Convincing a school to switch to Linux

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Convincing a school to switch to Linux

Postby Dingbats » Fri Sep 07, 2007 6:37 am UTC

With every day that I'm forced to use Windows in school, I'm taking it more and more as a personal insult. So I've decided that I'm going to really make an effort convincing them to switch to Linux, probably Ubuntu. But the school has a lot of computers and they're not going to make the switch just because I say so, so I need really good arguments.

The ones I can think of are

a) they'll save loads of money. I'm thinking of phrasing it like "How can you in good conscience spend X amounts of money on proprietary software when that money could be used to finance X thing that needs to be fixed in the school?". This is probably the heaviest argument.

b) using the Windows system ties the students to Microsoft's products. If their school used a Linux system instead, the students would realise there are alternatives. Basically what RMS argues in this article. They'll probably reject this argument as "so what?".

c) it'll stop people from playing Quake instead of doing schoolwork on the computers. Not much of an argument.

I need someting more substantial than the economic argument, but simple enough for them to understand and care about. Help me!

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Postby Jesse » Fri Sep 07, 2007 6:40 am UTC

However, students are more likely to already be familiar with the Windows system, and how does using Windows tie them to Microsoft products? I use Windows and I'm not tied to a Microsoft product, I could use Linux if I wanted to, but I don't want to.

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Postby tarkadal » Fri Sep 07, 2007 6:55 am UTC

Do the staff all use Windows machines too? What about them? You can't just up and switch an OS like that. Sure, you might be able to get a computer lab to run Linux, but you won't get the whole school to go Linux.

a) Just because Linux is free, doesn't mean it costs nothing. Have you factored in the cost of installing Linux on all the machines? Have you factored in testing all the applications that the school needs to use to see if they run correctly on Linux? Have you factored in training the staff to use Linux?

b) What's wrong with using Microsoft products? Besides, apart from Office and Windows, what other Microsoft products are you really using? Okay, IE. I'd go into this arguement a little more, but I can't talk, eating.

c)Yes, not really an arguement, that's a discipline issue, not a Microsoft issue. It's really an arguement against you, because it may just prevent people using the software they need to.

EDIT : I should probably say I work in the tech services in a school. So this is likely what they would come back with straight up.
Last edited by tarkadal on Fri Sep 07, 2007 6:58 am UTC, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby Dingbats » Fri Sep 07, 2007 6:58 am UTC

Jesster wrote:However, students are more likely to already be familiar with the Windows system, and how does using Windows tie them to Microsoft products? I use Windows and I'm not tied to a Microsoft product, I could use Linux if I wanted to, but I don't want to.

Yeah of course, I know I phrased it sloppily, but the point is that by using proprietary software in school, they're upholding a system that is IMO bad and immoral. They won't accept that as a reason, so that's why I need better arguments.

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Postby Pseudomammal » Fri Sep 07, 2007 7:08 am UTC

Are these general use computers, or lab computers? Sadly, there's a lot of specialized academic software out there with no viable open source alternative. Depending on the size of your school and how tech savvy your school administration is, there's also a chance that the "network administrators" are just teachers who took a few weekend IT courses, and even if they're smart and interested enough, they're not going to have the time to learn a whole new system.

Have you considered making a live CD and booting up Linux whenever you use a school machine? You'll save yourself the headaches of Windows, probably learn a few things while tailoring the install to your school's network, and you might intrigue some classmates. Converting other students to Linux would be much easier than converting the school officials, and you'd still be fighting the good fight.
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Postby keozen » Fri Sep 07, 2007 11:15 am UTC

As awful as windows can be the sad fact is that 99% of general day to day industry uses it and seen as school is a learning environment they have a responsibility to teach their students to that majority to give them the best chance in as many career paths as possible.

That and they'd see it from the point of view that they'd have to do a BIG changeover, probably either re-train or re-hire IT personnel and staff to use the system, even if the long term savings are big the school system can't afford the initial expenditure in staff training, changes, the changeover, etc.

Also I daresay staff morale would take a hit, i know a LOT of teachers who like what they have the way they have it and do NOT like being told that they HAVE to change.
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Postby Gelsamel » Fri Sep 07, 2007 11:46 am UTC

Linux isn't exactly easy to use for people who are computer illiterate.
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Postby Hawknc » Fri Sep 07, 2007 12:01 pm UTC

Au contraire...install Ubuntu, and the ease of use for running applications is at least equal to Windows. In fact, there's a nice big button that says "Applications" on it in which everything you need is located. More complicated stuff is...well, more complicated (because some of it involves zomg command line interface), but you'd likely not be wanting students to do anything more than run specific programs such as office software, web browser, etc. Plus you wouldn't have to worry nearly as much about viruses, adware and the like.

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Postby Memo » Fri Sep 07, 2007 12:01 pm UTC

Gelsamel wrote:Linux isn't exactly easy to use for people who are computer illiterate.

I would say that it's easier for a computer illiterate. Windows power users are the ones who have problems when switching, computer illiterates have nothing holding them back.

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Postby SecondTalon » Fri Sep 07, 2007 12:19 pm UTC

tarkadal wrote:a) Just because Linux is free, doesn't mean it costs nothing. Have you factored in the cost of installing Linux on all the machines? Have you factored in testing all the applications that the school needs to use to see if they run correctly on Linux? Have you factored in training the staff to use Linux?


Quoted simply because these incredibly important points are seemingly being ignored. It's possible that Linux would work out fine, but if the Science department has.. I dunno.. planetary software that only works in Windows, then at least you cannot convert all of the PCs in the enterprise to that. Then there's the time/cost of converting everyone's documents to OpenOffice and making sure they work right. (If you question that, go hit the Your Art and Links section and download VTHodge's Excel games.. and try to get those to work in OpenOffice..good luck with that)

Then, of course, you've got to get an Antivirus solution as well...

So, the short term and potentially long term costs of switching platforms might actually exceed the cost of the corporate licensing they already have in place. Sad, but true.
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Re: Convincing a school to switch to Linux

Postby madjo » Fri Sep 07, 2007 12:31 pm UTC

Dingbats wrote:c) it'll stop people from playing Quake instead of doing schoolwork on the computers. Not much of an argument.

Nope, not an argument, as Quake runs natively on Linux.
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Postby zenten » Fri Sep 07, 2007 1:08 pm UTC

Gelsamel wrote:Linux isn't exactly easy to use for people who are computer illiterate.


Depends on what desktop environment it is set up with, among other things. I would say Ubuntu for instance is easier for someone who is computer illiterate to use than windows. However, the more familiar you are with windows, the more difficult it would be to switch.

That being said, getting a school to convert everything over is going to be impossible. Getting a computer lab in the school to use it would be much more likely.

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Postby Rasputin » Fri Sep 07, 2007 2:44 pm UTC

The computers in my atmosphere lab room dual boot windows/linux. Maybe you could have them designate some computers to do the same.
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Postby Dingbats » Fri Sep 07, 2007 2:58 pm UTC

tarkadal wrote:a) Just because Linux is free, doesn't mean it costs nothing. Have you factored in the cost of installing Linux on all the machines? Have you factored in testing all the applications that the school needs to use to see if they run correctly on Linux? Have you factored in training the staff to use Linux?

Of course there are costs. But if I don't convince them to install Linux on the computers, they'll probably be installing Windows Vista sooner or later, which costs more than what re-training people for Linux does.

madjo wrote:Nope, not an argument, as Quake runs natively on Linux.

Dammit! :roll:

SecondTalon wrote:Quoted simply because these incredibly important points are seemingly being ignored. It's possible that Linux would work out fine, but if the Science department has.. I dunno.. planetary software that only works in Windows, then at least you cannot convert all of the PCs in the enterprise to that.

I don't know exactly what applications that are used in school, but the basic stuff like word processing and web surfing is obviously not a problem. If there's some software that really doesn't have a Linux equivalent, then they may keep Windows on a few computers to run that software on. They already do that kind of thing with the computers used for music production, those are Macs. But I can't imagine it would be a big problem in my school. EDIT: Or what Rasputin said.

SecondTalon wrote:Then there's the time/cost of converting everyone's documents to OpenOffice and making sure they work right.

That could of course be a problem. But not everything has to be converted, there would be no point in converting a paper you've already handed in, for example. Still, it would be quite a task, but you'll only have to do it once. But I could point at the school I attended before, which switched from Microsoft Office to OpenOffice without any big problems.

SecondTalon wrote:Then, of course, you've got to get an Antivirus solution as well...

There's Clam AntiVirus. But then, viruses are not very much of a problem on Linux.

keozen wrote:As awful as windows can be the sad fact is that 99% of general day to day industry uses it and seen as school is a learning environment they have a responsibility to teach their students to that majority to give them the best chance in as many career paths as possible.

There's nothing in the Swedish law that says that they have to use products from a specific vendor. They're free to use whatever they want.

keozen wrote:That and they'd see it from the point of view that they'd have to do a BIG changeover, probably either re-train or re-hire IT personnel and staff to use the system, even if the long term savings are big the school system can't afford the initial expenditure in staff training, changes, the changeover, etc.

This is the biggest problem. My school is one of the richest in the area though, so money really shouldn't be a problem.

Of course there are potential problems with making the switch, but it has been done before. I know that several Swedish municipalities have switched all their school computers to Linux, and saved lots of money. So it can be done! Now, I was looking for arguments for switching, not against. :) Do you know any besides saving money?

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Postby zenten » Fri Sep 07, 2007 3:11 pm UTC

Dingbats wrote:Of course there are potential problems with making the switch, but it has been done before. I know that several Swedish municipalities have switched all their school computers to Linux, and saved lots of money. So it can be done! Now, I was looking for arguments for switching, not against. :) Do you know any besides saving money?


The fact that you won't get viruses on the computers (and anyone who is going to take objection to what I just said should really research the issue more)? Also, you can be sure you will always be able to do updates without having to pay more money. In fact, you'll be able to upgrade the hardware without paying for new software licenses either.

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Re: Convincing a school to switch to Linux

Postby Azrael » Fri Sep 07, 2007 3:12 pm UTC

Dingbats wrote:a) they'll save loads of money.

No, the computers they buy come pre-loaded with windows. Sure, it's built into the price, but it's built into the price of every computer. Switching will not see an economic boon. Plus, the time spent re-configuring computers and the added money in support (because fewer people are familiar with linux) will cost them more in salary.

(The drop in preventing viruses might make up for it, but without really accurate budgetary numbers from the school, you probably can't make a sound case to that effect.)

b) using the Windows system ties the students to Microsoft's products.

Microsoft products that are the standard throughout the business world. Familiarizing students to those products is actually a very good thing.

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Postby Jesse » Fri Sep 07, 2007 3:17 pm UTC

My school never once had any problems with viruses on Windows, and your other argument is a money-saving one again.

Really money saving in the long term is pretty much the only argument I can come up with.

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Re: Convincing a school to switch to Linux

Postby zenten » Fri Sep 07, 2007 3:36 pm UTC

Azrael wrote:
Dingbats wrote:a) they'll save loads of money.

No, the computers they buy come pre-loaded with windows. Sure, it's built into the price, but it's built into the price of every computer. Switching will not see an economic boon.


Um, I'm pretty sure that's not true in Europe, where the poster is from.

Jesster wrote:My school never once had any problems with viruses on Windows, and your other argument is a money-saving one again.


That's still a money saving argument mind you, as anti virus programs cost money, and require a continuous payment of money to keep the license current.

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Postby jeebusroxors » Fri Sep 07, 2007 3:45 pm UTC

Case studies and precedent are the way to go.

I read a few articles on the cost analysis of a linux/windows a while ago, try and find something like that.

Also, your best approach is to go through your SysAds first. Try and talk to them about linux, get the bug in their ear. It'll be easier to get them onboard then the "man". Plus us IT guys can come up with some pretty scary sounding jargon to sway arguments ;).

RE: Windows Apps, there is wine. Do your research on software, try to find an alternative, and if that fails, test it out with wine. And BTW planetary software = celestia :). I think it runs on windows too, it's pretty neat.

If you have any questions or need a hand feel free to shoot me a PM. I'm always willing to fight the power. *fist*

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Postby SecondTalon » Fri Sep 07, 2007 3:52 pm UTC

jeebusroxors wrote:RE: Windows Apps, there is wine. Do your research on software, try to find an alternative, and if that fails, test it out with wine. And BTW planetary software = celestia :). I think it runs on windows too, it's pretty neat.


Yes, thank you for finding an example to refute my software claim where I pulled an idea for software completely out of my ass just as an example, to better explain the idea of specialized software for a specific purpose purchased by a department for use in that department that may not run on another software platform.. and completely missing my point - that applications purchased might perhaps be useless without testing first..probably using WINE, but that takes time and time = money. Also, by the myths page I'm reading, WINE and non-intel chips don't get along.

Now go post in the intro thread.
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Postby Phenriz » Fri Sep 07, 2007 3:59 pm UTC

jeebusroxors wrote:Also, your best approach is to go through your SysAds first. Try and talk to them about linux, get the bug in their ear. It'll be easier to get them onboard then the "man". Plus us IT guys can come up with some pretty scary sounding jargon to sway arguments ;).


If they're a sysadmin and they haven't heard of linux and/or aren't familiar with it for at least server purposes, they're probably not much of a sysadmin to begin with.

INdeed jargon can be a powerful persuasive tool ;)
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Re: Convincing a school to switch to Linux

Postby Pesto » Fri Sep 07, 2007 4:22 pm UTC

zenten wrote:The fact that you won't get viruses on the computers (and anyone who is going to take objection to what I just said should really research the issue more)? Also, you can be sure you will always be able to do updates without having to pay more money. In fact, you'll be able to upgrade the hardware without paying for new software licenses either.
Azrael wrote:No, the computers they buy come pre-loaded with windows. Sure, it's built into the price, but it's built into the price of every computer. Switching will not see an economic boon. Plus, the time spent re-configuring computers and the added money in support (because fewer people are familiar with linux) will cost them more in salary.

Along the same lines as these, old computers could be used to start a Linux lab. This is more of a timing issue on your part. When the current batch of computers (that likely came pre-loaded with Windows) is becoming obsolete, you can talk about installing Linux on those. This may allow the school to reduce the number of new computers they have to buy in order to upgrade to the new version of Windows.

I don't think you said what type of school this is. University? High school? Grade school?

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Postby warhorse » Fri Sep 07, 2007 4:27 pm UTC

Not to be pessimistic, but if you're in public school, the IT guys are probably not top tier workers as a function of the low pay. The probably don't know/care what Linux is.
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Re: Convincing a school to switch to Linux

Postby Memo » Fri Sep 07, 2007 4:33 pm UTC

Dingbats wrote:With every day that I'm forced to use Windows in school, I'm taking it more and more as a personal insult.

Why?

Dingbats wrote:the point is that by using proprietary software in school, they're upholding a system that is IMO bad and immoral.

Why do you think that?


At the moment you look like a Linux fanboy who thinks the world should change to accommodate him and his open-source dream.

The only reason why a school would consider changing their already working system is money and you already said that your school is one of the richest of the zone. Besides, Windows and Windows software are the standard, and if you use Wine you'll have to buy Windows software anyway.

There's one chance to suggest Linux though, wait until they are thinking about upgrading to Vista. If they are going to change anyway they may consider Linux as a possibility.

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Re: Convincing a school to switch to Linux

Postby Dingbats » Fri Sep 07, 2007 4:39 pm UTC

Pesto wrote:I don't think you said what type of school this is. University? High school? Grade school?

I didn't, and that's because I don't really know what the US equivalent is. Something like high school maybe? 16-19 year olds.

jessbusroxors wrote:Case studies and precedent are the way to go.

I read a few articles on the cost analysis of a linux/windows a while ago, try and find something like that.

Also, your best approach is to go through your SysAds first. Try and talk to them about linux, get the bug in their ear. It'll be easier to get them onboard then the "man". Plus us IT guys can come up with some pretty scary sounding jargon to sway arguments Wink.

RE: Windows Apps, there is wine. Do your research on software, try to find an alternative, and if that fails, test it out with wine. And BTW planetary software = celestia Smile. I think it runs on windows too, it's pretty neat.

If you have any questions or need a hand feel free to shoot me a PM. I'm always willing to fight the power. *fist*

Thank you for a useful reply :)

Memo wrote:At the moment you look like a Linux fanboy who thinks the world should change to accommodate him and his open-source dream.

Free software dream. Anyway, this thread is not supposed to be a Linux-or-not flame war, so I'll just not answer to that.

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Postby tarkadal » Fri Sep 07, 2007 4:50 pm UTC

I have nothing really for, but if you can counter my against, you'll be in a sweet position! It's a bit of an insight in how the inner workings of a school work. Or rather, how the guys who will have to implement your scheme work. One of my pet peeves is people waltzing in and proclaiming "Microsoft is evil, we should all go Linux" without any reasoning to back it up, so I'm being pretty hard on you too.

If you seriously want to get Linux running in your school, start small, convince them to have one lab running Linux, start a Linux club or something. If you try to get the whole school to change at once you'll have a massive up hill battle. As has been said previously, teachers DO NOT LIKE CHANGE. They like to do things exactly the same way they have done forever. A fair percentage of them will fight against you, and they have a lot more say in the school than you do. If you can get some teachers or technical staff on your side, that will help your cause no end.

The economic argument you present is frankly, unsound. Unless you have specific numbers to back you up or someone willing to crunch them for you, it's not going to get you far. The cost of implementing a new standard operating environment (or SOE in case I use that abbreviation again) is immense. Not just in cash to buy the software, or not in the case of Linux, but in the man hours required to set it up, ensure it works correctly, roll it out, provide training and support. It's not just something you can get up and do on a whim and on the cheap.

One of the biggest challenges in rolling out a new Linux SOE is finding equivalent Linux versions of every piece of software running in the school. Not just classroom software, your school also has an abundance of administration, and if you think teachers are going to be stubborn, try convincing admin to change the payroll software, or the student database. Switching over the payroll software is not a fun job, I can tell you. Personally, I like to get paid for my work. There is a lot more to a school than typing and browsing the internet.

I swear I saw someone mention wine to run Windows to run software that doesn't run on Linux. Ah, there it is. If you tell me I need to run wine for something to run properly, I will tell you nuts to that, I will just run Windows. Messing around and supporting that kind of stuff just isn't worth our time. In a corporate environment, which a school also is, we pay money so things run smoothly, rather than mess around with that kind of solution. It's the way things work.

Then, if you tell me, fine, those that need Windows keep Windows and everyone else can switch to Linux, that doesn't work either. Remember, the S in SOE is for Standard. That means we like one operating environment. Computer labs are okay, as they are contained and usually specialized. Supporting two SOEs is a nightmare.

As for switching to Linux instead of Vista when the time comes, your job is kind of the same. You need to convince them that the advantages of Linux, i.e. being free, versus the familiarity and ease of use of Windows, outweighs the extra time and effort needed to completely reshape the SOE into a Linux environment.

Hmm, I went on a little longer than I expected...

I'm also interested, like Memo, in why you think using Windows is a personal insult, and why proprietary software is bad and immoral. Care to start a new thread about it?

Anyway, if you really want it to happen, do a lot of research, one topic on xkcd isn't enough, get some important people on your side and be prepared to fight.
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Postby jeebusroxors » Fri Sep 07, 2007 5:06 pm UTC

SecondTalon wrote:Yes, thank you for finding an example to refute my software claim where I pulled an idea for software completely out of my ass just as an example, to better explain the idea of specialized software for a specific purpose purchased by a department for use in that department that may not run on another software platform.. and completely missing my point - that applications purchased might perhaps be useless without testing first..probably using WINE, but that takes time and time = money. Also, by the myths page I'm reading, WINE and non-intel chips don't get along.

Now go post in the intro thread.


Oh my first reply is a seemingly jerkish one! Thanks for the welcome. (Please correct me if I'm wrong).

Now rest assured I did not miss your point. I was using celestia to show that there are A LOT of open source alternatives. I guess I failed to mention he could test apps on his own machine, or on his own time with a Live CD.

While wine is no where NEAR perfect, it does work well for the more "static" type apps. I would suggest testing BEFORE you start trying to convince people. This way when they ask, we have X app, it won't work, you pop up a slide with a screen shot with it running on XFCE.

And while IT guys may have HEARD of linux, they may think its just some 'hacker' or pinko-commie OS.

Now remember, we havent even begun to think about the infrastructure. Are they running AD? Do they want to keep AD? What is a replacement for AD. etc etc etc.

Again, I apologize if that was not ment to sound uninviting, but it did.

And real good post above. Some good ideas to think about. Perhaps 1 lab with dual booting machines may work best.

Are there any LUGs in the area?
Last edited by jeebusroxors on Fri Sep 07, 2007 5:10 pm UTC, edited 1 time in total.

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Postby Dingbats » Fri Sep 07, 2007 5:08 pm UTC

Thank you, tarkadal. I know it's an uphill battle. The best I can do is probably to ask them to consider Linux instead of Vista when they need to upgrade.

I am going to do a lot of research. I'll start with contacting my old school that switched from Microsoft Office to OpenOffice and ask them about the reasoning behind it and the benefits. Then when I have enough statistics etc to back me up, I may start a lobby group in school. In a school with 2000 students there has to be at least a few people who'd prefer Linux to Windows.

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Postby Akira » Fri Sep 07, 2007 5:09 pm UTC

This is neither here nor there, but regarding relearning Linux as opposed to simply upgrading to Vista--My roommate has Vista. I generally know my way around Windows XP, but I was at a complete loss staring at her screen, trying to figure things out so I could get her antivirus up. They've changed names and icons, so it'd be a relearning process anyway.

My $.02, and I'm out.
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Re: Convincing a school to switch to Linux

Postby Pesto » Fri Sep 07, 2007 6:47 pm UTC

Dingbats wrote:
Pesto wrote:I don't think you said what type of school this is. University? High school? Grade school?

I didn't, and that's because I don't really know what the US equivalent is. Something like high school maybe? 16-19 year olds.

Yep that would be high schoolish (14-18).

Does your school have any technology classes? That might be a place to get some of the first Linux PCs running. This is one area where it would be a definate plus to have access to many different types of systems.

Does your school offer credit for independent study? You could do a project looking at the feasability of moving the whole school, or just parts, over to Linux. Find out what computer programs are used by your school and see what the open source alternatives are. Interview teachers to find out what they need out of their computers. If there are certain programs mandated by the school district or other governmental bodies, see if there is a way to make a Linux system work with those.

Doing this kind of research would go a long way toward avoiding coming across like a Linux fanboi.

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Postby mrcheesypants » Fri Sep 07, 2007 7:34 pm UTC

Akira wrote:This is neither here nor there, but regarding relearning Linux as opposed to simply upgrading to Vista--My roommate has Vista. I generally know my way around Windows XP, but I was at a complete loss staring at her screen, trying to figure things out so I could get her antivirus up. They've changed names and icons, so it'd be a relearning process anyway.

My $.02, and I'm out.


Yeah good point. I was going to post against trying to convince a school to switch to Linux, but I forgot about how I'm (and a lot of professors) are just plain illiterate with Vista. So far all of my professors when having to use an office 2007 application have nearly cursed it out. Ubuntu and open office are closer to XP and so far easier to use than Vista. I would talk to your school's tech department and ask if they're thinking about converting to vista. If they are, suggest going Ubuntu instead.

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Postby zenten » Fri Sep 07, 2007 8:28 pm UTC

You may want to look into the details about how those other schools switched over.

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Postby Gadren » Fri Sep 07, 2007 8:35 pm UTC

First of all, you need to make the case for why they should switch to Linux. I'm a dual-booter, but you need to remember that the arguments you're listing are potential reasons to advocate switching, not arguments to convince them. What I mean to say is: don't start with the assumption that the computers need to have Linux, and then use the argument that they're more secure to get them to switch. The fact that they're more secure should be one of the causes for you caring in the first place.

Second, switching to Linux is pretty big. I'd recommend having them start with open-source software like Firefox or OpenOffice.

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Postby SecondTalon » Fri Sep 07, 2007 8:41 pm UTC

tarkadal wrote:Sensible stuff I was trying to get across and failed to do so


Thank you, Tarkadal.

jeebusroxors wrote:Oh my first reply is a seemingly jerkish one! Thanks for the welcome. (Please correct me if I'm wrong).
Now rest assured I did not miss your point. I was using celestia to show that there are A LOT of open source alternatives. I guess I failed to mention he could test apps on his own machine, or on his own time with a Live CD.
While wine is no where NEAR perfect, it does work well for the more "static" type apps. I would suggest testing BEFORE you start trying to convince people. This way when they ask, we have X app, it won't work, you pop up a slide with a screen shot with it running on XFCE.
And while IT guys may have HEARD of linux, they may think its just some 'hacker' or pinko-commie OS.
Now remember, we havent even begun to think about the infrastructure. Are they running AD? Do they want to keep AD? What is a replacement for AD. etc etc etc.


That's also kinda the point I was making.. if there's an extensive AD/Exchange environment going on, the servers will at least need to stay the same, meaning more testing on the IT end to make sure everyone's logins are working correctly on the domain. Not to mention that I'm still not sure of any non-Microsoft program that works in Exchange, sadly.. because I friggen hate Outlook...

No matter what, the IT staff has heard of Linux. They probably know it's a perfectly valid OS as well... but the IT staff is primarily concerned with keeping the network up and running. Asking them to essentially fuck the network up for a few weeks while they iron out the bugs during the upgrade (Because no testing will catch everything that happens) is not a happy thought.

And again, some teachers have purchased software on their own dime for class.. not many, but some have. Some of this software isn't necessarily even that great of software, but it's what they're familiar with. It's possible, unlikely but possible, that a teacher has even hired a programmer to make a custom app for them. Getting this kind of application working in WINE is going to be a headache. Asking them to change to a different program might be out of the question, simply because the teacher is unable/unwilling to adjust the new program to match the old one, since the old one is already at their exact specifications... and they know how to work it.

Working in the IT field has taught me, among other things, that people really really really hate change. They really hate it when I change a drive letter. Hell, I hate it when I change a drive letter, as no matter how well I thought I tested everything, there's some crazy application that now has to be reinstalled since it's data is no longer on the P: drive, but is now on the R: drive. And I cannot not change their drive mapping, as for some reason they were some of the only people who were not previously using the standard drive mappings, but now they have to retrain themselves to think of the X: as their personal drive, not the Z: as before, and the T: is now their department's folder, not the G: as before...

And there's loads of bitching and headaches, and interdepartment confusion leads to the standard for that department changing, and there's a three week planning phase for changing a fucking drive letter.

Changing an operating system would, bare minimum, be a two year job, if you'd ask me to give an estimation.
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Postby zenten » Fri Sep 07, 2007 8:59 pm UTC

SecondTalon wrote:
tarkadal wrote:Sensible stuff I was trying to get across and failed to do so


Thank you, Tarkadal.

jeebusroxors wrote:Oh my first reply is a seemingly jerkish one! Thanks for the welcome. (Please correct me if I'm wrong).
Now rest assured I did not miss your point. I was using celestia to show that there are A LOT of open source alternatives. I guess I failed to mention he could test apps on his own machine, or on his own time with a Live CD.
While wine is no where NEAR perfect, it does work well for the more "static" type apps. I would suggest testing BEFORE you start trying to convince people. This way when they ask, we have X app, it won't work, you pop up a slide with a screen shot with it running on XFCE.
And while IT guys may have HEARD of linux, they may think its just some 'hacker' or pinko-commie OS.
Now remember, we havent even begun to think about the infrastructure. Are they running AD? Do they want to keep AD? What is a replacement for AD. etc etc etc.


That's also kinda the point I was making.. if there's an extensive AD/Exchange environment going on, the servers will at least need to stay the same, meaning more testing on the IT end to make sure everyone's logins are working correctly on the domain. Not to mention that I'm still not sure of any non-Microsoft program that works in Exchange, sadly.. because I friggen hate Outlook...

No matter what, the IT staff has heard of Linux. They probably know it's a perfectly valid OS as well... but the IT staff is primarily concerned with keeping the network up and running. Asking them to essentially fuck the network up for a few weeks while they iron out the bugs during the upgrade (Because no testing will catch everything that happens) is not a happy thought.

And again, some teachers have purchased software on their own dime for class.. not many, but some have. Some of this software isn't necessarily even that great of software, but it's what they're familiar with. It's possible, unlikely but possible, that a teacher has even hired a programmer to make a custom app for them. Getting this kind of application working in WINE is going to be a headache. Asking them to change to a different program might be out of the question, simply because the teacher is unable/unwilling to adjust the new program to match the old one, since the old one is already at their exact specifications... and they know how to work it.

Working in the IT field has taught me, among other things, that people really really really hate change. They really hate it when I change a drive letter. Hell, I hate it when I change a drive letter, as no matter how well I thought I tested everything, there's some crazy application that now has to be reinstalled since it's data is no longer on the P: drive, but is now on the R: drive. And I cannot not change their drive mapping, as for some reason they were some of the only people who were not previously using the standard drive mappings, but now they have to retrain themselves to think of the X: as their personal drive, not the Z: as before, and the T: is now their department's folder, not the G: as before...

And there's loads of bitching and headaches, and interdepartment confusion leads to the standard for that department changing, and there's a three week planning phase for changing a fucking drive letter.

Changing an operating system would, bare minimum, be a two year job, if you'd ask me to give an estimation.


I'm not sure that your experiences will carry over well to a highschool environment. It probably depends on how the highschool has things set up mind you.

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Postby SecondTalon » Fri Sep 07, 2007 9:04 pm UTC

People are people, no matter what. I've worked with networks of 10 users and three computers (plus a server), and ones of 250+ computers and I don't know how many users. Obviously, all of my knowledge is based on personal experience in Kentucky, USA, and might be a different ball of wax over in a European country of unknown location... (Seriously, if the actual country name was mentioned, I missed it completely. My bad)

The basics remain the same.. people hate change. I'm assuming the school has 75+ computers and 50+ computer users, not counting students. While this is based on my own highschool (which had 500ish students among 4 grades) and may be smaller or larger than the school in question, the core of it remains the same. People hate change. Getting custom apps to work on a different OS is childs play compared to teaching someone to use a different OS after dealing with Windows.

Yes, I know what I did there. Mac users are easier to adapt because (Suprise) they're used to having to adapt. I've seen people alarmed because the Start button turned green after upgrading from 2000 to XP Pro.
heuristically_alone wrote:I want to write a DnD campaign and play it by myself and DM it myself.
heuristically_alone wrote:I have been informed that this is called writing a book.

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Postby mrcheesypants » Fri Sep 07, 2007 9:10 pm UTC

SecondTalon wrote:People are people, no matter what. I've worked with networks of 10 users and three computers (plus a server), and ones of 250+ computers and I don't know how many users. Obviously, all of my knowledge is based on personal experience in Kentucky, USA, and might be a different ball of wax over in a European country of unknown location... (Seriously, if the actual country name was mentioned, I missed it completely. My bad)

The basics remain the same.. people hate change. I'm assuming the school has 75+ computers and 50+ computer users, not counting students. While this is based on my own highschool (which had 500ish students among 4 grades) and may be smaller or larger than the school in question, the core of it remains the same. People hate change. Getting custom apps to work on a different OS is childs play compared to teaching someone to use a different OS after dealing with Windows.

Yes, I know what I did there. Mac users are easier to adapt because (Suprise) they're used to having to adapt. I've seen people alarmed because the Start button turned green after upgrading from 2000 to XP Pro.


Yes but if they're going to have to change to either Vista or Ubuntu, why not Ubuntu which is just as different to XP than Vista yet more secure?

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Postby SecondTalon » Fri Sep 07, 2007 9:14 pm UTC

Assuming there's an AD/Exchange infrastructure, because you can upgrade a percentage of computers to Vista and not experience as many problems as you would with Ubuntu.

If it's a simple peer-to-peer network... then there really isn't a reason, unless the software is preloaded on the computers being replaced. Given that I do not believe an answer was given on the computers coming with preloaded operating systems, this may or may not be an issue.


So, if it's a peer-to-peer network in which new computers come without an operating system, and the hardware has already been tested and the appropriate drivers already exist in Ubuntu/there's a driver disk ready to go... there really isn't a reason to not do so, other than.. once again, fear of change.

(While I maintain that Vista isn't all that different from XP, from what I've seen in getting a friend's computer on my network. It's different enough to throw me off, but for the most part the stuff's in about the same place.. in the interest of full disclosure I do have to say that I have no experience with Ubuntu, so I cannot say for certain if it is just as different from XP as Vista is from XP. My limited experience is with CentOS, which is fairly different from XP/Vista)
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heuristically_alone wrote:I have been informed that this is called writing a book.

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Postby Jesse » Fri Sep 07, 2007 10:22 pm UTC

I would assume it is Sweden, because it's his school, and his location says Sweden.

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Postby SecondTalon » Fri Sep 07, 2007 10:23 pm UTC

...

Oh, yeah, if you want me to.. I don't know.. pay attention, I guess I could have figured that out.

Sheesh.
heuristically_alone wrote:I want to write a DnD campaign and play it by myself and DM it myself.
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