ok, i missed this thread for a while, but it does have personal
relevance as I was the Head of Technology R&D at Becta from 1996-2000.
The limitation of the laptop spec to 2000 Pro (has EOL been announced on
this recently btw?) XP and MacOS is definetly a retrograde step, as no
real restrictions were placed on the OS supplied during earlier
procurements, (it wasn't legal for instance)
As part of my work we ran the technical evaluation for the procurement
of 100-150 million quids worth of desktop and laptop machines. Becta do
have limited knowledge of the market, have a continuing adversity to
risk taking and basically open-source is still seen subversive and
unsuitable for schools. However other education bodies (including the
UfI do have a broader view)
AFAIK Becta continues to change, but it is out of step with the policies
decisions from OEE and the EU. But that makes it no difference from
other Govt Agencies in the UK. The OGC is attempting to Memorandum's of
Understanding in place for the OSS suppliers, but the will only raise
the profile not necessarily the market penetration.
Personally, I now have a wider Govt view, beyond schools and feel that
areas such as high-performance workstations; grid computing; enterprise
level servers are areas which will have more impact in the coming year
for open source in Govt. Institutions like the Met Office, Inland
Revenue and universities continue to lead the way in implementing OSS
policy for Govt, but it is still the private sector leading the way.
The recent acquisition of Suse, Red Hat's profits and continued IBM, HP
and Dell investment all mean that Becta and others will change. Like
dinosaurs they will only look up at the inbound meteorite when its too
On Sat, 2003-12-27 at 12:06, John Ingleby wrote:
Perhaps we should recognise that Becta is staffed by
folk who learnt
about computers through the same limited view of IT that was discussed
earlier. Some of them will have gone on to gain degrees in Computer
Science, only to discover on graduating that the real world expects them
to start learning all over again. The few people I've met from Becta who
had any real experience, were as critical of the organisation as any.
I've also sent a letter to Own Lynch, maybe we can get him along to the
FLOSSIE Conference as well as his boss.
On Sat, 2003-12-27 at 04:26, David Bowles wrote:
> For a specification upon which some £63 million per annum of school /
> teacher laptop spending is based, I'd say BECTa is being down right
> irresponsible and even negligent in its lax use of terminology.
> This is wholly unacceptable regarding how a very considerable sum of
> public money is being be spent.
> I wonder if there's a longer more precise spec or contract that
> BECTa requires 'authorised suppliers' are obliged to sign?
> David Bowles
> > What exactly is the meaning of the term "freeware" in this context?
> > bundled stuff (e.g. Outlook Express) "freeware"? Is OSS
> > neither is obtained "in return for a consideration" (as I think the
> > contract phrases it), but that still leaves lots of ambiguity. For
> > instance, is a package written (compiled?) in-house really excluded? And
> > if in-house compilation is acceptable, can use of an identical binary be
> > excluded either?
> > OSS is difficult to categorise quite so simply as "freeware" or not,
> > one usually pays for a distro...
Dr Malcolm Herbert
GPS, Red Hat Europe
m: +44 7720 079845 <mherbert(a)redhat.com>