Ubuntu For The Student
Early rise, late post today. Even though it's Monday, I still had school and with that, came an unexpected test for my Linux soaked world; Being a Student.
I didn't realize until I was one foot out of the door that my school provides Windows 7 Enterprise Machines, but holds no policy against bringing your own computer. I figured, hell, if my Student Portal didn't work on my computer, or I wasn't able to do everything I needed via Linux, I would be fine with breaking my fast for education.
Upon arriving in class, I received a few eyes of disapproval, as I forgot to mute the sound on my Laptop and the Ubuntu start noise blew out over the classroom (of 15 kids). Charge cable in, power on, it was time to take Ubuntu to school.
Like anyone from my generation, I needed to secure an internet connection ASAP. The wireless at school is unsecured, but redirects you to a log-in page that requires a unique Student I.D. and password. I connected to the wireless, and upon opening Firefox, I received a warning stating that their were risks in using this web-page, perhaps Ubuntu and Firefox don't like redirecting connections? There was a small drop down arrow available for me to click, which allowed me to add 'an exception'. There was another box there, to add it permanently, which I also clicked which proved useless as when I went to reconnect again it prompted me with the same warning. It's hard to tell whether that was the doing of Ubuntu, or the redirecting protocol. Thirty seconds later, I was logged in and fully connected.
Before I did anything, I wanted to make sure my student portal worked. My school warned that the 'ideal setup' was Windows XP/7 with the Latest Internet Explorer...So we're pretty far from that with Ubuntu and Firefox. I headed over to the website, made sure all my Greasemonkey Scripts, ad, pop-up and all other bells and whistles were disabled and logged in. No issues so far. Formatting flawless, colors matched up, and all my links were click-able. I continued to my assignments, and opened the in-browser software that allows me to begin work. This is where I expected to run into issues...but...after a few cycles of the loading animation the software was ready to use and surprisingly fast. Faster than using it with I.E. at least. I grabbed a calculator app off the Software Center (Speedcrunch), and did my days work, slowly enabling more and more of my addons as I went on. Only adblocker had a quarrel with the software, which was easy enough fix, as I just told it that the site was trustworthy.
There was nothing else I couldn't accomplish; I had LibreOffice installed, I had a calculator, I even had a Wiki Lens installed!
I'm starting to think; I should advocate Netbooks with a lightweight Linux like Xubuntu for students. Imagine the cost of that type of product if they sold them with pre-installed Linux. Not only the first investment for the hardware, but the cost of use vs. getting a Windows machine, keeping it healthy with regular defragments, anti-viruses, and bogware that comes pre-loaded...I didn't think I would ever say that it's probably easier for a new computer user to understand how to use Ubuntu.