--- Richard Smedley <richard.smedley03(a)ntlworld.com> wrote:
Sorry - that was subtle sarcasm at the person who
article. As he isn't subscribed to the list, perhaps I should have
begun the sentence "my commission demands that I write about...."
I see. Well, he isn't missing much by not being here; if he has asked
someone else to write this up. If he was that interested he would have done
so already, I'm sure.
As to what LXF readers want to read about, I imagine
that this list
contains a fair cross section of Linux SomethingOrOther readers,
though admittedly with far more knowledge of FOSS in education ;-)
Well indeed. It just seems a rather specific topic as opposed to the usual
rabble most linux magazines print such as "Move Player of the Week" sort of
thing. I can well imagine _some_ people might find Linux in education
interesting, but I wouldn't have thought the minutiae interested them as much
as to say: "Yes, Linux is being used (to an extent) in some schools".
Doubtless though whatever you come up with is going to be fairly-well
Reader interests in FOSS use in particular industries
tend to be
1. technical (geek)
2. political - why choose Free vs proprietary
3. practical - what worked and what didn't
I don't doubt that, but it's selective purely to the people that both read
and purchase this particular edition. Still, can but try.
I'm sure the magazines are interested in hearing
what readers _actually_ want - at least in theory ;)
I wouldn't presume to tell them, or even try to. I don't read LXF.
At least, if that was the reason, they can be
Not likely. Have you any idea of the immense scale and cost, not to mention
time that would take? You're talking about *academics*. These people have
enough to do without retraining. Heck, if you read the news, you'll know
most of them have been on daily strikes recently over their pay with respect
to their workload. Adding (what I know is conceived as 'unfavourable')
additional things like this is only going to buck the whole point and trend
I have the fortunate pleasure of working *at* the University in a department
there. (I am bound by the Official Secrets Act not to divulge my job, so
don't ask). Suffice it to say that there is a limited training scheme in
operation that allows those lecturers (and other staff) to undergo some short
one-on-one tutorials in MS-Word, etc., for those who want to. The response
has been far from great -- and actually the unofficial campus-wide "policy"
is that most of the students are assumed to know something, if not everything
You can't just uphaul and retrain people like this. There's a pecking-order
involved in it. For instance, there's a training scheme in operation at the
moment for an in-house project that has gone campus-wide for all staff. Some
of the colleagues I work with have *still* to get training on how to use it,
even though they're the people who use it on a daily basis.
The red-tape of this organisation is such that nothing ever gets done, and I
suspect behind-the-scenes, other Universities experience this. I am not
saying it's not possible, but there is never going to be an easy solution to
buck the trend away from Microsoft. Not even in split-retraining can this be
reachieved. Not easily.
Faculty of Technology is different in that they do to an extent
etc. But it is still a very MS-dominant
Well, many are - but by no means all. And all seem to have some FOSS.
In fact I bet Southampton are running /some/ Free Software (eg Exim)
They are on the backend of things. They also run Squid on RH servers (I
should know, I helped them with a few things in the past concerning it). But
that's all very well (and probably expected), but it's not pushing out to
where the real people would benefit from it: the students.
There is one room in the entire University which has about eight machines
with dual-boot functionality to RH Linux. But these are reserved for
post-graduate studies where Masters' students learn LaTeX via it in (shudder)
EMACS. That's a positive thing, but limited.
to OSS-Watch, it seems that there's a lot to
feel reasonably cheerful about :)
And as Ian Lynch says elsewhere in this thread, change
is a slow
process, but it is happening. :-)
Yes, I am aware of that. I am not as naive to assume it isn't, but when you
see just how much resistance there is behind the scenes to even *small*
things like this, it does get a little disheartening.
There are other things to consider. From what I have seen, many schools have
their own little projects that seem to be working. I have spoken to a number
of people on this list individually (as many of them are sysadmins for
schools), and it does seem as though there are numerous success stories. One
school inparticular has done wonders both in Linux's use behind the scene,
and for the students.
What needs to be done is for some unity amongst schools to happen. I know
this is being done slowly, and for that I am greatful. It's all very well
potentially looking at Linux's use in higher education (University level),
but if Linux is to have any impact at all on people, I would surmise it needs
to be one at the Primary and Secondary stages of education. (And to this end
I know things are happening to try and get that to be the case).
Awareness of FOSS is spreading even to the trailing
People don't like change for change's sake -
the process must
be managed properly. In my day job (in the voluntary sector)
training is the key part of our successful implementations :-)
The ivory towerists here, would disagree.
Indeed - although BECTa have yet to reply to m
and BECTa's website is lamentable when it comes to mentioning
FOSS solutions, it seems that BECTa are actually quite taken
with FOSS - I hope we see some practical fall-out from
this interest soon, but I won't hold my breath, just in
Well, do keep us posted as to this.
Thank you for all of your input, Thomas. Nice to see
traffic on this list, too :)
You're welcome, and I agree. Of all the mailing-lists I am on (and have been
on) this is one of them where I genuinely feel as though I make a difference.
-- Thomas Adam
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