Convincing a school district to migrate from OS X to Ubuntu or Edubuntu

Chan Chung Hang Christopher christopher.chan at
Thu Nov 20 14:37:03 GMT 2008

Hello Bart,

Taking this to the sounder and ubuntu-education lists before I get hit 
with a big stick.

Bart Silverstrim wrote:
> Christopher Chan wrote:
>> Bart Silverstrim wrote:
>>> No, TCO in training comes from the fact that users DON'T watch those 
>>> videos unless forced, or attend learning workshops unless forced, and 
>>> schools, quite frankly, will not rise up on a person's crusade to 
>>> replace what is more or less working for them to force their staff to 
>>> use these resources when the easiest thing for the users is to just have 
>>> their IT people do it for them.
>> Well, that goes for just about anything so nothing Linux specific.
> If the issue is there, the issue is there. The fact is that you will get 
> more pushback from Linux than Windows in a non-technical environment, 
> and school IT departments generally don't have resources to work on that 
> and everything else they have to deal with. When they pick their battles 
> this crusade is very likely to fail.
Well, I happen to BE the school IT department so I actually get to hold 
the school hostage to a point.
>>> Honestly, good luck. Maybe yours is a cultural environment where you 
>>> won't get pushback.
>> Well, teachers don't have much of a choice if that is what the kids will 
>> be using. 
> A lot of them are using this at home? And federal and state departments 
> with whom administrators and teachers interact, they're using Linux? I 
> could have sworn the last thing for interaction with an outside agency 
> to cross my desk was setting up an Access database they received because 
> they needed to work on reimbursement's one from an IU 
> where they sent a publisher document and a Mac user couldn't open 
> it...and when the user is really unhappy, especially if it's an 
> administrator, things get set up they way they want.
Kids using ubuntu at home? I doubt it. However, that is what the ICT 
Leader has decided in tandem with my wishes (I ran around too much 
fixing Windows issues and have improved things by bring in an 
OpenSolaris file server solution to some of the problems) so that we can 
lead the school into the 21st century. What? Just drink the kool-aid 
will you? :-D
>>> My TCO argument? I didn't think I brought that up...
>>> What I initially replied to was the argument that it's a one-time cost 
>>> and a non-issue because it was a one-time cost. I was saying that it's 
>>> not one-time, that users won't do it unless forced, and even when they 
>>> attend they don't retain it unless exercising it often (such as adding 
>>> network printers in Windows).
>> Oops...sorry, got mixed up. But thanks for blowing away Clifford's TCO 
>> argument of Linux vs Windows on the training side of things anyway.
> TCO involves more than just training costs, by the way.
Heh. I know. Eg: Maintaining a repo for Ubuntu on EEE PC for the future 
school laptops sure will cost me time and therefore the school time. But 
hey, it is that versus buying MS System whatever to manage the software 
on the PCs and so I will very well tell the school, Linux is free and 
you also get great tools for software management and nobody will have to 
run around installing whatever anymore. Go on, drink the kool-aid.
> Are you involved in the administration of a school in some way? Because 
> the arguments I'm seeing so far seem to be coming from a somewhat naive 
> perspective, and I've occasionally heard similar arguments coming from 
> people who don't actually have to work "in the trenches" and know what 
> has to be dealt with. It's possible that some people are just in 
> situations where they're in a public school and somehow are blessed with 
> rainbows and gummy bears lining the hallways but I've yet to encounter 
> anyone in that situation nor I have read of such districts, and as far 
> as Linux penetration I've only seen and heard of it on IT desktops and 
> on server infrastructure.
Bart, I am in Hong Kong and I do not work for a local local school. I 
work for an international school that is part of a group of 
international schools run by a foundation. Some of the schools are all 
Mac OS X, one has major Linux infrastructure from what I have heard. I 
know all too well what in the trenches dealing with Windows is like and 
I'd rather deal with Linux issues than those on Windows. Even if it 
means I have to maintain a special repo for EEE PC 901 laptops (why the 
ICT Leader is so hung up on those I really do not know...but I ain't 
doing Xandros) and to support 30 of them doing wireless in each classroom.
> This type of arguing reminds me of the arguments every time teacher 
> contracts roll around and the public talks of how EASY teachers have it, 
> although they're clueless to things like required ongoing college 
> courses and mandates to create multiple versions of tests because Johnny 
> has an IEP that says so and correcting tests 4 or 5 classes of 20 to 25 
> kids each until 11:00 or later at night. How easy they have it! Despite 
> being oblivious to what it takes to do the job it never stops them from 
> spouting how everything would be so much better if they just did <insert 
> obvious solution here>.
Bah, I know all too well that sort of stuff. My previous boss told me 
that he could find any random person on the street to do my job. Well, 
he has not yet found one after six months. In the mean time, he keeps 
bugging me. Well, I did have it easy thanks to Linux. I just sat there 
and did telephone receptionist. I mean, what else am I supposed to do 
once everything has been setup for an office of just 20 and he don't 
like me introducing new stuff like voip to replace their decades old 
telephone system?
> It's more disheartening to hear students spouting these type of 
> arguments off and no matter what you tell them, they're still right. 
> Always. Somehow a screwed up education system hundreds of years in the 
> making is magically solved overnight by a 16 year old with absolutely no 
> clue how things work outside their little world...but that's another 
> issue, I suppose...
HA! Don't get me started again on the Hong Kong education system. I have 
already crossed swords with the vice-principal of my son's school. I 
hate homework and test factories. They just make all suffer, teachers, 
students and parents.

I am just glad that all the teachers are tired of Windows. My 
predecessors sure made sure of that. I guess they did do something good 
after all.

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