Why should we teach students Linux??

Alan Jackson ajackson
Tue Mar 6 18:17:12 PST 2007

On Mon, 05 Mar 2007 17:16:48 +0100
Roel Bindels <rbindels at gmail.com> wrote:

> To change a curriculum of a study, I need a solid case. So if somebody
> knows a link/document about why we should educate our students in the
> Linux OS, please send it. Or article about the usage of Linux in company's.

Well, I work at a very large company, we have the world's largest installation
of Windows NT. But that is basically for e-mail, powerpoint, and Word. Not much
else.  For technical computing, we are migrating away from Solaris to Linux on
the desk - we probably have 5000 high end HP boxes running Linux for technical
users. My newest one has an AMD 64 dual core, 16 Gb memory, and a couple of top
notch Nvidia cards. We're pretty serious about performance.  And we have many
Linux clusters, I think we have two 4000 node Linux clusters, and several
smaller ones (hundreds of nodes).

Certainly for serious scientific computing, people will laugh at you if you
try to use Windows - it is all done on *nix.

Of course we probably have some big IBM iron tucked away running whatever they
run nowadays doing payroll and whatnot...

My son, who is a Sophomore Comp Sci major now recently got his laptop set up so
that he can run the required software for one EE class in VMware, so he can
stay booted in Linux all the time now instead of dual-booting. Why use a toy
operating system like windows, when you can use a real OS that really
multi-tasks and does sensible memory management.  Just because everyone uses a
mediocre toy OS like Windows doesn't mean we should teach students that is all
there is. That does them a tremendous dis-service. They need to understand that
it could be so much better. Computers don't have to crash, run out of memory,
or hang waiting on a single process.

Go to IBM's website for stories - they have a lot of them. Here's an older
one I googled up...

By the way - the largest computer farm on the planet runs Linux - Google's
100,000 (or so it is said) node cluster...

| Alan K. Jackson            | To see a World in a Grain of Sand      |
| alan at ajackson.org          | And a Heaven in a Wild Flower,         |
| www.ajackson.org           | Hold Infinity in the palm of your hand |
| Houston, Texas             | And Eternity in an hour. - Blake       |

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