[ubuntu-uk] Open Source Challenges Vista at U.K. Education Show

Alistair Crust alistair at skegnessgrammar.org
Wed Jan 17 09:42:36 GMT 2007

Hi, I would have to strongly disagree with your outlook here.
I talk from experience as a systems admin at Skegness Grammar school in 
Lincolnshire. We have run LTSP with several different distros for 3 years 
(Settling on Debian, then Ubuntu) on 100+ thin clients with Ubuntu fat 
clients in most of the department offices and all services web-filtering, 
email, intranet etc using Linux. Legacy apps are available using win2k3 
Terminal services. All curriculum teaching is done using Linux. We are now a 
Maths and Computing Specialist school.

Although I must admit any advances into education by OSS and GNU/Linux in 
general will be, and have been, hard at first the more it is used the more 
Managers, Teachers, Software vendors.. even school governors wanting to make 
the most of their budget will see the benefits.

To clarify I recently read in a blog post by Mark Shuttleworth 
(http://www.markshuttleworth.com/archives/76) that for hardware 
manufacturers it seems to be about critical mass... once 5-10% of people are 
asking for Linux support only then will they care about providing that 
support. IMHO this also is the case for software vendors.

Without that critical mass in education, shouting to manufacturers 
(hardware/software) then it will be a struggle for advancement but not 
impossible. Once we have this critical mass, software vendors and hardware 
vendors alike will care about why they are loosing out on a viable and 
important revenue stream. With BECTA et al reiterating the need for OSS this 
will help to grow the seeds of change..for the better.

I would love to see some way that government could provide funding to OSS 
projects to continue there sterling work. Funding that would ordinarily go 
to proprietary systems that bear a great risk for vendor lock-in. Look at 
the funding for the Compulsory.. sorry Optional KS3 ICT Online...sorry 
On-screen Test....sorry Assessment. (This just shows the U turn the 
government has done when they found out things were not going as smoothly as 
they thought, and they had spend a shed load of tax payers cash and it 
wasn't going to do what they wanted it to do). This cash could have gone to 
funding something useful... even getting someone like Canonicle to build an 
On-line distro neutral Test... something that works!

To close, I know I haven't been the most active member of the list as I have 
limited spare time. I did however feel compelled to add my two peneth here. 
I'll get of my soap box now.

Keep up the great work with OSS promotion.. as I said critical mass, the 
more we chip away at this the better it becomes. To coin a phrase "Every 
Little Helps!"(tm)


Alistair Crust

----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Colin_The_Technician" <binarysignal at gmail.com>
To: "British Ubuntu Talk" <ubuntu-uk at lists.ubuntu.com>
Sent: Tuesday, January 16, 2007 11:21 PM
Subject: Re: [ubuntu-uk] Open Source Challenges Vista at U.K. Education Show

>I was at the BETT Show and saw the Open Forum Europe stand and the
> Edubuntu CD's.  Also the Internet cafe there was powered by Linux.  So
> while it's good to see them at BETT I personally never think Linux we
> make any advances into education.  And I say that as a school Network
> Manager.
> I say that because of the 190 poor written and designed educational
> applications we have on our network NONE of them have Linux versions.
> That is with one exception....the new Yr9 ICT SAT software has a Linux
> version and I noticed that just yesterday.
> I do promote OSS and Linux within education.  I have converted one
> teacher and two students to Ubuntu.  And given OpenOffice to many
> students who do not have MS Office on their home PCs.
> I believe OpenOffice, The GIMP and other OSS applications could do
> well in schools, but I believe the desktop OS will always be Windows.
> Mainly because myself and my colleagues (MS Admins) are ten a penny :-)
> -- 
> ubuntu-uk at lists.ubuntu.com
> https://lists.ubuntu.com/mailman/listinfo/ubuntu-uk
> https://wiki.kubuntu.org/UKTeam/
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