New Zealand School Shows Microsoft the Door
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New Zealand School Shows Microsoft the Door
by Justin Ryan - Jan. 25, 2010Comments (11)
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Familiarity undoubtedly ranks among the largest barriers to open source adoption — software, like so many other things, is habit-forming. Much of that familiarity, at least among younger users, comes from the prevalence of proprietary applications in education, an area awash with government regulations, competitive bidding, and its own habit-induced hangups. Enter Albany Senior High School, an Auckland, New Zealand-based unorthodox enclave of education. The school, which opened its doors in 2009, takes a different approach to learning, utilizing open principles that include open spaces, open interaction, open opportunities — and open source. Mark Osbourne, the school's deputy principle, is at the heart of the school's FOSS activities. Despite a serious time crunch, Osbourne pushed ahead with an all-open source infrastructure, putting together in some two months a system that continues to run fundamentally unchanged. Cutting through the predictable complaints — "But the world belongs to Microsoft!" — he installed Ubuntu desktops and Mandriva servers, and set students up with open source applications including OpenOffice, Mahara, and Moodle. The school's network allows connections not just from its own systems, but (with appropriate security measures) from outside hardware as well — students have reportedly connected everything from Macs to the Playstation Portable. Proprietary software has more than habit on its side in New Zealand schools. Microsoft is literally guaranteed a cut of the budget — the national government subsidizes Microsoft products, and pays up whether the software is actually in use or not. A fait accompli, as Osbourne notes: "The brilliance of Microsoft's business model is they get the same amount of money regardless of who uses it." Nevertheless, Albany is still saving money with reduced hardware costs, a point aptly demonstrated by the freshly-built facilities where it will relocate this year. The racks in the school's new server room, which was built with the usual Microsoft specs in mind, will have forty-four empty slots: Of the assumed forty-eight servers, Osbourne's setup requires just four. Image courtesy of John Steven Fernandez.
Microsoft OpenOffice ubuntu Moodle Mandriva education new zealand Mahara
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11 Comments
 
by Paul Joseph on Jan. 26, 2010I hope other country schools follow the lead of Albany Senior High School, Auckland, New Zealand.
It takes guts to be a pioneer.
Heaven knows we need to use the money we save using Open Source Software on other important matters.
0 Votes
by John Doe on Jan. 26, 2010I guess you NEVER heard of a NDA before?
When the NSA comes knocking at your door, just as they did with Microsoft, it is any wonder why nobody at Microsoft was able to tell the public, what the NSA actual did?
Non Disclosure Agreement, for those who don't know... If you talk, you go to prison!!!!!!
So yes, most individuals are NOT talking! Wikileaks, isn't posting either...
Google already said too much, regarding the attack code, built into Microsoft code.
Don't forget that, it was Microsoft buggy code, in IE...
In fact, Microsoft themselves won't use their own IE code, to render HTML email in Outlook 2003, 2007 and 2010! That should tell you something right there...
IE isn't good enough for Microsoft's own HTML email?
Isn't IE built using HTML? Is anyone else validating their HTML, since Microsoft plainly refuses to follow ISO standards!
No wonder why everything is broken with Microsoft, making it possible to exploit, as the Chinese didn't waste time!
Now, will Americans wake up?
0 Votes
by ezsurfer on Jan. 26, 2010Just an aside, and I understand this would take research, but how about a follow up with a few comments from the students, the actual end users that are now using the system.
This "report" is entirely one sided and doesn't at all indicate whether or not the adoption is going well, or if there are unforeseen issues.
Still, it appears to be a positive report for Liux and it's implementation in general.
I do find it hard to imagine that 4 Linux servers equate to 44 Windows servers. Something is askew, there.
0 Votes
by an anonymous user on Jan. 26, 2010Their is nothing askew about 4 linux servers replacing 44 windows servers. Apparently you have not had much experience using Linux.
0 Votes
by an anonymous user on Jan. 26, 2010I agree with ezsurfer on a number of his points.
It would have been great to have some comments from the students to get a real feel for the implementation and its success. In the end, the system needs to enable to students to further themselves academically.
Also, while you can replace many Windows servers with comparatively few Linux servers (its true), I do think that the ratio of 11 to 1 is a bit steep.
Not unheard of though - depends a lot on licencing and use cases.
0 Votes
by ted skovy on Jan. 26, 2010"students have reportedly connected everything from Macs to the Playstation Portable." i would say that they have adapted pretty well. then considering that they aren't playing many games, how many teens actually play sudoku?, they have more time to actually study.
i say way to go, hopefully more follow in their footsteps
0 Votes
by Mark Osborne on Jan. 27, 2010"Just an aside, and I understand this would take research, but how about a follow up with a few comments from the students, the actual end users that are now using the system"
http://www.itwire.com/content/view/30598/1090/
0 Votes
by Mark Osborne on Jan. 27, 2010"Just an aside, and I understand this would take research, but how about a follow up with a few comments from the students, the actual end users that are now using the system"
http://www.itwire.com/content/view/30598/1090/
0 Votes
by an anonymous user on Jan. 27, 2010"The switch to Linux has changed Geddes' perceptions about at least one thing. "I never used to even think about something like copyright. But now I know what it means and I'm glad that I'm not restricted by such things because I use free software," he said."
0 Votes
by an anonymous user on Jan. 27, 2010My brother wants another older system to try and beat up UBUNTU 9.10...I set one up at a friends yesterday and well just going over the basics for about half hour I think they are tickled pink. It will take them a bit to get into Gimp and Kcad
0 Votes
by Michael on Feb. 03, 2010"Much of that familiarity, at least among younger users, comes from the prevalence of proprietary applications in education"
Look i'm sorry - but are kids just more stupid these days? Somehow I don't think so.
Back when I was in high school in the mid-late 80's we had no expectation that we would use the same computers at high school as those we had at home (and most of us had computers at home, if not quite to the degree today). And it really made no difference. A word processor is a word processor is a word processor. We could use Commodore or Apple or PC with pretty much as much aplomb as any other; we all did the subjects on whatever was available, and we all passed just fine.
Kids don't care - they can pick up anything and work with it - they are not `old dogs' unable to learn `new tricks'.
It's the educators that have been brainwashed into thinking they need to `train' kids to use proprietary platforms. But they're there to educate, not provide subsidised training ... it's about time we all demanded they did the job we paid them for, not the one Microsoft didn't pay them for.
0 Votes
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