[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index]

FW: [seul-edu] members and supporters

Lary Prevett and I have been talking privately about the nature and
categories of membership in Schoolforge, and Larry agreed to let me forward
our talks when I thought they'd reached a point of being useful to the
general discussion.  Here's the first of them:
From: "prevettl" <comal@gopenguin.com>
To: Doug Loss <drloss@suscom.net>
Subject: Re: [seul-edu] members and supporters
Date: Mon, Dec 31, 2001, 12:25 PM

> > I like those ideas. I also think there should be some
> > distinctions between non-profit and commercial members.
>> Does that make things too complicated? What I was 
>> thinking of was separate web pages listing non-profit 
>> members and commercial members.

> I didn't want to get into differing categories of
> membership, as I think that can be divisive.  My 
> original concern in that respect was the idea that 
> "major" members be listed differently than others, with 
> no definition of "major" except, "We all know who they 
> are."  A commercial/other distinction might not be too 
> bad, but how would we classify something like RedHat, 
> which is clearly a commercial entity, but which is 
> donating software (and possibly support) to any school 
> that requests it? 

RedHat, as well as the other Linux distro vendors are
definitely a special case, for they have characteristics
of both commercial and non-profit organizations. (If
corporations like IBM, SUN, SGI, MS are carnivores, and
non-profit organizations are herbivores, then RedHat is
like an omnivore?)

I've been talking this over with some other teachers out
here and there are at least 4 types of groups associated
with Linux in education that came up.

1) Corporations: IBM, SUN, SGI, MS, etc.
2) Linux Distro Vendors: RedHat, VA Linux, SUSE, etc.
3) The software 'Dot Orgs': Apache, Postgres, FSF, Samba,
4) Non-profit Educational projects, orgs: SEUL, SchoolForge,

Nobody saw any problems grouping 3 and 4 together.
But everyone thinks that there could be potential conflicts
of interest (regarding issues that would be voted on)
grouping 1 with 3 and 4. Vendor-lock, vendor-goad,
vendor-crunch, etc. were the reasons. Commercial
organizations need to pay attention to copywrites,
aggressive marketing and advertising, and protecting their
niche in the market, etc.  The science lab coordinator
thought there should be at least 3 categories of membership:
1, 2, 3 and 4, with only groups in category 3 and 4 that
were directly related to Linux in education having voting

> My inclination would be to only have members that are
> working to further our goals beyond merely selling goods
> and services into the schools.  In that respect RedHat 
> qualifies, while someone selling a Linux version of Reader 
> Rabbit (and doing nothing else) doesn't.  That may be too 
> doctrinaire, but it's a position to start a discussion 
> from.  Mind, I don't have a problem with publicizing the
> existence of Reader Rabbit for Linux; it's just that the
> vendor of it wouldn't automatically qualify for 
> Schoolforge membership.

That's closer to what is needed I think.
One potential problem I see there is that other commercial
organizations could also qualify according to that criteria.
Maybe make it: "a Linux distro vendor supplying
goods/services to schools?"

The other potential problem of course, is that Linux distro
vendors can also be guilty of vendor-lock type strategies
that are counter-productive. That may be a necessary risk
the coalition will have to take.

I'm having a difficult time thinking through all these
issues. I'm not sure of certain things. Like, what kinds 
of things would members of Schoolforge would be voting on?
So, I'm still just talking loosely, here. I'm still out of
town, but I'm thinking about all this.


Where Do You Want To Go Tomorrow?
GoPenguin Network Inc.