Rich Freeman on 15 May 2012 04:10:46 -0700

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Re: [PLUG] Can FOSS help school districts in trouble?

On Mon, May 14, 2012 at 10:35 AM, jeff <> wrote:
> FYI, M$ discounts heavily to non-profits and schools/students.
> I was considering pitching Ubuntu at work but Windows and Office come pretty
> cheap.

Yup.  I suspect the heavy costs don't come from the OS so much as for
the educational software.

Think of what makes corporate antivirus/etc software popular.  Usually
the stuff that gets deployed makes laptops horribly slow and kills
their batteries and wastes half their RAM.  However, somewhere it has
a really nice dashboard view that the central administrators can look
at, and the sales reps gave a very good presentation during the
selection process.  Expensive software is rarely sold directly to the
people who end up using it.

Educational software is no different - it is peddled by highly-paid
salespeople who give presentations demonstrating how their software is
aligned to all the latest theories and how it goes along with all the
latest bestselling textbooks.  They might even have a study published
that shows that some class who used their software improved and
achieved some kind of outcome (likely with few controls, and with no
obligation to publish studies that showed no improvement).  It
probably has some expensive support options as well.

This is why it is so hard to pitch any kind of alternative to
educators.  They're accustomed to a certain level of catering during
the sales process, and it is rare for FOSS to really measure up in
that regard.  Most FOSS educational software I've seen also tends to
be more standalone, and rarely integrates well into a lab environment.
 The OS and Office software are cheaper, but MS makes that stuff dirt
cheap to schools to begin with, so it isn't really the main problem to
be solved.

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