Blue Skies Thread, Open Source Schools' Miles Berry offers a radical response to the ICT funding cuts in General; Originally Posted by GrumbleDook
Love the idea of GConf, (but it is a bit WinSuite)
Eeeek! That's enough to put ...
22nd July 2010, 09:38 PM #91
Eeeek! That's enough to put me off right there.
Originally Posted by GrumbleDook
Forget the primaries! It'd take me a fair few months of reskilling before I would be confident enough to even deploy a test network at that level. At this level Windows is well and truely cheaper. The cost of my time vs the cost of 6 copies of Windows Server DC and unlimited Windows servers? Besides what happens when I leave? Linux Sysadmins at that level don't exactly walk in off the street, even in this economic climit.
But, can someone give me a detailed breakdown of how they would get FOSS at this level into a 90 pupil primary school and how it could be looked after with minimal support by the school (think about the local support folk in commercial companies or local schools not having *nix skills or knowledge)?
That's not to say I wouldn't enjoy the challenge of setting up and supporting it though
22nd July 2010, 09:54 PM #92
And this is part of the problem.
Originally Posted by tmcd35
I *want* to see more FOSS in education, but the way it is still sold is as a black art for some things (Desktop solutions, serious server work, etc) and it often means buying in the setup of it all ... at the same conslutants rates as RM / Apple / Windows specialists. The only thing they save is some licence costs ... and not everyone is on schools agreement so it is not the massive waste some would have you believe.
Until people are more accepting of it as a tool by experiencing it as a *choice* day in, day out, then it will be difficult to break that barrier.
You have various groups of people out on T'interweb talking about the end goal for technology ... and most will say it needs to be ubiquitous and just work. It can do ... but it means cutting corners on support, security, availability, usefulness or relevance. Forcing the matter due to lack of funds is just as bad as people saying "our wireless network doesn't work so we need to change the APs to a different make" without sitting down and thinking about whether they are in a building with a massive steel infrastructure, they are running 5 APs to connect 100 laptops and they are all operating on the same channel with no management.
Until people sit down and do a bit more planning then it is doomed to fail and be replaced as soon as there is some more money ... and it will just give FOSS a bad name, putting it back a few steps.
Hence ... my question about the 90 pupil primary school is a leading question ... and a measurable target for the FOSS community.
(Please note I am intentionally using FOSS and not OSS as some people are dropping back to saying OSS ... and we should not forget FREE software even if it isn't open source! Free software from Microsoft et al is still free software. Don't turn it into an anti-MS session please.)
22nd July 2010, 10:11 PM #93
In terms of FOSS I have setup Google applications for my wifes primary school. It provides a free website, documents, shared storage and email and is VERY easy to use. I have also setup a charity sites using google apps (PLUG heelandtoe) and they are very happy with it as well.
In relation to OSS, Open Source Schools is pushing to make headway to provide turnkey solutions and full documentation for people looking to role out OSS in their school. See Open Source Schools for more information.
Not all OSS requires a degree in dark arts It does require an open mind and a willingness to try things for yourself rather let a third party demo things for you. ie GIMP and Audacity can be added to a wide variety of platforms for very little effort.
Many vendors turn up the FUD when taking about FOSS, many tried to diss Moodle when we looked at it, saying it required a MEGA buck sysadmin to look after it etc. They forgot to mention it was the biggest and most documented learning platform out there. LOL
People keep tying to make this debate a black and white issue, when in reality your 90 user primary school could be able to get 30 PC out of a storage room or from their secondary. Install a modern Linux distro (which is not hard) and have access to a great Office suite and web browser.
We rescued 120 PCs from PC heaven as school that got BSFed could not keep them and we are re using them with Linux for free
22nd July 2010, 10:51 PM #94
23rd July 2010, 12:17 AM #95
It can't be that hard, major companies look after 1000's of linux systems without difficulty. In keeping with the 'radical response': just offer redundancy to council windows admins and then re-employ ones with the *nix skills. Or do linux admins really get paid more? I don't think so personally.
Originally Posted by GrumbleDook
It's not free if it's tied to a potentially expensive licensing upgrade plan, esp microsoft - only runs on version XP+1
Originally Posted by GrumbleDook
Last edited by CyberNerd; 23rd July 2010 at 12:28 AM.
23rd July 2010, 12:41 AM #96
I wish.. in both this and other circumstances.. but anyway since we mentioned "Primary" here's a quick step 1:
Until people sit down and do a bit more planning
Stop the patronising guesses and figure out the real [bleeping] requirements: It may or may not get more flexible now but recently we've had that rather rigid national curriculum, several vendors claim this or that suite of s/w gives "curriculum coverage" (RM Windows Box being just one example), LA advisors in lots of places likely have their own lists of a basic set of s/w for that.
So FOSS-folk: Go figure out what those sets of apps are and do, why everyone seems to think they are needed, then put them in a simple spreadsheet or something and see how many equivalent OS apps you can line up alongside in the next column. And assuming you haven't given up then do some real numbers, with the time=money cost too.
[Don't forget to compare and contrast with some of the site-licence-for-everything-we-make for ~£1K deals Primaries have had in the last couple of years]
1) See above.
get 30 PC out of a storage room or from their secondary and have access to a great Office suite and web browser.
2) They have room to store 30 PCs somewhere - so why is the server overheating in a titchy stationary cupboard?
3) Secondary cast-offs.. nooooo... not that again....
4) I very definitely can't imagine a bunch of old boxes that probably only come with CRT if there's any kind of monitor as "supplementary" boxes where it doesn't kill a lesson when they break, and trust me I did once kick that limited purpose around very seriously indeed i.e. practical research into reusing old kit as net-booting *nix based web browsers with remote storage etc. Biggest obstacle: They usually only have the room (physical space, power & NIC cabling etc.) for one set of multi-purpose boxes that sometimes need to run some seriously demanding apps - h/w performance demanded by s/w is of course not proportional to the age it is aimed at.
Last edited by PiqueABoo; 23rd July 2010 at 12:50 AM.
Reason: C & C
Thanks to PiqueABoo from:
GrumbleDook (23rd July 2010)
23rd July 2010, 08:37 AM #97
Erm, major companies take on ICT Graduates and provide them with in house training. Major companies will reguarly send their techs on relevant thrid party training courses - Red Hat, VMWare, Cisco, MS, etc - to make sure they are certified and qualified to maintain the companies infrastructure. At the end of the day big companies know that if they don't get this right then their network will fail it it will cost them serious money.
Originally Posted by CyberNerd
Schools on the other hand, I've not even been sent on a Pitmans Typing course (not that I need it) but I do have both a first aid and fire certificate
23rd July 2010, 08:57 AM #98
Actually, the primary national curriculum for ICT is not at all restrictive. The QCA 'optional' schemes of work, and perhaps local authority interpretations of it and them, were. Free Schools and Primary Academies won't have to follow the new curriculum, and all the other schools may be given the right to opt out too. That said, I did the mapping exercise against the (now seriously dated) QCA scheme of work a while ago, see: ICT Curriculum - Schoolforge-UK there were a few gaps at the time, many around the control/monitoring side of things - Arduino and Wedo/picoboard support in Scratch have this covered now.
Originally Posted by PiqueABoo
Whilst it, understandably, caused some comment above in this community, my Point 9, "Use Volunteer Support", is I think relevant to the small primary context described. If the school doesn't happen to have a willing Linux guru amongst their parent body, an approach to the local Linux User Group is, in my experience, unlikely to fall on deaf ears. LTSP is /very/ low maintenance.
Some of the most exciting developments in supporting open source deployment at primary/elementary level have happened in developing countries, where tech support is perhaps even thinner on the ground than it will be here after the spending review: see, eg, the Shuttleworth supported TuxLabs project, Edubuntu, and OLPC.
Last edited by mberry; 23rd July 2010 at 09:04 AM.
23rd July 2010, 11:23 AM #99
One of the problems with schools, and this is not solely aimed at ICT/Technology, is that given a choice between a paid technician to support things (even on a once a week/fortnight/month basis) and free, the school will always opt for the free option. So now you are telling schools to ditched qualified, experience technicians who understand education to go with a bunch of volunteers who are unlikely to be on call when the school needs them? Love the new tagline for Open Source ... 'Open Source will put hundreds of technicians out of a job'
Ok, in all seriousness ... asking yet another bunch of people into a school (and I hate to point it out, but some of these are evangelists that make mac fanbois look tame) to change stuff yet again ... how about planning things like when a school is looking to upgrade, etc then they should consider moving to FOSS so they do not incur cost. Ditching already paid for software, etc when it works perfectly well seems to be a waste of money to me.
23rd July 2010, 12:38 PM #100
I think this is a key point, unless you're paying out thousands annually and have trained staff then switching is going to cause more issues than it'll solve. I'm a windows tech (or rather NM!) through and through, but I am looking to Linux for new systems such as Koha on Debian (reminds me - must get our librarian to actually put the books onto it!) and now squid and Dansguardian on Ubuntu (if the server will let me - hardware issues!). But these are background projects, I couldn't risk switching a key server to Linux due to a lack of skills.
how about planning things like when a school is looking to upgrade, etc then they should consider moving to FOSS so they do not incur cost. Ditching already paid for software, etc when it works perfectly well seems to be a waste of money to me.
Our head of IT has given me a list of software for my tech to install over the summer for DIDA, these are all FOSS due to budget constraints. When the opportunity presents itself I wil also seriously consider moving to OpenOffice, but this would be a gradual process due to many years of MS Office here and schemes of work being built around it (plus retraining staff)
So back to Grumbledooks point, it's about reviewing FOSS or paid for software/OS, etc when a school can.
Last edited by joe90bass; 23rd July 2010 at 12:39 PM.
Reason: usual typo errors!
23rd July 2010, 12:57 PM #101
I agree with the fanboi system. I have found out several times it just does not work.... Whenever I get an email from a school asking me about moving to Karoshi/FOSS/OSS I ask the following questions, until I know the answers I cannot help:
a) What do you want? Eg. file servers? email? website? -- Some schools are happy that the county does a professional website for them, so why pressure them to do it in house...no no....we need to know what you actually NEED.
b) What equipment do you have? How many clients? How many students and staff? I need to know if you will need to find the cash for new servers, or if we are just going to do the scary option and re-install the current ones! How many clients? If we can do a single server or if it will need to be spread across several for the load.
c) What client software do you have? If you have £10,000 worth of software, I will NOT suggest you go to Linux clients unless you can get 90%+ working in wine/web-based. If not stick with servers only. If you have very little software, list it.....I have gotten good at finding alternatives...
d) What are the staff like? What is their attitude to change? Children need no training they will just use whatever you put infront of them, but staff are different. How much training will they need? We have managed to do techie training on the use of Karoshi within an hour (setup a single server and then user training). With the normal staff we do yearly top-ups for everyone new (or old) to get the gist of the email system etc etc
e) How willing are the staff? There is no point putting something in, only to overhear someone saying its 'linux' fault.....though it is funny when you find they are working on a windows pc! Also get them involved. As we have an ethos here, we get lots of staff coming in saying ...."hi can I have such and such....oh its free and its open source!!"...That is a good attitude.
f) What is you internet like? I find OSS very internet dependent, updates, downloads etc etc and if you are hosting in house, you really need that lease-line. It can be done, one of our major successes was in Africa, they had a download limit of 10gb a month for the whole school....ok it meant it cost me a few pennies posting Karoshi CD's for them, but it can be done with hardly any internet access if necessary.
g) Very important....timescale! We have gone to places before and done this in a day (servers not clients). Were I work we did it over the Summer Holidays, but that included re-installing all the client computers. How long do you have? How quickly do you want it?
I think thats about it!
Last edited by linuxgirlie; 23rd July 2010 at 01:00 PM.
2 Thanks to linuxgirlie:
dave.81 (5th November 2010), GrumbleDook (23rd July 2010)
23rd July 2010, 01:06 PM #102
I think e) and g) are critical from Linuxgirlies list. If the staff are not willing to go with you and/or you try to rush the transition it won't work. I tried to initial a 2-year transition to OO.o here. It failed, not because of timescale - 2years!, but becuase after week 1 key staff where just not buying into making the change and every little issue was OO.o's fault.
But that of course is making small end users changes were FOSS can be of some benefit. When you start looking at large projects like FOSS backends and FOSS dekstops then training for everyone, including the us techies is critical.
I think FOSS has it's place, as comercial software has it's place. It's about using the right software to do the right job. For instance I have a preference for Apache/PHP/MySQL even though for the same price I could just as easily run IIS/ASP/SQL Express.
23rd July 2010, 01:24 PM #103
@Linuxgirlie: What are you using for Home Access?
23rd July 2010, 01:28 PM #104
We use a modified version of 'smbwebclient'
Thanks to linuxgirlie from:
23rd July 2010, 01:30 PM #105
Yeah sorry didn't notice the PM first Thanks.
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