[Herts] OSSS

tony.tibbenham at sonoco.com tony.tibbenham at sonoco.com
Thu Jan 15 14:19:33 GMT 2004


I realise you probably meant the other Tony but ....

Suggest she talk to other Linux advocates who are already doing this in
their schools [volunteers? .. Ron?].

Understand how this lady fits in the authority / user chain
Are there staff who will accept the idea of a pilot and can encourage
understanding or, at least, patience.

Be prepared to have to compare the systems reliability [as recorded in your
network tech's fault / resolution log].

Sell the project benefits first.
This project (intranet) is good for the school because ....
share information easily
allow pupils to experiment with programming / web design / content
management etc in a safe, nondestructive, environment

So .. assuming the project is worth doing, how much is it going to cost?
Compare MS vs Linux costs

Compare cost vs benefit to decide whether the project is worth doing.
Is it still worth doing even after buying MS licences?
If yes, suggest a pilot using the 'free' tools because it can always be
re-built on MS later, if the free tools prove inadequate.
[You know these tools are being used in, and sold by, some of the worlds
largest companies]

Address her concerns:
Fear is irrational.  Logical arguments may be inadequate.
Fear of the unknown
Consider demonstrating Open Office / Intranet on a non-networked pc or
How about mentioning Linux is supplied by IBM, amongst others?  If she
respects Microsoft's name, she probably respects IBM.

Lack of support
see below

What are her deeper concerns?
Explain that this is not something new. Other schools are already doing it
[see Ron's post]
Maybe she is worried because this idea is from a pupil and she believes
'pupils want to crack the network'.

It will cost ...
Nothing but effort and some old pc's.

How is that possible?
Ask her to read the applicable licences.
Suggest she review the history of Linux and the GNU project.

What about support?
This is a concern, especially for someone moving from the comfort of
Service Level Agreements.
Get your network tech on your side.  Explain he knows Linux already.
An option may be for CSE to support Linux, otherwise document other avenues
of support:
Support Contract, ad-hoc support from suppliers, email / newsgroups,

There are limited cash benefits because educational MS licences are low
The benefits come in freedom to innovate and easier licence management.

Refer to Jono Bacon's work on introducing Linux to charities, some of the
same arguments apply to schools.

OK, lets pause a moment and assume you successfully complete a small
project using free software.   What next?
Get the headmaster to publish the schools achievement [perhaps send a note
to Jon Hunt at Ipas [see previous posts]].

Good luck,

Tony Tibbenham

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