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Re: [K12OSN] Advocacy: barriers to adoption (was LTSP presentation to Ed tech

The site licenses, such as the one Alberta has I suspect, are based on MS's Software Assurance Policy, which they brought out a few years ago. They' also offered significant discounts to schools on those policies. If you look at the wording of the policy, you'll find something quite insidious: The cost is calculated on the total number of PCs the licensee has, whether they are x86/Windows, or Macs, or Linux boxes, whether they use MS software or not. This is a brilliant move for MS that is bad for everyone else, because it removes any advantage a school might get by even _trying_ an alternative. You could propose, say, OOo, in just a lab to cut licensing costs by 30 machines. Except with SAP, you don't save any money because you're paying for MS Office whether you use it or not. THAT was one of MS's primary goals with SAP, to remove any motivation for even trying something else.

People in my office say "We can use SQL server for a project and not have to pay for it because we have a site license." Fools. We pay for it, in the site license, which we settle up each year, in which they look at how many machines we have running MS stuff. It may not come out of that particular department's budget, but the company still pays for it. MS isn't a charity, and like any business, ultimately they're after your money. There's nothing wrong with that, as that's the way business works. But if you use their stuff, one way or another, you'll pay for it.


Joe Guenther wrote:
I really agree with David Trask... My presentation is not full of FOSS evangelism. That is NOT why I use an open source solution. I use it because it works the best. What OTHER solution is there to use old iMacs as thin clients? you tell me! We could setup a Windows terminal server, as suggested by our School Division Director of IT, but then we would have to buy clients. We use this solution because it works with our existing workstations. AND because it is economical to "license" AND it does all we need it to do.

One of the things that really scews the MS vs Linux comparison here in Alberta is that the the Alberta government has entered into a site license agreement for all computers in all schools. Thus it costs us nothing!! to install MS Office. IF that were not the case, then the OpenOffice and Linux desktop debate would be much more interesting. As it is the cost comparison is not nearly as crass as it otherwise would be. But regardless of that, I use the LTSP because it is a just plain great solution to the problems we faced in our division.

Joe Guenther

David Trask wrote:
Maine has their annual big tech conference this Friday and there are
several Open Source offerings for folks to attend....and guess what?  This
year I am not presenting!  Why is this important?  It shows how far we've
come....the movement has spread beyond just a select few....and has now
reached the others.  The biggest thing I have learned over the past few
years is "Just do it".  Don't spend too much time making a big deal about
it....or pontificating about the value of FOSS or projecting a "holier
than thou" attitude about FOSS.  Simply start using it as if it were any
other piece of software.  Conduct workshops on how to use it...just like
anything else....and then when folks ask about how much it costs or how to
get it....then explain briefly a little bit about FOSS and so forth, but
not too much....as it's human nature to assume "Free" is substandard.  WE
as linux geeks...understand the concept, many do not.  They can be won
over, but it's a slow process.  Once you understand that....then and only
then can you begin "winning" them over.  You'll eventually see things get
to a point where there will be a paradigm shift in thinking and suddenly
there will be more widespread adoption.  Maine has a one-to-one laptop
program that is now in it's second round (5th year).  We have Apple iBooks
for every 7th and 8th grader in the entire state.  It's a program that has
worked wonders for us here in Maine.  Not every state or district has had
the same success, but I attribute some of the success to the attitude
behind technology in our state in the first place.  The image that was
created for the laptop project this time around (we are on our second
full-scale deployment...as the laptops are part of a 4 year lease
program...we are in our 5th year...so this year we have all new laptops)
has a number of Open Source titles on it.  NeoOffice, GIMP, Cyberduck, and
a bunch more.  Now think about this...the image was created by the project
team (Apple folks and state DOE folks) based on input and lessons learned
from the past.  We have come a long way.  Now every 7th and 8th grader in
Maine is using FOSS on a daily basis....no one made a big deal out of
it....it just happened.  This is cool....now kids are downloading and
installing OpenOffice on their home computers to be more compatible with
NeoOffice (mac version of OO).  When  I present at conferences about
LTSP....I tell folks...don't ask for permission and go before the school
board etc.....just do it....roll out an LTSP lab....let it show everyone
how it works and saves money and build on that success.  If you make a big
deal out of it...folks will become naturally defensive, but if you install
it with little fanfare and simply show that it works without interfering
with the general flow of things....you'll turn heads....slowly, but
they'll start to see...."hey, this can work".  As for the vendors and the
sour looks....in Maine...more and more vendors are realizing that if they
don't develop Linux versions....they're going to get left behind.  It's
amazing how many vendors each year show up at this conference with a new
attitude and a new product line geared toward Linux.  Just like in Field
of Dreams....build it and they will come (or come around).

"Support list for open source software in schools." <k12osn redhat com>
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
work nicely.

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).
[/end soapbox]

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
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
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
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
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

 After about TEN minutes of explaining they may understand the
constructs/rules by which it operates but I would be very surprised if
understood the implications and consequences. I think part of the reason
Cath and Bazzar was so revolutionary was that it was the first
of this seemingly counter intuitive phenomenon.  Problem is most people
not read it, I haven't even read every word of The C and B. Most people
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
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
robust is difficult especially when they are not directly paying money
the software. I've heard comments like "what if the devs decide to stop
on the project? Then where are we left?" If you already have thought
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
devs are also (usually) users of the software there is good
between users and devs. In the FOSS world this close relationship
users and devs produces great software as it's in a continual state of
improvment directed by user requests/desires. So FOSS development DOES
direction: The best kind.
  In addition the potential to participate in FOSS should not be
(as it usually is). Imagine if a school district says "we need this
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.
this opportunity gets a response of "Why should we pay for something
will benefit from?" But remind them it also means others improvments
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
dog, everyone for themselves attitude". This doesn't work in FOSS.

 Bottom line. It's not easy to truly understand and believe in FOSS.
taken me years to discover it's full potential. THIS is, in my opinion,
biggest barrier of adoption.
 *steps off soapbox*

Joe Guenther
LANtech - Didsbury Schools
Chinook's Edge School Div. #73

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Robert Arkiletian
Eric Hamber Secondary, Vancouver, Canada
C++ GUI tutorial http://www3.telus.net/public/robark/
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David N. Trask
Technology Teacher/Director
Vassalboro Community School
dtrask vcsvikings org

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