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Re: [school-discuss] [IIEP] BECTA report about free software next week (fwd)

On Saturday 14 May 2005 04:43, Miles Berry wrote:
> The report was published yesterday.
> See http://www.becta.org.uk/corporate/press_out.cfm?id=4681
> for further details.
We use Open source solutions extensively in that we have currently 6 Linux 
servers doing various things and about 100 Linux terminals throughout the 
school. All our curriculum teaching is done through linux.
I was approached by a consultant to take part in this survey but after reading 
through the documentation he produced decided against participating.
This is the reason: We also have a Netware network with Windows of about 40 
machines. This is supported by a full time network manager and a part time 
technician. The Linux network had setup costs of around £15000 and i get 
£5000 a year for maintenance and NO technician support. I spend about 5 
minutes a week outside school time on average doing regular support things 
like backup. The initial setup took a lot of my time but that was nearly 
three years ago, it just goes on by itself now. So you can see where the 
money for IT goes in our school.
Completing this report would have required me to lump all the costs together 
therefore diluting the real cost of open source software. I wanted to detail 
the cost of my Linux network against the cost of the windows network. To be 
fair to BECTA they were going to allow me (although they never said how) to 
do this but in the end I ran out of time because I was implementing an open 
source MIS, which I thought was more important.
Now if a school is running one Linux Email server or such like they could be 
in the survey and so the figures produced will necessarily be distorted. The 
result of the survey is encouraging for open source but I felt it was not a 
fair comparison. The true savings as you can see from my school can be much 
more than double the survey's  estimate.
Although the result will give us a much needed boost more could have been 
done. The perpetuation of massive IT spending in our schools is a crime and 
is detracting from many other more worthwhile causes (like recruiting good 
I believe Gates is donating 1 million to some specialist schools promotion. 
Petty cash to him but it almost guarantees a massive return and a secure 
market for years to come. Immoral.
Garry Saddington
ICT co-ordinator
Skegness Grammar School