[K12OSN] OT: Apple Imac lab

Rob Owens rowens at ptd.net
Sun Mar 1 20:06:42 UTC 2009

On Sun, Mar 01, 2009 at 10:36:13AM -0500, David Hopkins wrote:
> >> Not to put too fine a point on it, but you should let the powers that be
> >> know that the acquisition cost is a minor part of the TCO.  The major part
> >> is in supporting the machines, keeping them running, etc.  With LTSP, you
> >> mostly support one machine, the server, with a little overhead for the
> >> clients.  If they get 20 Macs, make sure everyone, and I mean everyone,
> >> knows the cost of supporting them will be 20 times the cost of the LTSP lab.
> >>  Linux, done properly, is cheaper in the short run and MUCH cheaper in the
> >> long run.
> >
> > TCO for 24 machines will basically be the same as a lab of thin clients,
> > especially if you purchase a copy of Apple Remote Desktop. From one machine
> > you can update the lab, install software, change settings, etc.
>  For Linux, I can implement rdist and update servers.  For Windows it
> is WSUS?  Or one of the OSS alternatives.
> As I said above, this quickly degenerates into "remove all thin client
> technology and replace everything with Macs".  That is part of the
> agenda which is being pushed.  Once you have the lab, then you
> advocate to convert the libraries (for compatibility since the student
> and teachers will need to be compliant with the tech lab), then you
> add the classrooms since the libary isn't always available, then for
> the wireless labs, you upgrade for compatibility.  In a couple of
> years, thin client tech is removed, costs have skyrocketed and going
> back isn't an option.  Next would be the 3-5 year replacement cycle
> which would amount to 50K-100K/yr given the current number of systems
> in the school. So ... I'm just trying to really nail down the required
> functionality and meet that, trying to remain OS agnostic as much as
> possible.  Going from Windows to thin clients on 'upgrades' isn't that
> difficult most of the time, but the Achille's heel on this is still
> sound/video editing.  Even if could be done by adding a  dedicated
> video/audio app server it would be worth it to avoid the slippery
> slope.

I think your argument above is very valid, and it should probably be your primary argument to the administration.  "I don't want to spend
money on Macs for a video lab, because I'm afraid we'll end up spending money on Macs in areas where they're not needed".

The solution doesn't have to be "don't buy Macs for the video lab".  The school could instead implement a "standard computer package",
probably based on LTSP, and require special authorization (and paperwork, expert witnesses, etc) to spend more.  That could help prevent 
the slippery slope that you're concerned about, but it would also not lock out non-LTSP systems.

I know you're a volunteer there, so maybe you're not in a position to impose that kind of approval system.  But you should probably suggest
it to the powers that be.  


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