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*nix Thread, "Linux carries significant risk" --County's official line in Technical; Hi there, I had an interesting meeting today, after my headteacher had invited the County Council's Educational ICT people into ...
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    "Linux carries significant risk" --County's official line

    Hi there,

    I had an interesting meeting today, after my headteacher had invited the County Council's Educational ICT people into the school to 'audit' my network as part of a project of them 'merging' our curriculum and administrative networks by just installed SIMS onto the curriculum network. (I dread how much money we're paying them!)

    Their audit, of high sophistication (involving logging on to about 30 machines and just using a tool to take what software and hardware is installed... and very little lip service played to the network infrastructure!), has identified an area of significant risk on our network.

    They have decided that running Linux carries a significant level of risk to the stability and 'long-term security' of the school network.

    They believe (and claimed to be speaking in terms of corporate strategy) that Linux carries this risk because it is used in a minority of schools and is in an absolute minority with the educational industry. They further believe that the lack of support and the lack of qualified staff in the use of Linux results in a solution that is unmangable in the situation that I leave the employment of the school. Or, should we ever be in a situation where we have to outsource, or work in collaboration with an outside technical partner, that we will have to replace the solutions with Windows.

    They then started talking about commercial support, and that as there's none with Linux (unless you use RedHat ES, or SuSE [which I don't]), that you're introducing a further level of risk.

    Our current server setup consists of:

    DC01/2 - Windows Server 2003 boxes providing DNS, DHCP, AD, WDS, WSUS.

    WS01/2 - Gentoo Linux boxes providing web services, namely the VLE, webmail, and the intra/extranet. Running Apache 2, PHP 5, MySQL 5, Moodle, LAMS, and such.

    PX01 - Gentoo Linux box providing proxy and filtering to pupils. Running Squid, Squidguard and a php interface to it. (Remind me, at some point, to release the scripts that manage this system!)

    MX01 - Gentoo Linux box providing mail services. Running qmail and dbmail (dbmail's an odd choice, but it makes sense in terms of pulling email from place to place... it's sql based, and well documented)

    TX01 - RHEL box providing KS3 Testing.

    So, to summarise, they believe that the risk is caused by: lack of corporate support for Linux, lack of experienced Linux personnel in the education sector that can use Linux, lack of 'industry standard' through the use of Linux, Non-compliance with the 'Bigger Picture' of interoperability in schools and federated directories.

    They have thus decided to inform the headteacher of this 'significant level of risk' and recommend that this is something that we resolve by means of replacing the solutions with Exchange, ISA and IIS.

    In addition to this, they suggested that the only reason that we use Linux (and, Moodle for our VLE), is that they're free. I was rather furious at this point, and almost told them to leave my site before I started jabbing them with a handy HB pencil.

    I strongly, very strongly, believe that we should not be in a situation of vendor lock-in, and choosing the pure MS network that they are suggesting introduces a similar level of risk as a result of being stuck with using one solution from one supplier. Certainly, performance and as a result the cost in maintenance would increase.

    Now, the reason that I'm posting this is that I'm aware it's going to take them a week or so to send the report to the headteacher informing her of the 'problem'. What I'm asking for, from my fellow EduGeekers is some help in explaining that this risk is purely imagined (or so I hope) by the County Council.

    I would be greatly appreciative of any help, any case studies of your own use of Linux/*nix, and any handy statistics, quotes, knowledge, or even offers of entering into a conversation/debate with my headteacher on this matter.

    As a result, all of the information I gather in this exercise, I shall assemble (with your permission) into a report that I shall provide to my headteacher (before she gets the one from County...) and will most happily provide a completed copy of this report to the EduGeek community should it prove to be of use to anyone else!

    Many thanks,

    Dusty

    (I apologise for the length of this post, but I feel that if I give a bigger background, that I may well be able to work towards making a document/report that is of use to the whole community, rather than something that I use just once and throw away. Certainly, I'm aware how strongly worded the report they're going to send to my headteacher is, and as such I want to be able to head it off whilst I can!)

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

    I think the only arguments that may hold some truth are those focused on management of the system should you leave, interoperability with Windows 2003 Server and services (and this would be a concern SIMS-side obviously), and collaboration with outside providers (though this is a long shot argument because I assume you have been choosing partnerships with vendors that share your open source goals?).

    You could attack this so many ways that it's stupid- and I'm not a fan of Linux in education for the same reasons county outlined to you. However, you have made a significant technical investment in the technologies for now and want to defend that implementation, so hopefully lots of people on this forum will step in (Geoff?). In any case, I would look at getting Red Hat on your side first of all. If you look at this page on their main site:

    http://www.redhat.com/rhel/server/

    At the bottom they give a pretty good run-down of their interoperability and security etc. I would even go further and ask them directly for their assessment of the risks and then perhaps offer to switch your Linux-based system over to Red Hat entirely and therefore nullify a few of their arguments in one go: risk, security, and interop. Further to this, if you have a Linux company such as Red Hat behind you acting as support and consultancy the other arguments county listed become more mute.

    I guess where I focus is in the appropriation of support and interoperability services. You might be different and you may want to keep your Gentoo systems. In that case use the same methodology and attack the thing that way- contacting Gentoo and Linux sepcialists local to you for help and advice.

    I don't want this to be too long. I don't post here much anymore, but I hope I have said something that prompts some creative thinking. And I hope it goes well for you. Keep us all informed!!

    Paul

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

    Also contact linuxgirlie see ad above, andy at cuttterproject and schoolforge crew as to say who can give you loads of info.

    Some case studies here http://www.schoolforge.org.uk/index.php/Case_Studies

    Russell

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

    Also some companies that can provide support about halfway down this page..

    http://www.schoolforge.org.uk/index.php/Support

    Russell

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

    With all their suggestions of lack of suport for linux from outside companies, are they suggesting they are going to be sending you down the BSF route?

    I used linux because it was much more stable than my windows 200x servers (used Smoothwall for proxy, and Debian for storage and web hosting) they never needed restarting and they were free.

    Now they're Moodle argument is confusing as alot of LEAs and schools have gone down that route and there is alot of support for it, what are they suggesting that you use otherwise? Or are they one of these people that think that since it is free there must be something wrong with it, and the only way to get best quality is to go with the option that costs the most?

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

    Off topic, but:

    hopefully lots of people on this forum will step in (Geoff?)
    ... Geoff is a person? 8O

    Back on topic:

    Also contact the member of this forum under the name 'openhgs'. I have never spoken to him really, but he is the technician at my brothers school. They use an almost 100% linux thin-client network and the school have outlined many advantages of them using linux as opposed to windows. They have made it clear that linux does everything they need and has saved them an awful lot of money. The school has also been used as a case study many times, linuxgirlie is probably aware of the school (handsworth grammar school). You should PM or e-mail him, I'm sure he'll give you advice.

    There is also a lot of info hidden around their wiki regarding their migration: http://www.openhgs.org.uk/

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

    A similar thing happened to me, basically county told our head that linux wasn`t as easy to support as windows, so standardise on windows!

    In some respects I could see there point, but we ended up spending money
    on licensing that we didn`t need and then getting less performance out of the hardware we were using!

    I would suggest costing up the HW/SW required to migrate. This may well add some weight to the argument! Certainly we are still running a linux mail, proxy,firewall etc, but intranet and printing have gone over to windows.

    HTH

    Rob

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

    I took the liberty of posting this question to the OpenSchools Alliance Mailing list as they have a lot of experience with this sort of thing, here are a couple of responses:
    Firstly, using any software will have an associated risk. You have to ensure that it could be maintained if you are not there. I see many companies who "don't officially support Linux" but they all run it, including major Banks. You will have to get across that it is not just about money, but Linux offers the best, most secure solution. It also gives the ICT staff learning, stimulation and job satisfaction which helps to keep them at the school.

    Some points:-

    BECTA report on FLOSS stating it could save £600 million. They trialed and tested it and did not advise the risk was a problem.

    Using a single supplier is a big risk, including lock-in.

    Using Microsoft software is a risk and expensive due to security flaws and constantly having to update it to help prevent virus and malware.

    Using non-FLOSS is a risk because if you do not audit the software
    correctly, you could be heavily fined if found running unlicensed software. FAST has already stated it will target schools.

    The cost of converting to M$ would be prohibitive and not all the FLOSS has a M$ equivalent. Has the school got the budget and what exactly

    would be the improvement in the network to justify the costs?

    Linux is the fastest growing OS and more and more schools and companies are using it therefore there will be support.

    Schools need to start using Linux as the pupils WILL be using it when they leave school.

    Linux will interwork with Microsoft.

    Open Source Consortium, SchoolForgeUK and OSA can provide commercial
    support.

    Linux runs on low spec PCs and avoids having to upgrade hardware just to run XP or Vista. More environmentally friendly.

    http://www.sheflug.co.uk/linuxwotis.html

    "*It's not even a risky choice - as an advanced version of Unix, there is a large pool of skilled staff and support available, plus overwhelming evidence that key industry players such as IBM, HP, Oracle, Software AG and many others now take it very seriously indeed."*

    *Open Source web filtering used by 200,000 Yorkshire school children*
    http://www.sourcewire.com/releases/r...=29318&hilite=

    http://www.schoolforge.org.uk/index.php/Case_Studies

    http://www.cutterproject.co.uk/News/...in_schools.php

    *A Welsh county council has brokered a deal to provide open source email

    to up to 40,000 pupils and teachers.*

    http://news.zdnet.co.uk/software/0,1...9282552,00.htm

    *Independent prep school switches to Linux to save costs*

    http://www.publictechnology.net/modu...ticle&sid=3702

    > They have decided that running Linux carries a significant level of risk to the stability and 'long-term security' of the school network.

    Compared to what?

    They should be challenged to support their opinion with independent studies showing that Linux is unstable or insecure, and to show that Windows is more stable (since that is what they are advocating in Linux' place).

    Ask them how many current viruses, worms, network attacks, whatever security metric you like, are around which Windows systems are vulnerable to, and how many there are which Linux systems are vulnerable to, then ask them to repeat their statement about risk.

    > They believe (and claimed to be speaking in terms of corporate strategy)
    > that Linux carries this risk because it is used in a minority of schools
    > and is in an absolute minority with the educational industry.

    When I was at school, computers were used in a minority of schools. Is that justification that they were a bad idea and should have been rejected in favour of the blackboards, books and OHPs we had before them?

    > They further believe that the lack of support and the lack of qualified
    > staff in the use of Linux results in a solution that is unmangable in the
    > situation that I leave the employment of the school.

    Are they saying "lack of support from within the school's staff" or "lack of support from anywhere"? The former argument probably applies equally well to the school's heating system, but they don't seem to get bothered about that. The latter argument is complete bollocks, as simple Google search for, for
    example "Linux consultancy support site:uk" (result: 456,000 hits) will show.

    > Or, should we ever be in a situation where we have to outsource, or work in
    > collaboration with an outside technical partner, that we will have to
    > replace the solutions with Windows.

    Er, no, just choose the right partner. Schools seemed to manage perfectly
    well for years based on RM380Z non-standard PCs, or with Acorn RISC machines, which were hardly mainstream common computing equipment, so why the overwhelming need to use Windows just because lots of other people do?

    > They then started talking about commercial support, and that as there's
    > none with Linux (unless you use RedHat ES, or SuSE [which I don't]), that
    > you're introducing a further level of risk.


    What support do you get with Windows? I thought it was none, unless you pay for a support contract with a supplier. So, buy a Linux support contract from one of the Google hits above. And, what support do they need? System admin stuff, software development stuff, or just maintaining current versions and installing upgrades? Have they actually defined what "commercial support" actually means?

    > So, to summarise, they believe that the risk is caused by: lack of
    > corporate support for Linux,

    Seek and ye shall find.

    > lack of experienced Linux personnel in the education sector that can use
    > Linux,

    I suspect ditto, but even if not, try a Google search for "linux educational
    support site:uk" (435,000 hits).

    > lack of 'industry standard' through the use of Linux,

    Challenge them to show that the alleged "industry standard" is good.
    Microsoft software has risen to its level of usage around the world for three reasons: an enormous marketing budget, having been around since 1975, and Apple (its only serious competitor for much of the intervening time) getting too many things wrong (as well a helpful number right). Just because the world was using MS software when Linux started to become available doesn't mean that MS is inherently better. Secondly, challenge them about this "industry standard" - Microsoft may be the commonest desktop O/S, but you're talking about network servers, and Linux is at least an equal standard to MS in that area (it's a pity that http://leb.net/hzo/ioscount hasn't been kept up to date, but even in 1999, Linux (31%) was ahead of Windows (24%) in terms of Internet-connected servers.


    > Non-compliance with the 'Bigger Picture' of interoperability in schools and
    > federated directories.

    Try quoting a Grid for Learning which covers 12 Local Authorities and 2,000
    schools, whose entire infrastructure is based on Linux and Floss:

    http://www.yhgfl.net/about

    Check the Operating Systems installed on their systems at
    http://wiki.yhgfl.net/bin/view/YHPub...LevelAgreement

    See their advice to schools at
    http://www.yhgfl.net/resources/free-...r-your-schools

    > They have thus decided to inform the headteacher of this 'significant level
    > of risk' and recommend that this is something that we resolve by means of
    > replacing the solutions with Exchange, ISA and IIS.

    Try quoting a risk assessment company (formerly a part of AEA Technology)
    http://www.esrtechnology.com/page_view.asp?InfoID=266

    who decided that replacing their Windows systems with Linux was the best bet:
    http://business.newsforge.com/print..../05/17/1445208

    > In addition to this, they suggested that the only reason that we use Linux
    > (and, Moodle for our VLE), is that they're free. I was rather furious at
    > this point, and almost told them to leave my site before I started jabbing
    > them with a handy HB pencil.

    What if that *is* the primary reason? It's good value for money, and if the things work, what's the problem?

    > I strongly, very strongly, believe that we should not be in a situation of
    > vendor lock-in, and choosing the pure MS network that they are suggesting
    > introduces a similar level of risk as a result of being stuck with using
    > one solution from one supplier. Certainly, performance and as a result the
    > cost in maintenance would increase.


    Why not show them Becta's report saying that Open Source software is good:
    http://publications.becta.org.uk/dow...fm?resID=25907


    > I would be greatly appreciative of any help, any case studies of your own
    > use of Linux/*nix, and any handy statistics, quotes, knowledge, or even
    > offers of entering into a conversation/debate with my headteacher on this
    > matter.

    I don't know if you have time to digest and use any material from:
    http://www.theregister.co.uk/securit...ndows_vs_linux

    Summary from http://tinyurl.com/73acl is "Base security: Linux is better - Application security: Linux is better - Standards compliance: Linux is better".


    Hope this helps,
    --

    Antony Stone
    Technical Infrastructure Manager and Membership Secretary
    The Open Source Consortium
    Bringing Free and Open Source Software to the Public Sector

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

    What about the BECTA report on Open Source Software for schols and all the advantages it brings?

    We're lucky in that we have linux and Unix people at the local authority (surely every authority needs unix people?), they moved from Novell to Linux/Samba on all their servers and are building up expertise. Not that you need a lot for most linux support. They also outsource a lot. They provided all schools in the county with linux based email systems and support it.

    Just because there isn't in house support doesn't mean to say that it isn't possible. Outsourcing isn't so out of the question, some do it as a matter of course. I would say all people into teching nowadays have some linux skills, certainly enough to manage server systems like you say. Sounds like the advisors are dinosaurs on a day out. You should easily be able to convince your Head of their folly - i'd really hope so anyway.

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

    Quote Originally Posted by dustmite
    Hi there,

    They have decided that running Linux carries a significant level of risk to the stability and 'long-term security' of the school network.

    Ask them for objective evidence. How many security vulnerabilities has Windows got, how many Linux? How many viruses is Windows vulnerable to, how many Linux?

    They believe (and claimed to be speaking in terms of corporate strategy) that Linux carries this risk because it is used in a minority of schools

    So in 1990 when Windows was used by a minority of schools they would have advised schools not to use Novell servers or any Windows desktops?

    and is in an absolute minority with the educational industry. They further believe that the lack of support and the lack of qualified staff in the use of Linux results in a solution that is unmangable in the situation that I leave the employment of the school.

    It is not that hard to employ Linux people these days. If you need Linux support contact the Open Source Consortium, a group of UK based businesses committed to supporting Linux and other FOSS apps in UK schools. Or outsource to a large corporate such as Sun Microsystems or IBM that will support Linux too.

    Or, should we ever be in a situation where we have to outsource, or work in collaboration with an outside technical partner, that we will have to replace the solutions with Windows.

    See above. This borders on collusion and anti-competitveness that could well be illegal under competition law. Sounds as if they are pre-judging contracts before they have been decided and providing undue competitive advantage to one set of interests over another. That is illegal and if the injured parties find out they are likely to sue - ask them to put that in their risk analysis

    They then started talking about commercial support, and that as there's none with Linux (unless you use RedHat ES, or SuSE [which I don't]), that you're introducing a further level of risk.


    Completely untrue and ill-informed. Canonical support Ubuntu, Linspire support their OS in education, the OSC will provide commercial support for most Linux distros including Gentoo. I know Dr Seb James who has a PhD in Physics from Cambridge who works with Axiomtec is a Gentoo expert. Probably has more intelligence than the whole of the LA put together and is not as expensive in support costs as the multinationals - further it boosts UK local business.


    Our current server setup consists of:

    DC01/2 - Windows Server 2003 boxes providing DNS, DHCP, AD, WDS, WSUS.

    WS01/2 - Gentoo Linux boxes providing web services, namely the VLE, webmail, and the intra/extranet. Running Apache 2, PHP 5, MySQL 5, Moodle, LAMS, and such.

    PX01 - Gentoo Linux box providing proxy and filtering to pupils. Running Squid, Squidguard and a php interface to it. (Remind me, at some point, to release the scripts that manage this system!)

    MX01 - Gentoo Linux box providing mail services. Running qmail and dbmail (dbmail's an odd choice, but it makes sense in terms of pulling email from place to place... it's sql based, and well documented)

    TX01 - RHEL box providing KS3 Testing.

    So, to summarise, they believe that the risk is caused by: lack of corporate support for Linux, lack of experienced Linux personnel in the education sector that can use Linux, lack of 'industry standard' through the use of Linux, Non-compliance with the 'Bigger Picture' of interoperability in schools and federated directories.

    They have thus decided to inform the headteacher of this 'significant level of risk' and recommend that this is something that we resolve by means of replacing the solutions with Exchange, ISA and IIS.

    I would inform the headteacher that the biggest risk is listening to a bunch of cowboys who clearly have no idea about the way global IT is moving or worse have a vested interest in killing technological innovation. They would not pass our QCA accredited Level 2 certificate in Open Systems. Ask them why it is that the fastest growing IT company in the world, Google, which is already more than half the size of Microsoft, uses Linux for all its search engines? Amazon servers too and a whole range of others. The biggest risk is getting locked into proprietary products to achieve interoperability rather than committing to Open Standards.

    In addition to this, they suggested that the only reason that we use Linux (and, Moodle for our VLE), is that they're free. I was rather furious at this point, and almost told them to leave my site before I started jabbing them with a handy HB pencil.

    I strongly, very strongly, believe that we should not be in a situation of vendor lock-in, and choosing the pure MS network that they are suggesting introduces a similar level of risk as a result of being stuck with using one solution from one supplier. Certainly, performance and as a result the cost in maintenance would increase.

    Now, the reason that I'm posting this is that I'm aware it's going to take them a week or so to send the report to the headteacher informing her of the 'problem'. What I'm asking for, from my fellow EduGeekers is some help in explaining that this risk is purely imagined (or so I hope) by the County Council.

    If your head wants to give me a call I'm only too willing to talk to her. Number is 01827 305947. I'm BECTA's main point of contact with the Open Source community and I will be passing this on to the house of commons where a group of MPs are researching public sector market distortions which go against the public interest because some public servants don't want to move into the 21st Century. In the end your governors determine what goes on in your school, not the LA. The LA needs to take into account its customers wishes. They should not be playing technological politics to simply make their lives more convenient.

    I would be greatly appreciative of any help, any case studies of your own use of Linux/*nix, and any handy statistics, quotes, knowledge, or even offers of entering into a conversation/debate with my headteacher on this matter.

    As a result, all of the information I gather in this exercise, I shall assemble (with your permission) into a report that I shall provide to my headteacher (before she gets the one from County...) and will most happily provide a completed copy of this report to the EduGeek community should it prove to be of use to anyone else!

    Many thanks,

    Dusty

    (I apologise for the length of this post, but I feel that if I give a bigger background, that I may well be able to work towards making a document/report that is of use to the whole community, rather than something that I use just once and throw away. Certainly, I'm aware how strongly worded the report they're going to send to my headteacher is, and as such I want to be able to head it off whilst I can!)

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

    Quote Originally Posted by Midget
    With all their suggestions of lack of suport for linux from outside companies, are they suggesting they are going to be sending you down the BSF route?
    You'd think so, wouldn't you? Except that we're the very last local authority to 'benefit' (haha) from BSF.

    Quote Originally Posted by Midget
    I used linux because it was much more stable than my windows 200x servers (used Smoothwall for proxy, and Debian for storage and web hosting) they never needed restarting and they were free.
    I use Linux equally for it's stability. Their response to my using PHP and Apache on Linux was that I could just as easily run it on Windows and that it's performance was "just as good". I did try my hardest to point out the flaws in their thinking...

    Quote Originally Posted by Midget
    Now they're Moodle argument is confusing as alot of LEAs and schools have gone down that route and there is alot of support for it, what are they suggesting that you use otherwise? Or are they one of these people that think that since it is free there must be something wrong with it, and the only way to get best quality is to go with the option that costs the most?
    This is certainly what made me laugh. They criticise my choice, tell me it is a risk and suggest we should use a corporate piece of software with better support and investment. What is county currently using..? I bet you can't guess!

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

    Quote Originally Posted by CyberNerd
    I took the liberty of posting this question to the OpenSchools Alliance Mailing list as they have a lot of experience with this sort of thing, here are a couple of responses:
    Thanks for this. The responses they've come up with so far are particularly useful. I'm certainly finding it difficult to argue against my friends at the educational ICT errr, well, business unit I guess. I did use a substantial amount of the points that were raised to argue against them and failed miserably because they kept waffling on about the 'bigger picture'.

    However, at the end of the day the only person I have to justify myself to is the headteacher and then to sincerely hope that she listens to me over them.

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

    Well when report from lea is sent maybe I should send a foi request to school and get the report

    Russ

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

    Quote Originally Posted by dustmite
    Quote Originally Posted by CyberNerd
    I took the liberty of posting this question to the OpenSchools Alliance Mailing list as they have a lot of experience with this sort of thing, here are a couple of responses:
    Thanks for this. The responses they've come up with so far are particularly useful. I'm certainly finding it difficult to argue against my friends at the educational ICT errr, well, business unit I guess. I did use a substantial amount of the points that were raised to argue against them and failed miserably because they kept waffling on about the 'bigger picture'.

    Tell them the bigger picture is Global IT. That is what governs standards not what the DfES says let alone one LA. The overwheming Global trend is a shift away from proprietary products to open systems and open standards based on the Internet, W3C etc. Even office file formats are moving to XML and many web based office apps are springing up Google Apps for example. These are tending to support ISO 26300 the XML based office standard. MS is having great difficulty getting its OOXML standard to ISO ratification despite chucking hundreds of millions at it. Look at the take up of Moodle globally and its growth rate (stats on Moodle web site) show me any other VLE that has this global take up and growth. That is what decides standards, not ignorant ill-informed IT officials. Look at the social networking sites where kids learn from each other (some bad as well as good) If you want to prepare students for the future and this is what education is about, give them experience of Web based apps and safe social networking because that is where it is all moving. The desktop is likely to become less and less important so basing a long term IT strategy on a single desktop operating system and its vertical lock in to proprietary network applications is sheer folly. Get them to read some of Prof. Clay Christensen of Harvard Business Schools work - eg "Seeing what is next". Its not IT specific but it explains why what is popular now is not a good guide to what is going to happen in the future. That is understanding the bigger picture. The LA is a small insignificant player in this.

    However, at the end of the day the only person I have to justify myself to is the headteacher and then to sincerely hope that she listens to me over them.
    Explain things in terms of learning and why you are preparing students for the technological future they are moving into. In the end they are already doing it. They will have their own accounts on You Tube, My Space etc. We have to educate them about the dangers and benefits of these rather than feeling obligated to support particular commercial technological interests and the fact that the LA IT staff are 10 years out of date. Open Source software is a growing and important part of that future not just because of the technology but because of the collaborative communities working to support the technologies they all use. These communities arise from the internet and they enable greater scope for students to participate in the development of their own learning resources too. This is the way in which government policies such as the personalised learning agenda can be made to work. You are ahead of the game so being forced to conform to mediocrity by the LA is not good for the school and will limit the childrens learning opportunities in the longer term. Your school is above average in its IT vision don't let it regress, support excellence!


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

    If opensource and UNIX are so unreliable and insecure etc how come MANY large organisations and educational institutes use *nix, *bsd and UNIX solutions for servers, clients, parallel computing, rendering farms etc etc.

    With regards to it being free....if FreeBSD (What I use on my servers) were to become a pay-for product....i'd probably do it becuase it's a stable, secure system that has security and stability inherent in the design. But if it were to become closed source...i dont think i'd do it because that is what's key to the maintenance and growth of FOSS software.

    At the end of the day if there was an easily implemented open source answer to MS AD how many of us would move over? I'd want to.

    People are afraid of what they dont know. What you have to do is convince them to accept your point of view or at least live with it. Tell them the weather is forecast on UNIX based machines.......maybe that's a bad example though. LOL.

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