I am starting graduate school this fall. New school, new town and this means I am looking for a new job. My girlfriend saw a mention of the website Tutor.com. They offer a web based tutoring service for high school students. I have a fair bit of tutoring experience (and I am a certified high school teacher for mathematics in Illinois) so I figured I was more than qualified for their online tutoring position.
While I was filling out their online application I met all of the requirements except for one:
Their online application was three pages long. Even though I saw the above block on the first page I had a small hope it wasn't a strict requirement because after I checked "no" to having Windows I was able to select that I used "Linux" from a drop down menu. Tutor.com then proceeded to waste another ten minutes of my time while I filled out the next two pages. Immediately after hitting the "submit" button I was informed that my application had failed.
I understand they have certain system requirements, but why they felt it was necessary to waste my time filling out the last two pages after I already marked that I did not use Windows is beyond me. What is also beyond me is why they choose to develop their browser based software for the Windows only Internet Explorer instead of any of the cross platform browsers that exist. Oh and did I mention that they opted to support iOS before they added support for non-Windows desktop operating systems?
I guess I should be used to this by now. I mean it is far from the first time educational software has rejected my operating system of choice. I thought about simply dual booting so I could apply successfully, but then I realized that sticking to my software values is more important than some crummy part time job. If you are a free software supporter I would recommend strongly against using Tutor.com and spreading that same advice to others that you know.
One of the most reluctant sectors of society to visualize the importance of Linux is precisely that of education. It is a big paradox, since my colleagues are always talking about how to use the CITs effectively for helping students learn. However, at the same time they are unable to break the old, fossilized software paradigms they have.ReplyDelete
I've run across this time and again on 3rd party job application sites. It's discriminatory, but what can you do. The world is running on MS Windows... for now, anyway. ;)ReplyDelete
I know what you mean. I rejected an "offer" from my cable company because they don't support Linux. And Megatotoro is right, unfortunately, the education sector is full of rhetoric but they are the most reluctant to change and use ICTs to empower students.ReplyDelete
I know exactly how you feel. I am faced with the choice of buying a copy of Windows (vista or 7), so I can run IE 9, because IE 9 is breaking my customer's website.ReplyDelete
I use Linux in college. They want me to use windows. So I requested that the teacher allow me 15 minutes of the classes time to present my OS to them and if they thought it sucked, I would dual boot.ReplyDelete
I showed them LibreOffice, and how it was easier to use than MS Office, showed them Firefox, Chrome, Youtube, Facebook and all that jazz... then when I got to Compiz with the cube and blue flames when I closed a screen they ooooooohed and awwwwwwwwed! Then I showed them a movie running, music playing, 5 other programs all running and then I did the movie between two screens and did the mouse flip of the cube and showed them behind the video running fully without one single skip, blip, chirp or delay and they all were sold! I have switched three people in the class now to Linux and they LOVE it!
The teacher allowed an exception and would accept my documents printed instead of emailed to him.
"loosing" work? Tutoring???ReplyDelete
What we have here, Jeff, is an incredibly poorly designed form! As you say, if XP was a requirement and you checked no, it should have kicked out on the spot. Of course, it was probably designed by a teacher! No offense to you, Jeff!ReplyDelete
@tracyann you may find this useful, IEs4linux will soon be supporting running IE9 on Linux :) http://www.tatanka.com.br/ies4linux/page/Main_PageReplyDelete
People and systems with these prohibitive restrictions will always be a little further behind the curve than everyone else.ReplyDelete
I hate it, but sometimes I need to open a Virtual Machine. Hopefully this will end soon so that OS X and Linux (and tablet) users can have equal access.
Computer technology has been plagued by this issue, whereas most other areas of commerce are far more concerned with being accessible for everyone. I think the big problem is that people spread a lot of false information about Linux being a platform nobody uses. One you can ignore.
As much as I don't like the concept of the web enveloping EVERYTHING we do on our computers (the lack of visual consistency online is prohibitive in some ways, where HIGs help us to have better work environments offline), it will probably make accessibility of technology easier for everyone.
@Carl D, holy schnikies I didn't realize that he had started being active again. Nice to see!ReplyDelete
@Jeff *losing. Great article, I've found the same thing as a student. Currently in my programming degree we use almost exclusively MS products. Granted VS Professional is a great product, especially when they give it away for free. I just wish that we could explore something off the beaten path.
Also I just wanted to personally thank you for making Bodhi. It is by far the favorite distro I've ever used. I know it's young but it's exactly what I've wanted for so long.
You did not lose the work because you use free software, tutor.com lost you because they use second rate software, Microsoft IIS instead of the free software that runs most of the web. Even if they had accepted your application, they probably could not have gotten any help from you because their whole business depends on Microsoft only software and the worst of browsers.ReplyDelete
It's just as well that you moved on because there are plenty of other services. A Google search for "tutor.com" brings up four or five competitors. TutorVista.com, homeworkhelp.com and e-tutor.com all use gnu/linux for their site and probably offer a better deal. As a general rule, companies that push Microsoft on their employees are rude in other ways too. Good luck with it!
Yes, I'm that twitter.
I would have checked off that you have windows anyway. You can use Wine in Linux and run IE. There is always a workaround that I can find so I can stay in my homeland OS. Linux all the way! I have turned so many towards linux along the way and they all never look back. I am at home when my computer asks me to save what Im doing if there is a possible program crash first.... or a set of updates I dont need to look through to see if its safe to install sheesh. Friggin windows. Im a graphic designer and I also do my pattern layouts for the stained glass projects I do regular on the side. All within my linux disto. My web clients feel secure to know that the finished work is clean and safe to get either on disk or uploaded to server.ReplyDelete
Do the form again! Lol
I know what that is. In my country you can't report your taxes online if you use Linux. You can't calculate your employment benefits online if you use Linux. You can't opt for a scholarship if you use Linux...ReplyDelete
Just run Windoze in VirtualBox. You might need to upgrade RAM and/or hardware,... But at least you'd have work. And then, you'd have transferable job skills too. You can't evangelise the power of Open Source unless you get the opportunity.ReplyDelete
I had a similar experience with support.com recently. I'm glad you stuck to your principles! I've lost potential revenue because I don't do Windoze. The only reason I'll accept a Mickeysoft client is to migrate them to Linux.ReplyDelete
Jeff, I think the reason educational institutions have been slow to switch to Linux is because Microsoft offers deep discounts to educational institutions (or possibly for free), and as such, they tend to think they're getting quite a deal, when in reality, they're not. Their loss, I say.ReplyDelete
Unfortunately, the college where I work is no different, and our I.T. guys seem to be too lazy to experiment with Linux, when IMHO, it's something we could really use around here, at least on the servers if nothing else.
In addition, I work as a reference librarian, yet every once in a while, I need to do something that can't be done in Windows in order to help a student. Therefore, I carry a USB drive with CrunchBang Statler Xfce edition on it, and I have impressed a few students by what I'm able to do with that.
B.Gates foundation donated $20,000 to the Florida education department last month, so theres no chance of getting Linux in schools in Florida but I'm working on it LOLReplyDelete
MOST of my computers are 100% linux. I educate those I can, but there's always someone who needs to be accommodated. If this is a question of making money or not making money then I swallow my pride. I have one linux laptop running an instance of WinXP Pro under Vmware workstation. If that doesn't work I have one Windows 7 laptop as a last resort. To make this second system pass as useful most of the time it is running openSuse 11.4 under VirtualBox.ReplyDelete
so let me understand this, you passed on a job potentially paying a few thousand dollars because you couldn't spend $120 an a version of Windows? I'm a HUGE Linux fan, but also a realist. sometimes the best way to promote change is to teach users from within the system. do what you need to to get the job and once you're in the system you can promote Linux as a superior and more cost effective platform. To pass on the opportunity because of the system is not set up for linux and you are unwilling to adapt, seems pretty silly to me.ReplyDelete
I see a lot of people grappling with a false choice here. They think the choice is use Windows or don't make money, but it's really a matter of working with jerks or working with someone more accommodating and clueful. There are lots of tutoring sites, only one of them was rude enough to require Windows use.ReplyDelete
People also say that working for the obnoxious company is a way to promote free software. It would be better to promote free software by working for the company that uses it. You will reach just as many or more students that way and there will be no barrier to introducing them to gnu/linux. The obnoxious company will have to learn the superiority of free software the hard way, by losing talented people and business. It would be nice to try to help them but practical people have better things to do.
I'm not sure, but my tech school uses Win and Linux. The tech part uses Linux for forensics and computer repair. I've successfully used Linux for everything that I ever needed.ReplyDelete
I also make my spare money fixing Windows machines with my Live disks. And that isn't hard. Is your machine dead... I'll get your data from the drive anyhow.
Get a e-mail thru your tech school. Get Windowss programs at a student discount. Win7 @ $29.00
It was never an issue of money. If I really wanted Windows I can pay retail for it. The point is I don't want it and I'm not going to use it. As twitter stated plenty of other jobs out there I am applying for that don't force MS trash on me :)ReplyDelete
I am a very committed supporter of free software and I believe in the benefit to society that its acceptance promises.ReplyDelete
But when it comes to taking a job, isn't it more important to do what is needed and wanted? If they want to pay me for using a tool that is inefficient, I would let them. It's their job. They are paying you.
It's not like you need to use that backward, restrictive and defective (by design) product for your personal needs. Just bought a netbook for only $275 that can do everything listed in that job posting. And it's not like you would have to look at it outside of work.
We share similar backgrounds. I am certified to teach computer science, and mathematics in Michigan and Texas. I am also vocationally certified, as well as industry certified.
My classroom computers run only Linux. I have found the opposite of your experience to be true though. Aside from small fry such as tutor.com, all sorts of institutions are seeking my expertise and are willing to pay handsomely.
Job offers come in to me regularly, even in Michigan. So the real question is, are you leveraging your expertise? Do you contribute to an open source project? Do you fix Windows issues using Linux CD's? Are you approaching those who need expertise with Unix or Linux.
Look at the issue from the point of view of tutor.com. They are interested in having students learn basic subjects. They don't care what platform their software runs on, as long as the majority of people can access it. That is not us. They probably hired some .Net programmers to provide them with a proprietary solution because it was cheap. Whatever their reasons, they don't reap any benefits from supporting Linux.
In the rare instances where that occurs, I inform the company that their choice has prevented me from working with them. The next part is critical... move on. Write 'em off and look for better pastures. They are there, if you persist.
Good luck on your future prospects.
Prolly use User agent switcher Firefox extension to trick the website into thinking your on a windows machine... might work... most likely will.ReplyDelete
The funny thing is the box you mention to have failed could simply ask if one had .NET or compatible (before the application)ReplyDelete
Do not know what to think, because I suspect it is mere incompetence, though promoted by M$ executives. After all, they seldom are punished by unfair practices. And that is one of the reasons I offer Linux to many people, and save them the need to buy a new PC.
"plenty of other jobs out there I am applying for that don't force MS trash on me :)"ReplyDelete
That's good news, thanks for sharing.
I don't think it was for a teaching job, but I saw a billboard in Bucks County, PA that said "KNOW LINUX?" and then had some contact info that I didn't catch because I had to focus on driving.ReplyDelete
Next time I'm through the area, I'll try to get the rest of the info, if anyone is interested.
They have those signs around the Chicago area too - they are for "Host Gator" here. Requires moving to Texas for the job though.ReplyDelete
I find all this particularly disturbing after you have a job. You have to use MS/IE to maintain your CE requirements or access you company email accounts, etc. Often I'm able to find work-a-rounds, but it's frustrating to say the least.ReplyDelete
For the IT department it is just simplier quicker and cheaper so service one one platform.ReplyDelete
(sorry the the article is in German language)