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General Chat Thread, PC Pro - OpenSource is no good for schools? in General; I have to make a dark and terrible confession. I like Windows 2003. I like policies, I also rather like ...
  1. #46
    DMcCoy's Avatar
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    Re: PC Pro - OpenSource is no good for schools?

    I have to make a dark and terrible confession. I like Windows 2003. I like policies, I also rather like active directory. I like things that work and do what they are supposed to do, day in, day out.

    This does not mean that I do not know that alternatives exist, it does not mean I have not spent vast amounts of time using different solutions to our everyday problems over the years. My biggest issue implementing any other solutions from whatever source they might be is time. I am still moving between urgent things that need sorting now, but hopefully this will change so that I can start working on developing new and better systems for our network.

    2 years ago we faced a difficult decision, dump netware and replace it within 6 weeks. Not a fun task, but it was possible with Windows 2003 and XP, I know its possible with linux too, but I do not have the experience with such large implementations of linux. servers I can do, desktops are more difficult, I find X to be such a frustrating piece of software, but thats another thread

    We are now 2003 server with all XP clients. This does not mean I think ms software is the solution to all problems. Its works, for the most part. It does what I want it to do.

    Despite this array of ms products the network has been using squid, apache, mysql and php for the last few years. These have been used on Windows, Linux and bsd.


    I have since started to build a new set of servers with ESX. I'm working on linux hosts for it at the moment (windows works without any issues). Linux is proving difficult due to the vmware tools support that is slightly outdated for some linux distros. I will be implementing at least a debian firewall, webserver and proxy. I have a new mac suite and server going in soon™.
    Open office will be alongside ms office on the next reimage, and probably gimp and firefox. Our website runs from joomla too (but on windows with apache)

    So whats the point of this post? I'm not sure myself, but perhaps I'm just trying to highlight the fact that you don't have to use one thing or another when a combination can be so much more interesting. These reports are often one sided because they are trying to choose a solution based on a single product.

    I would love to have a number of my virtual machines being openbsd, but debian will have to do

    Even with all that said, I still like Windows 2003.

    p.s. I'll use anything, as long as its not novell. Been there, done that, had the abend during install and the file system corruption.

  2. #47

    webman's Avatar
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    Re: PC Pro - OpenSource is no good for schools?

    I think in education it's a case of "use the best tool for the job". In reality, there's no getting away from educational software that runs on Windows so it's got to enter the equation at some point down the line. But there are a lot of areas within education where open source alternatives can be used to improve the service provided to staff and pupils. Open source won't work in every school as they each have their individual needs where the Windows (or whatever) solution already works and works well. But in other places, open source can potentially improve things 10-fold, if not more.

    In my opinion (and probably others out there as well) IIS sucks for webservers. Greater performance can be had when using apache on linux/BSD for a fraction of the cost. Same goes for proxying and/or web filtering.

  3. #48

    Geoff's Avatar
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    Re: PC Pro - OpenSource is no good for schools?

    Quote Originally Posted by GrumbleDook
    Actually, it was said that MacOS would not last ... and true enough, it didn't, but it was changed, adapted, stretched to something different that works even better. Windows as we know it know will not last for ever, but an OS from M$ will be around for some considerable time
    Fair enough. But the Mac OS we have now resembles in no shape or form the Mac OS we used to know. What does that say about where the market (and thus Microsoft) is headed? It seems to me that you do or die. Embrace it and live on or ignore it and die a small pointless death as a corporate has been.

    Quote Originally Posted by GrumbleDook
    But now we get to the sticking point for a number of schools. Why do they need a Linux box as a file server? They have a perfectly good existing server 2003 box. They also have a working print server too. They also have a perfectly good proxy and get their filtering from LEA/RBC anyway.

    They are not due to replace any of the servers within the next few years and the only thing they are likely to change are some aging desktops, and they still have a need for an M$ OS on the desktop due to curriculum needs (time for a technician to retrain to get used to linux is a pittance compared to an ICT department rewriting their SoW to cope with a major change of OS and applications.)
    They don't, and that's fine. Linux will get alone just great without them. Linux doesn't care.

    Quote Originally Posted by GrumbleDook
    I know this is viewed as stagnation in some camps ... but in others it is regarded as maintaining an existing working structure.
    Stagnation, lack of foresight, damn right stupidity, call it what you will. Bottom line is that it doesn't matter.

    Quote Originally Posted by GrumbleDook
    I know you understand this Geoff, but unfortunately not all Linux evangelists do, the same way some windows users have preconceptions.
    I have tried very hard not to be a 'Linux zealot'. It puts so many people off. They just switch off and don't listen. The missed oppourtunities haunt me.

    Quote Originally Posted by GrumbleDook
    What is required is a need. The need may be having to replace hardware / software sue to age, it may be because running costs are too high on a particular model a school may operate. It may be that a new / additional service is required.
    Ok, well here's an easy need. Situation is, you have room full of +4 year old PCs. Do you:

    a) skip them
    b) spend 600ish quid on a nice new dell server running Edubuntu and set them up as a Linux Thin Client 'lab'.

    Quote Originally Posted by GrumbleDook
    Then again, I am a Mac Evangelist, and think it is fine to pay for a beta and then pay again, and again, and again, and again ... and then again (this took me to 10.4) And this is a *nix OS ... and the business model is to update regularily and charge for that major update.
    Happily such a business model is dying. In the mean time, Mac OS X is a dam fine system. I welcome the day Apple locks horns with Microsoft.

    Quote Originally Posted by GrumbleDook
    Perhaps we also need to list the appropriate times and reasons to look at linux as an alternative OS for server and desktop?
    Once I'm done with the Linux + Samba = NT4 PDC wiki article I shall expand to other areas. Linux excels at the behind the scenes stuff. I shall attempt to illustrate that on the wiki.

  4. #49

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    Re: PC Pro - OpenSource is no good for schools?

    Ok, well here's an easy need. Situation is, you have room full of +4 year old PCs. Do you:

    a) skip them
    b) spend 600ish quid on a nice new dell server running Edubuntu and set them up as a Linux Thin Client 'lab'.
    Again Geoff, if we were going to do this (and we are with some 80 systems in the next year) it would be 2003 Server running Terminal Services. Reason? We need the same experience across the board- the same applications, the same interface- the whole thing. It would take too long to move from Windows to Linux at this point taking into consideration my earlier thoughts (training blah blah blah).

    I really understand what you mean about phased installs- but like the good doctor said, I *like* Windows 2003; I *like* Active Directory. It works- and pretty well. MS haven't done a bad job with this one at all. So for now it's Windows and Mac OS X. In the future- who knows? I will keep on subscribing to those Linux magazines and keep on testing it. One day it might surprise me and come fully working without the need for me to sign up for one of those bloody OU Computer Science degrees!!

    Paul

    :?

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    Re: PC Pro - OpenSource is no good for schools?

    Run terminal services on a 2003 box, but use linux at the desktop, with a terminal client ... best of both worlds.

    The issue we have is that we are not going down the TS route at the moment (planned for 3 years time)

  6. #51

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    Re: PC Pro - OpenSource is no good for schools?

    Agreed. If you want to recycle your old PC's as Linux based Thin Clients for Windows Terminal Services/Citrix look at PXES.

    http://www.2x.com/pxes/

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    Re: PC Pro - OpenSource is no good for schools?

    If anyone wants instructions (and a great disk for setting up) your old boxes as thin clients get in touch and I'll sort you out

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    Re: PC Pro - OpenSource is no good for schools?

    The 2x.com link looks very promising, I'll give you that. What I will do is test it this weekend at home and let you know how it goes- as a kind of live experiment ;-)

    Time will tell...

    Paul

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    Re: PC Pro - OpenSource is no good for schools?

    I use Etherboot and Thinstation - pester me tomorrow and I'll send you some stuff.

    I use it with Citrix but the principal is the same for RDP.

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    Re: PC Pro - OpenSource is no good for schools?

    Quote Originally Posted by DMcCoy
    perhaps I'm just trying to highlight the fact that you don't have to use one thing or another when a combination can be so much more interesting. These reports are often one sided because they are trying to choose a solution based on a single product.
    I completely agree. It's what a thing does thats important, not how it does it. I also quite like Windows 2003 and XP. I've seen Novell, implemented a few Linux servers and I use an Apple PowerBook at home.

    Whenever I read magazines and they have the Windows vs Linux or PC's vs Macs question, I always think its rather strange; I can like beef and chicken, BBC1 and ITV, Xbox and Playstation. Black and white is not realistic, things are usually in the infinite greys of existence.

    Nice post by the way DMcCoy.

    -Kev

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    Most of the linux supporters here seem to think that school kid only need a OS & Office software.
    What about all the english, maths, scienc and other educational software that is used in schools, are there open souurce equivalent for those?

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    EduBuntu is your friend, but also look at Open Source Schools, SchoolForge and School Forge UK for more information.

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    It is right to make the distinction between front and backend systems. I think the headache of getting actual staff and students to use non-Windows (or Mac) is so painful that it is out of the question. But the big benefits surely come from not having MS servers.

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    Nice discussion and have to agree with a lot of people here and I for one am usually Pro MS Vanilla Network. As NM I have received very little training although I do have access to the course materials and finding the time is extremely hard. Linux though probably is the best solution for No Budget schools and as was shown in another article with PC Donations its very possible to setup a PC Suite with Linux based client/server side builds with no money.

    I am some times a little anti linux but I simply cannot deny the benefits of it especially when it is free. If only MS was free though

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    This thread is over half a decade old.

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