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

Bart Silverstrim bsilver at
Thu Nov 20 13:55:56 UTC 2008

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.

>> 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.

>> 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.

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.

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>.

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...

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