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*nix Thread, "Linux carries significant risk" --County's official line in Technical; If they think that there is a 'significant level of risk', as they put it, they must have some analysis ...
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    User3204's Avatar
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    Re: "Linux carries significant risk" --County's official line

    If they think that there is a 'significant level of risk', as they put it, they must have some analysis report somewhere.

    Either they produced it, or they had someone produce it for them... or they found it on the interweb.


    Ask to see the study that they have done to back up this claim, and phrase it in such a way as to suggest that you don't believe that they'd make this stuff up.

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    Re: "Linux carries significant risk" --County's official line

    I suspect that when choosing your software, you evaluated a number of alternatives (they may all have been open source but an evaluation would have taken place). It may be prudent to document some of the decisions, for example why Gentoo Linux over any other distro and why Windows over Linux & SAMBA on your domain controllers. This will clearly show that an informed decision was made and that it wasn't simply a whim of yours to install some free software.

    If the cost of using closed-source software was a barrier to you using it, this should be stated. You should state how teaching and learning would have been effected too by this - for instance, Exchange may have cost £1000 and a more powerful server requiring a further £1000 investment over your chosen mail solution... this money simply could not be found in the budget and so staff and students would have had no email.

    An example of support for Moodle that you may like to quote too is the adoption by CLEO who have heavily invested in this VLE to provide instances for EVERY school in Lancashire and Cumbria... I don't think that they could argue only small-scale adoption after hearing about that.

    The statement that unix skills are difficult to come by in education sector is unfounded - admittedly within primary and secondary education there are fewer skilled technical staff but further and higher educational establishments are bursting at the seams with *nix gurus.

    Finally, on the interoperability front and regarding collaboration, many of the single sign on technologies that are currently under development rely upon OSS and the fact that you use Active Directory should be evidence enough that your heterogeneous (I love that word) network seamlessly combines Microsoft and OSS authentication.

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    Re: "Linux carries significant risk" --County's official lin

    The statement that unix skills are difficult to come by in education sector is unfounded - admittedly within primary and secondary education there are fewer skilled technical staff but further and higher educational establishments are bursting at the seams with *nix gurus.
    This is an interesting point. Certainly there is more *nix than windows experience with technicians at my school, not an MCP between us (cost). The problem with the LA here is that they only seem to employ MCP/MSCE's (essential criteria) - therefore perpetuating the myth that there is no *nix technical staff in education, yet the majority of our geekiest students (the potential techs) run linux.

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    Re: "Linux carries significant risk" --County's official line

    @CyberNerd: You raise a particularly good point about LA support staff. If LAs currently use MS products, they will only be employing staff with MS skills. To this end, when a non-MS product is to be evaluated, they must decide whether they have the skills in-house to support the product and of course they do not... this is taken in to account and the product is dismissed as being unmanageable or too expensive (due to the requirement to buy in new skills).

    You end up with this Catch-22 vicious circle which results in innovation being stifled.

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    Re: "Linux carries significant risk" --County's official lin

    Quote Originally Posted by Ric_
    @CyberNerd: You raise a particularly good point about LA support staff. If LAs currently use MS products, they will only be employing staff with MS skills. To this end, when a non-MS product is to be evaluated, they must decide whether they have the skills in-house to support the product and of course they do not... this is taken in to account and the product is dismissed as being unmanageable or too expensive (due to the requirement to buy in new skills).

    You end up with this Catch-22 vicious circle which results in innovation being stifled.
    Quite so and its worse because with BSF, many LAs will end up colluding with MS only suppliers to make sure that they stay on familiar territory. Next they will be bleating about lifelong learning :-)

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    Re: "Linux carries significant risk" --County's official line

    Quote Originally Posted by Ingotian
    Quite so and its worse because with BSF, many LAs will end up colluding with MS only suppliers to make sure that they stay on familiar territory. Next they will be bleating about lifelong learning
    Then we have to all go out and introduce *nix, etc into our networks _now_, so that by the time BSF catches you up, they need to support it.

    We've been vaguely, slowly, attempting to introduce a dual-boot classroom, so that the students get to use (Suse, I think) alternative OSs. It's just low on the priority list.

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    Re: "Linux carries significant risk" --County's official lin

    Then we have to all go out and introduce *nix, etc into our networks _now_, so that by the time BSF catches you up, they need to support it
    more likely they'll start from a clean slate unless it's the majority in your area , the education select committee seems to think one size fits all is ok
    118. We believe that ICT is a vital area for the development of education over the coming years, but that does not mean that each school needs to have a bespoke system created for it which differs from systems in all other schools. Apart from anything else, in the future, with the development of greater collaborative working between institutions on 14–19 education, for example, it will be important for systems to be compatible with each other and for students not to have a huge range of different systems to contend with. We recommend that information about systems in use is made widely known amongst authorities in later waves of BSF so that they can take advantage of the experience of those which have already procured their ICT.
    http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm200607/cmselect/cmeduski/140/140.pdf

    The lobbyists are in full flow, I think it sucks.

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    Re: "Linux carries significant risk" --County's official lin

    I cant wait for the staff complaints of 'I only know how to use Office 2000/XP/2003 etc' when the new network arrives. They will also kiss goodbye to some vital bespoke resources too and my guess is that a lot of email will be lost. Not on purpose from the BSF contract winner, but from staff thinking that the new school will provide the same level of service that their old one did.

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    Re: "Linux carries significant risk" --County's official line

    But, we _need_ to show students how to use comparative OSs...


    So I've got about five years to make linux the main one, and Windows the "comparative" one....

    ...Now, where's my OS/2 disk when I need it ?

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    Re: "Linux carries significant risk" --County's official line

    There's a big thing in the curriculum where they arent meant to refer to Microsoft Word as the only word processor etc. They are meant to be teaching alternatives etc. When i was doing A-level ICT that was one of the big things, yet the only alternative the teacher could come up with was "stuff from the Lotus suite" During lessons the respecitve functions of the software (ie database, spreadsheet, word processor) were refered to as microsoft products from then on but were told not to use brand names in coursework.

    That was the extent of the willingness to embrace open source and alternatives to Microsoft. Very disappointing.

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    Re: "Linux carries significant risk" --County's official line

    Quote Originally Posted by User3204
    But, we _need_ to show students how to use comparative OSs...


    So I've got about five years to make linux the main one, and Windows the "comparative" one....

    ...Now, where's my OS/2 disk when I need it ?
    Heh heh... :-)..

    No mate... they mean the entire LA or LEA....

    When the BSF come they are going to gut your network... everything..... and build a Windows Domain from Scratch...

    All you boxes apart from the folders and pst's are gone gone gone....

    unless you have servers under 18 months old.. anything over 3 years is out the window..

    back on topic..
    What OS are the workstations using ?...

    because if it's XP then the argument of cost implications goes out the window as all you are doing is installing Exchange, IIS and ISA... which wont cost much at all...

    So you need a better argument..


    And look at the qmail website and you wonder why people avoid *nix...

    http://qmail.internet.bs/top.html

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    Re: "Linux carries significant risk" --County's official line

    And look at the qmail website and you wonder why people avoid *nix...
    really scraping the barrel there..

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    Re: "Linux carries significant risk" --County's official line

    People still use Qmail?

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    Re: "Linux carries significant risk" --County's official lin

    My summary:

    Appalling nonsense. Many reasons why

    My authority: IT Management for a group of schools including primary, secondary (inc. Beacon/Leading Edge school) and CLC, including provision of consultancy services to other schools and the LEA. Follow on experience in commercial sector providing ICT consultancy and project management in education.

    Now I am a CIO outside of the education sector, doing what all responsible and competent CIOs are doing: looking at how to reduce TCO while improving services, all with a long term outlook. A key aspect of reducing TCO is eliminating lock-in, while maximising flexiblity; a natural conclusion is to move away from proprietary, non-standards compliant solutions.

    If you want me to talk to your headteacher, let me know and I'll try and make it happen. You might also want to engage with local Conservative politicians as the shadow Chancellor has noted the savings available to the public sector by the use of open source.

    Regards

    Chris

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    Re: "Linux carries significant risk" --County's official lin

    It's simply no longer true that Linux support, both competent and commercial, is hard to come by. Visit the Open Source Consortium web site at http://www.opensourceconsortium.org and check the map by clicking "OSC Search" on their home page - it shows companies over most of the country who can provide just that. Several have extensive experience supporting schools, for example, The Learning Machine based in Cannock near Birmingham, http://thelearningmachine.co.uk.

    Good luck,

    John
    ****

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