Buy the licences outright and try and keep them for 6 years, thats what we do here, had xp for roughly 7 years and now we are on Win 7 should be at least 4-6 years. We use a Schools Agreement Plus. Office might need ugrading more often they seem to be coming on very fast now. But you could always go Open Office for that. We tried here but staff snubbed it.
We have a completely Debian GNU/Linux backend with a three Windows servers for SIMS, Antivirus management for Windows desktops, and Ringdale FollowMe printing.
We spent a couple of years talking about it, and a year (on and off) planning it.
OpenLDAP, Samba, Squid, BIND, DHCPD, with Gosa, Nagios and various other web based tools handle the backend, with rsync and lvm snapshots used for backing up data. All servers are virtualised on KVM over iSCSI. On the desktops we have a mix of Ubuntu, Mac OSX and Windows XP. We bought our Windows XP and Office 2000 licenses outright a long time ago. The same login credentials are used everywhere and we imported the schemas from OSX server so that the Apple desktops are configured from within Open LDAP on Debian.
The cost of migration is very high compared to business as usual, but for us still came in lower than comparative quotes for a migration to server 2008 at the backend (in fact, it came in lower than the licensing and training for VMWare alone). We were in a position where our old 2003 AD servers needed replacing so it dovetailed nicely. In the long term we're very well placed for keeping our fixed costs down on maintenance. We had the benefit of existing Linux skills so training requirements have been low. Students just get on and use everything just fine with no training, and Staff either get on with it or complain without ever trying it (from a feeling of fear, rather than experience). You must include the cost of training or contracted in support in any proposal.
As with any large project, there were some nasty things to sort out initially that caused lots of pain. The biggest issue was down to poor OSX documentation rather than any deliberate oversight on our part. Now installed, the network mostly gets on with things by itself and I concentrate on development work and new functionality. Our current issue is poor I/O speeds for the VMs, but this is due to having to scrimp on the storage and use SATA and software RAID, rather than fast SAS disks. Moving them across is our project for summer 2010.
We have a support contract for Linux on the servers (Debian in our case), which has been very responsive when we needed it.
For those wondering how we manage the XP machines without AD, it is a mixture of startup scripts and NT4 era NTConfig.POL files (from poledit, configured with *.adm files) in the netlogon folder. We never fiddled with the settings much in AD so the one-time cost of creating our own adm file for the appropriate registry settings was worth it. We use Windows SteadyState (free from MS) to handle Windows Update on an automated schedule.
hmmmm, this is a hard one.
We are a 700 pupil grammar school with 400+ computers/laptops etc. We use Linux on 90% of the hardware in our school., including 12 of our 14 servers.
It has taken us 6 years to get to this position and it wasn't easy, especially on the client side, but it was worth it.
The school previously had the Microsoft Schools Agreement and RM, this was ok when I first started here because they only had 80 pc's! But we were expanding rapidly and so couldn't keep with the yearly payments. The first thing we did was ditch RM and go with Linux servers (Running Karoshi) and keep the MSA. This saved a nice lump sum and none of the staff were any the wiser, apart from the school website and email system changing.
Next we got rid of the MSA, this meant re-installing all the computers with Linux. We did this slowly, starting with the ICT labs, and then moving onto any new machines...as we hand build all our machines this made it easier, as we just didn't buy a license at all. Once we had done this we moved onto the rest of the computers.
Our office staff/burser all still use Windows, though this is something we would like to change it is just not possible at the moment.
For software side, we just use alternatives, if a department needs software it has to be web-based or it doesn't get purchased.
We have had our ups and downs here, but overall its been good, new staff that come to the school just seem to fit in, especially the younger ones fresh out of Uni, they don't really take notice of what we are using, which I think is good because of the way that everyone is moving to an 'online' lifestyle, they just seem to cope with change better. The students also don't really notice either, probably for the same reason. Also on open evening we find quite a few parents who have a linux machine at home or have used OSS on their computer, so they understand what we do here.
And if you are worried about the students don't be, we just got an outstanding in our Ofsted, and though yes it is down to the teachers, it also shows that a member of staff teaching with a Linux computer do just the same as someone with a Windows computer.
Hope that is some help.
250 pcs here and an almost identical situation last year. I pursuaded our superiors of the time and cost to transfer and training vs disruption. We moved to OO instead of upgrading office 2003 to 2007 which saved us about 4k We then purchased old copies of office 2003 pro and put those on the admin staff and senior management for outlook only.
*REMEMBER* if you have a hint of an MS server then its CALS all round (exchange too!), something that still rankles our bursar but hey ho what can you do. We didnt swap desktops to linux. I still purchase OEM licences for our PCs but I only buy dells. Why? Central recovery! Dell OS CDs have the dell product code on them. I too started photographing licence keys and I put our device labels next to the product key for identification.
Unless you are a linux guru then you are mad to go down the whole route for 8k savings. Teachers will not simply switch all their documents to OO overnight. Presentations wont work, interactive boards will play up, printer drivers will be funny, that engraving machine in technology will be funny. God knows what the USB microscopes will do when they see linux.
See the picture? It is not worth it for 8k a year and im guessing you are a one man band - like I am - so good luck keeping it running.
Have you considered VNC based thin client-ing.
Running VNC on a Windows server only lets other users share the same screen - no good for multi-user systems.
However on Linux you can run multiple VNC servers (on different ports) and set each individual client to connect to its unique VNC server. Obviously the client could be anything than can run a VNC client - so any old PC, and most thin-clients (your M75 will be able to). You can download a script to configure the Linux machine to host multiple VNC servers from: Axel: Technical Support
I am not suggesting this gives all the answers - but as a viable way to reduce Windows dependency it offers possibilities, and it is free to try...
An update. Based on the multitude of advice I've received. We are going to move a little slower on this. So, rather than me rushing something through, we are going to incrementally start playing with bits - for example rolling out OpenOffice, Firefox (or Chrome), etc... on Windows, then move one suite over to being a linux based thin client environment, trialling a couple of teachers on Linux laptops etc...
This will allow me to refresh my linux knowledge, and also allow us to tweak things as we go. And most importantly, it will allow us to work on overcoming the 'ARGH!!! NEW THINGS!!!' attitude of some staff. :)
Sorry about bringing an old thread up but someone asked about Karoshi Documentation, you can now find an under construction version here
Damn it wrong thread sorry.