Comcast Leaves Linux-Loving School in the Lurch
It's no secret that Linux users face difficulties in the commercial world. Whether it's being painted as masses of hackers — as eBay once did, — being forced to listen to FUD-filled "warnings" about Open Source, or the lesser but far more common case of the service provider that just "doesn't get" Linux, we've all experienced the headache that comes with dealing with the Windows-only elements of the world. For some users, such problems force them back to Windowsland — but for some, it just makes them mad.
New Generation School is different, in a lot of ways. For one, the student body at the Lake City, Florida school is composed of students on whom traditional eduction has all but given up. Perhaps more unusual though, is the school's computer lab, which is filled with boxes boasting Ubuntu — that's right, Linux. The school — which has a maximum capacity of sixty students — came to Linux in its second year in business, after outfitting the lab with XP systems resulted in more hours spent with blank screens than with kids learning. Several years in, the students and staff are ready to handle most anything that comes their way. Apparently, that includes Comcast.
According to reports, Comcast got quite a shake yesterday, after New Generation's cable internet went AWOL. Paula Gorman, the school's founder and administrator, called Comcast support and while troubleshooting the problem, was given directions to use XP's graphical setup for ping — at which point it emerged that the school's computers ran Linux. While Mrs. Gorman was loading her terminal and offering to ping from there, the Comcast rep was busy refusing to give any further help. Undaunted, she asked for a case number, so someone with more technical experience could call back and work on the issue, and apparently was refused on the basis that Comcast doesn't support Linux, only Windows, OSX, and — surprise, surprise — Unix.
The next few minutes of the conversation reportedly were thoroughly unpleasant, as Comcast — or at least their representative — learned more than he probably ever wanted to know about customer service and discriminating against perfectly good operating systems. In the end, we're happy to report, Mrs> Gorman got her case number, the internet connection returned — apparently on its own, — and New Generation is looking for a new provider.
It always makes us feel a bit warm and fuzzy inside to see a Linux user win a victory against the providers who still don't get it. We say "Bravo!" to Mrs. Gorman, and wonder if any of our readers out there have had similar experiences with Comcast.