Linux in Victorian Education

Extra, extra! Read all about it! Linux priced out of the market by vendors conspiring with monopoly!

Nice headline, huh? If only it weren't true.

What you see below is a current ad from an educational IT suppliers bruchure. It features the new Acer Aspire One netbook in both Windows XP and Linux incarnations. What's odd about it? The lower spec machine with the free operating system costs half again as much as the higher spec one running Windows.

Acer One Advertisement

How can this happen?

Well, here in Victoria the state government has done a deal with Microsoft, which as I understand it essentially means all state schools get their copies of Windows paid for by DEECD. So if a public school buys a higher spec netbook with Windows XP, they get a $156 discount from the government. If they buy a lower spec one netbook with Linux they do not.

I'm sure Microsoft are extremely happy that it's so unattractive to invest in Linux. Why would any sane person pay so much more for a lesser product, instead of buying the cheaper one on which you can install Linux yourself later anyway? But if you go that route, Microsoft still collect their license fee from the state government.

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