[PLUG] Why are students/colleges not using *nix systems

Nishit Dave stargazer.dave at gmail.com
Sat Dec 23 10:48:49 PST 2006


We are still discussing only one side of the story, i.e. in academia.  All
students, and their tutors in a system like ours, will be interested in
training that can open access to the mainstream opportunities, which happen
to be Microsoft technologies.

This is because Microsoft (and other proprietary) technologies are what sell
the most in the most important market - the corporate world, whether due to
ignorance, support, marketing strength, or the much-flagged "ease of use".

Coming to the point directly, I have been trying to interest many of my
peers and senior colleagues, both in the IT dept. as well as other
functional ones at my workplace, in Free software in general and Linux in
particular.  My efforts include both free CDs and sermons.  Of the most
informed opinions, the best that I get is "So how will this make life easier
for me? Does it offer me a new new deal, or is it just more wastage of my
time in doing the same thing differently?  .Net is where the action is now,
and that's where I am going.  Who wants to employ a Linux professional
anyway!"

>From the functional colleagues, most of the responses are: "hmm, how cute!"
I once gave an Ubuntu (5.10) CD to a Director with whom I am on very good
terms.  He liked the fact that it could act as a good rescue CD for its
laptop, and he also liked OpenOffice, so there's a clue.

Yesterday, I gathered some guts and presented a Dapper Drake CD to another
important Director, who is also in charge of IT.  He has promised to give it
a try, so I am waiting with bated breath for his return from vacation!  And
my sincere hope is that he doesn't try some of the more 'esoteric' stuff
like multimedia or wi-fi.

To cut the story short, as long as FOSS doesn't provide a radical advantage
that can be achieved without much agony, corporates will not be interested
in it.  Price is not that important a factor for them to rethink their
present approach, it is productivity.

Till the time this critical hurdle is not crossed, there will not be a broad
and deep interest from the corporate world in FOSS.  The most they will use
will be Apache and PHP.  And till that time, Indian academics will not be in
a frenzy to encourage their students to consider the Free software
alternative as a good career move.

Just my two paise.


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