University dumps Apple for IT courses; Linux gains ground

The University of Western Australia (UWA), which was one of the first Australian universities to adopt Apple computers for its courses has dropped them because the hardware is too expensive. This is the second such university in Australia to backtrack on the use of Mac's, the University of Wollongong being the first a short time ago.

UWA began teaching IT courses on Macs in the mid-1980s, but now is claiming that the Apple hardware is just too costly to justify, explaining that Apple hardware was going to cost around two-and-a-half times the cost of a PC, per seat.

Chris McDonald, UWA's senior lecturer in computer science and software engineering, told Australian IT newspaper "We just decided - and it was a sad decision - that we should be totally PC throughout and have each one running Windows NT or XP and Linux. From 2003 UWA's school of computer science and software engineering will be using Linux, in preference to Windows, for our first-year Foundations of IT unit. Students then move onto Unix and Windows, which are used to teach operating systems, in the second and third years."

Apple's OSX is a good introductory platform for first year students, but it did not make sense for the university to recommend students to buy a Mac if they were not going to be used in the second or third year, he added.

At the University of Wollongong, Mr Ohlbach, operations manager for the university's Department of Informatics says that they favour now Linux for first-years students.. "We are teaching programming, so they [students] need to run all sorts of IDEs and development environments. On Linux they can quite easily do most of their code at home at fairly low cost".

News source: vnunet

View: Australian IT

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