Sat here at school - using Firefox and open office
There is a problem with schools and their choices they make about software and other ICT purchases. The problem is that many schools lack the technical understanding and ICT support framework to feel confident about using open source software. There is always a risk in moving from one ICT model to another - I think that BECTA should be providing more information about the likely cost savings and also they should be asking more schools to take part in case studies.
We use windows XP, windows 7, Microsoft office and (dare I say it) Internet Explorer 8 on most of our computers. We have a good understanding of the benefits of open source but we are concerned about retraining teachers to use linux or open office.
Having said that, there are an increasing number of teachers who do not want to use Internet Explorer - quite a few are using Firefox and Chrome. We even have one teacher who uses Ubuntu (and loves it).
I think we will have success in the future in moving towards products like open office and Ubuntu because the user perception of open source products in our school is generally good.
Basically, all I'm saying here is that schools should be AWARE that there are alternatives and they should be playing with the technology and planning pilots.
We use Linux for some of our back office stuff and it works AMAZINGLY well. We have been running servers for years with minimal downtime. When we have had downtime it has been down to mistakes made by support staff working on the servers. The last time I rebooted my web server it had been running for 247 days straight! I think the issue here is that the general user base are usually unaware that they are accessing web services from a Linux box.
I actually make a point of telling staff that our VLE, website and ticketing system all run on Linux.
I make this point because other systems which fail more regularly use a Microsoft OS.