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At my school, we are provided a lab full of computers to use. We can do anything we want, as long as those actions keep to these rules: 1. No ...
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  1. #1
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    Legality of LiveCD usage


    At my school, we are provided a lab full of computers to use. We can do anything we want, as long as those actions keep to these rules:

    1. No provided hardware of software is modified.
    2. No preferences are changed.
    3. No downloading things onto the harddrive (except pictures for PowerPoint presentations, etc.)

    I personally would rather not use Windows when I am working, and so I use different Linux LiveCD distributions, be it Knoppix, be it Dynebolic. My friend even brought in a distribution of Ubuntu today, and it worked great. We don't (and really can't) modify the Windows disk from these setup, nor do we want to.

    Now, I have recently received a frantic call from that friend of mine explaining that usage of the computers in that manner is a federal offense and would get us expelled, as told by his parents.

    Does anybody know what the actual policies on this matter are? I don't intend to bring Linux to school again (omg linux, evil) but I doubt that it is that serious of a... crime. I'm in Washington state if that makes a difference.

    Thank you!

  2. #2
    oz
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    No, I don't know what the computer usage polices are but I would think they are probably different from one school to the other. Maybe someone else here has a better understanding of the matter.
    oz

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    Official rules

    Here are the official rules for my school in their entirety. I just found them.


    COMPUTER AND INTERNET GUIDELINES

    The computers at *** are intended to enhance academic learning and are to be available for the use of all students. It is the responsibility of each user to read, know, and abide by the following guidelines:

    General
    1. Students are to be considerate of others' needs to use the computers.
    2. All material that is inappropriate, obscene, bigoted, abusive, or illegal is banned from *** computers.

    Specific:
    1. Students will use their provided username and password when logging onto a computer at ***.
    2. Computer settings are not to be changed.
    3. No games may be played before or during the school day. Games are not to be downloaded onto the hard-drive. Games must abide by General Guidline #2.
    4. Email must abide by General Guidline #2.
    5. Personal multi-media downloads are not allowed.
    6. Failure to comply may result in disciplinary action including revoking network privileges, suspension or expulsion.

    Can anybody find any objection to LiveCD usage in these policies? I personally cannot.

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  5. #4
    oz
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    The school might consider running a different operating system on the computer as a violation of Specific: rule 2

    In other words, they have the computer set to run Windows (or other OS) and you are changing that setting to run Linux (or other OS). Other than that, I see no rule that would exclude running a live-cd. However, the rules may all be applied at the discretion of the person in charge of the computers at your school.

    You could always ask for permission to run a live-cd, but I'm guessing they'll say no for fear of unknown problems that could be created by doing so.
    oz

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    What I found interesting was my friend's complaint that I was "hacking". What hacking?

    Linux != Hacking; at least, not necessarily. Anyway, thanks guys for all the feedback.

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    It sounds like your school's policies are based more on your activity while you're on the computer rather than the means you acquire to use them in the first place. I would say if you're more comfortable in a Linux environment and you're not violating a specific rule, go for it. If the administrator doesn't like what you're doing, the worst they can do to you is ask you to stop. Unlike ozar, I don't see using a LiveCD as a violation of specific rule #2 because no settings are changed when using a LiveCD. You shut down the computer, reboot with the LiveCD in, and shut it down again when you're finished. Nothing changed on the Windows install. Anyways, it's good to hear from someone in Seattle using Linux. I lived there for 10 years and miss it tremendously, especially the summers. Good luck.

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    Naw, they can't do **** man.
    Operating System: GNU Emacs

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    Considering you aren't modifying anything on the computers by booting off a liveCD. Just make sure somebody who works in your schools computer department knows that! I have seen too many people get in trouble from stupid tech staff who think someone is hacking or screwing with their computers just because they are using linux, usb-software or even doing relatively harmless operations using the command prompt.

  10. #9
    oz
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    no, no, no...

    Quote Originally Posted by Thrillhouse
    Unlike ozar, I don't see using a LiveCD as a violation of specific rule #2 because no settings are changed when using a LiveCD.
    Hi, Thrillhouse

    I think you may have misinterpreted my comments. I said the school might see it that way. Therefore, I hereby reemphasize school and might.

    That said, I do believe the school has a right to exclude other operating systems from running on their computers. However, if they wish to do so, I think their rules should be amended to reflect just that.
    oz

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    Quote Originally Posted by ozar
    That said, I do believe the school has a right to exclude other operating systems from running on their computers. However, if they wish to do so, I think their rules should be amended to reflect just that.
    I agree. I will talk to the school admin about this whole nonsense.

    And I'm definitely not even "hacking" at school, just browsing and working on my website with the much-preferred Linux editors, among other harmless things. Not all Linux users "hack" all the time, but it's fun to explore the way things work on a FOSS OS, I will say that much.

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