[Herts] OSSS

Oliver Cole stormeagle at ntlworld.com
Thu Jan 15 17:59:36 GMT 2004

On Thu, 2004-01-15 at 14:16, tony.tibbenham at sonoco.com wrote:

> 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.

Her authority AFAIK is curriculum, she was given a copy of the report
merely as a courtesy (although it may affect her in the long run).

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

Yes, not a problem. As long as the hardware is up to the job, I'm sure
the software will be.

But.. but.. *bursts into laughter*... fault log... hehe... oh you crack
me up! hehe, and even better, you expect resolutions to the fault? oh
the hilarity...

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

Unfortunately, both are £0, as they are also prepared to run an intranet
off one of the existing servers.

> 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.

Logical arguments are a waste of time with her... as is her continued
breathing, but theres no need to get personal.

> Fear of the unknown

Oh yes.. I think she's still getting over fear of computers. She is a
humanities teacher by trade.

> Consider demonstrating Open Office / Intranet on a non-networked pc or
> laptop

Again, that would probably be enough to get me kicked out if it was on
school hardware. Maybe I could borrow my mate's laptop, but she'd
probably try to get me kicked out for putting it down on a school bench
while it was running open source software :)

Jokes aside, logical arguments + demos will be inadequate. I may well
have to face up to the fact that open source is not going to hit clients
if she has anything to do with it.

> How about mentioning Linux is supplied by IBM, amongst others?  If she
> respects Microsoft's name, she probably respects IBM.

I doubt it. Knowing her, she's probably rabidly following Dalek
McBride's 'press releases', but not understanding any of the issues

> Lack of support
> see below
> What are her deeper concerns?

I wish I knew. She seems like a brick wall.

> Explain that this is not something new. Other schools are already doing it
> [see Ron's post]

I may ask Ron to give her a call. Mind you... that would probably get me
kicked out for "getting my friends to harass her at work", regardless of
the fact Ron is a teacher.

> Maybe she is worried because this idea is from a pupil and she believes
> 'pupils want to crack the network'.

She would call it hacking, but yes, you are probably close.

Commence full disclosure: Listen up everybody!

Early last year (during her previous stint at my school) I was accused
of "hacking the server" (FYI, there are at least 3 servers).

Investigation, letters and phone calls by concerned parents showed that
the actual concern was that I had informed a student in Year 9 how to
use "about:some_HTML_here" in the address bar, to test HTML on the fly
in IE.

He then used it to do "about:<a href="\\server1">server1</a>". For the
un-HTML-enlightened among us, this would create a blank page with a link
to \\server1, which would show a normal Explorer Window with all the
shared folders on server1. What else that student did I was never told.

Charges against me were downgraded to "lack of judgement", and the only
reason I didn't fight them to the hilt was because I need network access
for my A-Level computing. Since then, she has been jumpy about me even
talking to the network tech, or entering the server room (even under

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

If she fights it based on this, it will be because "we can't afford to
remove any PCs, forcing students to share". Luckily, we have a spare
server that I don't think is doing anything.

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

That is not going to happen, full stop. This woman wouldn't bother to
read the amount on a cheque if you put it in her hand.

I did have a long (1 hr) discussion about the GPL with one of the other
IT teacher however. I hope I didn't say anything incorrect, even though
I have read it from cover to cover.

Hopefully some of that might rub off on her.

> 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:

Yes, but I don't think he wants to come to loggerheads with her. He is
absolutely supportive, but not if it means making his life difficult wrt
the IT teacher.

> Support Contract, ad-hoc support from suppliers, email / newsgroups,

Email/newsgroups would probably be dismissed even by the head, but I
believe there was someone who did support it, sited in Berkhamsted. I
appear to have lost their name. If anyone would care to provide it
again, I would be most grateful.

> There are limited cash benefits because educational MS licences are low
> cost.

So I hear. I think in terms of retail and OEM licenses, I have no idea
how much educational 98s and XPs are, maybe you could enlighten me!

> 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.
> http://www.jonobacon.org/writing/


> 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]].

Yeh, maybe. But lets cross that bridge when we get to it :)

> Good luck,

Again, I'll need it.


More information about the Herts mailing list