Microsoft is currently in the secondary and college markets with ways to bring prospective longtime users into the fold through enticing deals on software. In the primary school systems, its presence is not as entrenched.  In past years, Apple had a real market share in schools, but for some reason, it fell off during the 1990s. Though I have no reason for this, I would think it has something to do with Steve Jobs being away from the company during that time. People in charge during his absence were less concerned with building the user base from the bottom up.

Microsoft seems to be trying to do just that, as it is making a play for the very young users – a very good plan.

TechConnect gives some details and more information about the lesser known NComputing –

Virtual desktop computing expert NComputing has reached an agreement with Microsoft and vowed to develop the next generation of its hardware and vSpace software products to take advantage of current and future Windows Server operating systems for multiuser computing.

Through their collaboration, NComputing and Microsoft aim to advance multiuser computing and thus make it easier for teachers and students to gain access to a ‘genuine’ Windows experience at a lower total cost of hardware acquisition and ownership.

For more info about NComputing’s solution check out the company’s official website

Though I am not specifically anti-Microsoft, it’s becoming harder to defend some of their practices.

Besides the practices, I’d think that children who learn about the Unix/Linux/BSD systems, and their way of doing things, will give us a world full of much more aware users, who will be able to comprehend the relatively easily understood Windows later, should they need to in a business situation. After there are many books explaining the internals of Unix, down to the very lowest things that make it what it is, including the whys of the unbreakable ties between the C programming language and any Unix-type operating system. Microsoft operating systems are much less well understood, because the source is closed, and best guesses or reverse-engineering is the only way to know what happens down deep. We only have the word of several people from Microsoft who explain to us what they wish us to know about it (any Microsoft operating system), and no more.

For the proponents of open source software, or merely the *nix core principles of computing, attention should be paid to get into the schools early on, making the case for the many benefits of open source, including cost of software, longer support of aging hardware, and more logic in the design and usage (if not naming conventions!).

If something is not done along the directions of what Microsoft is doing, the *nix operating systems will continue to be niche components of the computing world, instead of a rich, innovative alternative to the largest software company in the world.

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