Open Source vs. Commercial

Discussion in 'Mac Apps and Mac App Store' started by LastLine, Apr 28, 2007.

  1. LastLine macrumors 65816

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    #1
    So I've been tasked with leading a discussion in my ICT group at university looking at the relative benefits of open source software vs commercial software in a Primary school education setting.

    I'm nearly done on my prep work but I"m intrigued, do people here have any thoughts to weigh in on this with? Suggestions of open source alternatives for child friendly office packages, art programs, and (the one I'm struggling on) simuation/control packages.

    Just curious :)
     
  2. psychofreak Retired

    psychofreak

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    May 16, 2006
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    London
    #2
    On a PPC mac, IMO MS Office beats NeoOffice. On my Macbook 1GB Ram, NeoOffice kicks butt.

    I use Chocoflop and Seashore for quickie art. Photoshop massacres GimpShop, but the difference will decrease when GimpShop goes aqua.

    I switched from Firefox to Safari a few months ago, but Mozilla have truly done a great job. I also expect an iTunes competitor with Songbird.

    Ubuntu (especially with Beryl) is incredible compared to a resource-hogging Vista, and the price difference just increases the advantages.
     
  3. LastLine thread starter macrumors 65816

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    #3
    Sorry - I should have put this into context (though the thoughts are definitely appreciated regardless!) The machines I'm looking at are theoretically running Windows (likely XP as it's *relatively* cheap) so processor power is not a particular issue.

    Interesting thought on OS though - I hadn't even considered the idea of open source OS in a school...anyone Know of this being done anywhere?
     
  4. psychofreak Retired

    psychofreak

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    #4
    Edubuntu is worth looking at :)

    My school uses IE 6, eurgh...if you go with XP, use FireFox, I beg you.

    And this thread should not be in 'Mac Applications', hopefully a mod will move it soon :)

    There are tons of free pieces of software for linux, and it will not be much of a challenge for kids to move from XP at home to Edubuntu at school, as they both share a similar GUI.
     
  5. johnee macrumors 6502a

    johnee

    #5
    Are you asking about engineering simualtion/control (such as verilog simulators, matlab control programs)?

    If so, I honestly can't say. I've only used industry standard tools or IBM internal tools. However I can tell you that while going through college, my HDL class tried to get the IT dept to purchase a VHDL package, but they said no, so the class was taught with the FREE educational version of one of them :D
     
  6. localoid macrumors 68020

    localoid

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    #6
    You've never heard of this concept before? :confused:

    Redhat, IBM and other companies, organizations, individuals and groups have promoting the concept of using Open Source in education for well over a decade now.
     
  7. LastLine thread starter macrumors 65816

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    #7
    Yeah, heard of perhaps, not considered though.
     
  8. localoid macrumors 68020

    localoid

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    #8
    Apple's OS X is based in-part on Open Source, and Apple is still promoting and involved in the Open Source effort/movement.

    See: Apple Open Source

    If you're looking for a comprehensive list of "what's been done" or "what's available" there should be enough "out there" on the Net to fill several volumes worth of books. Google is your friend. :)

    There are many Web sites, email lists and other "interactive groups" online focused on utilizing and developing Open Source applications and OSs in schools, universities, etc.

    ... edited to add .....

    How the Open Source Movement Has Changed Education
     
  9. captainbeefheat macrumors regular

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    #9
    Something thats not been discussed here and really is the issue with whether to go open souce or commercial is an ethical one. That is why we have open source after all.

    If you were to ask stallman of course he would say free software (as in speech not beer!) always even if the software is isn't as good as the commercial alternative as it is not worth giving up your rights and freedom.

    Frankly I find the whole arguments about which is more secure, more functional, usable, etc. a bit circular so think at the end of the day it is a purely ethical decision.
     
  10. speakerwizard macrumors 68000

    speakerwizard

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  11. psychofreak Retired

    psychofreak

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    #11
    But his post does not involve the mac at all...
     
  12. aLoC macrumors 6502a

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    #12
    Open source software is typically not as well tested or documented as commercial stuff. For a primary school you would need very stable well documented software, so it's time to spend some bucks.

    Edit: on second thought, primary school children should be using pen and paper in the first place, so they learn the proper mental separation between the ideas and the media they learn them from.
     
  13. Eraserhead macrumors G4

    Eraserhead

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    #13
    Camino/Firefox beta versions are more stable than IE 6. And there is nothing wrong with OpenOffice WRT Stability, with the beta versions of OpenOffice 2.0 on Windows it was about as stable as MS Office 2003.

    Also *nix operating systems are generally much more stable than Windows (that's a big reason as to why Scientists use them), so I'd almost say the reverse was true with regard to stability.
     

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