[Gllug] It is not Microsoft

Ryan Cartwright r.cartwright at equitasit.co.uk
Fri Jan 9 14:35:55 UTC 2009

Sorry just catching up on some of this..

2009/1/8 Lesley Binks <lesleyb at pgcroft.net>:
>> Chris Bell wrote:
>> Hello,
>> I have been trying to persuade my local Ealing Council to provide help
>> for new users of Unix compatible Free Open Source Software, and the only
>> real response has been that it is not Microsoft, so no. There is no help
>> provided for any other system.

and ...

>> The council has provided courses for many years through the "Adult
>> Learning" and Ealing Library services.
>> The Hanwell Community Centre (a listed old school building, once attended
>> by Charlie Chaplin) is about to undergo a 2,000,000 renovation, and Ealing
>> Council has also set aside 350,000 to convert five? of the largest and best
>> classrooms to a Microsoft Only "Learning Suite", to be used by Council staff
>> during the working day but be available to others at other times.
> A number of activities spring to mind....
> 3. Ask for room in the Hanwell Community Centre. Don't expect them to
> divert one of their five flagship classrooms.  These have been earmarked
> by people in the business of computer provision for their deployment.  That
> business - whoever it is - may have a track record of IT classroom
> provision and also have the ear of the deciders at the council.   Find
> out who that business is and where and how they operate in terms of
> getting the business in.  Look at what is provided and think how much
> the local Linux community could provide of that or would it be better
> to provide something different?

This sounds like a really good suggestion to me. By providing an
alternative  - not necessarily a competitor - you could demonstrate
any "demand" and/or benefit for using free software to the council.
Don't forget that it has to be perceived to be a benefit by the
council not just by those of us who know better.

Just out of interest: you seem quite determined to change the
council's mind. Other than your preference for Linux is there a reason
to force them to drop MS for this project? What I mean is that if you
can demonstrate a training facility/suite that has demand - and just
happens to use free software - would you have a better chance of
success than trying to change the heading of the tanker that is Ealing
Borough Council?

I'm currently in an email conversation with somebody who has set-up a
community suite of half a dozen Edubuntu desktops and a Fedora server
for people to use to learn computer/web skills etc. One of the
knock-on effects has been the way different sections of the local
community are now getting together through the project. The whole
thing cost £1300 to set up and now that it is shown to be working the
council are more interested. They did support the project from the
start but from a greater distance shall we say. The guy running it
gives 6 hours a week to the project.

Ryan Cartwright
Equitas IT Solutions
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