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 02:14:00 +0000 (UTC)
  • Message-id: <20000711024432.B12278@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
On Mon, Jul 10, 2000 at 11:17:31PM +0100, Adrian Wells wrote:
> Phillip Deackes wrote...
> > It really isn't about proselytising at all - here am I, a committed
> > user at home, who would love to deploy LINUX at school, but who doesn't
> > know how. I have asked for help right, left and centre, but apart from
> > rather vague responses I have nothing concrete. I have posted here,
> > privately, in the UK.comp.os.LINUX newsgroups, other mailings lists and
> > elsewhere. If I can't move forward, then those who know and care little
> > about LINUX will never be brought on board.


> LINUX takes me back to those heady days of home computers, loads
> of fun, cocking a snoop at everyone, but actually of little use to
> the general public or general business - why? Well, Two reasons
> 1) it's too techie - today, people expect to shake it out of the
> box, plug it in and switch it on - sorry, but that's the way it
> is. 2) there's not enough suitable (open source/free) software
> out there yet. Both of these problems have hit Philip and many
> many others. Yes of course you can do all these wonderful things,
> and people have, to varying degrees, but at a cost.

Responding to your two points in particular:

1) Powerful networking software IS techie. Poor networking software
is sold to punters as a simple, straightforward solution to a
complex problem. I'm sorry but in the *real* world beyond the
advertising hype there is no such thing.

2) Just not true. StarOffice is free, Netscape is free, Samba is
free, qmail is free.....

You're right there is a cost but exorbitant licensing costs is not
one of them nor is expensive hardware, but buying some decent
support is.

> No one in management (without technical expertise) is ever going to put his
> arse on the line and plump for something that's free (must be a catch)
> against something that's over priced (must be great). After all, if NT falls
> over and the payroll is late, he is blameless 'cus half the world has also
> paid through the nose for the same kit, and they MUST be right, mustn't
> they, because they wouldn't waste money?

Management has yet to understand that it has to invest in people;
investing in crumby software, expensive hardware and even crumbier
employees is a waste of money. Management are beginning to realise
it...the problem is that they're like a herd of dinosaurs with their
very small brains, slow reflexes and a rather pathetic follow the
leader attitude.

Now large companies like IBM are getting behind linux they are
beginning to sit up and pay attention. Little more than 6 months ago
the IT manager of a FTSE 100 company dismissed linux as a fad that
had no place in the business environment, he just wouldn't say such
a thing today.

> Philip is right, what we need are case histories, .....

There won't be any case histories until managers/headmasters realise
that there needs to be a paradigm shift from the old `spend lots of
money on software/hardware approach'.

At the moment, they're unable to contemplate spending a significant
portion of their budget on either technical staff who know what
they're doing or outsourcing their IT requirements to anybody other
than RM.

> actual examples of how to do things, but not with Mickey-mouse
> bits of software (I don't mean that the software is Mickey-mouse
> in it's execution (pun intended) but in it's suitability, 15
> different e-mail programs is of no use,

Just because there are 15 different email clients doesn't mean that
you have to use them all nor all the different MTAs for that matter.

> I want one that is smooth, seamless and effortless) - "we give our
> kids crappywrite for word-processing and if they don't like it
> tough" ain't good enough, sorry but we need appropriate,
> world-class software and it's a fact of life that Word is that
> [never yet seen WordPerfect work properly on a windows platform
> (may be great on LINUX)].

Word is NOT a world class piece of software - TeX is. Wordperfect
works fine on Linux and Windows, my mother has used it for years on
both...and dos; sounds like you're having problems with the platform.

> Adding users in bulk has to be seamless. As much as we hate MS, RM
> etc their stuff works now, maybe not as we would like it, or at a
> cost that is acceptable, but it works.

The cost is not acceptable. Millions of pounds of public money is
being wasted on 2nd rate software - to my mind that's a scandal of
huge proportions.

As regards adding users, I can add users in bulk to a system
courtesy of a script and an appropriately configured skeleton
directory - seamlessly.

> The sad truth is that world-class software, that meets international
> standards of exchange and the demands of business comes at a price -

You obviously haven't been using linux for very long or you would
realise that world class software does not necessarily come at a
price. What's `international standards of exchange'? Do you mean the
ability to exchange and read files? If so Microsoft software meets
none of them.

> and business WILL pay that price because they believe that they
> are paying for reliability and protection.

You're right, they *believe* that they're paying for reliability,
protection, support etc. But they get nothing of the sort of course.

>High prices comfort them, they charge high prices for their goods
>and expect to pay high prices for other peoples - Zero prices make
>then uneasy, it implies that maybe their goods could be supplied
>for nothing - LINUX just puts spanners in their works! - now, if we
>were living in China...
> So how is LINUX going to assure management of it's capability, and convince
> business that it will not mean the end of the (capitalist) world?

As I mentioned, they're herd animals and they'll follow once they
realise that the sky wont fall in on them. We just have to keep up
the pressure. I and others are not proposing to end the capitalist
world, I just want to make a decent living out of linux.

> PS. I'm installing a LINUX server into one of our prep schools over the
> summer! :-)

Good luck! If you need a hand and you're anywhere near me, let me


Frank Shute

| Boroughbridge | Tel: 01423 323019 | PGP keyID: 0xC0B341A3 |

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