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SCHOOL-IT  November 2002

SCHOOL-IT November 2002

Subject:

Re: OpenSource Software

From:

Vince Rossano <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

School Information Technology Discussion <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Fri, 1 Nov 2002 09:35:20 -0500

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (79 lines)

Dave,

After the MS audit outrage of a few months back, I became very
interested in this software.  I still am, but right now we have our
licensing in place for MS Office 97 and, to a lesser degree, Office
2000.  And we're not going to Office XP. Because of this, I've let the
issue lie as I deal with other more pressing problems.   But I think
finding alternatives to MS apps is really important for schools that
don't have limitless budgets (i.e. every public school in America) and,
as the MS juggernaut continues its drive to turn us all into  indentured
servants, it may become essential.  Now is the time we should be looking
into the possibility of using open source products.

On the other hand, I'd be concerned about resistance from staff who
have always used Microsoft Office, who have it at home and whose friends
all use it and "gosh darn it, I can't make the text flash colors and
dance around the page like I could with Microsoft Word and, besides, why
does the envelope icon look like a number 10 envelope instead of a
number 6 like it does in Word?"  And the first time someone gets a
document or spreadsheet from MS's latest version which has some spiffy
function that can't be handled by OpenOffice (or whatever), I'm sure
they'll be screams of "I want my Microsoft back! I knew this wouldn't
work."  In fact, anytime anything doesn't work right they'll be those
who'll blame it on the change of software:  "My monitor burned out; I
told you I didn't want that OpenOffice junk on my machine!"

But, more importantly, there's the fear lurking in the back of the mind
that, in fact, something really won't work right in the open source
version and won't be discovered until the product is fully deployed
across the district. And that's going to be hard to blame on someone
else if we've pushed for the change.  The old saw that "nobody ever got
fired for buying IBM" still obtains except that "IBM" has been replaced
by "Microsoft".

So, what I'm really waiting for is a brazen early-adopter like David
Tisdell to actually deploy the stuff.  Then I'll look in the want-ads to
see if his job is advertised.

Go for it, Dave!

Vince



Vince Rossano
Information Technology Director
Montpelier Public Schools
58 Barre Street
Montpelier, VT 05602

Voice: (802) 229-5355
Fax: (802) 223-6146
Email: [log in to unmask]

>>> [log in to unmask] 10/30/02 09:02AM >>>
Hi all,
I am interested in people's thoughts on this issue. The open source
software movement has grown by leaps and bounds. The best software
that
only ran on opensource os's has been or is being ported to Windows and
Mac OS (It all already works in Linux and unix).
The real stars at this point are the GIMP (an image manipulation
program
like Photoshop)and OpenOffice (similar to MS Office). Since acquiring
this software is either free or a negligible cost, why continue to pay
big bucks for closed source proprietary apps? We could save a lot of
money in our budgets by adopting opensource software. What does
everyone
else think?
Dave

David Tisdell. Computer Coordinator
Mt. Mansfield Union High School
211 Browns Trace
Jericho, VT 05661
802-899-4690 (Voice)
802-899-2904 (Fax)
[log in to unmask] (e-mail)

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