jeff on 18 Jan 2008 19:04:23 -0800

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[PLUG] The One True OS, migrating to/new job

James Barrett wrote:
> Seriously though, I just got a job (yay!) at an elementary school 

Did you get your kevlar vest yet?

> have been given permission to install a local Linux server before the 
> end of the summer.  Since most new machines come with Vista, and the 
> faculty is keen on NOT switching to Vista, I think that switching over 
> to a full Linux computer lab would be beneficial.  

Are you talking about faculty not wanting Vista in the lab or are these 
two separate issues?

> Yes, I got the job 
> today and immediately started thinking about switching them over to 
> Linux after inspecting their computer lab.

Sounds about right for this group.
You're a mover.  A shaker,  A hit the ground running, self-starter.

> Most of the faculty does not know what Linux is, how it works, or what 
> it entails. 

I have this fantasy of eradicating Windows from my place of business 
too.  I even have a rough plan.  But cruel reality tends to intrude. 
I'm going to mention some of the concepts I've come up with around FOSS 
and Lin.

One of the issues I thought about was fear of change.  ANY change.
This was also discussed in reference to moving from Office2k to 
Office2k7 or Open Office.  Since the lay-user (my euphemism for people 
who can just about turn the computer on) is already somewhat familiar 
with 2000, whatever we go to has to be minimal impact changewise.

Office2k7 has a different interface.  A very different interface.  This 
means there will be hideous amounts of training and hand-holding needed. 
  Since we're not really equipped for this, that's a very big strike.

Open Office looks a lot like 2k.  It works a lot like 2k.  There are 
also programs like Gnumeric and Abiword which have the same interface.

Think about this in terms of changing OSes.  If they don't want to use 
Vista and can't stay with XP, linux may be a viable prospect.  PCLinuxOS 
seems to be closest to Win in terms of looks.  It's pretty stable.

Other stuff to think about:

Must-run-apps: are there any deal-breakers that require Win?
Fear Factor: will they be terrified if they find out it's not Windows?
Integration: will it play well with others on the network?
Email: is the client compatible enough with the mail system?
Requirements: will it do what you need it to?
Availability: is there software for the application?
Testing: how long do you test before deploying? how do you test?
Cost: can you afford MS?  can you afford linux, with all its soft costs?

> around Word, Excel and the such, however they have not been introduced 
> to Linux yet. 

one bright fellow at work suggested adding Open Office to the standard 
desktop.  We did.  Some people don't know they're not using Office2k. 
We also found a few incompatibilities.

You can also ask for volunteers to test or run side-by-side.

> I figure that this will not be a difficult thing to do,

I figured that too :)

We have what we call the S-word.  It's like profanity.
"Yes, I told him it *should* work."

  but it will
> take care and collaboration.  Windows XP will some day be out of 
> service, and Vista is still not a viable option.

Reality seems to be that Vista is being avoided in droves.  If this 
continues, and I don't see why it won't, MS is going to have to do 
SOMETHING.  I have a feeling we're in for a surprise from them.  Maybe 
some sort of interim OS (that isn't Vista).  Maybe a repackaged, renamed 
XP, with some of the graphic BS from Vista.

> It would be great to have a panel present Linux to the faculty,

this depends on what kind of faculty they are.  It is said that it's 
easier to ask for forgiveness than permission.  You need to know how (or 
IF) they think.

Or maybe you can impress the pants off them with a PowerPoint 
presentation featuring lots of animation and blinky lights.  I'm not 
kidding... I work with people who will buy almost *anything* if there's 
a whiz-bang presentation.

Congrats on the new gig and your impending company makeover.



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