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?