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IT News Thread, Schools set togo open source in Other News; Anyone see this yet??? Schools set to go open source - 22 May 2008 - Computing...
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    ICTNUT's Avatar
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    Schools set togo open source


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    Geoff's Avatar
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    Ah yes, it was mentioned on the computing podcast.

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    But would anyone be brave enough to go Linux?!

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    Why not? Many schools are already benefiting by using open source on the servers for things such as file serving, firewall/proxy, web serving, email, security and more. A lot of open source desktop applications are also making their way on to the Windows desktop to compliment the existing educational tools.

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    As more and more of the educational applications become rich internet apps or at least web delivered, OS platform is going to become less relevant.

    Lots of current open source desktop apps well worth using on whatever platform - including windows; such as openoffice, audacity, vlc, 7zip etc.

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    Cant wait.................

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    Quote Originally Posted by Satch View Post
    But would anyone be brave enough to go Linux?!
    No.



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    It can have its advantages and disadvantages. Personally I don't think we are fully ready to go open source yet, though I could be wrong.

    For example, I was contemplating going with Open Office but decided to stick with Microsoft Office and more importantly Office 2007. I have found the new ribbon interface more intuitive for myself, staff and pupils to get work done quicker and easier. Only had a couple who where reticent!

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    Quote Originally Posted by AndyD View Post
    For example, I was contemplating going with Open Office but decided to stick with Microsoft Office and more importantly Office 2007. I have found the new ribbon interface more intuitive for myself, staff and pupils to get work done quicker and easier. Only had a couple who where reticent!
    What about the whole problem with document formats and being locked into Office though? I agree that the ribbon is good, but I am resisting rolling it out because a) it'll require training for the staff, b) i've not heard if it works and is supported by SIMS.net and c) it locks you in to the new docx style format files and would cause problems with transferring files to places which don't have it (such as feeder schools and the LEA).

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    Quote Originally Posted by localzuk View Post
    What about the whole problem with document formats and being locked into Office though? I agree that the ribbon is good, but I am resisting rolling it out because a) it'll require training for the staff, b) i've not heard if it works and is supported by SIMS.net and c) it locks you in to the new docx style format files and would cause problems with transferring files to places which don't have it (such as feeder schools and the LEA).
    It does require a bit of staff training but when it comes to the document formats you can easily set it to use the old ones from the previous versions of Office by configuring it in group policy with the ADM templates or by using one of the MSPs created by the customization wizard. I have no idea about SIMS.net compatibility though.

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    Quote Originally Posted by localzuk View Post
    What about the whole problem with document formats and being locked into Office though? I agree that the ribbon is good, but I am resisting rolling it out because a) it'll require training for the staff, b) i've not heard if it works and is supported by SIMS.net and c) it locks you in to the new docx style format files and would cause problems with transferring files to places which don't have it (such as feeder schools and the LEA).
    Microsoft UK Schools News Blog : Office goes au naturel with ODF

    Russ

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    We've been running MSOffice with ODF for nearly a year already:
    Sun ODF Plugin for Microsoft Office - Get It

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    The problem with Linux for primary schools is a lack of software specifically for that area. Given that opensource invariably means "free" the software companies themselves are unlikely to see the benefit of translating their products to work on other platforms. I mean, Apple is more prevalent in schools but very little software exists there.

    It's a chicken and egg things really...

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    The staff and children have needed very little training due to the ribbon being pretty self explanatory. Sure, I have had the "how do you do this" type of questions now and again but no more than what I did with Office 2003, in fact I would say I have had less.

    For schools who do not have Office 2007, a compatability pack exists although we do usually save a version as 2003 if needed.

    It would no doubt be a lot cheaper for schools if the open source route was taken and a success, I feel we are not ready yet to go all the way.

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    localzuk's Avatar
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    The move to ODF is going to be a long time in coming, and is not going to have 100% compatibility with Office 2007's features as MS say that it isn't capable of supporting them.

    Quote Originally Posted by CyberNerd View Post
    We've been running MSOffice with ODF for nearly a year already:
    Sun ODF Plugin for Microsoft Office - Get It
    It is by no means perfect. There are a good number of reports of problems with it, and it has the same problem as the compatibility pack below - it is not 100% compatible with all of the features of office 2007.

    Quote Originally Posted by AndyD View Post
    For schools who do not have Office 2007, a compatability pack exists although we do usually save a version as 2003 if needed.
    The compatibility pack does not provide 100% compatibility with the new features of Office 2007.

    So the problem still remains. If a member of the staff does something with, say, word art, and you are using ODF, it won't save it. Therefore you'd have to fall back to either of the office 2007 or 2003 formats, with the latter still not supporting everything fully.

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