Mailinglist Archive: opensuse-edu (196 mails)

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RE: [suse-linux-uk-schools] can we stay?
On Thu, 2003-10-09 at 14:29, chris_thing-e wrote:
> Being a supporter of viable alternatives to 'the single supplier path'
> the industry has got stuck in, and having been an active supporter linux
> based solutions for many years, I promise I wasn't looking for a
> political debate, and I'm not sure that I am glad I started this
> debate....but there are some interesting perspectives here in the
> emails!!!!
> I would argue that there are more viewpoints than one however....and
> whilst some of the collective points put forwards in these exchanges may
> be true, some are not...and stringing them all together into a story
> doesnt necessarily make the story true either!
> There is a bigger picture than both open source/free software, and
> schools, and whilst many things are positive in the programme,ther are
> of course some that are less so! - overall for UK Plc I see the
> programme objectives as positive, and the impact it is making on schools
> positive too!....

Ah well, that is the point of discussion. To get at the truth and to
make things better. The bigger picture indeed :-)Overall for UK PLC
investing £100m a year in open software development would almost
certainly save more than £100m in licensing costs therefore if looking
at the bigger picture one would then be able to free up even more
resources and make schools much better off. If you read the consultation
strategy paper put out by the DfES on E-learning, you will soon realise
its more a wish than a strategy. Strategies require sustainability and
costings. The strategy paper makes no attempt to cost anything. If I ran
my business like that it wouldn't last very long. The bigger picture is
about getting best value for the investment resource, not looking at a
myriad of "initiatives" that are mainly not about rational improvement.

> This I believe is the most important point however, there is £100m
> available now, and if there is an oportunity to use some of that for the
> benefit of Linux roll out in schools/education and to the benefit of
> schools using Linux then I would not like to see that opportunity
> missed.

*IF* - I'm saying there isn't an opportunity but we shouldn't let that
just pass by. If its important to consider a minor impact on things
through a possible opportunity, surely the bigger picture would dictate
that its even more important to consider the lost opportunity of the
whole deal.

> Better I feel to spend the energies on trying to find a positive
> way to use the monies than on the negative debating on why it shouldn't
> have been done in the first place, or done in a different way....we are
> where we are!!!

I'm a very positive person. Getting desktop Linux into schools requires
that as a pre-requisite ;-). However we also have to be prepared to call
to account people who hold public office and waste tax payers money.
That is not being negative, its being extremely positive.

> My understanding is that it is not intended to open out applicability
> for col registration to all software as you suggest...

I'm actually a registered provider for COL and I was told by the DfES
that this was a possibility because they have had so much flack from
schools who do not like being told how to spend their money. Look at the
shortfall on spending in the first year. The fact is schools end up
spending on things they don't really want and in some cases never get
round to using.

> ..however some
> opening out may still be beneficial to Linux a question
> "is all Linux applicable software, content and applications free?"

Linux is the kernel. GNU/Linux stuff is generally free. There are
proprietary products built around Linux that are not and these might
benefit to an extent. Since the licensed software community successfully
persuaded the DfES to budget £100m a year on their wares, seems to me
that if the FLOSS community community campaigned in the right way it
might too get some development money. Again looking at the bigger
picture, putting effort into this seems to me more likely to have an
impact than going through COL registration for FLOSS products on the
current model.

ian <ian.lynch2@xxxxxxxxxxxx>

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