I live in Victoria, Australia, where schools connect to the Internet via EduStar. In my school, we have to ask the IT staff if we want to connect to EduStar. I just installed Xubuntu 20.04 on my laptop and want to use it as my main OS. When I asked the staff, they told me that it is not possible to use Linux and refused to try.

Is what they said true?

I use a Dell Inspiron 5593 2020 with a Qualcomm QCA9377 802.11ac Wireless Adapter.

  • 27
    In that case, you may need to "borrow" a friend's computer for a couple of minutes to examine their network settings and configure Xubuntu to match them. Do note that some IT people will be openly hostile to people putting Linux on the network so, if you do manage to get connected, try not to do anything that will given them justification to have Linux banned from campus 🤐
    – matigo
    Mar 22, 2022 at 6:45
  • 5
    Just because Visual Studio is trash does not mean you cannot use another IDE ;) I assume you have a windows machine. Let them to show windows serttings and then you just copy silently to linux. Another aproach is to use android phone/tablet connected to wi-fi and tether the connection to your laptop. I mean even It has android phones and some of them can support FOSS roms. Mar 22, 2022 at 15:13
  • 11
    @QuanHuynh I love linux, and recommend trying it. But, your IDE of choice has nothing to do with the operating system. Visual Studio is just one of hundreds of IDE's you can use for C++ on Windows, Linux, Mac, etc. CLion by IntelliJ is one I've heard great things about, and there are plenty of others. Most are OS agnostic these days. Do not choose an OS purely based on an IDE...
    – SnakeDoc
    Mar 22, 2022 at 22:35
  • 7
    I actually think you should go above your IT department. I've looked at anti-discrimination laws in Australia and unfortunately this isn't covered - but I think you could make a strong case to your head of school that this discriminates against people who are less well off by forcing them to use a proprietary OS and maybe higher spec hardware. It's not in anyone's interests to enforce that. Completely understand that the school won't support you if it doesn't work, but they shouldn't be preventing you from connecting using a good OS that poses no security risk.
    – Will
    Mar 22, 2022 at 23:23
  • 8
    For what it's worth - the network is likely secured with SSL certificates - and they do not have a script written and/or do not wish to support Linux, and it will be up to you to figure it out on your own. My university was similar here in the US. They aren't saying "no", they are saying "we don't support that configuration".
    – SnakeDoc
    Mar 23, 2022 at 0:40

12 Answers 12


This is a political question, not a technical one. Technically there is no reason why a Linux system wouldn't be able to use an Internet connection when Windows with the same hardware works. However the refusal of IT staff to allow it can be a real obstacle. You have basically four avenues:

  1. Try to bypass the restriction. Present a Windows PC as yours and have it connected to the school network, then without telling the IT staff copy the settings to your Linux laptop and use that. If they do MAC address registration you may have to install Windows on your laptop, register it on the school network and then switch back to Linux. This may be the easiest way but it is also risky because if IT staff finds out you may face some sort of retribution.

  2. Challenge the ruling. Depending on the (real or pretended) reasons for the Linux ban you may succeed in having it lifted or at least getting exceptional permission. Often the reason is just that the IT staff lacks Linux knowledge (and motivation to learn) in which case you may succeed by promising you won't bother them in case of a problem. But if they managed to convince themselves and/or their management that Linux is a security problem then that avenue is barred.

  3. Comply. That is, use Windows in school against your better judgement. You may ease the pain by setting up dual boot so you can still use Linux outside of school without having to buy a second machine.

  4. Change school.

  • 22
    Fifth option. Run Windows as the base OS and use it to connect to the network. Run Linux in a VM or container with a bridged network to Windows. Not ideal but a bit easier than changing schools.
    – doneal24
    Mar 22, 2022 at 15:39
  • 19
    Yeah, my last school's policy was "we don't disallow Linux, but you can't ask IT for help", so it was really just a game of "find the senior student who likes Linux and ask them for the instructions". A lot of it can just be the IT folks not wanting to / not getting paid enough to care about other operating systems. Mar 22, 2022 at 15:42
  • 24
    ">If they do MAC address registration" then you just spoof whatever MAC you want. Most likely on your windows machine, before registering it ad switching to linux. Mar 22, 2022 at 20:20
  • 1
    It's not totally implausible that there are technical reasons a Linux machine can't be connected up. I can't speak for EduStar, but in corporate settings, it's not that uncommon to mandate some kind of "endpoint protection" in a BYOD setting, either as a matter of policy, or by having to use some kind of awful VPN client that enforces it. Most of the time, it's relatively easy to by pass this (either by ignoring the policy, or by using an alternate VPN client that doesn't use the enforcement mechansm) to get a Linux machine connected, but this can land you in hot water.
    – James_pic
    Mar 23, 2022 at 10:47
  • 2
    @James_pic But if there were such requirements here, then I would expect that: (1) They would be clearly documented. (2) They would involve the installation of special client software, which OP would be aware of from before their switch to Xubuntu and should have mentioned in the question. Mar 23, 2022 at 10:56

There is no technical reason for being unable to use Linux. But if the IT team don't have any knowledge of Linux they won't be able to support it. What's worse is that they won't be able to tell whether network problems they have are caused by Linux. You and I know that's unlikely but they don't.

The problem now is that they know you want to connect a Linux machine and they have explicitly forbidden it. You can't now claim that you didn't know it was banned. Technical solutions that enable you to bypass the blockage could just get you into trouble and I really wouldn't advise anyone to do that

You aren't the first person to hit this sort of barrier. If you don't have enough political 'clout' to force the issue then you need to gather support from people who have.

  • 3
    +1 The first sentence answers the question directly. The rest of this answer discusses the risks of breaking the rules, and advises against doing so, which is appropriate for an underage environment. Mar 23, 2022 at 14:26
  • 4
    Note that the question doesn't claim Linux is "forbidden", "banned", or "blocked" as this answer assumes. The question merely states that IT think "it is not possible to use Linux". It could well be that they simply think Linux is incompatible with the network. Mar 24, 2022 at 10:11

The main question: Can Linux be used?

As everyone else has said, there should be no technical reason that Linux cannot access your school’s Internet connection.

For more specific information, I did a web search for “edustar internet”. The first result was an eduSTAR page on the Victorian government’s website, which says:

The eduSTAR platform provides schools with:

  • A range of ICT services, which includes some of the following:
    • eduSTAR.ISP — Department’s internet service provider (ISP) and internet security systems and reporting

This is not particularly useful, but at least it has contact details, which I intend to use if no clear answer is provided here.

The second result was a Victorian school support article about eduSTAR. Unfortunately, this article is not accessible via HTTPS, so I used the version archived in the Wayback Machine. It suggests that Android should work, as long as it can use a proxy. If Android works, then distributions commonly referred to as “Linux”, like Ubuntu, should also work.

The only other information I could find was that at least one Victorian school specifically prohibits Linux (and everything else, besides Windows and macOS) and requires devices to be inspected before being granted network access.

What can you do about it?

Get informed. Check your school’s documentation for connecting to the Internet (you said they don’t have any) and rules for devices generally (do they say anything about Linux?).

Also, you should not have to give any reason at all for using Linux. But if you do give a reason, give a proper reason. Like SnakeDoc’s comment says, the argument about Visual Studio is false and makes it look like you do not know what you are talking about. That is not good when you are accusing them of not knowing what they are talking about.

With all the information available, you can choose from the following options:

  1. Bypass the rule. There are two ways to do this:
    1. Connect directly using Linux. You may do this by copying the settings from Windows. This is probably a bad option, because it would annoy the school. If you are not in a position to change schools, you probably do not want to annoy the current school.
    2. Run Linux inside a virtual machine. For this method, you should ensure that Linux has only indirect (NAT) Internet access. This way, from the network’s point of view, Linux is not really an operating system; it is effectively just another normal program. This should be fine, provided you are allowed to install your own software, which it sounds like you are. (This is basically what rackandboneman’s answer says, but I started writing my answer much earlier.)
  2. Challenge the rule. You may do this by asking why it matters which operating system you use at all, by pointing out that Linux is safe and should connect just fine, and by pointing out that it is unfair to force students to purchase powerful hardware and licences for proprietary operating systems. But this is probably a bad option, because it would also annoy the school, unless you can get enough support from more powerful people.
  3. Comply with the rule. You may do this by running Windows at school (and using it only for school business) and Linux away from school. This is probably the best option, provided you are allowed to dual boot.
  4. Change schools. But you have already stated that you cannot do this.
  • 1
    How would the school know that you are connecting with Linux? I sincerely doubt they are monitoring for things like that, most likely they just don't want to be bothered with setting it up.
    – Esther
    Mar 23, 2022 at 13:49
  • @Esther As far as I am aware, Australian school students are treated as minors (even if they are adults), there is a good chance OP is a minor, and being a minor means you should expect those pesky grown-ups to keep an eye on you. So even if the school is not routinely monitoring for things like this, we should expect that the school might find out. And, as Tilman’s answer pointed out, OP might “face some sort of retribution” when that happens. Mar 23, 2022 at 14:20
  • Also see Bernard Peek’s answer, which I have just upvoted. Mar 23, 2022 at 14:27
  • A "No Linux!" ruling does mean you're not allowed to run Linux in a virtual machine... or FreeBSD... or anything without a start menu... or maybe a fullscreen video of a Linux system. That's just how school IT departments operate. I got banned from school computers for running a very short batch file which opened and closed empty command prompt windows, because it was "hacking"
    – user253751
    Mar 23, 2022 at 14:34
  • 1
    @user253751 I don’t think OP actually said Linux was banned, but I did say that OP shouldn’t annoy the school (even if they’re not actually doing anything wrong), so you might still have a point. I’ll sleep on it and maybe edit my answer. Mar 23, 2022 at 14:48

My company laptop has Windows. The software to connect to the VPN only works on Windows, so I can not change. Yet... all my tasks pretty much require Linux.

What's the solution? Boot-up windows, connect to the network, then run Linux in a full-screen VM and bridge the network connection.

  • 1
    You can run windows in a VM, connect to VPN and use Linux as primary. If It was me, I'd go for that. Mar 24, 2022 at 18:56
  • @akostadinov What good would that do if he can't connect the Linux to the school network...?
    – Opifex
    Mar 25, 2022 at 9:43
  • School network is wireless or wired according to standards. So it should be connectable with Linux. If school uses some weird VPN software that only works with Windows, then that software can run in the VM. While routing might be tricky, it's worth the effort if that means to avoid windows as a main OS. Mar 25, 2022 at 10:25

Keep using Windows as a main OS for the laptop, set up ubuntu as a VM (most modern Windows OS have HyperV capabilities included, so it should be easy) using NAT networking. That way, you get to use ubuntu without making it the IT staff's problem in any way.

  • +1 Installing Ubuntu in a VM is not necessarily the best option. But if you are going to do it, this is the way. Mar 23, 2022 at 10:07
  • I'm not sure they would be keen on unsupported versions of Windows connecting either, What do you call a "modern" Windows OS? XP thru 7? DDR2 memory upgrades typically cost several times more than the laptop is worth.
    – mckenzm
    Mar 23, 2022 at 19:05
  • Another way is to use Ubuntu as the host and connect to the network using Windows as the guest. Not necessarily convenient (if you need network from Ubuntu), but may work in some use cases.
    – Ruslan
    Mar 23, 2022 at 23:08
  • 4
    With Windows 10/11, WSL is also a decent option compared to running a full-blown VM for the times you are forced to use Windows.
    – Stobor
    Mar 24, 2022 at 5:09
  • 1
    This. I'm a dev for a large coporation. We all have Windows laptops, and use Ubuntu in WSL2 for our day-to-day work, reserving windows for email/teams/internet
    – SiHa
    Mar 24, 2022 at 13:53

If you already have a licence for Windows you could try installing WSL2 on your laptop from within Windows. This would give you the option to use a Linux environment from a limited selection while still running Windows and connecting to the network as Windows. You enable it using the "Turn Windows features on and off" function and then you can pick a Linux distro to use on the Windows store. Performance isn't as good as a native install but it can work fine for non graphics intensive development tasks. If you search for "install WSL2" you will find step by step instructions on how to do this.

  • 1
    As far as I can tell, WSL (both versions) does not allow you to use “a Linux environment of your choice”: it allows you to choose from distributions provided by the WSL publisher (Microsoft). It does not support Xubuntu directly, but does support Ubuntu, where you can install Xfce yourself. But if you ever want to use something more exotic, you may need to switch to an ordinary hypervisor. Mar 23, 2022 at 10:50
  • Agreed and post edited to reflect this. Mar 23, 2022 at 11:11
  • 1
    ‘Performance isn’t as good as a native install’ But it’s generally better than a VM, depending on the exact workloads and how poorly designed your AV software is. And, FWIW, you actually can run just about anything in WSL2, provided the distro itselfsupports it, it’s just nontrivial if they don’t have a pre-packaged image in the Microsoft Store. Mar 23, 2022 at 12:10

I find out the ICT of Craigieburn College policy.

Bring Your Own Device (BYOD)
Students may bring any device to school, that meets the specified requirements.

Requirements :

The following are the minimum requirement for a device to be given access to the College network.

Software :

  • Windows 10 or macOS 10.14 (or later). Android, Linux & iOS devices are NOT accepted
  • Commercial Anti-Virus (available through EduSTAR portal)

Hardware :

  • CPU: x86 architecture
  • RAM: 4Gb minimum
  • A keyboard
  • A battery that can last for the entire school day without requiring charge

Note: device MUST be presented for inspection to the College ICT technicians prior to access being granted.

The College has three available personal computing options :

  1. Purchase recommended device through the College’s commercial partner - JB Hi-Fi Commercial (Education Division)

    The College has entered in to a purchasing agreement with JB Hi---Fi. Devices can be purchased directly though the JB Hi-Fi Online Portal, at a group discounted price and delivered straight to the College. To connect to the College network, the device media access control (MAC) address must be provided to the ICT technicians.

  2. Co-contribution

    Students will have access to a Netbook that will be funded by a parent co-contribution of $100 per annum. This cocontribution is the cost of leasing the device, the College will meet all other initial purchase costs. Students will be able to take their device home and this will require a $200 refundable security bond. The bond is refundable upon ceasing enrolment at the College and returning the Netbook computer in good working order. Agreements between Microsoft and the State Government allowed for a range of software packages to be installed on each machine.

  3. BYOD like above mentioned.

Solution 1

Switch your OS as dual-boot or WSL or make a WM with large storage for Softwares and Department of Education and Training (DET) Programs.

Solution 2

Bring your portable personal wifi or smartphone hotspot if it necessary and it can supported area.

let us to know where is your college from, to understand what the your ICT policy.

Related :

  1. DET Portal
  2. BYOD Portal
  3. E-Learning and ICT Policy

Hope this helps.

  • 2
    "Commercial Anti-Virus" is a pretty good hint that the other answers are correct in citing lack of interest and knowledge as cause for not supporting other OSs is the reason behind their policy.
    – towe
    Mar 24, 2022 at 6:17

Given that you've said you have to go to IT to get on the system I would suggest that there may indeed be a technical reason why they don't allow Linux machines...

Their preferred rootkit may only support Windows.

There are a large number of educational and corporate networks which simply won't allow anything to be connected which the network administrator doesn't have god-mode access to do anything they think they need to on it. Given that many educational institutions are held liable for the actions of their students they may feel they have an interest in preventing you from misusing your own hardware.

Personally I'd buy a cheap, used Windows laptop for them to monkey with so nothing they do touches any hardware I care about. As long as they don't disable Windows' Internet Connection Sharing feature you can string a network cable between the two when you need to connect to things from your personal laptop.


It's quite possible that they're telling the truth as far as they know. At least in Europe, the academic wifi eduroam is using out-of-date crypto settings, and if you try to connect using any Fedora since 34 or the most recent (22.04) Ubuntu and derivatives (this includes Pop!_OS), it will fail. In Fedora you can prevent that by running "update-crypto-policies --set DEFAULT:FEDORA32", but I haven't been able to solve the issue for Ubuntu.


Had a similar issue with fedora on my campus WiFi last year. Had to revert some cryptographic hashing policies to legacy, which sounded weird but was actually just 2 releases back. The reason being, my campus WiFi was not very modern.

I think it was ‘update-crypto-policies —-set LEGACY’ or something close to that.

I am having same issue on Ubuntu 22 now, but am not sure of the equivalent, as the above command isn’t available on Ubuntu. Someone with more knowledge might know if this is the right path.

  • Welcome to Ask Ubuntu! It's not clear if this supposed to be a new answer or if you are looking for help to your issue. If it's the first case, please edit your answer to make it clear that it's an answer that tries to solve the OP's issues. If it's the second case, you should ask a new question by clicking the Ask Question button on the top right. You may then link to the question of this thread if it helps provide context to your question. Thanks! Apr 26, 2022 at 17:25

You haven't said which distribution of linux you are using.

Understand that few linux distributions come with the software required for joining an Active Directory domain: someone will have to use the package manager to load that software (assuming that your linux distribution comes with a package manager). Have you done that? Do you know what package manager your linux distribution uses, and what packages are required?

After you have loaded the software required for joining an Active Directory domain, someone will have to initiate the process, using a valid user name and password. The process is simple, but again, depends on which distribution you are using. The scripts used by your school won't work, and the manual processes known by your school won't work.

This is all very simple, most of the time, for people who are familiar with the process. But it is a little unfair to expect your school to be familiar with the process, when it's not their standard client environment, and when even you don't (yet) know what is required.

  • Hi! Welcome to AskUbuntu. It is stated in the original post that they are using Xubuntu 20.04. I would encourage you to read posts carefully in order to provide the most helpful reply. Some flavor of Ubuntu is the most common distro used on AskUbuntu
    – Rabbit
    Mar 24, 2022 at 17:18

Have you considered using a Virtual Windows Machine as the guest OS on your Linux system? The Windows VM can then be used just for using Visual Studio while you have the option of using Linux for everything else you do.

One caveat is that VM will not give you the exact performance as if you were to run Visual Studio on the Linux host but this may help you diffuse the political issue. Not the best option but it will get you going.

You can use many VMs freely available on Linux distros - I use VirtualBox (no particular reason why I chose it) for overcoming a similar issue I had with accessing digital music on one of the sheet music providers who does not not support Linux.

  • 3
    If OP’s issue was that they were required to run a Windows program, but did not like running Windows, then this would be a great answer. But OP’s issue has nothing to do with Visual Studio, as discussed at length in comments on the question. It is not clear how this answer addresses the actual question. Mar 23, 2022 at 7:56

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