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*nix Thread, Managing costs and moving to *nix in Technical; Originally Posted by danrhodes I'm trying to point out that there are probalby less important areas that can be cut ...
  1. #31
    SteveBentley's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by danrhodes View Post
    I'm trying to point out that there are probalby less important areas that can be cut back, intead of ICT. That is not to say that TA's aren't important as I know they are and they work very hard for very low pay!

    D
    I think the point you're trying to make is that your core IT infrastructure (particularly servers, network hardware) is pretty much a fixed cost, it doesn't change much with differing numbers of users.

    But if you have fewer kids to teach, then it's a pretty simply logic, however harsh, to say that fewer people will be required to teach them.

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    I got our tech to write down every OEM license onto our inventory or photograph it...

    Get a contractor in for a few days to help you.. a few hundred £ vs £££ and all that ... but of course, that wont help with the lost serials because the kids peeled them off :-P

    Linux is not something you could do lightly, based on our ICT teachers they'd probably leave, if it isn't in Access, Publisher or Excel then they don't do it... I daren't think about other issues with software like SIMS, that app the English teacher bought without telling you etc & and that dodgy piece of software the spanish teacher uses...

    In terms of shell, something that takes focus on startup of your used account, infront of task bar and asks for network credentials... maps drives based on it, log out could be a tray app or a desktop shortcut.

    Anyway, challenges are great... although, you have an absolute monster of a challenge let alone with training - people are very resistant to change! I imagine you'll come up with something smart :-)
    Last edited by dwhyte85; 9th June 2010 at 01:21 PM.

  3. #33

    witch's Avatar
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    You are not getting any answers from anyone who has made the move to *nix - would it be useful to move this to the *nix forum or ask the question there?

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    danrhodes's Avatar
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    What would you do about all the course materials that are written for M$ Office?

    Quote Originally Posted by SteveBentley View Post
    I think the point you're trying to make is that your core IT infrastructure (particularly servers, network hardware) is pretty much a fixed cost, it doesn't change much with differing numbers of users.

    But if you have fewer kids to teach, then it's a pretty simply logic, however harsh, to say that fewer people will be required to teach them.
    It's like you read my mind Steve :-D

  5. #35

    localzuk's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by witch View Post
    You are not getting any answers from anyone who has made the move to *nix - would it be useful to move this to the *nix forum or ask the question there?
    I was just about to PM you to ask to do just that. Could you please do so?

  6. #36

    localzuk's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by danrhodes View Post
    What would you do about all the course materials that are written for M$ Office?
    We are a middle school - there are no such course materials. We are getting rid of ICT as a discrete subject also, so it will be a cross-curriculum subject instead (everyone doing stuff relevant to them).

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    What do you mean, your not going to have ICT dedicated lessons?

    D

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    There is another option, and i know some schools have done it, others don't like doing it, but it is an option... Buy out of the annual licensing. the cost is 1.5x the annual cost, but would leave you with a full system, for 12k, and no costs next year, with minimal disruption.

    As a middle ground, buyout the windows licenses, and the few office licenses you require, and dump the rest for Open source solution.

    I have been in a similar situation here, where we have outdated or missing information for MS licensing, and a reluctance to pay the annual costs to upgrade to new versions. There has been a suggestion to move to Open source solutions, but the honest answer is I am not trained to support them, I have no experience in supporting them, and as such I cannot recommend us using them. I am now considering moving to Open Office as a middle ground, but I would prefer to use MS office, as that is what I am used to, and what all the high schools use in my area.

    The consideration needs to be not just the "now" but the future costs. The costs of training yourself and your other technicians, possibly paying for training for the ICT teachers who have to learn a new system, and then the costs involved in hiring future Technical staff, as people trained and experienced with Linux tend to command much higher salaries than their windows counterparts (There are less of them, therefore higher competition on them!). The Technician/engineer job's I see coming up that request linux technician experience command some £10k more than I currently earn as an average, the average being around the £30k mark for technicians, more for manager level experience. And I'm not just talking about "I know how to install it" But using it client and server side, fault finding and being able to support others in using it.

    Also worth considering, is issues with software compatibility, and Printer drivers; The engineer from my photocopier manufacturer informed me that their print drivers do not support 64 bit Server OS's! Some of the other kit would just be a nightmare to get working correctly.

    I hate to add further weight to what is already a troubled situation, and though it is possible, and there probably is some school(s) that have done this, but it is a very drastic option in my opinion, and one that can be worked around in other ways.

    I hope what I have said is of some use.

  9. #39
    danbuntu's Avatar
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    to try to begin to answer the question

    comments from others on this post aside here are some linux type ideas - I'll though I'll preference these with the fact I work in a windows only college and haven't had the chance to put them to practise.

    If you switch desktop machines to something like ubuntu you can install likewise which will let you connect to a windows domain and authenticate to it. This will let you keep your active directory - although you will still need to have cals for each machine that connects. you'll then need to find replacements for programs and get people used to them and used to teaching them - for example a switch to open office is all very well but the school will likely be geared to teaching MS office so there's going to have to be some time invested there.

    as for the server side; file shareing and web servers are pretty easy but LDAP to replace AD can be a lot of hard work. You might want to look at a system like 'ebox' or 'clearos' and consider something like 'untangle' for a firewall.

    I'm assuming that you have some good Linux knowledge and experience. I wouldn't embarked on this path with the intention of learning as you go.

    On other option is to look at the live.edu and google appas for education offerings. This would let you run Linux or windows on the desktops and so long as they have access to the internet you'd be able to access email, word processing and file storage

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    Quote Originally Posted by danrhodes View Post
    What do you mean, your not going to have ICT dedicated lessons?

    D
    ICT will no longer be taught as 'ICT'. Instead, all the bits of it will be split out to the subject areas where they are most relevant and those subjects will cover them as part of their own curriculum. This is happening all over the country...

  11. #41

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    Quote Originally Posted by danbuntu View Post
    I'm assuming that you have some good Linux knowledge and experience. I wouldn't embarked on this path with the intention of learning as you go.
    Indeed I do, but just not in a school environment. I've got a lot of experience of home systems, and running linux dns/mail/web servers (and phone systems).

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    Quote Originally Posted by localzuk View Post
    ICT will no longer be taught as 'ICT'. Instead, all the bits of it will be split out to the subject areas where they are most relevant and those subjects will cover them as part of their own curriculum. This is happening all over the country...
    What will happen to all the ICT Teachers, I must not be up on this development yet, has my head been in the sand?
    Last edited by danrhodes; 9th June 2010 at 01:31 PM.

  13. #43

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    Quote Originally Posted by localzuk View Post
    Define 'front end'. Also, OEM means 'no volume install', meaning no imaging, and having to keep track of 250 OEM keys - some of which will be long gone from their labels which the kids love to peel off.
    "Log in" front end on top of Windows XP Home (i.e. a script or application that asks for a username and password and connects user's drives and so on): tried it, not a great success, wouldn't really recommend it. There was some talk of being able to replace the default Windows login application with your own custom one, but that struck me as rather unreliable and (possibly) had licensing issues anyway. Windows XP Home clients would still need CALs to connect drives anyway.

    Imaging OEM copies of Windows XP: that's what we do. We have a copy of System Rescue CD on every workstation that can save / restore an image from a central file server. Rather long-winded to set each workstation up, but does allow you fine control as to the exact drivers / configuration you want for each workstation. Restoring a Windows XP image generally involves restoring the machine from an image, then you have to disjoin and re-join the machine to the domain as its security identifier will be out of date - you can do a whole classroom in half an hour or so, but it's not quite a simple leave-them-to-restore operation. We have basic images for each machine, with drivers and so on installed, then we install software on workstations after re-imaging. We use a script to do this, but it seems to work okay via GPO too. Obviously, bit of a problem if you only have Windows XP Home or have lost the license keys from machines. Could you get license keys back via some license-key finding disk that looks at a Windows XP install and figures out its key?

    Joining any machine (XP Home, Pro or Linux-with-Samba) to your domain (or even having them authenticate occasionally) requires a CAL for that machine. This strikes me as an excellent reason to avoid Active Directory. Unfortunatly, Samba really isn't up to acting as a domain controller yet / still.

    I would switch classroom machines to being Linux-based, authenticating against an LDAP server or similar. Keep one small DC for a Terminal Services machine to authenticate against so you can run SIMS over Terminal Services for a limited number of users. Remember you need an Office CAL for each machine using MS Office, so that'll probably mean any machine that accesses the TS server to run SIMS. Might want to set up an OpenVPN to run SIMS over, that way there's no argument as to which machines are running SIMS / MS Office and you have a nice, secture way opf letting remote users access SIMS.

    For ease of workstation management, Ubuntu is nice and easy to install and you can have it auto-update and so on. However, you could look at using LTSP to deliver an OS image to each workstation over the network. LTSP now lets you use some applications locally, so you could dish out a Linux distribution to each machine that ran Firefox with Flash locally and then connected to a thin client server for other stuff.

    The above is rather where I'm aiming our system as it is - we have no budget for ICT, and have to do everything as cheaply as possible.

    --
    David Hicks

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    Quote Originally Posted by dwhyte85 View Post
    I got our tech to write down every OEM license onto our inventory or photograph it...
    That's a good idea - wish I'd come accross that one before!

    Get a contractor in for a few days to help you.
    For the whole contracting / training stuff, surley that's what the Internet, Google, StackOverflow and, of course, EduGeek is for - if you don't know the naswer to something, go and look it up or ask how to do it.

    --
    David Hicks

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    You probably want to PM linuxgirlie - she works on the Karoshi project: Karoshi Linux - Linux based OS designed for schools.

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