Network Manager refuses to install OpenOffice - comments please.
I'm Head of Physics in a large Independant School and am a big user of Open Source software. (Linux on personal machines)
For nearly three years I've been trying to get OpenOffice installed on the three Windows XP Networked computers in my department (alongside MS Office) as it is my preferred choice, and also as many of our European students only use this themselves - it is encouraged in schools in France and Germany
I wish to use OOo on the network to print out my work, and to let my departmental staff access it too. I also want to allow students who only have OOo on their laptops to have access to printing in the school (via USB Flash drive) and to give coursework Impress presentations to their classmates - something they can't do at present if they don't have MS powerpoint.
This proposal has been to the Network Manager many times, has gone through the IT project board twice (almost all of whom are technically illiterate) and has been raised by me with the Headmaster, a Governor (supposedly IT literate) and the Deputies too.
It has been refused every single time, but I have never been given a written answer why. I have been told though that:
"Open Source opens the Network to abuse"
"Open Source is unsafe"
"Open Source is editable by anyone so the kids could change it and cause problems"
"It would confuse the pupils"
"It would cause problems working alongside Microsoft Office"
"It could ruin the network"
and even - "We are a Microsoft School"!
To counter this FUD I downloaded a 275 page copy of a large study and report by the EU on the use of Open Source software:
"Economic impact of Open Source Software on innovation and competitiveness of the EU ICT sector"
.. and made a Precis of the this which I presented to the decision makers. Amongst its key recommendations are:
This was greeted with; "ah yes, but the Network security is paramount and we can't risking messing it all up with Open Source software"
Policy strategies focus mainly on correcting current policies and practices that implicitly or explicitly favour proprietary software:
o Avoid penalising FLOSS in innovation and R&D incentives, public R&D funding
and public software procurement that is currently often anti-competitive
o Support FLOSS in pre-competitive research and standardisation
o Avoid lifelong vendor lock-in in educational systems by teaching students skills, not specific applications; encourage participation in FLOSS-like communities
Glad they read the report then! :mad:
So why write all this here?
This is NOT a "I hate M$" rant.
It is NOT to start a debate on which is best OOo or M$ Office
It is not a Linux is great/sucks debate.
What it is, is a plea for your help/comments.
I am meeting with the Headmaster again next week, and am actually at the point of resigning from my job as Head of Physics due to the many frustrations I feel working here.
So, please help me convince the Senior management of my School that I am not requesting the Installation of Virus Writer 4.2, that OOo isn't a trojan/virus/network hole, that OOo can work alongside M$ office, and that it is perfectly feasible (even desirable!) to have OpenOffice.org installed on 3 computers in my department. OR convince me that I'm wrong - maybe it is just me?
Your comments/experiences would be so helpful. I will print out this thread in iits entirety to show the Headmaster when I meet him next week.
Over to you!