Mailinglist Archive: opensuse-edu (146 mails)

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Re: [suse-linux-uk-schools] OSE Conference
  • From: "Frank Shute" <shute@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Tue, 11 Jul 2000 02:14:03 +0000 (UTC)
  • Message-id: <20000711031226.C12278@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
On Mon, Jul 10, 2000 at 08:24:43PM +0100, Malcolm wrote:
> the debate taking place here on the suse linux list is interesting and
> potential far reaching (beyond the scope of the list, can i access the
> archive, someone send them to the TES Online or Telegraph)...., some further
> observations
> 1. Support. The support model for Open Source & Linux is the real
> 'leap-of-faith' the majority of IT managers/workers in the UK. They do not
> see it as the easiest option and it scares them. The main benefit of support
> contracts/ third party organisation running your systems is that you have
> 'someone else' down the line to pass the blame on to, especially if you've
> paid lots of money for it. If an Open Source solution fails (which is less
> likely) you've got to stand up and be counted. The key skills are knowing
> bash, Linux device drivers etc its knowing how to get hold of great
> resources on the web (whose using IMP web-based mail by the way ?). Acorns
> did educational IT harm, as many people (including me) felt that they gone
> up the wrong tree and most schools want to up the right tree with the
> corporate world.

At present there are not enough companies supporting linux but I
hope to do my bit to change that. There is no reason why the support
model for open source software should be too much different from
proprietry software. The problem is that the companies and
individuals who offer support for linux systems are rushed off their

There's also a skills shortage of individuals who are familiar with
linux, it's only now that there are young people coming out from
university who have had hands on experience. Hopefully, things will
continue to shift from being quite so Windows-centric.

But progress is being made - only a couple of years ago linux wasn't
on anybody's agenda apart from a hard-core of developers/users.

> 2. Advocacy. The K12Linux list in the States is great, and has regular
> postings which include things like 'how do I persaude my teachers that Word
> isn;t the only solution'. Good case studies is where Suse, Redhat and the
> other Linux distributors come in, providing solid evidence to Open Source /
> Linux working in the School environment. Becta would love to evaluate more
> Linux servers (we've already done Powys) and Linux/KDE workstations.

How do you mean evaluate more linux servers & workstations? Do you
just turn up to see them in action and what they're doing?

> 3. United Front. I'm a Mandrake user, i like it, got RPM etc etc, but don't
> get hung up on the different distributions, get hung up on overall politics
> of free speech and getting what you want from your IT resource, not just
> what people are willing to sell you. You will also have to buy some closed
> source software (I agree with Eric Raymond on this one), for niche
> applications, SIMs is currently one unfortunate example.

I agree. You have to be pragmatic and use what's best for the job.

> If anybody wants a company to support their Open Source/Linux solution for
> their school, we are aware of at least three who will do it for you.

How do I get on the list? I'm going to start committing my business
full-time to putting linux/open source into schools in the autumn.

> And to finish, some maths.....
> Microsoft are sending / have sent a note reminding school Heads and
> Governors about their responsibility for correct licensing, to around 18000
> primarys and 6000 secondary's in the UK. At educational rates, thats a
> minimum of around 750,000 of OS licenses alone (i guess). Anybody want to
> work out the productivity tools, content, admin tools etc etc
> (oh and by the way, around 35m on ISDN2-based ISP access each year!)

This huge waste of money can't be the best possible solution to
schools need for software.


Frank Shute

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