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[seul-edu] (FWD) Re: Why schools don't adopt OSS

----- Forwarded message from owner-seul-edu@seul.org -----

Date: Wed, 28 Nov 2001 12:13:21 +0800
From: Dzof Azmi <mailinglist@dzof.org>
Subject: Re: Why schools don't adopt OSS
To: seul-edu@seul.org

I work with the ministry of education in my country in a project that,
amongst other things, implements technology in schools.

(An explanation first: here, education is heavily centralised. Although
schools are allowed to source technology on their own, they almost
always depend on the Government to provide infrastructure. Consequently,
technology decisions affecting most schools are made by the Ministry)

The problem is not always with the decision makers (although I do agree
political visibility is a key influencer). Sometimes the problem is
with the developers and suppliers and what they perceive the Ministry
wants. This isn't to blame the vendors, but a lot of them see it as a
risky move to propose an unorthodox solution to governments.

Part of the problem is that when requests for proposals went out (in
1997), the response was heavily Microsoft-biased. Vendors assumed that:
(a) It is a recognised brand name which they don't have to 'sell'
(b) It is easier to implement (resulting in a smaller start-up cost for them);
(c) It is more familiar to users (thus reducing support and training requirements);

Not a single vendor made a business case which proposed cost-effectiveness
as an advantage by using OSS.

It must also be noted that the Government never explicitly indicated an
upper-limit for the budget nor stressed the importance for long-term
cost-effectiveness in the rollout. There were some requests for
flexibility, extendability and scalability, but that was not objectified.

As a result, vendors said "What are schools using now? We'll just give
them more of the same!"

Dzof Azmi

----- End forwarded message -----