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Re: [K12OSN] Advocacy: barriers to adoption (was LTSP presentation to Ed tech leaders...)
- From: "Eric Brown" <ericbrow gmail com>
- To: "Support list for open source software in schools." <k12osn redhat com>
- Subject: Re: [K12OSN] Advocacy: barriers to adoption (was LTSP presentation to Ed tech leaders...)
- Date: Wed, 11 Oct 2006 15:46:44 -0500
I'd like to add what Robert has said.
I just came from ITEC (Iowa Technology and Education Connection). I
looked and looked for open source seminars there, and really only
heard 3 where open source software was mentioned, Moodle being the
only FOSS project to have its own seminar. The rest only had open
source mentioned in passing. Most vendors got a sour look on their
face when I mentioned open source, with the exception of the people
selling the web/mail/spam/virus filter appliances. Of course their
stuff was built on open source, but they packaged it all together to
In one seminar, entitled "The Great OS War of 2007", the speaker
mentioned Linux at the very tail end of his seminar, saying that it
was "still in development" and "comparable to Mac OS8 or Windows 95 in
its development stage". I really didn't agree with that last comment,
but here's the "expert" (actually, this guy was a Mac fanatic) giving
his opinion as fact to everyone that Linux "may be ready by 2009".
It discouraged me so much that I intend to do 2 presentations, one on
FOSS in general (with an emphasis on mostly cross-platform
applications), and another on K12LTSP.
[my turn on the soapbox]
While I know shame isn't always the best motivator, I intend to share
my opinion that any district that DOESN'T adopt open source software
obviously has too much money to waste. Most of those here in Iowa are
rather pragmatic, and if you can get something that does what you want
for a good price, you get it. If it's free, even better. To me, its
like a smoker who complains about not having enough money for
rent/gas/food/children's school supplies. Perhaps if they were
smarter about how they spend their money, re-consider what's really
necessairy and what isn't, they would have the money to cover
necessairy things. If we weren't addicted to commercial software, we
can accomplish the job, and still have money for things that are
needed like that new roof for the high school, an upgraded electrical
system, new plumbing, that new addition to the grade school (all
things our district currently needs to pay for).
So consider any reply you make to this thread as one that I may
potentially be discussing at ITEC 2007. I'm always up for more good
ways to convince people FOSS is the way.
On 10/11/06, Robert Arkiletian <robark gmail com> wrote:
On 10/11/06, Joe Guenther <jguenther chinooksedge ab ca> wrote:
> I have been asked to do a 1hr presentation about LTSP to the Alberta
> Technology Leaders for Education Conference. www.alte.ca I had done a
> similar presentation last year regionally and thus was recommended and
> now asked to do one for the all Alberta conference. So its neat to see
> other tech leaders take notice.
> I will be bringing a small "server," a couple of old PC's and an old
> tray load iMac as a demonstration on how to use LTSP to "recycle" old
> workstations. In our school division there are hundreds of old iMacs
> that are now too slow, too old of an OS to be very useful anymore. But
> they continue to litter our computer labs. They make GREAT ltsp
> clients! So for about $110/workstation you can have a modern up2date,
> blazing fast computer lab again. You thought the $100 laptop was only
> for poor communities in India and Africa. We can accomplish the same
> value for your buck with LTSP.
> I have already done 3 computer labs in my area of the school division.
> I am working on joining 2 more schools with fibre and then they both get
> their old iMac labs upgraded to LTSP from a single server.
> Any presentation ideas & sucess stories & gotcha's are always welcome
Demo FL_TeacherTool and let them know that many others in Canada like
myself are using K12LTSP successfully. Remember the number one benefit is
not cost savings on initial systems purchase but on ease/cost of
*************But be sure to explain FOSS carefully.**************
*steps on soapbox*
After listening to Steve Hargadon podcast interview of Maddog.
I remembered my conversation with our districts IT admin.
I think the main issue holding back adoption is getting people to really
understand and BELIEVE in FOSS.
The response I got back was that the "Open Source development model was not
something the district could rely upon".
Have you ever tried explaining FOSS to someone who has never heard of it
After about TEN minutes of explaining they may understand the
constructs/rules by which it operates but I would be very surprised if they
understood the implications and consequences. I think part of the reason
Cath and Bazzar was so revolutionary was that it was the first explanation
of this seemingly counter intuitive phenomenon. Problem is most people will
not read it, I haven't even read every word of The C and B. Most people when
they hear the word "Free" immediatley think "Nothing is free!" or as ESR
puts it "It must be cheap/shoddy quality". The first question I usually get
is "if it's free how do they make money?". Convincing people in positions of
power (who are not FOSS savvy) that the development model is reliable and
robust is difficult especially when they are not directly paying money for
the software. I've heard comments like "what if the devs decide to stop work
on the project? Then where are we left?" If you already have thought about
this question (which I don't believe everyone in FOSS has) you can reply
that the developers are usually the people who need the software the most so
they have a vested interest in seeing continued development. Also since the
devs are also (usually) users of the software there is good communication
between users and devs. In the FOSS world this close relationship between
users and devs produces great software as it's in a continual state of
improvment directed by user requests/desires. So FOSS development DOES have
direction: The best kind.
In addition the potential to participate in FOSS should not be overlooked
(as it usually is). Imagine if a school district says "we need this feature"
so they hire a dev (or pay an existing dev in the project) to add it and in
the process provide that feature to everyone else on the planet. Sometimes
this opportunity gets a response of "Why should we pay for something others
will benefit from?" But remind them it also means others improvments will
become your benefits. In the regular business world this IDEA is not
something which is not second nature as most businesses work on a "Dog eat
dog, everyone for themselves attitude". This doesn't work in FOSS.
Bottom line. It's not easy to truly understand and believe in FOSS. It's
taken me years to discover it's full potential. THIS is, in my opinion, the
biggest barrier of adoption.
*steps off soapbox*
> Joe Guenther
> LANtech - Didsbury Schools
> Chinook's Edge School Div. #73
> K12OSN mailing list
> K12OSN redhat com
> For more info see <http://www.k12os.org>
Eric Hamber Secondary, Vancouver, Canada
C++ GUI tutorial http://www3.telus.net/public/robark/
K12OSN mailing list
K12OSN redhat com
For more info see <http://www.k12os.org>
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