Valid points all, but you may want to note that there are other linux labs running in the TDSB, which I've recently been made aware of, (and linked on cdneducation.blogspot.com
) therefore, I'd suggest that the TDSB already has a policy of allowing, supporting, encouraging linux/FLOSS labs, etc.
http://cdot.senecac.on.ca/projects/oss2/index.html Again, my focus is the present and future educational needs of my students, not parents, teachers, etc. and I think this should be the focus. I am not in favour of forcing anyone to choose a linux, mac or windows platform. I'm in favour of choice, especially when there are no support/costs issue, as in my case. One might ask how many LAAs there are in my school, for example (Local Administrator), teachers who are trained to deal mainly with password/login problems on M$ machines...ludicrous, if you ask me. It also involves personal information, such as Social Insurance Numbers and birthdays. In terms of cost, I simply mention this as a very important issue, and not at the root of my viewpoint. Again, it is from the viewpoint of what is the best for the present and future educational/employment/entrepreneurial needs of students? I really don't think using M$ systems is useful, since many students already have this at home, hence, having classes on how to change the fonts with M$ word, are hardly educational.
I hate to ever be seen to be arguing the other side, but:Monty wrote:> Precisely. I believe that students should be provided with choice,
> options, new experiences, etc, rather than an M$ corporate image of> bureaucrat determined software. Also considerably more secure, since M$> related network problems have resulted in thousands of students being
> unable to even login to computers when mass infections, etc. take> place. Further, huge resources are being used to maintain these> systems, including millions of taxpayer dollars to purchase anti-virus
> licenses, software licenses of various sorts, etc. We have a harsh reality to deal with, which is that the overallpolicy behind the creation of the TDSB (and a number of otheramalgamated boards) is amalgamation, centralization, and the myth that
this centralization will save money. The only way amalgamation can savemoney is if the organizations provide less service to more people.Amalgamation/centralization is a contradictory policy to the boardsupplying support for diversity in the classroom.
Boards reacting to the idea that taxpayers wanted to save money iswhat is at the root of your Linux lab not being supported, and I thinkit is counter-productive to try to use that as a reason to increase
diversity. Without paying more money to understand diversity, there isno possibility to understanding the advantages of FLOSS and thus receiveany of the benefits of FLOSS. Like it or not, migrations from an incumbent to FLOSS costs *more*
money in the short term during the migration, not less. This islong-term thinking, saving future (not current) money, not theshort-term thinking that is currently at the root of most politics. In the current political climate diversity can only really be offered
by individual educators, entirely on their own initiative and atpersonal expense for their time. While you (Mr. Montgomery) areclearly "one of us" (IE: a member of the Linux and/or FLOSS community),
we all have to realize that you are in the minority in the schoolsystem. Most teachers don't have the time to be learning about thediversity that exists in the marketplace, or the overall trends awayfrom the way things were in the past to what they are today.
Linux isn't going to be supported by the TDSB, given the policies setin place. We don't know what the market share of the various OSs aretoday, and clearly don't know in the future. But lets for the moment
pretend that it was 30% Linux, 30% Macintosh and only 40% Microsoft(Sorry, but Linux and Mac is smaller than that today). Even if thiswere the case, the TDSB policy of amalgamation, centralization, andreducing options would still decide to centralize on the Microsoft platform.
I don't actually see how adding Linux and Macintosh (which is alsoincreasingly FLOSS these days) platforms is going to save money. Thereality is that these are "additions" and not substitutions. While we
have some Linux/FLOSS aware teachers and other staff, they are still inthe minority and any attempt to substitute Linux will cause a majorrevolt from staff. Even if they were substitutions, license fees for
the operating systems are not a very large portion of the feesassociated with ongoing software support and training. While the IT services people really disliked when I (accidentally)suggested that a move to include Linux would require more highly skilled
staff people than they might currently have, we can agree that they aredifferent skills. If we aren't talking about greater skills forexisting staff, then we end up talking about a greater number of staff
-- and thus a greater budget.
One might consider how the need for staff would DECREASE due to less support issues, or be assigned to help out in areas that are currently ignored due to "extremely limited resources..." and hence the use of budget for more pressing needs in the education system...
One of the benefits of teaching Linux and FLOSS in the classroom isthat these skills demand higher salaries and thus will be of benefit to
the students. It turns out that one of the very benefits to students isharmful to the TDSB budget.Note: We all have stories of needing to bring in Linux/FLOSS people evento manage Microsoft or Mac servers/desktops in a heterogeneous network
-- but we'll leave those stories alone for now ;-)> think that speaks for it all...however, I have pointed out the Indiana> Access Project to TDSB trustees recently. This is a project that uses> linux computers (Linspire based) to provide EVERY high school student,
> in EVERY class, in EVERY high school, in the entire state of Indiana!> 300,000 computers for 300,000 students, i.e. a one computer to one> student computer ratio. These initiatives are great when there is political buy-in, but not
when the buy-in doesn't exist. The board isn't going to make thedecision to move to a platform that isn't already known by teachingstaff without a major revolt. Without the solid support of thecommunity (parents, etc) and staff (teachers, etc), even suggesting such
an initiative in Ontario would be suicide for the decision makers involved. We can't dream in isolation. While you are clearly a pro-Linuxteacher, for all very good reasons, I believe that even in your own
school there are pro-Microsoft teachers that believe that no otheroptions should be available. I'm sorry to say this, but the two of youdon't just "cancel out" when the board hears the cases, but the
pro-Microsoft teacher is preaching the status-quo which is always givena privileged status in discussions.> It would indeed be interesting to find out how many millions of> taxpayer dollars are being used to support CTMI,
www.osapac.org, etc. CTMI is an administrative program to consolidate IT services acrossnewly amalgamated boards. Whether they were deploying Linux, Mac orMicrosoft as the chosen "common environment", there would still have
been a CTMI. OSAPAC.org is also something that we should be trying to get involvedin, not trying to cancel. The province made a deal with Sun forStarOffice, their supported derivative of OpenOffice.org
. To behonest, I am more interested in seeing OpenOffice.org on every desktop(in the classroom and at home) than I am to see Linux (*). As a teacher, what is your impression of the uptake of StarOffice in
the Ontario classroom, and whether people have leveraged this toencourage people to use OpenOffice.org at home? If Microsoft Office is still what the majority of teachers are usingin the classroom, even though the province and the board are already
fully supporting StarOffice, can you really blame the province or theboard for the lack of FLOSS usage in the classroom?http://www.osapac.org/bb.asp"In 2003, the Ministry of Education licensed StarOffice 7 for use in all
Ontario schools and School Authorities. SUN has released version 8 whichmay be used in the same manner. This update to the StarOffice suite isavailable only by download from the SUN website. It may be used in
school networks and teachers / students have license to use at home foreducational purposes.The educational download link is:http://www.sun.com/products-n-solutions/edu/solutions/staroffice.html
Properly configured, StarOffice 8 will read and write to popular fileformats such as the Microsoft Office and WordPerfect offerings."Note: When I contacted OSAPAC to learn more I was given an account on
their FirstClass based BBS system. We will see whether this means I'mnow in a better position to offer myself to help evaluating FLOSS.(*) I consider the operating system to be the least important aspect of
a computing platform, and the last piece of the puzzle to change whenmigrating to FLOSS. I don't actually care what operating system youpersonally choose, as long as my right to choose my own software isstill protected. On the other hand, documents have the "Second hand
smoke" problem in that what software you use affects what I can use ifyou are generating non-standard files.> Agreed. I am all for opening more linux labs, and happy> to do so! :-) Further, I have mentioned to the principal that the
> computers I was using had feature s that the CTMI computers did not.> For example, my students and I often used USB drives from the front> mounted USB ports for portable storage. As well, I had multi-language
> input for use by students and myself, including the ability to input in> French, Japanese, Chinese, etc., which CTMI systems do not have.>> Hence, I continue to lobby for a linux lab! :-)
Again, I hate to appear like I'm arguing the other side, but pleasedon't focus your lobbying on the principal or the staff part of theschool board. While I may not agree with the decision for personal
reasons, I believe the principal and board staff made the right decisiongiven the conflicting/contradictory and highly political/emotionalinformation that was received, and the overall policy goals of theamalgamated board.
I don't believe that any amount of lobbying toward the principal orboard staff can change their decisions unless some radical policy changecomes from the province (Adding large amounts of money to the
educational budgets? A move away from centralized administration of IT?A policy to prefer FLOSS where such options exist? -- not policychanges that are remotely likely at this point). What is needed is for there to be a demonstration of interest in this
diversity from more teaching staff, from parent and parent councils, andother such sources. There needs to be a way to deal with teachers whoare as strongly pro-Microsoft as you are pro-Linux, otherwise FLOSS will
be ignored and "the status quo" will only ever be offered.--Russell McOrmond, Internet Consultant: <http://www.flora.ca/>2415+ Canadians oppose Bill C-60 which protects antiquated Recording,
Movie and "software manufacturing" industries from modernization.Send a letter to your Canadian MP! --> http://digital-copyright.ca/------------------------------
Message: 2Date: Sat, 08 Jul 2006 15:42:53 -0400From: Russell McOrmond <email@example.com>Subject: Re: [discuss] Re: discuss Digest, Vol 17, Issue 4To: CLUE general discussion list <
firstname.lastname@example.org>Message-ID: <44B00ABD.email@example.com>Content-Type: text/plain; charset=us-ascii; format=flowed
Bill Traynor wrote:>> A Google search for CTMI finds a few teachers and students>> complaining, and a few schools being migrated, but nothing at all from>> either the school board or the larger FLOSS community. How did this
>> massive initiative entirely slip below our radar? Don't we have members>> of the FLOSS community inside nearly every organization?>>> These kinds of initiatives slip under the radar of the FLOSS community
> everyday unfortunately. Careful with the arrows. This was something I wrote ;-) My hope is that going forward that CLUE will be approached early. Ibelieve we could have done so much more if Mr Montgomery was able to
have contacted us last September rather than the end of the year. Theold-CLUE wasn't able to take on the issue the way that new-CLUE did, andhopefully with increased membership and direction from those members we
will know how best to focus our efforts moving forward.I was not aware at that time that CTMI staff, the principal, etc. would have such a biased stance, than that decisions to close the lab had basically already been made, since it was nonM$, and a one year "trial" was given for appearances.
Some of the volunteers with GOSLING seem to be interested in movingthings forward in Ottawa. We were given an opening to continuediscussions with the letter we received from the Ottawa-CarletonDistrict School Board. OCDSB is already offering more diversity than
TDSB in that the board supports both Mac and Microsoft platforms, andindicated interested in exploring Linux as a smart terminal (Possibly toboth Linux and Microsoft servers -- and maybe Mac, although I've never
seen the Mac desktop running on a Linux terminal to know how well thatwould run).
Let me know if there are openings for linux based computer teachers in Ottawa! :-)
--Russell McOrmond, Internet Consultant: <http://www.flora.ca/>
2415+ Canadians oppose Bill C-60 which protects antiquated Recording,Movie and "software manufacturing" industries from modernization.Send a letter to your Canadian MP! -->
http://digital-copyright.ca/------------------------------Message: 3Date: Sat, 8 Jul 2006 21:42:51 -0400From: "Bill Traynor" <firstname.lastname@example.org
>Subject: Re: [discuss] Re: discuss Digest, Vol 17, Issue 4To: "CLUE general discussion list" <email@example.com>Message-ID: <
firstname.lastname@example.org>Content-Type: text/plain; charset=ISO-8859-1; format=flowedOn 7/8/06, Russell McOrmond <email@example.com
> wrote:> Bill Traynor wrote:> >> A Google search for CTMI finds a few teachers and students> >> complaining, and a few schools being migrated, but nothing at all from> >> either the school board or the larger FLOSS community. How did this
> >> massive initiative entirely slip below our radar? Don't we have members> >> of the FLOSS community inside nearly every organization?> >>> > These kinds of initiatives slip under the radar of the FLOSS community
> > everyday unfortunately.>> Careful with the arrows. This was something I wrote ;-)No arrow was lauched. I was merely making the point that we (the FOSScommunity) miss out on opportunities to provide FOSS alternatives to
IT initiatives every day. I see it all the time where I work. Andit's mostly becuase Linux and FOSS simply doesn't even get to thetable.
Agreed. People ignore FLOSS, aren't aware of it, or fed FUD by others (which is a large factor in my case, unfortunately)
>>> My hope is that going forward that CLUE will be approached early. I> believe we could have done so much more if Mr Montgomery was able to
> have contacted us last September rather than the end of the year. The> old-CLUE wasn't able to take on the issue the way that new-CLUE did, and> hopefully with increased membership and direction from those members we
> will know how best to focus our efforts moving forward.>>>> Some of the volunteers with GOSLING seem to be interested in moving> things forward in Ottawa. We were given an opening to continue
> discussions with the letter we received from the Ottawa-Carleton> District School Board. OCDSB is already offering more diversity than> TDSB in that the board supports both Mac and Microsoft platforms, and
> indicated interested in exploring Linux as a smart terminal (Possibly to> both Linux and Microsoft servers -- and maybe Mac, although I've never> seen the Mac desktop running on a Linux terminal to know how well that
> would run).>> --> Russell McOrmond, Internet Consultant: <http://www.flora.ca/>> 2415+ Canadians oppose Bill C-60 which protects antiquated Recording,
> Movie and "software manufacturing" industries from modernization.> Send a letter to your Canadian MP! --> http://digital-copyright.ca/> _______________________________________________
> discuss mailing list> firstname.lastname@example.org> http://www.linux.ca/mailman/listinfo/discuss>
------------------------------Message: 4Date: Sun, 09 Jul 2006 10:28:37 -0400From: Russell McOrmond <email@example.com>Subject: [discuss] Avoiding missing opportunities...
To: CLUE general discussion list <firstname.lastname@example.org>Message-ID: <44B11295.email@example.com>Content-Type: text/plain; charset=us-ascii; format=flowed
Bill Traynor wrote:> No arrow was lauched. I was merely making the point that we (the FOSS> community) miss out on opportunities to provide FOSS alternatives to> IT initiatives every day. I see it all the time where I work. And
> it's mostly becuase Linux and FOSS simply doesn't even get to the> table. Agreed. The TDSB project must have been known by someone in theFLOSS community back when it was initiated. There must be more people
who are staff within TDSB that are also part of our community, beyond Ed-- we need to somehow get these people aware of each other so that theycan collaborate on the inside.BTW: Those wanting to read the 2006 technology information should go to:
The 2006 Environmental Scan of the TDSBhttp://www.cluecan.ca/node/324#comment-87 One thing mentioned is the fact that their hardware is aging, getting
out of step with what is current. This might be one of those areaswhere LTSP can be proposed, allowing them to focus theirupgrades/investments on servers (Windows for now) that are thenconnected to via smart Linux terminals.
I also think we have a strategy problem. I have firmly come to thebelief that the close association of FLOSS with Linux is hurting us.People don't want to think about the large choice associated with
switching operating systems.
I'm suggesting and emphasizing choice (especially where it makes sense in terms of teachers willing to offer, etc.), rather than wholesale switching...I think that is a much better strategy.
Further, I know of several teachers in Toronto who wanted to introduce linux labs, but have been basically bullied into not discussing it! Don't think that bullying is limited to students...:-)