Malaptop use a version of Linux on the laptops that we send out rather than Windows. It is called Lubuntu and you can see more about it on our Why Lubuntu page. We felt that this was a small risk as the majority of teachers in Malawi who had used computers before would have used Windows systems, so we were keen to ensure that the distribution of Linux that we used was similar in layout to a Windows 98 or Windows XP system. However, using an Open Source operating system has allowed us to make it our own and freely distribute it to our partners.
We feel the Lubuntu operating system is just as good
Fr Titus Bayani was our first link with Malawi and has gone back to teaching at St Paul the Apostle, who received our first batch of laptops in 2012. Our latest email from him talked about how the teachers were adapting to using the Lubuntu system.
“We haven’t had many problems with the Lubuntu operating system so far. The only challenge had been that teachers who teach computer lessons didn’t do this program themselves, as such it is new to them. So they have to teach themselves and then teach the students. However, we feel the Lubuntu operating system is just as good [as Windows]. We hope with time and more practice teachers will be fully conversant with it.”
It is very useful to get honest feedback from our recipient schools and its great to hear that St Paul the Apostle did not find the leap from Windows to Lubuntu to be a stumbling block. We are now confident that the risk paid off as the Malawian teachers are more than capable of making the transition.
We had asked Fr Titus further questions about the care of the laptops and specific programmes to help us write our more detailed guide that will go out with this year’s batches. It was clear from his response that the donated laptops have proved to be a huge asset to the school.
“In this age IT knowledge is indispensable, so our learners need to be introduced to this as early as is possible. In secondary schools the use of laptops in class is very important. It has proven to be more convenient and beneficial in that learners easily access them. Talking from our experience we have seen that laptops are easy to manage and care for.”
We are keen to build long term relationships with all our recipient schools so that we can assist with any issues and donors can see how their laptops have been put to good use.
In this age IT knowledge is indispensable, so our learners need to be introduced to this as early as is possible
If you want to try it out for yourself Lubuntu have recently released a Long Term Support (LTS) version of their operating system, which is free to download from their website www.lubuntu.net