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Schools and Free Software

 
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dylan
PostPosted: Sat Sep 02, 2006 2:38 pm    Post subject: Schools and Free Software Reply with quote

How do I convince a school that runs exclusively Windows boxes to convert to Free Software and thus, Blag?
ewl
PostPosted: Sat Sep 02, 2006 4:11 pm    Post subject: Re: Schools and Free Software Reply with quote

dylan wrote:
How do I convince a school that runs exclusively Windows boxes to convert to Free Software and thus, Blag?


Well, there are the obvious arguments. The school wouldn't have to spend a dime rather than the expense of licensing every computer it installs Windows on. And the fact that open formats used by linux will always be accessible, while closed formats which Windows uses might someday not be.

I'm sure there are 100 more. But I doubt if they will do you any good. The school will be afraid of linux and the teachers won't want to learn it. Dann Washko on the podcast "The Linux Link Tech Show" works for a school district in Pennsylvania. He can tell you about his experiences with this issue. His email address is: dann@thelinuxlink.net


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Ed LaBonte
dylan
PostPosted: Sat Sep 02, 2006 4:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I suppose paraphrasing the associations within this article may help me a bit:

http://www.gnu.org/philosophy/schools.html

jebba
PostPosted: Sat Sep 02, 2006 5:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Plus, with gnulinux, the students get to actually learn about the OS, since it's not a locked box.
stevo32
PostPosted: Sat Sep 02, 2006 6:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Probably the best time to push it is when they are considering buying new hardware ("With blag linux, you can extend the life of your hardware and delay upgrading by another 2 years! (Then grab 'em when they really do upgrade too! ))

It takes a pretty convincing argument to get somebody to change craploads of machines from a system where it half-works and they get support from whoever they bought it from (at least my school does, the school board has a contract with IBM). At my school, they convert all the older boxes to run linux (connecting to terminal servers) but run the newer boxes on windows. Probably the easiest way to get the most computers for the least amount of money and hassle.

Also note that many schools use custom software for things like report cards and thus switching from windows is impossible.

Thanks,
Stephen Clement


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E-mail me at s.clement@localhost (replace localhost with sympatico.ca) or stevo32@localhost (replace localhost with blagblagblag.org).
dylan
PostPosted: Sat Sep 02, 2006 6:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The way I see it, attendance lists and report cards could be better managed with simple text files and collaborative systems like Plone or Drupal.
jebba
PostPosted: Sat Sep 02, 2006 7:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Search around too, as there are many GNULinux education websites already. They should have lots of info. I'm sure there's software that does things like grades and such too.
ewl
PostPosted: Sat Sep 02, 2006 8:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Another obvious argument relates to the internet and viruses (to the extent that the machines have internet access or network access to a computer that does). No need to run antivirus software.

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Ed LaBonte
Jason
PostPosted: Sat Sep 02, 2006 9:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I found the easiest way was to offer to try to help support the school in the short term and offer to give basic training to the existing IT guys. Whatever you ask, if their current IT guy doesn't give it the go ahead they will think woah this is complex so they won't go for it. Get the IT guy on your side first. If one doesn't exist, it is sometimes even harder because if it isn't broken they won't fix it.

If you mention that when they break things they can post on forums and get help with Linux unlike Windows, it might be easier. That of course assumes they have a net connection. I think the fact is though Windows is easier to use than Linux. It locks so much away from you that you can't really do anything wrong. It just breaks itself randomly.

You may well have to factor in the school board and the curriculem. If they want an Excel module done for instance, using OO'sversion simply won't cut it with them. They are that anal about things.

ewl
PostPosted: Sat Sep 02, 2006 11:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Stallman has written a piece on free software in schools:
http://www.gnu.org/philosophy/schools.html


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Ed LaBonte
dylan
PostPosted: Sat Sep 02, 2006 11:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yes, I know:

http://forums.blagblagblag.org/posting.php?mode=quote&p=16206


But thanks again :-D

ewl
PostPosted: Sun Sep 03, 2006 12:06 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ahh yes. I'm so incredibly observant... ;)

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Ed LaBonte
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