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Blue Skies Thread, The future (aka. to upgrade to Windows 7, Office 14 or not) in General; It has come to a stage now in our school where we have to make some major decisions about the ...
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    localzuk's Avatar
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    The future (aka. to upgrade to Windows 7, Office 14 or not)

    It has come to a stage now in our school where we have to make some major decisions about the direction our ICT provision is going to take in the next few years. This decision is:

    1. Move more machines to thin client, based on Windows technologies, and continue to pay license fees, and perpetuate the Microsoft dependence. This would include upgrading to the new version of Windows Server when it is released. Also, would involve Citrix costs.

    2. Move students to a Linux based system, leaving admin and staff on windows - would drop our licensing costs dramatically. But there would still be some.

    3. Move students and staff to a Linux based system, leaving admin only on windows. This would be necessary to ensure SIMS.net usability (our admin team use windows thin clients already). And use application publishing for other staff SIMS.net usage.

    The reason I am asking these questions of our school now is due to purchasing. We have about 30 machines which we are going to re-use around school. Would we want to do this with windows? or linux? or what?

    Also, with the big interface changing coming up (whatever we choose), now is an ideal time to make these decisions. I also intend to combine this with moving to 64bit for servers and clients where possible - which will mean better use of what we've already got (about 95% of our clients are now 64bit CPU's, and all our servers are).

    So, what are other people doing? I am assuming that some will be asking the same questions in their own schools? How are you approaching the situation?

    We are going to have a meeting with our ICT co-ordinator, myself and my manager (resources assistant head), with an idea to cut costs due to the fact our intake numbers are dropping over the next few years - and there having to be *very* good reasons to continue paying for licenses like we do now.

    Any thoughts?

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    gshaw's Avatar
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    Slightly different for us in that we're not a school (Adult Education) but we're sticking with the Microsoft suite as the primary OS \ Office software simply because it's what students would need to be trained in for the majority of workplaces.

    Seen some interesting VDI demos but the multimedia performance still seems to be an issue so won't be jumping on the bandwagon just yet I think, too risky to put a large chunk of (a small) budget into an emerging technology just yet.

    Windows 7 will probably be enough to save MS in the business sector and kill off XP, for home users probably the same as it seems more and more netbooks are going Windows than Linux (just a personal observation).

    One thing I do like the look of is App Virtualization, no worries about installing software at that point, which would give flexibility for tutors to use other apps e.g. demo OpenOffice etc that wouldn't be on the main software suite.

    Got a new test network up and App-V is one of the packages that's down for a test drive on there in the near future

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    SYNACK's Avatar
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    Sticking with Microsoft stuff as we get the liscences provided free by our Ministry of Education, the path of least resistance.

  4. Thanks to SYNACK from:

    Butuz (1st May 2009)

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    4. Move staff and students gradually towards a web based model. Gear everything towards running software from your webservers and it won't matter what operating system the clients or the servers use.

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    I think you need to make a list of all the software you use and what you would be giving up by switching student machines/staff machines.

    I don't know what your situation is - a lot of curriculum software is heading for web delivery with a subscription model, if this is where you're at, switch away.

    If not, at least document it so you know what your problems are going to be. How to teach systems and control for example.

    I think in a lot of cases you can make the switch, but it's the niggles that casue the problem - perhaps this can be dealt with via terminal services with a smaller number of licences?

    95% of what my users do involves either firefox or openoffice. It's the 5% where they use software from logotron, sherston, crocodile clips etc that would cause problems.

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    95% of what my users do involves either firefox or openoffice. It's the 5% where they use software ...
    And this is probably the case in 95% of schools.
    Shame the 5% costs 95% of the budget...

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    dhicks's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CyberNerd View Post
    4. Move staff and students gradually towards a web based model. Gear everything towards running software from your webservers and it won't matter what operating system the clients or the servers use.
    Seconded. I'm aiming for "server" software that runs on a user's home laptop / broadband router and that can synchronise with school-based software. All the GUI stuff will simply be web based. We as the more technical type of user sometimes forget the average user doesn't even know or care what OS their machine runs.

    --
    David Hicks

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    localzuk's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CyberNerd View Post
    4. Move staff and students gradually towards a web based model. Gear everything towards running software from your webservers and it won't matter what operating system the clients or the servers use.
    Indeed. A considerable amount of work is done via websites now - I'd say the majority, except for a few bits and pieces.

    Quote Originally Posted by kesomir View Post
    I think you need to make a list of all the software you use and what you would be giving up by switching student machines/staff machines.
    I've tested a lot of our software on Vista and around half of it wouldn't load at all. However, a lot of it did work well within Wine running on Linux. So, the issue is that software will be going away whichever path we go down...

    If not, at least document it so you know what your problems are going to be. How to teach systems and control for example.
    Indeed. We're only a middle school, with our oldest being in year 8, so the detail for those sort of things isn't as much as, say GCSE. But it still happens. We currently use Flowol and Control Station for S&C, so would need to overcome those issues.

    I think in a lot of cases you can make the switch, but it's the niggles that casue the problem - perhaps this can be dealt with via terminal services with a smaller number of licences?
    Yup, that is always a possibility.

    95% of what my users do involves either firefox or openoffice. It's the 5% where they use software from logotron, sherston, crocodile clips etc that would cause problems.
    Also, we have an SEN dept, who make use of lots of specialist software, such as Clicker, Nessy etc...

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    Ric_'s Avatar
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    @localzuk: You can of course take the 'other' approach. As a Citrix user, you will already know the power of published applications with XenApp. There is nothing to stop you using this to get those annoying Windows apps onto your Linux desktops - indeed SIMS looks particularly cool on a Linux desktop!

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    localzuk's Avatar
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    A brief article on the BBC about this today. BBC NEWS | Technology | Open source question for schools

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    I thought i'd bring this back up, we currently are on all windows, bar smoothwall and have been wondering the same thing over the last couple of years.

    Being an independant school we will start to suffer with the current economic climate and i know budgets for IT will start to be cut. If i can come up with solutions that will still allow the hardware to be replaced by cutting software costs then we shouldn't loose out too much.

    Are there any linux based schools out there?

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    gibbo_ap's Avatar
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    logically its best to use what the kiddies will be using when they go home, but more what they will be using if they manage to get jobs. ie mail merge is different from 2003 to 2007, if you are teaching 2003 then they get a job with 2007 they may get stuck.

    i've always wanted to have the latest at home as i go out fixing lost for ppl, so i dont want to get caught out. plus with the features coming in win 7 i think its best to hang.

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    localzuk's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gibbo_ap View Post
    logically its best to use what the kiddies will be using when they go home, but more what they will be using if they manage to get jobs. ie mail merge is different from 2003 to 2007, if you are teaching 2003 then they get a job with 2007 they may get stuck.

    i've always wanted to have the latest at home as i go out fixing lost for ppl, so i dont want to get caught out. plus with the features coming in win 7 i think its best to hang.
    No, it isn't logical, necessary or actually good for them to teach what they know and already use. We are supposed to teach transferable skills, not a brand. Teach how to word process, not how to use word. Teach how to use a spreadsheet, not how to use Excel.

    I didn't even touch excel until about year 10 of my education. Before then, I used Claris Works, MS Works, Word Perfect and a few others. And I had absolutely no problems moving between them.

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    So,localzuk, did you come to a decision on which way to jump? This is also a middle school so I have the same sorts of issues as you do.

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    localzuk's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by witch View Post
    So,localzuk, did you come to a decision on which way to jump? This is also a middle school so I have the same sorts of issues as you do.
    Getting decisions to be made is quite a task at times, so i'm still waiting on the meeting where this will be discussed. I've been told by our ICT co-ordinator (the decision will be made by my manager, myself and the ICT co-ord) that she has no objections to Linux in principle, she just needs Dreamweaver to work...

    So, in brief - we have still not decided, but will be doing soon.

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