[K12OSN] Re: Schools and the OPM Addiction

R. Scott Belford scott at hosef.org
Mon Dec 3 23:01:00 UTC 2007

Terrell Prudé Jr. wrote:
>> Used wisely, there is no problem with OPM.  However I believe the dealers are the first
>> in the chain who need to wise up, then the users will follow.
> Now, there's where I disagree.  The dealers are already "wised-up."  
> That's why they're doing what they're doing.  It is the *USER* of the 
> OPM that needs to wise up and tell the dealer to go jump in the ocean.  
> Sadly, the only thing that gets the vast majority of addicts to kick the 
> habit is some major tragedy.  It happened in Portland Public Schools in 
> Oregon (the massive Microsoft audit threat).  It happened to a major 
> bottling company in Texas (do a Google search for "Chuck E. Owens").  It 
> happened to Ernie Ball, Inc.
> In the case of Portland Public Schools, it's obvious that their pilot of 
> GNU/Linux was a major part of why they were threatened.  "Keep the user 
> addicted at all costs," whether via carrot...or stick, if necessary.

In principal it seems that OPM is simply a NET, Not Enough Time, 
solution for many schools.  It is that way here in Hawaii, and it is an 
appropriate fix. (geez, the metaphors keep coming)  It does not solve 
the GROSS problem, GReatly Overpopulated School Systems.  The bottom 
line, so to speak, is that FOSS advocates may want to focus on selling 
something as well as giving it away for free if they want their schools 
to 'buy' it.

Philosophically, this requires understanding the OPM phenomenon.  If you 
are going to promote the sizzle and smell of the steak, you might as 
well sell some meat.

For anyone vaguely familiar with HOSEF's commitment to getting Free 
computer labs into schools and community centers, you will know that 
this assessment is made from the requisite and painful real experiences. 
  I can cite several schools this past year that had been using Free 
computers labs, successfully, for years.  After changes in teachers/tech 
coordinators, they came under new leadership.

There was an acceptance and an eagerness to use the existing Free 
computers, and there was a good relationship with those in our community 
providing Free but limited assistance.  Money was found, somehow, to buy 
new computers.  The reasons cited, with regret, were that there was a 
need for more immediate support.  Rather than expensing a fraction of 
the cost of new hardware for locally born and bread support, it was 
expensed on bling.

For this I fault myself for not creating the opportunity to spend that 
money with us.  I do not fault the dealing vendor.  I do not fault the 
using customer.  I fault me, the social entrepreneur, who failed to 
provide a solution for the problem.  I certainly do not excuse what I 
see as a misuse of OPM, but what alternative did I leave them with?

> --TP


More information about the K12OSN mailing list