[K12OSN] School board not interested in OSS

Doug Simpson simpsond at leopards.k12.ar.us
Tue Nov 11 13:56:37 UTC 2008

My thoughts EXACTLY!

Here at our school, we ran for 8 years solid with nothing but linux servers except for one stupid M$ one that we had to purchase because a vendor wouldn't support their product on a linux server. They said it "won't run on a linux server". They were just as dumb as a bag of wet diapers. The software "runs" on the same Windows workstation from the linux "file server" and is does from the "windows fileserver" The next stupid thing they did was to downgrade to Novell. Now, we are paying $2 per student, per yearto have this ridiculous mess called Novell. And the funny thing is that this is the last version of Netware there is. They are going SuSE on all newer versions so now that we have Novell, we'll be paying for the same stuff we used to get for free. Well, no doubt that Novell is adding their crap into the mix to require the stupid, bloated, bandwidth-wasting Novell Client.

On a side note, that software that that vendor said wouldn't "run on alinux server" did run just fine "from" a linux server for over a week and the users never even knew it wasn't on the original server. (I copied it over and pointed the drive mappings. . . piece of cake. . .)

Around here, we have a person who thinks M$ has the only game in town. She thinks that the state requires you to teach M$ Word for example. It doesn't state that at all. It requires that they teach "word processing". Same with Excel. . .They require you teach "spreadsheet". The list goes on and on. There are many very good software packages out there in the FOSS world that are, in many cases, better than their commercial counterparts.

My daughter had access to Adobe Photoshop at school and she had a copy of Photoshop Elements on her computer at home that someone gave her for a holiday gift. I set her up with a thin client setup and gave her access to The GIMP, and after a few weeks, every time I went in there to see the works she was creating, she was in The GIMP. She told me she actually prefers it to Photoshop or Elements and that there were things you could do with it that you can't do with either of those.

So, spend the doh if you think you need to. I am looking for the day when schools can turn from the wicked M$ machine and move on to a better world. Free of viruses, spyware, adware, infected emails, etc.

I do realize that once M$ is no longer the mainstream, there will start to be more malware out there for *nix and other "free" systems, but due to securities already inherent in them, it will be much harder to make them widespread. 

So, I'll get off it for now. . .

Doug Simpson

Doug Simpson
Technology Specialist
De Queen Public Schools
De Queen, AR
simpsond at leopards.k12.ar.us
"A Dollar Saved is a Dollar Earned"

>>> "Eric Brown" <ericbrow at gmail.com> 11/10/2008 1:36 PM >>>
I have to chime in here as well.  I had worked for a school district
who has been extremely resistant to any OSS, even though I was saving
them tens of thousands of dollars each year by expanding the number of
computer classes taught with absolutely no extra costs involved.   I
taught a computer repair class using recycled computers  I had to seek
out the computers myself, because the assistant
superintendent/technology coordinator refused to funnel any broken or
used equipment our direction.  I taught web design (HTML) and advanced
web design (PHP and MySQL) running off of a LAMP server I had
purchased and maintained myself.  I pulled my "textbook" off of free
resources on the web.  I offered up my networking class to re-cable to
some labs that were in horrible shape, only to be rejected.  The last
straw for me was when the tech coordinator, her secretary, and two
consultants working overtime to swap out 6 switches, when I had asked
for my students to have the experience.  Something as simple as
swapping out switches.  They'd rather pay in the neighborhood of
$90/hr rather than give students an educational opportunity.  When I
presented my concerns to the school board, they just shrugged their
shoulders and admitted how they deferred technology matters to the
tech coordinator because they really didn't understand.

Quite frankly, I am rather disgusted with the mindset of technology
education in the US.  The whole goal seems to be to restrict
information rather than guide the students how to find reliable
information.  I have not heard of once decent financial nor
educational argument against FOSS from anyone ever.  Educational
leaders use lots of taxpayer money and their ignorance to keep
students from learning.

Sorry for venting.  It is at least re-assuring to hear that other
countries are having the same problems.


On Mon, Nov 10, 2008 at 7:12 AM, Rob Owens
<rob.owens at biochemfluidics.com> wrote:
> Jason Yeoman wrote:
>> Here in Ontario the Ministry of Education purchases licenses for
>> software and provides it at no cost for the schools.  There is no real
>> incentive to look towards OSS.
> <snip>
>> I feel for the students because they are
>> forced to use Microsoft Office then have to purchase it for home to do
>> their homework.  I would like to see Open Office and other great
>> software on cd for lending from the school library.  Some families
>> can't afford MS Office.
> That's the incentive, right there.
> As a side note, I just discovered that OpenOffice has extensions
> available (like Firefox does).  http://extensions.services.openoffice.org/ 
> There is an extension that allows you to import and edit PDF documents.
>  I've tested it and it does work.  It requires OpenOffice 3.0.
> http://extensions.services.openoffice.org/project/pdfimport 
> Extensions were one of the main selling points for Firefox, and I
> wouldn't be surprised to see extensions become a big selling point for
> OpenOffice as well.
> -Rob
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