While I am glad to see the generally positive coverage of Linux in your January 2004 issue (“Linux providers aim to lure schools with discounts”), I must take strong objection to one paragraph in the article.
Near the end you state, “Unlike a Microsoft OS, for example, the Linux platform does not come readily equipped with applications for word processing, eMail, and web browsing.” I don’t know where you buy your Microsoft OS, but it does not come with a word processor, unless you count Word Pad. Every version of Linux I know of–and certainly the two you highlight in the article–do come with full-featured office packages, not just a word processor, in Open Office, and I think may even include the commercial office suite from Sun, Star Office.
As for other applications, Linux distributions all come with not one or two but several apps for eMail and web browsing, along with many others. In fact, SUSE includes Main Actor, a video editing application on par with any entry-level video editing application made for Windows.
In the last paragraph you imply that Windows is more reliable. No one that has experience with both Linux and Windows would ever make such a statement. Linux does not crash, no Blue Screen of Death, no illegal operations. No countless reboots, Linux just works.
While Linux is not for everyone or appropriate in every situation, it does offer education many things Microsoft doesn’t and may never offer.
–Mark Carrara, Technology Coordinator, School District of Gilman, Gilman, Wis.