I’ve always been an advocate of Ubuntu, the open source operating system. Although I’m a bit of a Mac guy, I do like to keep an eye on Linux because I feel so tuned in with the ethic of open source. The main issue I have with Linux and open source software is that it is mostly designed by developers who are making a solution to a specific problem and they tend to be very talented coders, but are not user interface people. So you end up with some very functional software, but have wildly different interfaces, some easy to use, some that leave you scratching your head and all inconsistent with each other. This is what I like about using a Mac, software fits to a convention and I can spend more time creating than figuring it all out.

Ubuntu screenshot

However, that aside, I wanted to highlight a project I came across where a bunch of schools in Hampshire are going to use Ubuntu for a month and document their findings to evaluate how feasible it is to go open source wholesale. This is fascinating because, coming from the voluntary sector, I always looked for ways that organisations could cut their costs to make the most from their funding. It seems now that this more important than ever. So, for the month of November, these schools are going to try it out. Now, I installed the latest version of Ubuntu as a virtual machine to check it out and it is good. The system itself if rock stable, it has good integration into the cloud and the apps that are bundled in it are both useful and in many cases, mature and feature packed. From an administrative point of view, Ubuntu is a no brainer, you use OpenOffice or GoogleDocs where both allow you to load and save in compatible Word, Excel, etc formats as well as the Open Document format. It’s all free, there’s simply no reason to pay out for an OS or office suite to be used in this way. What’s going to be really interesting is how they will use Linux as an educational and creative tool. As an iLife user, it’s really easy to see how the Mac can make learning about music, video, podcasting incredibly accessible, the trick is going to be how Ubuntu manages it with its’ non-integrated media applications. The site that documents the project does have a spreadsheet showing alternatives to commonly used software, so I’ll be interested to see if these get adopted and used at all.var zoomImagesURI = ‘http://www.ismunn.me.uk/files/’;setupZoom();

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