Why should computer science students use GNU/Linux?

Why should computer science students use GNU/Linux?

My teacher often advises me to use Linux. And so I installed VMware, and I have played around with Ubuntu terminal for like several days. However, I still don't know what is so special about Linux that computer science students should be familiar with it.


Jean Louis, Delivering Computing Courses

Written Nov 23

First to clarify the that GNU is Operating System[1] , while Linux is a kernel[2] of some operating system, it need not be necessarily a kernel of the GNU Operating System (see Android, that runs with Linux kernel)[3] . A kernel alone, initializes hardware and does nothing. You can try it out, just have the kernel on the system, and remove all other files, you will see that you will go not far, and you may not be able to operate your computer at all.

Schools shall use exclusively free software and not proprietary software:

1) Free software spares money to the school and to students, but this is not the only benefit

2) Schools are social, with intention to educate, so that students become able members of the society, and improve in life. By using free software, school is giving the students freedom. By using proprietary software, it is creating dependencies.

3) Free software permits students to learn how software works. For example Linux kernel sources may be reviewed, studied, analyzed. It encourages everyone to learn, while proprietary software is forcing users not to learn, limiting them in learning capabilities

4) Quoted from Dr. Richard Stallman: the school must practice what it preaches: it should
bring only free software to class (except objects for reverse-engineering), and share copies including source code with the students so they can copy it, take[4] it home, and redistribute it further

Recommended reading: Why Schools Should Exclusively Use Free Software


[1]The GNU Operating System and the Free Software Movement

[2]GNU/Linux FAQ - GNU Project - Free Software Foundation

[3]Android (operating system) - Wikipedia

[4]Why Schools Should Exclusively Use Free Software

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