There are some obvious advantages of choosing Linux  over Windows (especially price), but by doing so are you preventing these children from learning how to use the industry standard in computing?  Will they be worse off down the road if they are not taught how to use programs like excel and powerpoint at a young age?

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I don't think children will be worse off; in fact, I think it could be an advantage. Students will probably have Windows on a home computer; forcing them to switch back and forth forces them to be more adaptable, seeking how to do things in each environment. Using Linux and other open source programs in school--like OpenOffice--would give them the experience of seeing that there are several different programs to do the same thing--and we truly have NO IDEA what the industry standard will be by the time they graduate, so being able to switch OS's and function is a useful skill. I use Windows at work, and Linux at home, and because of that experience, switching between programs is not a big deal for me. If you can word process in one program (OpenOffice Writer, or Word), you can process in another; you just might have to search around the menus a bit to figure out how to do what you want. Plus, you give the advantage of demonstrating to students that it is possible to use something other than Windows or Mac OS and do pretty much whatever you need to do. And Linux has an amazing array of FREE educational software that users have written. WIsh I was in a position to talk my district into switching. I can think of all kinds of other things I'd rather buy with that site license.

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