Ric_ (23rd October 2008)
I've just come across this site Open Source Schools it is a little under populated at present but I'm sure some us have some projects we could post up...
Ric_ (23rd October 2008)
Something to keep an eye on, cheers
Thanks. Something to add to the favourites for a rainy day.
This is what has come from the Alphaplus win funded by Becta
Becta awards unknown with advocacy deal
The good news is that Ian Lynch, Miles Berry and others have had some input into the info that goes on it I think. At least with Ian and Miles on board there is a good chance that there will be some quality info provided down the road.THE OPEN SOURCE community was bitterly disappointed today after the UK appointed an unknown consultancy to run an historic programme of advocacy in schools.
International big hitters had piled behind UK open source houses bidding for a Becta contract to set up an open source community in the schools sector. It was seen as a breakthrough - an indication that convicted monopolist Microsoft was losing its grip on the sector.
But Becta gave the open source community an almighty slap in the face when it turned down their three bids and awarded the business to a consultancy with no links to the open source community, said representatives of the community.
Becta said in a written statement today: "Bids were invited and, following an evaluation process, the contract has been awarded to The Alphaplus Consultancy (Manchester)."
It did not say why Alphaplus had been chosen over a line-up of prime open source bidders, but Mark Taylor, president of the Open Source Consortium, and whose consultancy Sirius bid for the work, said it was a mistake.
"They've chosen the worst possible candidate because [Alphaplus] have no open source experience whatsoever," said Taylor.
"The project is about open source in schools. Unless you have open source people in there, its nonsense," he said.
John Winkley, a director of Alphaplus, said he wanted to clear his comments with Becta before saying what his firm could bring to the UK's schools open source community.
But he refuted the allegation that Alphaplus wasn't qualified to do the work: "I think we are and BECTA clearly think we are," he said.
The open source community has long complained that the odds were stacked against them in the UKs public sector, with favour in contract competitions going to companies with traditional structures and those allied with incumbent technology suppliers on the Microsoft platform.
Their assertion that procurement quangos like Becta and the Office of Government Commerce fail to understand the benefit of the collaborative, distributed nature of the open source community will become louder after this contract award.
Despite only offering £270,000 for two years work, the concerted weight of the world's open source industry stood behind the three open source bids for the work, the Schools Open Source Project.
The Sirius bid was backed by Red Hat, the pioneering open source software cowpowayshen, and pulled in million of Euros of development backed by the European Commission.
Another sidelined bid by The Learning Machine, an open source schools specialist, was backed by Canonical, the organisation behind Ubuntu, the ground-breaking open source operating system.
Yet another, was put forward by Open Source Software Watch, a not-for-profit organisation that already co-ordinates open source development in the Higher Education sector. OSS-watch pulled Eduforge, the world's largest repository of open source educational software, into its bid, along with one of the backers of Moodle, an open source software system that made great advances in the education sector around the world.
Becta noted its growing challenge to Microsoft in the education sector. It has advised schools not to upgrade to the latest versions of Microsoft's Windows operating system and Office desktop software, and has complained about the firm's licensing practices and technology to the Office of Fair Trading and anti-trust police at the European Commission.
schoolforge has thus far.
I'm pushing for getting as many (warts and all) case studies onto the site as we can - do register and write something up if you get a moment.
Seriously, alphaplus (like OSS-watch in FE/HE) have a brief to provide information about open source, rather than promoting open source; I'd see a wikipedia style NPV as fine.
"The project will provide an authoritative, informative and impartial website that will raise awareness of how OSS can be used to enhance teaching and school infrastructures."
Following feedback from the community and some of the other stakeholders, the AlphaPlus team behind Open Source Schools invited me to take over the design and development of the community website, which kept me surprisingly busy over the Christmas holidays!
I've set up a blog style front page, with a mechanism for all registered users to submit content, improved the navigation, redesigned the forum with email notifications and pulled in some news feeds via RSS. Drupal has been a great tool for this, with an amazing range of community contributed modules that extend the core functionality. Any feedback on the site gratefully received.
The redesigned site went live over the weekend at Open Source Schools in advance of BETT, with quite a bit of activity in the forums on Monday and Tuesday. We'd be delighted if any Edugeek folk with interest in, experience of or views about open source software would like to get involved. I'm presenting along with Michelle Walters, Doug Belshaw and Josť Picardo on this at BETT on the Saturday (10:45-11:30 in the Club Room) if anyone wanted to stop by to say hello.
My apologies for cross posting.
Last edited by mberry; 14th January 2009 at 08:14 PM.
We hope to have more information about Open Source Schools on the stand from tomorrow, so those interested can pick up information from G89 too if you are not around on Saturday.
If you want, you can case study our school. We should be going ahead with the transition in March / April time. We have already replaced 90% of the software possible with open source varients. I can talk to you privately if you like.
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