[Linux-aus] Availability of Linux in Universities

Robert Barnett robert at barnett.id.au
Fri Mar 7 09:25:19 UTC 2008

This is the first time I've ranted here, but I thought I should sum up  
my experiences.

I haven't seen very positive experiences of Linux in the academic  
tiers of Universities.

My experience at Sydney, UNSW and Wollongong is that departments are  
discouraged from using Linux and open source.

* Faculties send essential notices and information as word documents.
* Staff members must have a windows computer to run enterprise  
* Linux computers can only be connected to the university network if  
the IT department is instructed to co-operate by those in authority  
(e.g. Head of school).

I know of a particular example of a lecturer who was employed to use a  
FOSS tool in research. He was told that he would have to have two  
laptops, one for his FOSS work and one for his lecturing. He was not  
permitted to plug his FOSS laptop into the network, thus not able to  
collaborate effectively with his counterparts.

In my own faculty, researchers have difficulty getting linux installed  
for FOSS projects which are at the core of our research.

At the same time, I learnt a great deal about linux at university. I'm  
very grateful to UNSW Compsoc which got me involved in linux. If it  
weren't for them, I would never have installed linux and I would not  
have learnt most of what I know about software.

I suspect that most of it stems from an enterprise approach to  
computing. This works well at cutting costs in a large organisation.  
However, in research it perpetuates ignorance in IT. It stifles  
innovation and it causes a great deal of frustration to people like  

I wonder if I have enough tackling fuel to write that letter...


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