Convincing a school district to migrate from OS X to Ubuntu or Edubuntu

Paige Thompson erratic at
Tue Nov 18 18:20:34 UTC 2008

I've already started this at the school I work for, gotten rid of exchange 
and now we're on google apps edu edition. Router is a cisco 871, the need 
for a windows server is becoming quite scarce.

sent from my gphone!

On Nov 17, 2008 4:14 PM, "David McNally" <david3333333 at> wrote:

Hello everybody.

This question will probably take a little while to type, but I'll try to get 
it through.

First off, I should probably point out that I live here in the United 
States, in northern New Jersey. The kind of people who live around me are 
rich idiots; they're the kind of people who, somehow, have a lot of money, 
but still use Windows. No one here knows anything about Linux, let alone 

I use three different Operating Systems every day: Ubuntu at home, OS X at 
school, and Windows everywhere else (mostly friends' houses). It's 
confusing, but I'm pretty good with all three of them. Obviously, Windows is 
still the worst of the three, and I try to avoid it as often as possible, 
but that's not too hard. However, I'm completely stuck with OS X at school. 
I actually have classes where we sit in front of Macs and learn to use 
Microsoft Office 2008. Which means I'm stuck using that stupid ribbon that 
those Microsoft imbiciles put into Office 2008. We also browse the web with 
Safari, the crummy web browser that Apple put into OS X.

Then I go home to Ubuntu and everything's just perfect.

I'm not saying that OS X is terrible; it's actually pretty good. But time 
after time, the teachers and students are confused with one program after 
another not loading or freezing or something. The IT people, in my opinion, 
have the hardest job in the entire building. They have to make OS X Server 
work with 500-some-odd computers with OS X (which is harder than it sounds), 
and install Office 2008 on every computer, and if anything stops working, 
they're the ones who have to fix it. And, needless to say, there are many 
other programs that they use.

I'm thinking: what if we could just say good-bye to all of this and just 
switch to Ubuntu or Edubuntu. It would be hard, especially because the 
school has been on Macintosh since the early 90's, but that doesn't mean it 
wouldn't be impossible. Everyone was able to switch from OS 9 to OS X 
without too much hassle. I know that the Ubuntu/Edubuntu servers work pretty 
well, so they could replace OS X Server with that, and replace OS X itself 
with Ubuntu/Edubuntu. I know that you can run other OSes on iMacs, so we 
could do that, and we could replace Safari with Firefox, and replace MS 
Office 2008 with (One of my classes is "Computer 
Applications" which is really just learning to use Word, Excel, PowerPoint, 
etc, but my teacher is so used to using the older versions, which were 
always almost exactly that same, version-to-version, so she is completely 
confused with the ribbon and all of the other changes. I know that OO.o will 
probably never put in the ribbon.)

But I'm still the only person that I know that uses Linux. I'm on my little 
Linux island, surrounded by Windows and OS X. Many of my teachers don't even 
know what Linux is, let alone Ubuntu or Edubuntu. The school has spent 
hundreds of thousands of dollars (yes, I did all of the math) on software 
alone; for reasons I don't understand, the school always has to have the 
most recent version of everything, especially OS X and MS Office.

Still, I don't see any reason that it wouldn't work. Everyone would be using 
OO.o, so it would be just like older versions of MS Office, and the 
computers would never get viruses, and I know that there are many 
open-source Linux programs for helping teachers. It couldn't be done 
overnight, but they could do it over the summer vacation (or maybe even the 
Christmas vacation). For the few programs that we use where there is no 
Linux alternative (by the same company or an open-source clone), we would 
have to use Wine or something like it. I'm not sure what the other 
alternatives are, but we could find out.

Would we be able to do this at all? Also: is Edubuntu really that much 
better for schools than Ubuntu?

Please let me know what you think. 


David McNally

David McNally
david3333333 at
apt-get moo

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