Previous by DateNext by Date Date Index
Previous by ThreadNext by Thread Thread Index
LM_NET Archive

Here are all the replies I got to my question about Linux machines - my
personal favorite is the "If you are going to replace computers anyway, why
not go Mac? OSX is actually Linux in disguise." - I do love my MAC and
interestingly enough we were a MAC environment before the last "tech guy"
decided we had to throw them all out and get windows based machines!!

I'm running Linux at home, and wish we would run it here! Download
OpenOffice ( and you have a FREE suite that
matches MS Office, including a PowerPoint-compatible tool.

The bigger problem for libraries is that not all circ systems will run on
Linux. Check first. I found out that Athena requires that the server be
running Windows, even though you can have either Macs or PCs for patrons to

Linux is FAR, FAR more stable than anything MicroSoft puts out, but it is a
bit quirky. Your techies will need to to a lot of training at first to get
everyone up to speed, but once people are familiar with it they will like

If you are going to replace computers anyway, why not go Mac? OSX is
actually Linux in disguise.
Many schools that switch to Linux do so for the increased reliability it
offers and the savings that can be achieved. And, many schools are educating
their students using a combination of Linux and Microsoft compatible
software. There are a lot of people in education developing educational
software and administration tools to make Linux viable in K-12. Hopefully
all the software applications that this particular school uses will run
under Linux, there are substitutes available that run under Linux, they will
run Linux and Microsoft side-by-side, or the "tech person" has a
non-disruptive migration strategy in place.

From a librarian's perspective, however, I would suggest that the long term
"educational interests" of our students (and our fiscal responsibility to
our communities) are best served when we promote the adoption of Open Source
software where the underlying source code is freely available to be
understood and modified by our teachers and our students. Being able to get
"under the hood" and modify software can be a great learning experience for
students. In contrast, students cannot modify closed source software, such
as Microsoft's offerings.

The sharing of work-product and ideas that underpins Open Source software,
such as Linux, is in harmony with the sharing-of-information philosophy of
librarians. The philosophy underlying closed source software is anathema to
the fundamentals of our profession.
Linux is a free operating system and that is why it's popularity is
increasing; however, it needs the software applications to survive.  Because
of its increasing popularity, more and more softwares are created for it.
MS Office now works on both the Mac' OS 10 and on MS Windows.  It wouldn't
surprise me if it has been rewritten to work on Linux.  Try to do some
research to find which programs work that you want to use in your school.
That will probably be the leading factor as to whether Linux will work for
your school or not.  The Web will probably help to find this info or call a
computer company.
All the following links have Linux based programs. Check them out: - Web Editor, really good. Can be used with Windows,too. - Browser also look at Foxfire like MS Office has similar PPT program - By Sun, like MS
Office, for educational purpose, cost of media & shipping, most
Linux(OpenSource) is free to download or you can buy a disc for a small fee. - OpenSource library automation software from New
Zealand, I am looking at this for several of my nonautomated elementaries. -Manual for
Koha - Like Blackboard
Also look at for other Linux software.

Of course Linux programs aren't MS, but once you get familiar with them I
think you will like them.

Here is an email sent to the listserv about using Linux:

I've been using and StarOffice for a long
time.( is the free version, StarOffice is the version Sun
Microsystems sells and supports.) Both versions of the program work very
well. Some of the commands are different, but the compatibility differences
are no worse than between MS Office versions. The only problem I ran in to
was that the spreadsheet only allows 32,000 rows rather than the 64,000 rows
you can have in MS Excel... and yes, I really did have a spreadsheet that
had over 32,000 rows... I've since redesigned it so it doesn't. :) BTW,
sharing isn't just 'permitted', it's encouraged... it's FREE
SOFTWARE, you can give it to as many people as you want. StarOffice, on the
other hand, is not free software... schools and libraries can get it for
free, but the public has to pay $80 per copy. It's a very nice option for
schools as there are lots of extras in SunOffice along with training
materials provided for free by Sun:
And, if I'm going to share one URL, I might as well share the URL for

        Here's another one:

I've been using and StarOffice for a long
time.( is the free version, StarOffice is the version Sun
Microsystems sells and supports.) Call me an old fart (go know you
want to!) bit I LOATHE Office and Outlook. As soon as I retired and no
longer needed to maintain compatibility with the district, I canned Billy
Boy's bloatware.     I no longer use Microsoft Oriface, I use StarOffice I
no longer use PowerPointless, I use Impress (part of StarOffice) I never
used Outlook or Outlook Express, I've always used Eudora I dropped Internet
Exploiter long ago, I use Mozilla's Firefox Next up....LINUX instead of
Windeaux.....StarOffice reads and displays my Word documents flawlessly
StarOffice imported and converted my very old Works databases flawlessly
Impress displays my existing PowerPoint presentations perfectly There ARE
alternatives out there. That having been said, we probably will have to
realize that our students live in a Windows world and for the most part, we
should train them to use Windows software.
You can also check out for ideas/programs.

I've had Linux on my desktop since last June and I'm at least as productive
as I ever was.
The software used is different than the software on a Windows-based
computer, in much the same way that the software on a Macintosh is different
than the software on a Windows-based computer.Instead of running Microsoft
Office on my Linux desktop, I use a free software program
which has components which work like Microsoft Office. can
read and write Microsoft Office files... it's not 100% perfect, but it works
about as well as reading Office 97 files in Office Pro 2003. :)

For desktop office work, writing letters and creating spreadsheets, works fine.
If you've got the children using the Internet via a web browser, there are
some web sites which don't like anything other than Internet Explorer... the
trade off is that many of the viruses out there are written explicitly for
Windows-based computers so you spend less time fighting viruses with
Linux-based computers.

You can do a google search for "Linux in education" and get a list of
several sites which talk about the pros and cons of using Linux...including
some very good software specifically written for elementary school children.
Have no fear! Linux is an extremely stable and well-supported operating
system and there is software that runs on Linux that will allow students to
create documents and produce presentations, do spreadsheets etc. Most likely
students will be using OpenOffice or StarOffice for these tasks - both are
mature products with a wide user base which includes many schools in this

I run Linux at home and wouldn't have any hesitation whatsoever if it were
to be introduced to my library. If you don't get any responses from
librarians with direct experience of linux in their libraries, I'd be happy
to put you in touch with people who may be able to arrange that direct
contact for you. Just let me know.

Linux is open source code that is a lot like Unix.  There is also a GUI so
that it's  similar to using Windows, I believe...however, I don't actually
think it will ever replace Microsoft and as a platform.  I don't think it is
practical at this time...although it is much better so I hear. If you are in
a HS, it wouldn't be a bad idea to expose the kids to it, but I don't think
it would be wise to switch everything over to it. IMHO.

Jean Lowery, M.L.S., Ph.D.
Library Media Specialist
Bishop Woods School (A New Haven Public School)

All LM_NET postings are protected by copyright law.
To change your LM_NET status, e-mail to:
In the message write EITHER: 1) SIGNOFF LM_NET  2) SET LM_NET NOMAIL
3) SET LM_NET MAIL  4) SET LM_NET DIGEST  * Allow for confirmation.
LM_NET Help & Information:
EL-Announce with LM_NET Select:
LM_NET Supporters:

LM_NET Mailing List Home