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General Chat Thread, Moving Forward with Open Source, a Network Manager's Perspective in General; Originally Posted by dhicks Okay, but how do you then set up the Windows workstations so that all software works, ...
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    somabc's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dhicks View Post
    Okay, but how do you then set up the Windows workstations so that all software works, teachers and pupils can't install pirated software, My Documents is redirected to a network drive and the machines can't be generally tinkered or fiddled with?

    --
    David Hicks
    There are competing products that try to solve these problems but I can't say how successful they are as I have never used them.

    eg. SAMBA 4 is in development
    http://wiki.samba.org/index.php/Samba4
    Last edited by somabc; 3rd March 2010 at 06:14 PM.

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    @dhicks: Above you touched on the fact courses recommend certain proprietry software and train using it. Something you don't mention is schools being forced to use a particular platform or piece of software - SIMS requiring Windows and MS Office anyone?

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    dhicks (3rd March 2010)

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    Quote Originally Posted by somabc View Post
    There are competing products that try to solve these problems but I can't say how successful they are as I have never used them.
    I've had to integrate osx, linux and windows before using openldap. Suffice to say it's a good job no openldap devs were within impaling range.

    If you want to herd lots (hundreds) of windows boxes I haven't found a better* way than buying sufficient licences + cals for a couple of dcs.

    *cost vs time, faff, and built-in extras like GP software deployment.

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    Hi Dave I am also taking part in the discussion about OSS in schools. Some rnd thoughts on what I am thinking about.

    I think that there is some confusion regarding free and open software.

    There is not enough discussion about open standards in data ie a well defined SIF at a higher level. At the school level could the "Government" be doing more to ensure that educational packages are released in an open format and an open license?

    Should legislation be used to encourage the public sector to prove that OSS is not not suitable. ie how many people could be using Open Office or similar instead of commercial office packages? How many commercial CMS have been implemented a a high costs, when the OSS are often much better!

    We have implemented OSS but received little or no help and very little recognition from our LA or anyone else for that matter. Our students do get access to a much wider range of curriculum software and our Learning Platform stacks up against some of the higher end commercial alternatives out there

    When looking for other schools that have used OSS it has tended to be independent schools, trust schools, faith schools, etc. Some schools have taken advantage of provision through their LA. I think the Lancashire schools have their moodle systems hosted via the LA. But they get limited access to the server to the change the default setup.

    How could OSS be better supported in schools? By schools taking more responsibility and working with like minded schools? Via LA/Becta? Commercial support ?

    Anyone else have any questions or even better maybe you have answers

    Regards,

    Tim
    Last edited by monkeyx; 3rd March 2010 at 08:14 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by somabc View Post
    There are competing products that try to solve these problems <snip...> eg. SAMBA 4 is in development
    Samba supports authentication but, unless I am mistaken, not Group Policy Objects, so doesn't provide a good way to stop Windows workstations having software installed on them, settings tinkered with, etc. You could use something like Faronics Deepfreeze instead, but that's an extra cost (and the cost per Windows CAL, at under £5 each for education, is pretty competitive).

    Looking at the Samba 4 documentation, it mostly seems intended to join member servers to a domain. I'm guessing that the best use of it might be to have a Samba server set up as a DC, with a Windows DC authenticating off that, thus providing a way to have your Linux workstations authenticate against an LDAP directory without having to pay for Windows CALs.

    --
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    Last edited by dhicks; 3rd March 2010 at 08:56 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ric_ View Post
    Something you don't mention is schools being forced to use a particular platform or piece of software - SIMS requiring Windows and MS Office anyone?
    This - as are many things that we, as IT techincal staff, deal with - is an open standards issue rather than anything to do with the particular platform that SIMS runs on. It's a reasonable assumption these days that most places run servers as virtual machines, or are aiming to in the future, so worrying about what OS a package runs on is pointless - you just give it its own VM and leave it to get on with things. The cost of the OS and other associated software can simply be added to the total cost of the package itself (not forgetting MS SQL Server CALs and MS Office licenses for each user/machine the SIMS client runs on, of course).

    The issues come when you wish to move from, say, SIMS to something else. Moving your data from SIMS is actually quite easy, the problem is getting your new MIS to interact with other applications in the same way as SIMS. If you're a state school obliged to send / receive data to and from your LEA, exam boards, etc, how do you do that?

    --
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    Quote Originally Posted by monkeyx View Post
    Hi Dave I am also taking part in the discussion about OSS in schools.
    Indeed - I understand you're the chap hosting it :-)

    At the school level could the "Government" be doing more to ensure that educational packages are released in an open format and an open license?
    I think it's the role of government to define open standards, but not necessarily to force the use of open source solutions - or to force the use of any kind of solution, really. As long as organisations can exchange data and move between software packages freely then those organisations should be free to choose the software they use - assume that people know how to do their jobs and leave them to pick to best way to get on with it.

    How could OSS be better supported in schools? By schools taking more responsibility and working with like minded schools?
    But why should an individual state school care? Its main purpose - and the one (you'd hope) it is judged on - is to teach children stuff, everything else is very much secondary. If the easiest solution for a school is simply to accept what software is handed to it then that it what it should do, it doesn't need to consider how much that software costs whoever is paying for it. The decision to use something else needs to occur at the point the money is spent, which might be at the LEA level or higher.

    --
    David Hicks

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    You can always set up local policies and copy them from machine to machine (or if you image then it's really quite simple) however if you need to make changes then you'll have to roll it out to all individuals. This would still be much cheaper than paying for a DC or two and all the cals. As for Office Go Open Office (a fork or oOO 3.2) allows you to open and save office 2007 docs (oOO3.2 doesn't just opens them) strangely a small 13kb docx became 6kb after saving (no changes) and Office 2007 opened it up again and it looked identical

    Wes

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    Quote Originally Posted by wesleyw View Post
    You can always set up local policies and copy them from machine to machine
    I'll have to look in to this a bit further. How do you copy local policies to a machine - copy a file of some kind to a folder on each workstation, or do you have to feed a file to some command-line application logged in as an administrator?

    Are local policies available for Windows Vista and Windows 7 as well as Windows XP?

    or if you image then it's really quite simple
    But imaging machines with an identical disk image requires a volume licensed copy of Windows.

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    Quote Originally Posted by dhicks View Post
    Okay, but how do you then set up the Windows workstations so that all software works, teachers and pupils can't install pirated software, My Documents is redirected to a network drive and the machines can't be generally tinkered or fiddled with?
    by dissecting the adm files and implementing them as scripts? they are generally reg keys..

    Quote Originally Posted by mpe
    Including in quite a few cases where there is no such thing as "industry standard" or where "industry standard" is nothing like what these teachers think it is.
    you mean the education industry, right? because all the education industry file formats are listed by Becta and are open standards it's the file type - not the application that makes something a standard!

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    wesleyw's Avatar
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    But imaging machines with an identical disk image requires a volume licensed copy of Windows.
    You can get tools to change the license key so after the image go onto each and run the tool not perfect but it would work. Vista and 7 both have local policies as long as it's the Pro/Business version you shouldn't have any difficulty.


    Wes

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    cookie_monster (4th March 2010)

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    Quote Originally Posted by p858snake View Post

    They manage to slash their server requirements by a factor of almost 50, how many servers did they have. We have 10 windows servers (some Xenserver VMs, 5 Physical boxes) for a school with 1500 students and i'm not sure we need that many.

    Ah on closer inspection 'factor' of 50
    Last edited by cookie_monster; 4th March 2010 at 09:56 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by dhicks View Post
    But why should an individual state school care? Its main purpose - and the one (you'd hope) it is judged on - is to teach children stuff, everything else is very much secondary. If the easiest solution for a school is simply to accept what software is handed to it then that it what it should do, it doesn't need to consider how much that software costs whoever is paying for it. The decision to use something else needs to occur at the point the money is spent, which might be at the LEA level or higher.
    David Hicks
    I find this a curious reponse? Why should a school not care? We are a trust school so we make our decisions onhow we spend all our money,software or otherwsie. I know most non trust schools still decide what software they use? Indeed our LA has little money to spend on software, as the schools get the money? The debate around school autonomy is already featuring in the upcoming general election. There are also implications relating to BSF for school autonomy in how schools get to manage and use ICT to support curriculum development. So maybe schools should care?

    You seem to be pushing this thread to look at how Microsoft could be replaced at the OS level? Why not Apple as well? We provide a heterogeneous environment of OSS and non OSS, I think this is a healthy balance as learners get to use the best of both worlds? There are already several VDI solutions (OSS and non OSS) that are competing to allow almost any device to connect to a network/cloud/Learning platform to access the applications and data that are relevant to that user. Does that make the Samba/Active Directory issue less relevant ?

    I think it's the role of government to define open standards, but not necessarily to force the use of open source solutions - or to force the use of any kind of solution, really. As long as organisations can exchange data and move between software packages freely then those organisations should be free to choose the software they use - assume that people know how to do their jobs and leave them to pick to best way to get on with it.
    I agree nothing should be forced. I think that adhering to open data formats and open standards could provide many benefits. Just not sure if this within a network managers remit

    Tim

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    somabc's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dhicks View Post
    Samba supports authentication but, unless I am mistaken, not Group Policy Objects
    Actually Samba 4 does support Group Policy

    Samba4/HOWTO - SambaWiki

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