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Old 03-29-2009, 11:29 PM   #1
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planning proposal to alma mater school board to sell the idea of open-source software

Has anyone done this before, to speak of their personal experience, things they didn't expect, etc? I'd love to be able to convince them to switch over to open source software. I'm just learning about it myself though so I don't feel quite prepared yet. I tried to install Trisquel which has an education specific version of the program, but I couldn't because of my cpu. I've found a lot of different programs that could be utilized by teachers and students both. I'm just trying to figure out what their fears and resistances will be, and ways to counter them. Are there any compatibility problems opening files from windows? Any of the more common types I've looked up, there's been capability to open from a linux-based OS.
Old 03-30-2009, 12:34 PM   #2
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I'm just trying to figure out what their fears and resistances will be, and ways to counter them.
(1) The best thing would be to find out what they want in advance. Try to talk to someone on whatever committee is in charge of IT and see if they'll tell you their current and projected needs.
Are there any compatibility problems opening files from windows?
(2) There are some gotchas, and if you really want them to be happy , see (1)
Old 03-30-2009, 12:42 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by poiesis View Post
I'm just learning about it myself though so I don't feel quite prepared yet.
This is where I see the biggest problems. As you don't really know yet what to tell them you may run into questions you won't be able to answer. This will be uncomfortable for you, and not be very reassuring for them, thus they may decide that it's simply not for them.
Old 03-30-2009, 12:54 PM   #4
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Also learn about the difference between OSS and FLOSS and about other licenses.

Migration is very easy.

All major formats can be dealt with in Linux

Stress on open standards and formats.

Some of them may appear brainwashed by M$ propaganda and FUD.
Old 03-30-2009, 01:02 PM   #5
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Act like a salesman and give them a pitch. Do your research and find out what they have or want. What are thier most pressing problems? What don't they like about the existing system that can improve?

If you give them a couple of bullet-points there should be a few of them that will answer the above. The board/committee will be thinking... "gee, this guy has already thought about xyz and how we can get over that hurdles.."

Nothing worse than being asked a question and you not knowing the answer. Spend lots of time having ---informal--- talks with folks before you do your presentation/talk. Use that time to get to know what they /really/ want. You never know, they may have spent tons of money on accreditation and exams for "the wavey flag company" and want to see that money put to good use. So do some leg work before you do you main talk.

That make sense?
Old 03-30-2009, 01:03 PM   #6
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propaganda like M$ advertising V$sta as mojame or mojave experience? NO respect for their loyal users sorry I must say CUSTOMERS!!!!! HA! :=)
Old 04-01-2009, 12:28 AM   #7
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It makes a lot of sense! Thanks for your ideas. Yea, I won't be making the presentation immediately. Like I said, I'm just beginning to use a lot of the software myself for the first time and I want to have a greater knowledge of it. It's an excellent idea to find out what different administrators and teachers don't like about the software they use-- appropriate counters to those qualms, supplied by open-source programs, would be a an excellent point.

I think it will be extremely hard to rely on any of the specifics of what open-source can do, functionally, as solid talking points. That doesn't mean I will leave them out! The highest post on the school board is a woman who has to be pushing 80. I've seen them start laughing at honest teachers taking time to come to the meeting and ask about buying a certain textbook... The teachers were both new to the school that year and didn't understand they would have the same textbooks for years and years to come. I think the only point i'll be able to 100% rely on getting a reaction out of people is the 'saving money' part, which leads me to believe that I need to look at past school budgets and their tech expenditures. If I can say, the school would have saved X over the past ten years ... It might be akin to a good right hook!


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