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

Christopher J Combrink chris at
Wed Nov 19 12:11:48 UTC 2008

Macs are making huge head-way in South Africa. 

As you say - they are popular amongst developers and also now,
Engineers. Stable. Powerful. What more do you need? (Personally, I still
love Ubuntu over OSX)

Nothing wrong with a Mac running 8.10 ;) 

On Wed, 2008-11-19 at 05:02 -0700, Allen Meyers wrote:
> On Tue, Nov 18, 2008 at 10:22 PM, CLIFFORD ILKAY
> <clifford_ilkay at> wrote:
>         David McNally wrote:
>         > I know that it is weird to see Macs that often, and in fact,
>         I rarely
>         > see them outside of my school.
>         You lead a sheltered life then. A significant part of the
>         attendees at
>         any tech conference I've attended in the last few years were
>         carrying
>         Apple's notebooks. Apple has made huge inroads amongst
>         developers and it
>         is also doing so amongst younger people. The iPod has
>         introduced a new
>         generation to Apple's products. Here is a real conversation
>         overheard by
>         one of my brothers on the subway a few months ago between two
>         teenagers:
>         Teenager 1: Did you know that Apple started making computers?
>         I'm going
>         to get a MacBook for my birthday. It's just as slick as an
>         iPod.
>         Teenager 2: Kewl.
>         I read a few months ago that 33 cents of every dollar spent on
>         back-to-school notebook purchases in the U.S. were spent on
>         Apple
>         products and Apple's notebooks constituted 20 per cent of the
>         total unit
>         sales. Apple saw double-digit gains in sales over the same
>         time last
>         year whereas all the other vendors, who are killing one
>         another to eke
>         out a 5% margin compared to Apples 25% or better, were flat.
>         That is a
>         pretty impressive achievement for Apple, especially in a down
>         economy.
>         [snip]
>         > Of course, lunch is an important part
>         > of the school day all around the world, and would function
>         more properly
>         > if it were running on Linux,
>         I prefer my lunch to be quite still and not running, thank
>         you.
>         > but it's not the only part (I know that you
>         > said that, I'm just agreeing with you). If schools were able
>         to run
>         > everything on Linux, everything would work smoother,
>         considering the
>         > smoothness that Linux provides.
>         >
>         > I have, however, noticed that Microsoft and Apple do better
>         at making
>         > sure that the computer works rather well than the Linux
>         community.
>         [snip]
>         > There are similar problems that I've found in Linux.
>         Obviously, I still
>         > think that Ubuntu would beat Windows or OS X any day, but
>         it's not
>         > perfect, and it never will be. It still has many more
>         advantages than
>         > Windows or OS X.
>         If I were your teacher, you'd be asked to revise and resubmit
>         because
>         the inconsistencies in what you wrote are glaring. How is it
>         "obvious"
>         that Linux is better if "Microsoft and Apple do better at
>         making sure
>         that the computer works rather well than the Linux community"?
>         > Next, I want to respond to Paige Thompson's and Clifford
>         Ilkay's replies:
>         > It seems that Clifford felt that I shouldn't refer to these
>         people as
>         > 'rich idiots'. While it is somewhat true, I do see quite a
>         bit of truth
>         > in the fact that people will do what you want if you treat
>         them with
>         > more respect.
>         >
>         > On the other hand, Paige pointed out that "that's just
>         exactly the kind
>         > of mentality that has held Ubuntu back". I agree with that
>         statement
>         > more than Clifford's, although Clifford does have a good
>         point. I think
>         > that 'rich idiots' was, indeed, a little harsh, but I think
>         that they
>         > should be recommended to switch very strongly.
>         Just what exactly is this binary choice that you and Paige
>         seem to think
>         exists? Are you suggesting that being respectful of the people
>         whom you
>         wish to convince of the merits of your arguments, such as they
>         are, is
>         mutually exclusive with promoting Linux?
>         > I'd also like to mention that this school has no difficulty
>         buying
>         > software, but, that doesn't mean that it should spend so
>         much money on
>         > software when it could be spent on better teachers or newer
>         textbooks or
>         > better food or something else productive. I agree with Paige
>         on this one
>         > again: moving away from software that a school can't afford
>         (or can, but
>         > shouldn't) is always a good idea.
>         It's only a good idea if someone can make a solid case for it
>         AND you
>         can gain the acceptance of the people involved through
>         demonstrable
>         benefits.
>         [snip]
>         > No one uses OpenOffice. Instead, we get to use the worst
>         productivity
>         > suite ever: MS Office 2008. I wonder how IT didn't figure
>         this one out
>         > yet. The teachers who teach computer classes have to
>         re-learn how to use
>         > Office because everything's been rearranged because of that
>         stupid
>         > ribbon. OpenOffice would be a much better idea, so I'll have
>         to see what
>         > I can do.
>         Spending money on software is not necessarily bad *if* there
>         is a
>         demonstrable benefit.
>         > Clifford has pointed out that he has already gotten students
>         using
>         > Linux. This comes as a total shock to me, as I've always
>         gone to school
>         > to Macs. I still remember using very old versions of the
>         Macintosh OS
>         > (definately pre-OS X) back in kindergarten, and up into the
>         first few
>         > years of elementary school.
>         >
>         > Clifford then pointed out how much work it has taken to move
>         his school
>         > to using just a few Linux machines and mostly Windows
>         machines.
>         No, it's the other way around. By the time we are finished,
>         the majority
>         of the machines in the school will be running Linux, not
>         Windows. Like
>         most schools, we have more computers being used for teaching
>         than for
>         school administration.
>         > If this
>         > will need such dedication from everyone involved, then
>         moving this
>         > school, which has been on Macintosh since before I was born,
>         will be
>         > more work than most schools. People here are also very
>         stubborn,
>         > especially IT.
>         Their resistance to change is understandable and not
>         necessarily a bad
>         thing. You can't and shouldn't discount years of experience
>         and
>         infrastructure and claim that Linux is magically going to make
>         everything better when you're talking about shades of grey
>         difference
>         between OS X and Linux. OS X has some definite advantages over
>         Linux and
>         the converse is also true. In other words, it's not a clear,
>         decisive
>         win for Linux when competing against OS X. Against Windows, in
>         most
>         cases, it's much easier to justify Linux.
>         > There's no question that Ubuntu would be able to work on
>         these
>         > computers. While some of them are old, they're still new
>         enough to run
>         > Ubuntu. The school has big metal carts that hold about 30
>         notebooks
>         > (these carts are called 'COWs', short for 'Computers On
>         Wheels'), which
>         > are usually filled with rather new notebooks, but only
>         because the
>         > notebooks are the first things to fall apart, with keys
>         falling out and
>         > plastic casing coming off. Such new notebooks would be able
>         to run
>         > Ubuntu quite well. The desktops here are also quite good,
>         though,
>         > because the school tries to spend more money on the
>         desktops, knowing
>         > that they will die long after a notebook bought at the same
>         time, so
>         > those will be able to run Ubuntu quite well, too.
>         >
>         > Saving money is nice, but changing the way an entire high
>         school uses
>         > computers is hard, no matter how much money it saves.
>         That's because they may not save any money at all if the cost
>         of
>         retraining and the loss of productivity during the transition
>         period
>         exceeds the cost of software licenses. This is the TCO (Total
>         Cost of
>         Ownership) argument, which is an argument that Apple is very
>         experienced
>         at making.
>         --
>         Regards,
>         Clifford Ilkay
>         Dinamis
>         1419-3266 Yonge St.
>         Toronto, ON
>         Canada  M4N 3P6
>         <>
>         +1 416-410-3326
>         --
>         ubuntu-users mailing list
>         ubuntu-users at
>         Modify settings or unsubscribe at:
> I have followed this thread with interest with no intention of
> contributing because while I have a great deal of experience with
> school food service I have had minimal exposure to administration,
> superintendents, business manager and the like. That being said the
> decision to change any on going process in a public school setting
> rests with administration.
> In its early stages when I was endeavoring to get school food service
> to implement HACCP "Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point" I
> experienced an almost insurmountable  administrative wall. While Food
> Service Directors saw and appreciated the extreme importance it was
> ultimately an administrative decision hence I had to brave the lions
> den so to speak. Please take my word for this I am articulate and was
> passionate about food safety to a fault. Plus I have an aggresive in
> your face persona which did not sit well. In short I had to change my
> approach and win over administration and ultimately it was more cost
> effective to implement HACCP and they made the switch. Incidentally I
> am talking Texas and 1086 districts. Finally your attitude and your
> ability to win over administration is the Key 
> and believe it or not your body language.
> I hope this helps somewhat
> -- 
> Allen Meyers
> texas.chef94 at
> MSN as headbanger
> chef11994 at

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