Skip to comments.The Children of Linux
Posted on 03/19/2012 7:37:40 AM PDT by ShadowAce
Linux. Its really not a hard operating system to learn. In fact, that very first statement is wrong. Linux is not an operating system. Linux is a kernel which is used as the very core to build an operating system around. But these are the things that children of today are not learning. Not in public school systems anyway.
When I was a teenager, I was very interested in computers. I looked forward to and really enjoyed my Information Technology classes. But it wasnt just the computers that I was interested. The more I got involved with them, the more I wanted to know about what goes on to make them work. Or to be precise, the operating system.
Its a long time ago now, but I remember when I was talking to my teacher one day he briefly said something about Unix. A term that I had never heard until then. But after that one time, nothing more was ever mentioned. At the time, I really didnt know anything about it. But I was intrigued of what this Unix could be. It was some years later before I got my first glimpse of anything to do with Linux-The accepted modern alternative to Unix. My first encounter with Linux was SUSE 8, which came free on a magazine at the time. I might mention, the magazine was not actually meant to be giving the OS away on the front cover as they were. But anyway, thats a story for another day. But ever since my first experience with SUSE 8, I never let go of Linux and have always been involved with it in one form another.
Now as you all know and are well aware, Windows is basically the only operating system taught in our public schools these days. I understand that Windows is the industry standard and I can accept that. But I dont believe teaching children how to use Windows, solely, is the way forward to a positive IT future. Or if Linux even got a mention, it would be progress. My high school years were well into 15 years ago and it is now 2012 and nothing has changed. Public schools are still teaching children Windows and (unintentionally) presenting it as the only operating system youll ever need to learn and use.
There arises many issues and setbacks with the aforementioned. One of the primary reasons, being the IT teachers themselves having no concept of how to use Linux or even being aware of it. There are many issues from many different angles.
We are very lucky in some ways that we live in a world of fast broadband access where anyone can download and install Linux for free. When I was in high school, a 56k dial-up internet connection was a true privilege and there was only one computer in the whole school that had internet access. Im probably still on that list to use that computer as the list was always a mile long.
But all my 10 years Linux experience that I have today has all been self-taught. I have put myself through free courses and done plenty of tinkering, configuring and certainly my fair share of breaking systems. And my wife yelling at me because Ive broken the computer once again! And that continues to this day. Why? Because Linux offer endless learning capabilities. And despite being a 10 year Linux user, I am still learning things on Linux on a daily basis and still intentionally break things to see how they work in detail. In fact, I am currently experimenting with Arch Linux. A very different experience from the usual mainstream Linux distributions like Ubuntu and Fedora. But that is my point. Theres endless possibilities of learning when it comes to Linux. And perhaps thats the problem when it comes to public schools and teaching Linux. It is such a large scale eco-system with so many different facets, where would one begin to teach. I see that as an excuse for not teaching it. And not a valid reason. Because even giving children a glimpse of Linux in their high school studies will no doubt have a flow-on effect to further private studies and courses.
Linux must be taught to future high school students. Otherwise we are going to experience a severe shortage of knowledgeable Linux administrators in the near future. We are already seeing the first signs of this problem. And unless we start arming the young nerds of today with the knowledge they require to make up their own mind, we are going to have problems. If things dont change soon, I can only hope that todays students come out of schooling as open-minded as I did and choose to at least give Linux a try and see for themselves the true raw power of free and open-source computing that is modern Unix, Linux.
The most interesting flavor for many people might be Puppy Linux. That’s the super fast flavor for people who need a computer for basic things including email, browsing, and office automation type tasks.
It is wrong to say Windows is ‘the industry standard’. A very high percentage of web servers, database servers, and application servers run on Linux, Solaris, or AIX. If you want to work in IT, you need to know these operating systems.
vi forever. $rm -rf /* Ping.
bump for later
It almost seems that the supporters of the different variants are at each other like windows vs. mac devotees.
How does puppy linux compare to ubuntu?
People are going to come on here and claim that the article was talking about desktop computing. However, backend computing is a much larger market, and is much more varied, with Windows actually having a smaller share.
Principles of computer technology should be taught to those students taking such courses. I hung out at a school with a Digital PDP-8 running the almost unknown ETOS system. Others were running punch cards on systems with EBCDIC. Others were learning on Apple IIs and Commodore PETs.
These experiences did not hinder my later becoming a Mac/Windows administrator.
Many of the important programming languages (e.g. Java) are not tied to a single platform.
Operating system administrator is not so broad a job category that it ought to be taught in high school to most students. The Windows instruction students receive today is largely transferrable to the Macbook Airs, iPads and Linux Netbooks the students already have.
No one knows what the landscape will look like in ten years, when these students are though with high school and post-secondary education and hitting the job market.
Any modern OS on an decent computer will do these days. The principles are what’s important.
oops, forgot to save, next time I will
Driver’s ed teaches only how to (hopefully) safely operate the car;little or nothing is taught of what goes on under the hood.
Most people could care less whether it is Windows,Mac,Linux, or BongBoola(tm) as long as it is affordable,reliable and gets the desired task done well and easily.
And that is probably a very rational attitude to have.
The best classes I had in school focused on theory, rather than application. My "Computer Architecture" class instructor didn't care what language we used to write our labs as he wouldn't even look at the code. All he cared about was results. With those labs, you couldn't really cheat, anyway. Best class I ever took. Cost me 200 hours in the lab that quarter.
Ubuntu would be more for developers and/or power users. Puppy is terribly fast even on late 90s or early 2000s computers. Only Microsoft knows how to make the computers of the last 15 years or thereabouts look slow.
When I graduated from High School (1964) There were no computers in the school. A offsite mainframe with punch cards was used for administrative work. Even as an EE student in college (RPI 1964-68), There were no computer related courses required. After graduation, I started working as an engineer and ended up teaching myself about computer hardware and how to write programs in order to design the new products the company desired.
I recently came across a box of my old bunch card programs. Nostalgia...
This is the second school District I've worked for as a Net Admin. Predominantly OSX with a few Win labs in the HS and Middle schools. Currently building out a ten seat Linux lab. Looking at SuSE Live for Education, Edbuntu, Mint (just because of the clean user interface), etc...
Was tempted to just set them up as kiosk's for Internet only. Lock 'em down with Iceweasel and use the Lightspeed box to restrict them to only Google Docs. I'll pilot the interface first and see what the teachers think...
THere are so many advantages to UNIX. No more anti virus software etc. Unless a hacker gets the root password, unix is virtually non hackable. Windows is so slow and clunky, sucks.