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*nix Thread, Has anyone gone completly linux in Technical; Hi Long story short. SLT at the school I work are fed up having to pay the stupid Microsoft licencing ...
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    Whitestar's Avatar
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    Has anyone gone completly linux

    Hi

    Long story short. SLT at the school I work are fed up having to pay the stupid Microsoft licencing costs and want to look at the possibility of moving completly over to linux.

    Has anyone here done that.
    If so what distro did you use for the servers and clients.

    I'd like to set up a little test network to see where any problems may occur and to teach myself how everything works.

    If anyone could help I'd greatly apprieate it.

    MArk

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    ChrisH's Avatar
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    Search for terms such as Karoshi and the Cutter project.

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    Handsworth Grammar School are a /mostly/ linux site I believe.

    Handsworth Grammar School - Wiki access <---- you might be able to pull a contact address from there

    <edit>

    http://openhgs.org.uk/it.cgi/MartinWoolley <--- that might help

    </edit>

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    Interesting ideal .... however

    This is all well and good that the SLT want to go all Linux because they don't want to pay the licensing fees which btw are exhorbitant. However I have to ask the question, who are they doing this for the school or the students. Seems to me like they are penny pinching in order to preserve their precious budget. Some Linux would be good in a school as would a decent quantity of Apple products but as the predominent OS out there is windows then you will be doing the students a disservice by introducing this solution.

    I am all form cross platform usage but try and look at the bigger picture of what the "students" will actually be using when they hit the big wide world and apply a comparitive ratio of technology to the school.

    PS are there any good sites that give guidance on Linux as I have rarely used it but use it for our web filtering.

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    Microsoft licenses for schools are more than fair in my opinion. I'd even say underpriced - especially for the server stuff.

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    You have to remember that you will have to use Windows if you Sims.net/CMIS.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ctbjs View Post
    This is all well and good that the SLT want to go all Linux because they don't want to pay the licensing fees which btw are exhorbitant. However I have to ask the question, who are they doing this for the school or the students. Seems to me like they are penny pinching in order to preserve their precious budget. Some Linux would be good in a school as would a decent quantity of Apple products but as the predominent OS out there is windows then you will be doing the students a disservice by introducing this solution.

    I am all form cross platform usage but try and look at the bigger picture of what the "students" will actually be using when they hit the big wide world and apply a comparitive ratio of technology to the school.

    PS are there any good sites that give guidance on Linux as I have rarely used it but use it for our web filtering.
    I am quite irritated by this comment, as it seems to keep on being used without any understanding of what schools are for. Schools are there to teach transferrable skills. They teach general topics, not specifics. For example, you wouldn't want Maths to only teach the skills that an average person would use in their lives, so why would you want ICT to teach MS programs simply because there is a good chance those packages will be used if that person goes into a business?

    Teach them how to word process, not how to use word. Teach them how to create a presentation, not just how to use powerpoint. Teach them the concepts used in every OS in the world (directories/folders, cut/paste, shutting down, searching etc...).

    Sure, if you are a college and are teaching a 'how to use word' course, use word. But not in year 1 - 13 of their school lives.

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    Quote Originally Posted by localzuk View Post
    I am quite irritated by this comment, as it seems to keep on being used without any understanding of what schools are for. Schools are there to teach transferrable skills. They teach general topics, not specifics. For example, you wouldn't want Maths to only teach the skills that an average person would use in their lives, so why would you want ICT to teach MS programs simply because there is a good chance those packages will be used if that person goes into a business?

    Teach them how to word process, not how to use word. Teach them how to create a presentation, not just how to use powerpoint. Teach them the concepts used in every OS in the world (directories/folders, cut/paste, shutting down, searching etc...).

    Sure, if you are a college and are teaching a 'how to use word' course, use word. But not in year 1 - 13 of their school lives.
    I agree, wholeheartedly in principle, but unfortunately most of the teaching content for ICT teachers to use relies on certain programs. We do the ECDL qualification, and for that you have to use Microsoft Office (2003 irritatingly enough, which is what's holding us back from upgrading).

    As to going completely over to Linux all I can say is that while I love the operating system I wouldn't want to be the one to support it. With Microsoft patches come out each week, and I can quickly test those and ship them out, but a new operating system itself comes out once every four years or so. That's not enough for me to worry about.

    Many of the Linux distros I'd consider for school desktops change version every six months. That's twice a year. Sure much of the stuff may remain the same, but having tried to do something as simple as installing Zimbra on the wrong version number of Ubuntu server I can't help but think what a nightmare support could become when the new distro breaks something vital, simply by renaming a package.

    I'll happily use it for non-vital servers, in fact I prefer it, or even for certain vital systems such as proxy or e-mail, but I'm not so confident that users would be happy with it. One of the commercial Linux distros would reassure me a little more, but on the other hand then you're paying for it so the whole benefit of it being free vanishes.

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    Quote Originally Posted by jamesb View Post
    I agree, wholeheartedly in principle, but unfortunately most of the teaching content for ICT teachers to use relies on certain programs. We do the ECDL qualification, and for that you have to use Microsoft Office (2003 irritatingly enough, which is what's holding us back from upgrading).
    ECDL is not a generic curriculum course (ie. not part of the national curriculum) and as such, that is upto the school to decide whether to offer it. I am referring specifically to standard courses from KS1 - A-Level

    As to going completely over to Linux all I can say is that while I love the operating system I wouldn't want to be the one to support it. With Microsoft patches come out each week, and I can quickly test those and ship them out, but a new operating system itself comes out once every four years or so. That's not enough for me to worry about.

    Many of the Linux distros I'd consider for school desktops change version every six months. That's twice a year. Sure much of the stuff may remain the same, but having tried to do something as simple as installing Zimbra on the wrong version number of Ubuntu server I can't help but think what a nightmare support could become when the new distro breaks something vital, simply by renaming a package.
    Like when MS release a patch which breaks program compatibility? Like SP2? Or SP3? Or Vista SP1? Personally, I'd say managing the upgrades of a set of Ubuntu machines would take less of my time, and cause less trouble than a set of XP machines. Updates are very easy to manage in linux, so long as you know what you are doing and test things properly.

    I'll happily use it for non-vital servers, in fact I prefer it, or even for certain vital systems such as proxy or e-mail, but I'm not so confident that users would be happy with it. One of the commercial Linux distros would reassure me a little more, but on the other hand then you're paying for it so the whole benefit of it being free vanishes.
    Why wouldn't users be happy with it?

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    Quote Originally Posted by localzuk View Post
    ECDL is not a generic curriculum course (ie. not part of the national curriculum) and as such, that is upto the school to decide whether to offer it. I am referring specifically to standard courses from KS1 - A-Level
    Even in that case a lot of the textbooks refer to Microsoft Office. Not something I agree with at all, and I'm actually in discussions with the Head of IT not only to move away from the ECDL to a proper GCSE course but also to move over to OpenOffice, but the point is that the schools I have worked at generally have office because it is simply easier when the textbooks match the program.

    If you know of any textbooks or other teaching materials based on OpenOffice instead, I'd love to hear about them.

    Like when MS release a patch which breaks program compatibility? Like SP2? Or SP3? Or Vista SP1? Personally, I'd say managing the upgrades of a set of Ubuntu machines would take less of my time, and cause less trouble than a set of XP machines. Updates are very easy to manage in linux, so long as you know what you are doing and test things properly.
    Not a problem I've ever really had with Microsoft to be honest. The service packs are big changes, and sometimes do break something, but I've never had a problem with it. Not only that but if something is broken (and in a way this is the really vital bit) I can phone Microsoft and get a workaround or fix. Linux support, in my experience (the free stuff, not the commercial support) is a little more piecemeal and often means spending hours looking through forums, wikis and similar in the vague hope that someone has had the same error.

    Why wouldn't users be happy with it?
    Because they don't know the system, simple as that. I'm currently struggling to get a few people to accept using an EEE PC instead of a full-featured, massive laptop. They're happy with the EEE PC itself, but all want Windows on it (I know that Windows can be put on them, I just prefer the Linux system that's already there).

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    Quote Originally Posted by jamesb View Post
    Even in that case a lot of the textbooks refer to Microsoft Office. Not something I agree with at all, and I'm actually in discussions with the Head of IT not only to move away from the ECDL to a proper GCSE course but also to move over to OpenOffice, but the point is that the schools I have worked at generally have office because it is simply easier when the textbooks match the program.

    If you know of any textbooks or other teaching materials based on OpenOffice instead, I'd love to hear about them.
    Who uses textbooks for teaching ICT? Most materials that are available, I will admit, are produced in .doc's, .xls's, .ppt's etc... but a teacher should be planning their own lessons and creating their own materials anyway. Adapting things for use with the systems in place shouldn't be a huge amount of work. The curriculum for GCSE IT never speaks of Word, Excel etc... it only refers to the generic terms. Mentioning the specific packages in the exams can actually lose you marks. So it is simply up to the teacher to use materials that teach the course they are supposed to be teaching.

    Not a problem I've ever really had with Microsoft to be honest. The service packs are big changes, and sometimes do break something, but I've never had a problem with it. Not only that but if something is broken (and in a way this is the really vital bit) I can phone Microsoft and get a workaround or fix. Linux support, in my experience (the free stuff, not the commercial support) is a little more piecemeal and often means spending hours looking through forums, wikis and similar in the vague hope that someone has had the same error.
    You can phone Microsoft? For a giant lump of money you can, yes. Microsoft support is not free. Just the same with Ubuntu. You can pay for support in exactly the same way. Else you can use the documentation available online, just like with Microsoft systems. If it was as simple as just calling MS, I doubt the windows forum on edugeek would exist.

    Because they don't know the system, simple as that. I'm currently struggling to get a few people to accept using an EEE PC instead of a full-featured, massive laptop. They're happy with the EEE PC itself, but all want Windows on it (I know that Windows can be put on them, I just prefer the Linux system that's already there).
    People fear change, but that can be eased through properly introducing the systems. Suddenly switching to something is never a good idea. A change to linux would be a long term process, taking a couple of years. It would involve proper training - not necessarily because it is necessary, but because it make staff feel they are valued and are being thought about during the process of change, and that the school isn't just penny pinching.

    People generally don't like change if it means more work for them, so you have to get the change exactly right.

    And on the eeePC front. That all depends what you're using them for. Personally, I've introduced one of them to a SEN pupil and they are very happy with it, as are their parents. It wasn't introduced as a 'this is for use for everything related to ICT' laptop, it was introduced for a specific purpose, and training given to the pupil how to use it. I've not had a single complaint about it since giving it to her. I have had 2 other schools ask about it though...

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    localzuk's Avatar
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    Also, to keep this separate. If I were to introduce Linux into the school, I would do it via a limited trial, combined with training for staff. I'd do it for machines that are not used specifically for ICT teaching, so probably 1 of our normal ICT suites.

    That way, you can trial it, without having to switch completely.

    Also, on the 'which distro' front, I would probably go down the LTSP route, and either use edubuntu or karoshi. Reduce configuration, reduce management etc... Much more sustainable.

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    Quote Originally Posted by kiran View Post
    You have to remember that you will have to use Windows if you Sims.net/CMIS.
    In a full Linux workstation environment, you could work around this by using a Windows terminal services server hosting SIMS. Until Capita release a cross-platform or web-based edition, that is... Lol.

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    Ok, I here's a practical post on how to move (most) of your IT over to Linux.

    1) Replace your server infrastructure first. Start with easy things like DHCP/DNS, File & Print, etc. You can do this slowly in the background without interrupting your users. Leave a couple of Windows boxes as DCs so you can keep AD, but that's all you need.

    2) Move to a Thin Client based client/server system. You will obviously need to use 32bit windows servers for this so the software your users need works. However you are free to use Linux on your client devices. Thinstation is a good option here.

    3) Mission almost complete. You have 2 DCs + X Terminal Servers running Windows and that's all, and your users are none the wiser. You may now spend your days playing Quake on your fault free systems waiting for Microsoft to fall and Linux on the Desktop to be realised....

  15. 2 Thanks to Geoff:

    OverWorked (26th June 2008), SimpleSi (16th May 2008)

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    Quote Originally Posted by webman View Post
    In a full Linux workstation environment, you could work around this by using a Windows terminal services server hosting SIMS. Until Capita release a cross-platform or web-based edition, that is... Lol.
    The 2x ApplicationServer is very good for this. Basically sets up a TS session with the server, but presents the app to the desktop as if it was a local linux app (i.e. not within a window with a windows desktop). Once you've seen SIMS/whatever windows app you need for a particular course running on linux like this the world will look a different place ;-)

    http://www.2x.com/general/screenshot...p_outlook3.gif

    You can also use 2x with macs as well i believe:

    http://www.2x.com/general/screenshot...lientlarge.jpg

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