Thanks now I can't get the 'share and enjoy' song from HHGTTG out of my head.
Open source providers have scored a significant and timely victory to get their software into UK schools with an official government blessing. The Sirius Corporation revealed yesterday that it was among 12 software suppliers to have been awarded places on the £80m Software for Educational Institutions Framework (SEIF) …
Because the only person with less of a clue than the civil servants is the teachers. Seems like Balmer et al have not been sending enough pretty young things from Microsoft Marketing to take the becta folk out for wine and hookers. Does anyone here believe that becta actually have a crack team of geeks who evaluate software to make recommendations on or do you guys all get the fact that this is all just leverage to get a better deal out of M$ now that they are not throwing their expense accounts at becta decision makers.
Given BECTA's love-in with big ole MS, this seems like a token effort to appease the various open source bodies and orgs. Simply shoving IT components into something is a recipe for disaster if the strategy is designed cohesively enough, as I am sure we have all had the pleasure of witnessing at one time or another.
I hope this isn't an excuse to put FOSS in, it isn't given a chance to interoperate and then FOSS is derided as a failure.
We shall see...
....when you tell them about Open Source software. They cannot believe such a thing exists. When you say it does then they ask if it's legal. Then when you say it is then they ask why it's not been stopped already.
For most people and even plenty of people who think they know about computers, Open Source is just something they can't get their heads around. They understand stealing and they understand free stuff that is crap or not free.
Once they get it they are quite likely to accept it. However because much of the software is different to Microsoft then they focus on the differences as problems. In business this has a practical important for some things. In the home completely free software is available from Microsoft via stealing. However in education it would seem obvious you can't steal and that you can overcome small differences between Open Source and Microsoft if it saves a fortune.
Many home users are concidering Open Source as an alternative to stealing from Microsoft. They seem much happier to have Open Office when I explain that I don't make pirate copies of MS Office and that if they want it then they should pay £400 or get their company to buy it. Or they can have Open Office and just pay me a small fee to set up their computer.
My Son's school hosts all its student work on a Linux server I installed about a year ago - mirrored drives in caddys and a cold-spare system unit all ready to run - and still a fraction of the price RM wanted for a fully-specced/fully licenced Windows-based solution.
Tux trumps Paris, for once.
So congrats, your local secondary school signed up for its Open Source Virtual Learning Environment (VLE).
What happened next...
Curriculum upgraded starting with year 7 students. Every child to get a brand new laptop to use in class and take home every night to do homework via the VLE. Subsidy allows £250 per laptop but schools opts to go with Becta approved leasing company. Result: parents expected to pay £13 per month over three years on top of the subsidy. Using existing laptops is not an option under the deal.
New laptop computers packed with all the latest software. Who said Becta doesn't like Vista and Office 2007?
Result: Open Source = great news for Microsoft.
In case you think I've just made that up, as a parent I've got until Friday to sign up to the Laptop Leasing Scheme or else be worried that my son is not "digitally included". Oh and by the way, my son has no broadband at home - one of the pitfalls of living in, and supporting the local economy of, a rural area.
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