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Re: [school-discuss] Project Proposal

Les Richardson wrote:
> Hi,
> On Sun, 20 Jan 2002, Doug Loss wrote:
> > We looked at SIF a couple of years ago, and were interested in helping
> > to develop it, but it was very clear that it was heavily controlled by
> > those major software vendors (Microsoft, primarily).  There was no way
> > for us to help on it.
> Agreed. This, IMHO, is just another example of the big boys trying to lock
> out the small. How? By making it so darn complicated and overbuilt that
> the small guys can't keep up and expend too many resources trying to keep
> up.
> Before you have to worry about SIF, you have to "have" a large
> administrative system in place. If building an administrative system (I've
> built a couple in the past and am currently building a larger elementary
> school package) the most important issue is building a flexible database
> design that is not too complicated and can be extended. I think a lot of
> heavy thinking should go into this before too much coding is done.

It appears that Microsoft has since taken a lesser role in its development.
They (SIF) are addressing a very real issue that schools are having to deal
> In terms of data exchange between software "components" the native
> internal data can fairly easily be exchanged in XML format if your
> database structures are well designed. One could certainly have a look at
> some of the SIF material to get an idea of the "flavour" of the format
> exchange and take that into consideration when designing.
> > > If we could pull together the resources to "build" an
> > > open source version of the ZIS it would enable us to
> > > showcase the advantages of open source solutions. It
> > > should also provide some press coverage in publications
> > > targeted at school personnel.
> > >
> > This sounds like a good idea.  I _think_ Bruno Vernier(are you on this
> > list yet, Bruno?) was considering whether his EduML work could be used
> > to help with something like this.  I know we at SEUL would be willing to
> > contribute hosting services to such a project.  Who's interested in
> > helping Michael on this?
> > > I know that there are other projects trying to develop
> > > similar specifications
> I would take a quick look at the "specifications", but also focus on
> getting something useful "out the door" so that schools can have something
> useful to use. Too much time spent "specifying" can bleed off momentum and
> kill the project. Again, it's a balancing act...

I'm not suggesting that we add to the specifications..(yet) just building
something using the current specs. This would expose whether or not it is
truly open. Then, if it where possible, looking at ways to get involved in
the process of establishing the specifications. I think that open source
needs to get involved with the "spec" makers and leverage whatever influence
we can muster.

> > Michael, could you contact those other projects and see if they'd be
> > interested in collaborating on this?  If nothing else, they'd probably
> > be intereted in thinking about a "translation" mechanism between the SIF
> > stuff ahd what they're working on.
> Good idea. Also, is there some sort of complementary mechanism, whereby
> one group works on one "package" and the other group works on one which
> would complement it. Synergy is good.
> As well a writeup on the administrative software development groups would
> be an excellent idea.
> 1) What are their design goals and tools?
> 2) What have they written so far?
> 3) How can their data be interchanged?
> etc.
> Les
> from Land of Ice and Snow.

I don't want to be put in a position or either/or, if projects currently
under development worked within a framework of existing specifications
then they would IMHO have a better chance of adoption.

Michael Williams                   Instructional Technology
Haywood County Schools          216 Charles St. Clyde, NC 28721
http://www.k12linux.org                 (828) 627-8314
"If we weren't all crazy we would go insane" -- Jimmy Buffett