Tuesday, August 18, 2009

On Open Source OS vs Apps

The Open Source discussion continues with a reader commenting:
Ok, so we keep Windows, but lose the applications that cost money - use Google Docs, Gmail, Blogger, OpenOffice, and the rest. How often do we really have problems with the applications? It's usually the network or the OS, not the apps.

Think about the savings just from not licensing Microsoft Office.

I tend to agree. This fits into my general 'use what you need' philosophy about tech. If you are nervous about using an Open Source OS, then don't. But that doesn't mean you can't use Open Source apps.

In a way, there are two debates here. The first, which our reader noted yesterday, is that it's difficult to 'sell' open options in systems to a leery admin team.

But the second has to do with the apps themselves. And I think you'd be hard-pressed to find anyone who'd argue that you should pay money for MS Office as opposed to using Open Office and Google Docs. Even MS knows this, which is why they're putting their eggs in new baskets as of late.


  1. I think this is where Google's OS is going to shine. Consumers are comfortable with Google software already, and the easiest way to use free software is to have it be in the cloud, which is all chrome OS will support. Have a few high power machines for video editing and the like, but eventually even that will be in the cloud.

    Maybe I'm drinking too much of the Google Kool-Aid, but Chrome OS (free) with Apps for Edu (free) in the cloud (easy to support) with collaboration via Wave...well, it's just gonna be pretty sweet.

    I should make this disclaimer though. Even though I live in the Google cloud, I do keep backups of all of my stuff locally just in case they pull the plug some day. It's a once a month routine, no biggie.

  2. I have to agree that Google OS could be a nice option for school systems. I also agree that a backup system, like having Google gears for cloud based system backup, is necessary.

    I use Evernote (free) and keep the desktop version in sync with the cloud. I also use Sugarsync to keep my files in sync with my computers and the cloud. Backup is available for free too.

    I think schools should start by replacing paid applications with open source free ones and then look into open source OS's as time progresses. Start small and work upward.

    Dave http://educationaltechnologyguy.blogspot.com/

  3. I'm a 6th grade teacher hoping to go paperless this year. All summer I've been in touch with local computer vendors, repair shops, etc soliciting donations of older model computers. I just need them to get online. Our state surplus agency has a number of machines without hard drives and OS. They incinerate the hard drives for security reasons. I'm troubled how I'm going to get the $ for hard drives. However, my plan, and hope, is for Ubuntu and Edubuntu to solve the OS problem. Great blog!



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