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Re: [school-discuss] Re: Karoshi, anyone?

"James P. Kinney III" <jkinney@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx> wrote:
SBA have encouraged many, many schools to by needless Microsoft licenses in extra capacity as "insurance" against legal action. The legal teams at the school systems need to take a much closer look at the use of FOSS systems as an alternative to outrageous court expenses brought on by M$ and others working to milk the resources away from teaching.

I'm in complete agreement ... there's no doubt that the M$ juggernaut can be hell on wheels, and fiduciary issues like COA mgm't suck money away from teaching in a world of tight edu budgets.

What I found was there's a social inertia that pulls the users back to Windows, esp. in the *lower* grades where the users want Windows-only titles like the *-Blaster series, etc. If one could get most Windows edu & gradebook software titles to run on WINE, then that'd be ideal.... OTOH at places like 5dollarsoftware.com, they can get these computer games for $5 per copy, so IT mgm't may be more willing to bear the MS license mgm't overhead on more-recent machines that run Win2K or XP.

Keeping this in perspective, that's still strictly a client-side worry of COA mgm't. Increasingly machines are being seen as dirt-cheap even with the XP Pro COA cost overhead, so the COA overhead - altho proportionately higher - is less. Yes, they could still get them even cheaper w/out that Windoze COA, but this is what mgm't is looking at & they don't want to go on crash programs or make huge waves ("Nobody ever got fired for picking IBM").

So what's a Linux consultant to do?

Well, first of all find all the FOSS and freewares that'll run on Windows & show the IT Managers that you have 3 CD's worth of Windows freebies (GIMP, OOo, Blender, Avid Free, etc) that'd help clean up their budget & license-tracking. That's what I've done... (I've got a huge dir. of this stuff on my HDD) & this is what the Karoshi schools are doing w/ their Windows desktop users as well....

Then there's the server-side, getting rid of the M$ server CALs is the first big leap. Let's assume a school district has *MOST* of the COA certs they need & maybe need to buy a few extra pallettes-worth of COAs to CYA. Essentially this is a smaller (not non-) issue for them at the moment b/c again of the commodity-pricing of 'puters

The reason I point this out is that if I go ahead & make a go @ doing a consulting biz, I wouldn't want to appear to be a Linux evangelist too much. I think mgm't will feel more comfortable about a transition, esp. if you point out that their COA mgm't situation probably isn't dire, etc. They may need to get a handle on risk assessing their COA situation, but it may not be as bad as it seems... part of being an outside consultant is to help mgm't see these issues thru, or at least to corroborate what they're already addressing. Warm fuzzies, warm fuzzies....

Management's looking at the bottom line, not FOSS philosophy. The point is to help them cut costs & increase effectiveness (or ... dollar efficacy). By transitioning them into a FOSS server environment a FOSS consultant can first help them get out of the problem of dynamic server-side CAL volume licensing. That'd be Phase I.

Phase II would be the 9-12 desktop machines that won't need Windows software like the K-8 classrooms will. The final phase would be getting all those K-8 software titles to run on WINE.

OTOH, yes WRT the older Win98/ME-class machines - by and large those're now better candidates for LTSP or Linux. If they aren't too dog-slow then they'd be good OL machines for 9-12 machines.

I believe the Karoshi developers deal with this issue directly at their schools in England... they have a mix of Linux & Windows desktops, and they might be better able to explain what issues they encounter in their schools...

CHeck this out, this is a Karoshi school on Wikipedia:


"..Our next step is to get rid of our Microsoft agreement, costing about £8000 [~ $14,000 - lee ] a year, buy upgrade licenses for the computers with have got (using e-learning credits), and replace office (which at the moment all laptops and all staff computers have had Office removed) with OOo...."


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