the right way the problem is very hard. Because even when someone learns something new they have a habit of returning to the first way they learnt how to-do it. This is just human nature. As for your nice arguments against Photoshop, using LO or GIMP has even worse effects. Teaching students how effects work there is something better to show them the mechanics. http://www.vips.ecs.soton.ac.uk/index.php?title=VIPS In image editing Gimp is not your only choice. https://krita.org Yes krita is used in 3d animation world. They are not even used in any industry. Absolutely useless. Deaf Spy Libreoffice is used by a lot of industries for manual writing due to working Master document support. If you don’t use Libreoffice you are using tex something as it again has Master document support that works. MS Office does have a few glaring big flaws one is you attempt to use Master documents and you files end up being made unreadable. Gimp not used in industry you have a point but you have Krita and Vips that are used in industry and vips used in places where Photoshop limitations are hit. Krita is used animation industry. So teaching the two free open source tools early is not hurting the student. There comes a point with a lot these bits of software is there not any advantage to teaching the commercial software sooner because quite a lot of open source software is used in industry to work around different limitations. In fact in education saying that the software is too buggy might be sales pitch. You want student to learn to think their way around problems not give up as soon as the program has a problem. Mathematics is part about teaching problem solving in a testable format. 20. dougman says: “I needed a hoisting frame that was light enough to move around yet capable of suspending a mass with a weight of 1000lb. I designed it and built it.” Why would you take the time to design and build something, that is already been done? Here is a suitable 1-ton lift. http://www.harborfreight.com/1-ton-capacity-foldable-shop-crane-69512.html and they make a 2-ton lift for a bit more money. http://www.harborfreight.com/2-ton-Capacity-Foldable-Shop-Crane-69514.html I swear, its like you enjoy beating yourself up and making your life harder then it really should be. For instance, dropping$15K on a power-wheels kids toy that only goes 40-miles. Next out of your mouth, you’ll be saying “I strongly recommend Solo Electra Meccanica for schools and commercial enterprises. Try it. Youâ€™ll like it.”

21. DrLoser wrote, “you donâ€™t â€œminimise weight in order to achieve a certain strength.â€”

Yes, I do. I needed a hoisting frame that was light enough to move around yet capable of suspending a mass with a weight of 1000lb. I designed it and built it. I’ve also done least-squares fitting since 1968 many times, everything from designing circuits, pressure vessels, beams, to building our home in Stoney Mountain. TLW overruled my design but I still did the calculations. It’s what I do. The hoisting frame did bend a bit too much lifting one of TLW’s rocks but it did handle the vast majority of them so we only had to hire an hydraulic loader for a few of the biggest. My cart was able to handle all those that I could lift too. Currently I’m building a cart for hauling my alternator, engine and welder around the yard. It’ll work too.

22. DrLoser says:

Well, in my life I often build things and optimization is useful/important. ie like minimizing the weight to achieve a certain strength.

I believe I have explained this to you, Robert. Your ad hominem responses are not susceptible to being generalised.

And even if your ad hominem requirements are relevant (which proposition is farcical), then you don’t need to understand “calculus.” Plug the numbers into a handy on-line calculator, and you’re done.

And even if that were not the case, my point remains. Deaf Spy, who is perfectly capable of applying calculus when necessary, is simply pointing out an analogy.

Perhaps you should go back and respond to Deaf Spy’s analogy. Because, God knows, you’re doing nothing here but making yourself look like the ancient fool you are.

Incidentally, and this is entirely tangential to your original ad hominem blather: you don’t “minimise weight in order to achieve a certain strength.” You are confusing actions with reactions. In a static model, the strength is already defined (calculus or no calculus, although these days we do it via matrix mathematics, which as I say are amenable to computation).

Now, granted, and given that the strength in a static model is essentially predefined, you can move weights (actions) around to ensure that they match up to the available reactions. But that doesn’t take calculus. It just needs a properly designed static model (matrix based, as I say) and a bit of fiddling around.

I am, of course, assuming that you understand the difference between a rigid element and a non-rigid element under either compression or tension. The models in these two cases differ. And, naturally, you understand the tendency for load transfer to move away from comparatively stiff elements and towards comparatively strong elements.

You are, of course, a Disciple of Robert Hawke.

23. DrLoser wrote, “one rarely needs calculus in real life”.

Well, in my life I often build things and optimization is useful/important. ie like minimizing the weight to achieve a certain strength. That helps you be able to afford or move around what you build yet it will still do the job.

DrLoser also wrote, “why would you use calculus to solve a least square fit, when simple algebra (or indeed matrix operations) is perfectly sufficient and indeed easier to program?”

Where do you think the expressions one puts into such programmes derives?

If $latex E=\sum{{(y – f(t,a,b,c))}^{2}}$ then $latex a,b,c$ solving $latex \frac{\partial E}{\partial a,b,c} = 0$ will be the solution of the least squares fit.

This uses the well understood principle that the maxima and minima of a continuous function will have zero slope for a given parameter of the least-squares fit. You can do this algebraically to derive a formula for the numerical problem which can be programmed into an application.

24. DrLoser says:

Speaking of arithmetic, Beast reports an average download of 4gB per day around here.

Would that be Peano Arithmetic or simply Peanut Gallery Arithmetic, Robert?

For all the world, it looks like a plain old dimensionless number to me.

25. DrLoser says:

Calculus is also quite useful in optimization. e.g. Least-squares fitting to an arbitrary function or solving equations by trial and error methods.

Which is pretty much the first derivative of the proposition “one rarely needs calculus in real life.” (And I should note that Deaf Spy is extremely competent in Maths, and almost certainly uses calculus very often indeed in that part of his life that is “not real.” Perhaps it’s imaginary, ho ho. (Small mathematical joke there.))

It’s fairly obvious to a normal person, Robert, that Deaf Spy was arguing by analogy, in which case as usual your ad hominem evidence is to entirely miss his point.

On a point of interest, why would you use calculus to solve a least square fit, when simple algebra (or indeed matrix operations) is perfectly sufficient and indeed easier to program?

26. Ivan says:

this is something important. School waste time teaching students to use X version of photoshop. They get to the workforce and they need Y version bad part is due to training on X they are doing a X work around that Y version does not require.

Right… because learning to use the pin light filter instead of two separate layers each with a soft light filter and a different blend mode WAS. SO. FREAKIN’. HARD. How can anyone cope with having to learn something new?

27. Deaf Spy wrote, “I had a similar discussion with my math teacher. I protested that we did lots of calculus with exactly zero meaning in real life”.

On the contrary, I found everything I learned in school had value, even the Latin… I used calculus often when designing electronic circuits for the transient response and response versus frequency. Calculus is also quite useful in optimization. e.g. Least-squares fitting to an arbitrary function or solving equations by trial and error methods.

I don’t have a calculator in my pocket. I don’t even know where to find one in my house although TLW’s office would be a good place to start. I use a computer or my head for calculations. It works for me.

Speaking of arithmetic, Beast reports an average download of 4gB per day around here. We had days as high as 28gB but those were rare when there were lots of visitors consuming video constantly. It’s pretty scary. I used to run schools with hundreds of users in 2gB per month…

28. Deaf Spy says:

As for your nice arguments against Photoshop, using LO or GIMP has even worse effects. Not only their versions expire. They are not even used in any industry. Absolutely useless.

29. Deaf Spy says:

let schools do what they do, educate.

Education, like how to do calculations with a slide-rules, when every calculator / computer can do the operation better and with less errors… Absofuckinglutely useful.

As a young pupil, I had a similar discussion with my math teacher. I protested that we did lots of calculus with exactly zero meaning in real life, but never solved actual, meaningful problems. Her argument was “you will not have a calculator in your pocket”.

Well, now basically everyone does.

30. dougman says:

The only slide rule I ever used was a E6B.

31. ram says:

Yeah, I remember slide rules. I too was very good at using them. I even taught classes in their use. The most important aspect in teaching slide rules was that one was also teaching the class how to read (analog) scales and do on the fly error estimates. Those remained important skills for many decades after slide rules faded from popularity.

Curiously, various forms of slide rules are still taught and in active use with military and emergency services (combat agencies) in case of extended periods of no electrical power and exposure to EMPs. My gut feeling is that slide rules are going to make a big comeback — as in “boom goes London, boom goes Paris, now there is more room for you and more room for me” (informal motto of US nuclear forces).

32. oiaohm wrote, “Early in my school I was introduced to word perfect it was the dominate wordprocessor at the time.”

I feel so old. I was taught how to use log tables and a slide-rule. I was good at it. A year later, HP sold their first popular calculator, HP-35. To add insult to injury the slide-rule I was given as top student in my high school was stolen in Year 1 at university… I bought a cheap little bamboo slide-rule and carried on. I can’t remember when I last used that slide-rule but it was probably about 1970 when I got on the university’s mainframe and minicomputers. So, for all the effort and time put into slide-rules got me zero dollars earned except for a few classes that I taught, perhaps a few \$hundred. The university was using paper typewriters for a decade further. I never took a typing class but learned to type on computers. So much for the idea that public schools should teach current stuff. It’s rarely of much value IMHO.

BTW, I think my education was better than what schools give now with calculators. For instance, I was able to write down answers to physics questions to within 10% as fast as students could read from the textbook simply because I needed to estimate magnitudes to properly use a slide-rule. During an oral exam for my first degree, I surprised my inquisitors by giving an answer with 3 significant figures without using either a calculator or a slide-rule, just a few scratches of chalk on the chalkboard. I got an A+ in that course.

I’ve recently been coaching a student of electronics over the phone, giving him answers faster than he could poke his calculator for circuit diagrams he just described over the phone. Better, I can tell him how to do the same. Today, I was outside cutting steel. Rather than using a diagram with measurements I used the theorem of Pythagoras by mental arithmetic to figure out how long to make a diagonal member. No, I couldn’t just run a tape-measure across. The other members did not yet exist… Good fun… It’s no wonder I used to score 100% in maths in high school. I was like a human computer. I wasn’t so good at algebra but I improved with practice. I used to rework proofs in physics until I could minimize the work needed to get the result. That allowed me to do exams with plenty of time remaining until I got into quantum mechanics. That stuff’s too strange for me…

33. oiaohm says:

Deaf Spy just point into context. Early in my school I was introduced to word perfect it was the dominate wordprocessor at the time. Fairly much everything I learn about word perfect today is absolutely worthless to me. That knowledge is not use for using MS Office or Libreoffice today. It was not even useful by the time I finished schooling.

So every dollar the school spent on Word Perfect licenses for student to use was a pure waste of cash that would have been better spent else where.

34. oiaohm says:

But of course. Why teach kids something that can actually help them get a real job and earn real money?
Deaf Spy few thing to consider.

Software interfaces change a lot. So if you show a person MS Office from 10 years ago and now they are not the same. So at least the first 8 years of schooling in most countries could say stuff commercial software.

Then there comes the question when should students train in items like Photoshop. How many jobs in fact use Photoshop should it be an elective or should it be taught in course after schooling is complete. Same applies to MS Office.

PSD, done with a specific version of Photoshop.
Deaf Spy this is something important. School waste time teaching students to use X version of photoshop. They get to the workforce and they need Y version bad part is due to training on X they are doing a X work around that Y version does not require.

So there is a lot of serous questions business class software should be restricted to the last year of schooling or to something like a tafe course where you do the courses based on what your employer needs. Of course students being cleaner slate and not tainted excessively has some advantages.

35. Deaf Spy wrote, “I have some real-life experience with writing software for printing houses. In Germany, all, without any exception, they use Photoshop.”

We know why that’s so, Pantone™. Printers use that all the time. However there are gazillions of people who print and accept default colours or who don’t print at all. Count the PS licences. Does the world stop because not everyone has one? Nope. So, training for PS should be optional at best and public schools should not be subsidizing one business instead of another just because some want that. The taxpayers don’t want to subsidize every guy who can write software.

36. Deaf Spy wrote, “Why teach kids something that can actually help them get a real job and earn real money?”

It’s not the job of schools generally to train students to be locked in to monopoly. There are schools and businesses that do teach those skills but they don’t match the educational objectives of most departments of education which are to prepare students for life. e.g. We teach mathematics and spreadsheets not how to use Excel™. Why should any government subsidize a foreign business just because it makes a popular/widely used software? Further, although those applications may be widely used, not every person uses them, so it’s wasteful to train students to use it unless they are self-selected somehow. When I was a computer teacher I showed students five word-processors and several spread sheet applications just to show them the common principles. Training a student to use a particular application is pretty silly especially when the year they graduate version x+1 may be all the rage and they only know X. Do you really expect schools to have every version of every application that’s popular? That would be a huge waste just as a large business would not have PS or such on every PC except in very rare situations. Why pay for licenses which are of no value. Further, some softwares are incompatible with some IT-systems. It makes no sense to have an IT-system for applications of this category and duplicate systems for applications of that category. How many machines/systems per student does one need? “7” is popular but application X may only be available for “10”. What to do? Schools are not in the business of picking winners in the market. Businesses should do their own training and purchasing and let schools do what they do, educate.

37. Deaf Spy says:

Transitional and expensive software like Photoshop, MS Office and so on have no reason for existence in public schools.

But of course. Why teach kids something that can actually help them get a real job and earn real money? Let’s just shove our beloved ideology into their heads! This is so typical of narrow-minded, mediocre teachers. Those, for whom Pink Floyd sang “The Happiest Day in Our Lives” and “Another Brick in the Wall II”.

Contrary to you, Robert, I have some real-life experience with writing software for printing houses. In Germany, all, without any exception, they use Photoshop. Giving back your work in PSD is an absolute must if you want to win a contract with them. No ifs, no buts. PSD, done with a specific version of Photoshop. Further, printing houses coordinate and agree with each other upgrades to newer versions of Photoshop in order to exchange swiftly plugins and images. Many of these houses have in-house developers who write Photoshop plugins.

Hey, I wonder, why should kids learn Photoshop? 🙂