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Distribution: Ubuntu, Knoppix, any I can get my hands on!
Trying to get my school to switch to Linux
So, while sitting on the toilet about a half hour ago, I started seriously considering writing up a proposal to switch the computer systems at my school from proprietary to open source. Currently, all of the client computer are running either Windows Xp with Novell Netware crap installed on it or Mac OSX. Both of which are super locked down. It's a pain for them to get Xp and OSx working together well, I don't know what they're running on their servers. But it's gonna cost alotta cash to "upgrade" to Vista, so I was thinking...
If I can find a good FOSS client/server system, with a relatively easy way to transfer existing accounts over to the new system, I have enough stuff to through together a proposal. So yea, I don't have time to go into a lot of detail now, it's bed time. But anyway, to sum it up...
I'm looking for a good FOSS client server system.
PS. Sorry if this isn't real coherent, it's kinda late.
Distribution: debian with bits of everything stuck on it
Make a list of the existing hardware and details of the systems running and present it to a linux support company.
Most organizations seem to thing "free" is the same as "bug infested shareware crap". The Only way they will take notice is if it is presented to them by a professional company with detailed cost analysis of both the initial costs and the long term support costs.
These will clearly show that both in short and long term costs, FOSS kicks the crap out of proprietary while also being honest, unlike MS's "get the facts" collection of marsh gas.
Personally, I think you will end up banging your head against the wall. Most schools are a small part of a larger division, although you did not mention what kind of school this is. But the immediate staff usually have nothing to do with the computer systems, the board makes those decisions and are sometimes (usually) bound to certain obligations, like using a local computer firm to take care of their networks as the money does come from the community and the board has to work with the community and support the community.
Most times with schools, it is politics, not feasibility, that dictates how things are done.
You first have to ask yourself where is the money coming from?
That's who you have to deal with.
Last edited by Junior Hacker; 02-08-2007 at 02:48 PM.
That is exactly what I'm trying to point out, "business is business", in an industrialized nation or equal, schools have a business to run. And in the world of business "rub my back and I'll rub yours".
Distribution: debian with bits of everything stuck on it
It's also the bottom line, if an IT company can halve the support budget while providing a better service your school will take notice. However, polotics is in there so it could take years to happen, and that is only after budget gets more attention than whatever 'perks' are on offer to stick with the system your using.
When was the system last upgraded? Are the staff always compaining about speed or crashes? Basically, is there anything that can justify you school accepting an offer from IT company to evaluate the system and propose a better deal than their existing system/support package.
From your point of view, can every piece of software you use in your studies be replaced by open source? Have other schools already made this change?
The best I can think of for your school to take notice is if they are approached by a professional company who can make a good offer and can show examples of their existing clients to prove it.
For this to happen, you will have to find a company qualified to do this and have enough information collected to justify to them that your school is worth contacting.
It will need to be a company that has experience within the education system, your best place to start would be with other schools who have already successfully made the change and find out what support companies they are using.
A company like this already has experience in dealing with vendor lock in and knows it could take years for anything to happen.
I don't think your idea is a waste of time, but you will have to be very patient with it. At least 6 months of fact finding before you can have anything in-depth enough to present to an IT company. Do it right though and you wont have to look for a job when you finish colage.
Another angle is from the bottom. Any piece of software you use in school that sucks and can be replaced by an open source program 100 times better suited? Something technical for preference, folks dealing with science or engineering are usually more open to alternatives.
Well I think a great point to start out with would be to READ some of the case studies done by other schools, see how they have implemented Linux into their environments. look at how they have used projects such as LTSP, K12LTSP, DebianEdu/Skolelinux, Edubuntu, etc.. to leverage existing equipment instead of going out and purchasing all new VISTA capable hardware.
Once you get a feel for what has been done in the area other than just.. OHH Linux is cool and will save us money, you can truly put together a presentation to show different ways the school can leverage the capabilities of Linux to their advantage. cite existing case studies, and conversions done by other schools that are similar to your own.
Also other than just Linux you can introduce open source software such as OpenOffice.org. it's free compared to the $60.00 a school pays per PC for MS Office.. and that Does add up quickly when you count the number of machines it's on. 60X100 = $6,000.00 cha-ching!
You could also start a Linux User Group at your school.. include students, teachers and faculty in the invites..
Spending too much time on the toilet has been known to be the birth place of some great ideas, but more often than not, it is the birth place of something you would rather not deal with when you get off the toilet and take a good hard look.