Unlike every other day this morning I woke up bit late. I started checking my email and started skimming through some of the news headlines. Some how I came across this news that states CUNY (The City University of New York) will receive free office software from Microsoft. No doubt, nearly half a million enrolled CUNY students will be benefited from this deal. This is indeed a great news and we, the students of CUNY highly appreciate Microsoft's such great initiatives.
At a very personal level, I deeply admire Bill Gates and his works. Of course, it would be quite incomplete if I don't mention the name of his beloved wife Melinda. Perhaps, they are some of the finest American who are so much dedicated to support various social causes and improving lives for the poorest of the poor all around the world. I visit his blog site nearly everyday and follow up with most of the updates on different social media sites.
A kind of invisible bonding was made between me and Microsoft back in late 90's when I got my first Windows computer. Especial thanks goes to my uncle Kauser Bhuiyan for his wonderful gift. Indeed, he's the one who guided me inspired me every single stage of my life. I am in debt to him at least in this lifetime for so many reason. So, thank you.
Sincere apologies, I think I was talking about Microsoft. So the bottom line is, I did and still do appreciate Microsoft for their products. I think they made number of good products in the past and in many ways they revolutionized the idea of computing. Perhaps, that's how they became a Software giant and built their own software empire. So far so good.Open Source Softwares.
Now, one interesting yet very disturbing fact that always bothers me is that, in last five years at school I never saw one computer that was running any Open Source Operating System. I had been at the Library, Printing room, Department's office and even at Professor's office, I just couldn't find any computer other than Windows or Mac! I have been to many local and Federal Government's office and it's the same scenario over there as well.
The question is, why? Why over here in America, we are not teaching or encouraging our student's or children for that matter to learn using Open Source software? Why we are pushing them to learn buying $100 worth of crap that crashes all the time, shows blue screen of death or gets virus infected every now and then? Should I call this "insanity" or "ignorance", you decide. There is no wonder why the idea of Consumerism is still alive and doing better than ever when our National Debt is well over $18 trillion and counting. This is absolutely frustrating as much as it is unethical. Our habit of spending more than our earnings is not new but it has to stop at some point. We must find ways to decrease or cut down our spending in every possible way we can.
The news report that I mentioned earlier says, it would save $500 million for about half a million students. That's $1000 (actually it's more, if you take 480K students in your calculation) per students for only Microsoft Word, Excel and PowerPoint. Should I assume that generally we spend that much money every year when there were no "Gift" from Microsoft?! Seriously, that's insanity at it's best. One can easily grab "LibreOffice" for Free that would do the same if not more yet pay nothing, how about that? Only God knows how much of our taxpayer's money has already been wasted like this before their so called "Gift" given to us. Such a generosity! Let's clap for Microsoft and for people involved in this process.
One simple question for you, why do you think a company like Microsoft would give up half a billion dollar like that? Those who can't see the bigger picture of it, please feel free to read about ROI (Return On Investment). In my own word, it's a short term loss for a long term gain. We are helping to build a generation who would be highly dependent of Microsoft's product for the rest of their life, at school and at work after their graduation. So most probably down the line we all would be buying a Windows or Mac computer instead of Linux, just because we don't know or never used a Linux PC. You are familiar with Microsoft's Office Suite but not LibreOffice or OpenOffice for that matter. You know Adobe Photoshop but most probably you never heard of GIMP. This list can go on and on. You get the idea!
Let me be clear on one thing though, my argument here is not to denounce Microsoft in anyway or form. I would like to see Microsoft flourishes even more but let's accept the technologies that we can have for free. Why should we be paying for something that has free alternatives?! Nations all around world are integrating or adopting Open Source technologies to cut down their expenses where as we are on shopping spree & pretty much doing nothing about it. Oh yeah, we did cut down our expenses. Unfortunately that's from Education budget, wink wink. I think it's the time when we should take these issues very seriously, unless we want our future generations to carry on our debts and let them curse at us for our stupidity. Peace.