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Old 01-11-2008, 02:31 PM   #1
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Suggestions for a FOSS presentation to a school board


I am a high-school student in a small town, and recently wrote a letter to the editor of our local newspaper about the alternative of FOSS software to Novell, Adobe CS, MS Office, etc., citing the article about the Kamloops/Thompson district in B.C. that switched to a thin-client system ( The vice-principal of my school recently asked me to prepare a presentation to the the school's tech committee and possibly the school division tech committee, outlining available options and how they would work. I was just wondering if the community here has any suggestions as to the content of the presentation, or anything else that's useful when trying to sell Free Software as an alternative to proprietary. I've never done anything like this before, but I know most of the technicians pretty well so I'm hoping I can convince them to change some stuff. Our school division does use linux for its web/ftp servers, so our techs are familiar with the concept of FOSS.

Thanks for your suggestions
Old 01-11-2008, 04:11 PM   #2
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Just read this article the other day --> Another education-related used of FOSS.

Answers to the following not require, just for you to think about...

Who is on the tech committee? I mean, are there enough technicians in a small-town school district to create a committee? Is the committee responsible for technology infrastructure, technology in the classroom, or both? Are there teachers, administrators, bean-counters, and that ilk on the committee? If so, what do they know about FOSS?

Do you have AP courses or, for example, a regional Math and Science Center where all the nerds go to school? Someplace you could leverage FOSS applications such as Octave, Euler, R, VTK, etc. rather than trying to convince them to replace commercial software (that's probably already paid for) with FOSS. Teaching kids to use the types of software they'll be using at university makes graduates of your school district better prepared. Most of these types of applications are available for Linux, Windows, and OSX. It reminds me of The kids installed on their art teacher's computer last year and it's now being used for all art classes at their school (or so they tell me).
Old 01-11-2008, 09:33 PM   #3
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Be prepared for this one:

You: "Wow! This FOSS stuff is really cool! With FOSS we can match just about everything we're paying for now, and not have to pay a penny!"
Them: "But when we bought our computers, they already came with MS Windows, and MS Office. We got them for a bundle price, because we couldn't get the computers without an OS."

I know, I'm not a good story writer. But I think you get my point. It'll be that much harder to convince them if they've already paid for the software.

If the computers were donated to the school, likelyhood is they didn't come with a legal OS or Office license.

Now, on another hand, has anyone done an audit of what software's installed on all the computers, and reference it with the actual licenses the school ownes? If the school is grossly under-licensed, that could be a great case for you to say you have a lower cost solution than for them to purchase a bunch of OS and Office licenses to become nice and legal, or for them to get fined $10000 for each illegal installation.


education, foss, presentation

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