Note: Steve Hargadon has an interesting post on this same topic.
I was teaching on Bainbridge Island, Washington a couple weeks ago. Their school district, one of the best in the state or possibly the best in the state, is in the process of switching to Linux thin clients and OpenOffice.org. You should see the performance of OpenOffice on their setup -- it takes a couple seconds to start the program. Yes, to start it.
The school district is saving several hundred thousand dollars just by switching to OpenOffice.org. I'm not sure how much additional money is being saved by switching to Linux.
The teachers who I trained had the usual reaction -- "Hey, this is really similar to Microsoft Office. What was the big deal about switching?"
Which leads me to ask any and all of you who are reading this blog.
Why haven't more schools switched to OpenOffice.org?
It's the perfect fit. Free. Lets you spend money on something really important, education. Schools are perpetually short of money and teachers are underpaid. It's hard to find something in the real world that would do more good for a school than to switch to OpenOffice.org. (Or another open source software product that would save as much money.)
There's the Microsoft campaign of FUD (fear, uncertainty, and doubt), of course. There's inertia.
But is there something else?
Are there teachers reading who'd like to know more, or share frustrations with open source?
Let's talk about this. It frustrates me that such a good thing isn't being done. There could be schools across the country, across the world, with smaller class sizes, better teacher salaries, and better facilities and supplies, by saving money on software. Let's make it happen!