James Barrett on 18 Jan 2008 19:40:55 -0800

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

On Thu, Jan 17, 2008 at 10:03:39AM -0500, jeff wrote:
> James Barrett wrote:
> > 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?

They want a server - running whatever, they don't care - for content 
filtering and site access logging.  They do not want Vista simply 
because it is not stable.  I do not know if they know the real reasons 
why Vista is not a good idea, but one big point is that a vast majority 
of the currently installed machines will never be able to run Vista 
which means they would have to buy new machines outright.

To answer your question, the faculty does not want Vista on any 
machines anywhere in the building.

> > 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.

Something has to be done.  I am just trying to help the teachers do 
their job and the kids to be able to learn how to use the computers 
without having to share because 1/2 of them won't print and 1/4 of those 
that can print can't get online because of duplicate ip addresses...

> > 
> > 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.

Also, you must certainly factor in the disdain for routine.  Most people 
who fear change also hate routines, and there is a definite routine with 

> 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:

Lightening round!

> Must-run-apps: are there any deal-breakers that require Win?
Only a few small greeting card apps, perhaps some low-end learning tools
> Fear Factor: will they be terrified if they find out it's not Windows?
The teachers, yes.  Some of the students might actually be using linux 
at home (walmart PC's?)
> Integration: will it play well with others on the network?
N/A: I will be segregating the lab from everything else.
> Email: is the client compatible enough with the mail system?
N/A: they do not have on-site mail, exchange or anything like that.
> Requirements: will it do what you need it to?
Connect to the net, word processing, educational apps, games... Linux!
> Availability: is there software for the application?
Let me take this moment to mention Smartboards have linux drivers :)
> Testing: how long do you test before deploying? how do you test?
I would be doing this over the summer; 3 months for deployment/testing
> Cost: can you afford MS?  can you afford linux, with all its soft costs?
Cost is not always monetary.  

> > 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.

Good thinking.  I will install openoffice on a working machine that is 
void of Office (some of the machines have no office apps at all) and ask 
a teacher to test it out.  
> > 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.

Wow...  Sounds horrid.

> > 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.

Duely noted.

> 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.

The faculty members are quite intelligent and they care about the 
students.  It is a tight-knit community.

> Congrats on the new gig and your impending company makeover.

Thank you kindly!

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