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Re: [school-discuss] StarOffice in Edu.

> Hi

Hi Chris,

> The bad news is I haven't found a good explanation why education
> adopted StarOffice/OpenOffice wholesale. The good news is in the
UK it's
> happening in more and more areas, and with it a recognition of the

> effectiveness of Linux, particularly by primary schools and
> the benefits of thin client setups. Watch this space...

I probably can't provide a better explanation, either, but I can
give you my
experience.  Here in Tasmania, I no of exactly zero educational
that have taken up any Free/OSS, let alone StarOffice (even though
it's not
strictly free) or OpenOffice specifically.  I'd love to be wrong,
but over
the past year, I've come to the conclusion that I'm the only
Tasmanian on
this list...

My contacts at the University of Tasmania (our only university) tell
me that,
in general, the IT/IS administators/people leave much to be
desired.  This is
by no means universal, but I would say that they are entrenched.
the Uni uses Windows NT on, say, 90% of the computers with... Word
97 (which,
incidentally, is no longer supported by Microsoft, even if security
flaws are
discovered, like one was yesterday [take a peep at /.]).  There are,
(don't quote me on any of these numbers, they're just estimates...
please don't quote me at all.), 2-3 labs MacOS9and 1-2 labs of
MacOSX and 1
lab of Solaris/SunOS.

The main problem at Uni is reluctance and naivity.  At present,
Windows 2000
and Office 97 are the 'standards', although, as I said, 90% of
machines run
Windows NT.  Few are willing to upgrade anything, let alone add
new.  They won't even put Mozilla on any machines, since the
Netscape 4.77 worked better than Netscape 6.00 with the library
:^-\, Horizon 4, which struggles to survive these days, the
superceded, proprietary monster that it is.

If Horizon is replaced, it will be replaced by a newer version of
Who's volunteering to recatalogue the hundreds of thousands of books
in a
free app?  No one-there's too much cataloguing to be done as it is,
and I
don't blame them.

As for StarOffice/OpenOffice, I seem to be the only person I know
using it.
Most people I talk to haven't even heard of it, and their first
is... is it 100% compatible with Microsoft Office?  How is one to
combat such
a question?  I mean, Microsoft products are often somewhat
incompatible with
their predecessors, but that's okay, since they're Microsoft
products.  If
some cheap, (they assume) unsupported, (they assume) incomplete,
app comes along, who's gonna bother using it?

Can you see how it's hard enough getting people to even try any
Free/OSS, let
alone use it on a large scale?

In my present situation, I'm not really in a position to make the
much better, either.  But, I'm hopefull.  Within a year, I hope to
have an
advocacy organisation up and running.  Hello, any other Tasmanians
on this

My school is a different kettle of fish... about 1200 iBooks running
hint, hint.  I'm keeping an eye on how things unfold... I know some
want to ditch the laptop program altogether and replace them with
machines.  On the other hand, if OSX machines end up being used,
things look
much brighter for Free/OSS, if only that stupid AppleWorks thingy
would be
ditched.  Yes, I'm qualified to hate AppleWorks.

On a related note, my Essay on Free/OSS in education was completed
months ago.  I'm waiting until it is submitted before I post it (for
who know/knew, it's an IB Extended Essay).