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Battle For Open Standards In Dutch Public Education

Unknown Lamer posted about 3 years ago | from the think-of-the-gnu-slash-children dept.

Education 89

In his first accepted submission, pjstevns writes "The heat is on! With the rising use of online systems for school administration the battle for open and accessible solutions is here, now. Parents are forced to buy 'proper' operating systems from your favorite Redmond based supplier — just to be able to access their children's grades, or participate in classes. A petition addressed at parliament for proper implementation of the open-standards guidelines put forward by the Dutch government itself is buzzing around the Netherlands. Comply or Explain!" It seems like a major supplier of education software in the Netherlands has written essential software in Silverlight that all students must use, claiming "...Magister is truly multiplatform because Silverlight is available for Windows, Mac OS X and Linux," despite it more or less being non-functional with Moonlight.

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Uhmmm.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37575724)

MS is now #3 (soon to be #4 after google). Won't someone please think of the poor underdog?

Re:Uhmmm.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37575952)

Even a dying whale does a lot of damage thrashing around.

Re:Uhmmm.... (1)

capo_dei_capi (1794030) | about 3 years ago | (#37576194)

What does their market cap have to do with the their desktop near monopoly?

Isn't it great that Flash is dead now? (4, Insightful)

sourcerror (1718066) | about 3 years ago | (#37575730)

So much about .Net cross-platform.
At least with Java you have to go out of your way to create platform dependency (like hard-coding path separator as "\", and not querying it from the System object), or use 3rd party non-portable libraries with JNI bindings.
Hell, they would have faired better even if they just used some Adobe Air based solution.
Or just use ASP.Net and no Silverlight. They just choose the worst possible solution for a public facing portal.

Re:Isn't it great that Flash is dead now? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37575800)

MS did well.

Re:Isn't it great that Flash is dead now? (2)

Murdoch5 (1563847) | about 3 years ago | (#37576086)

I'm so glad someone points the finger at .Net, .Net is cross-platform, to all version of Windows, It can cross from 7 to 98 ( i think ). If a developer uses .Net it just shows there taking an easy road instead of making a solution. .Net is for developers who don't want to develop, just use. If developers really think .Net is a selling point for them it would be like arguing that you put training wheeling back on your bike to make is safer, only you can't take the bike everywhere and it only to 4 screws to make the solution work.

Re:Isn't it great that Flash is dead now? (1)

cyber-vandal (148830) | about 3 years ago | (#37576772)

Yawn. Dot Net sux0rs zzzzzz. What the fuck would you know about it?

Re:Isn't it great that Flash is dead now? (1)

MightyMartian (840721) | about 3 years ago | (#37577580)

We know that it isn't meaningfully cross platform for starters.

Re:Isn't it great that Flash is dead now? (1)

thetoadwarrior (1268702) | about 3 years ago | (#37577680)

You're right it does suck at the very least as a way to create cross platform software.

Re:Isn't it great that Flash is dead now? (1)

Murdoch5 (1563847) | about 3 years ago | (#37580310)

It's NOT cross platform, cross platform is Windows, Mac and LINUX. I'm sick of people stating they have cross platform software thats Mac and Windows compatible. Sorry you missed the mark if think Mac and Windows = cross platform. Anyone who thinks different is wrong, not semi right, not opinionated right, just wrong.

Re:Isn't it great that Flash is dead now? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37588518)

Troll. So you're saying that no software is cross-platform until it will run on my toaster? That's quite a narrow definition.

What about games that are available for PC, PS/3 and Wii? Should they be considered cross-platform?

What about the original Neverwinter Nights? It is cross-platform Win/Mac/Lin, but will not run on Intel x86 Macs, and will not run on a G5 running Linux.

What about the Gnu Compiler Collection? It's available for just about any platform in existence, except Windows. Are you now going to argue that gcc is not cross-platform?

Re:Isn't it great that Flash is dead now? (1)

sourcerror (1718066) | about 3 years ago | (#37578248)

". .Net is for developers who don't want to develop, just use. "
I think .Net is fine as a technology, the problem is it's tied to MS operating systems. You get RAD tools with most commercial IDEs, even if it's for a native language.

Re:Isn't it great that Flash is dead now? (1)

Murdoch5 (1563847) | about 3 years ago | (#37580340)

Good code is able to be lifted from one system and with very light changes run on another. .Net takes that concept and throws it out the window.

Re:Isn't it great that Flash is dead now? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37578108)

Adobe AIR isn't available for Linux any more. Spot the missing platform from the v3 announcement, and that even the most recent 2.x build isn't available for Linux.

http://thefalken.livejournal.com/98481.html

Re:Isn't it great that Flash is dead now? (1)

sourcerror (1718066) | about 3 years ago | (#37578210)

1, Doesn't Flex and Air work through the regular Flash plugin? I know people always complained about Flash on Linux, but I think it's usable by now. Although I use a 32 bit OS.
2, Isn't it that the developers tools don't run on Linux, but the end product does?

Disclaimer: I have never developed with Air or Flex.

Re:Isn't it great that Flash is dead now? (1)

lsatenstein (949458) | about 3 years ago | (#37582796)

Who underwrote the development?

Not new, but news. (2)

reiisi (1211052) | about 3 years ago | (#37575732)

Money circulates under the table, as always.

But it never hurts to let the people over "there" (wherever there is) know that people over here (wherever here is) are aware of their dependence on things that are fundamentally not dependable.

(Are you under the power of gold^H^H^H^H power?)

On the little freedoms (5, Interesting)

OrangeSun (845294) | about 3 years ago | (#37575738)

I find it wonderful that people are striving for what must seem like 'little' freedoms. I've recently come around to the idea that these small cracks become the gaping, festering ulcers of our society when left unchecked. OS

Shoot the Schoolmaster CIO (4, Insightful)

Ice Tiger (10883) | about 3 years ago | (#37575766)

For making such a stupid decision to move away from Open Standards. If you want stuff to work on the Internet use open standards, simple as that.

Why should users have to go to a desktop computer with a specific OS in order to utilise the system? Maybe it should be made fit for purpose for the modern age.

Costs. Windows is cheaper than Windows + Linux (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37575820)

Its cheaper to write software for a single platform than write cross platform software. Besides on the desktop most open source GUI applications are buggy as hell. X.org crashes routinely on me. Who is going to hire people to give them tech support?

Re:Costs. Windows is cheaper than Windows + Linux (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37575870)

Besides on the desktop most open source GUI applications are buggy as hell. X.org crashes routinely on me.

Windows must be incredibly free then, since it also crashes routinely on me. Hell following your reasoning a bit further I should even have been paid for using Vista

Re:Costs. Windows is cheaper than Windows + Linux (4, Insightful)

Plunky (929104) | about 3 years ago | (#37575880)

Its cheaper to write software for a single platform than write cross platform software.

This software only needs to run on one platform, the server. I didn't read TFA but TFS says "just to be able to access their childrens' grades" which should be implementable with a static page. I'm reading slashdot with Firefox on NetBSD, here can you imagine how much effort they must have put in to support that incredible combo? I don't even enable javascript!

Re:Costs. Windows is cheaper than Windows + Linux (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37575892)

i agree with you..
www.healtheducation4all.com

Read the article. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37576056)

Whoever modded this "insightful" is an idiot. Commentor freely admits he has not read TFA. The software is not just a dumb html page. Its a bit more complicated.

http://www.schoolmaster.nl/Portals/0/Schoolmaster%202007/Screenshots/Magister/magister_breedbeeld_big.jpg [schoolmaster.nl]

The problem here is as usual open source zealots assume that because they don't like microsoft nobody should like them or their technologies. Even if a company freely chose to use microsoft technology they must be bashed and called evil for doing so.

Re:Read the article. (1)

atomicbutterfly (1979388) | about 3 years ago | (#37576138)

Agreed. There is a very serious image problem in the open source community - the hardon for bashing Microsoft is basically a reflex now, without any reflection as to how things actually are these days with the quality of their software.

Re:Read the article. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37576218)

the hardon for bashing Microsoft is basically a reflex now

Microsoft defending is the real reflex, often it is preemptively defended, "watch somebody say something bad about Microsoft!"

Re:Read the article. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37576820)

the hardon for bashing Microsoft is basically a reflex now

Microsoft defending is the real reflex, often it is preemptively defended, "watch somebody say something bad about Microsoft!"

Are you being sarcastic? The post we are replying to tried to bash MS while being completely ignorant about the actual case, not even bothering to read the article to find out, and the problem is 'Microsoft-defending'? If you want to live in ignorant FUD-land, as long as it is the right kind of FUD, I guess it is.

Re:Read the article. (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37576510)

I'm sorry, I'm a closed-source, closed-minded Mac dev, not an open-source zealot, but to me that page doesn't look too complicated for a professional HTML designer (i.e. not the boss' teenage son). All I see in that screenshot are:

  • a navigation bar across the top clearly using HTML form elements or their equivalent,
  • a navigation list, just a single array in a given order, which could easily be a UL (unordered list) in HTML,
  • a navigation outline, meaning an array with nested arrays at some nodes, which could be a UL of UL's,
  • a calendar, which can be handled easily with TABLE elements or probably with DIVs by someone smarter than I,
  • a table of students, which is just a TABLE element that can be rigged to sort with a bit of JavaScript,
  • some buttons thrown into the mix, which have plenty of AJAXy solutions to make them do useful things without refreshing the page.

There is nothing in that UI that HTML5 couldn't replace. Neither Silverlight nor Flash is at all necessary here. This could run on practically any modern browser on any operating system, and with CSS it could easily have a separate view for mobile phones.

Re:Read the article. (1)

peppepz (1311345) | about 3 years ago | (#37578558)

There is nothing in that UI that HTML5 couldn't replace.

...or HTML4, too.

Re:Costs. Windows is cheaper than Windows + Linux (2)

Haedrian (1676506) | about 3 years ago | (#37575896)

They should invent a language which all platforms can understand.

We could call it HTML or something like that, but that's static, so we might need to invent something that makes it dynamic and still cross-platform-readable, like say php, asp.net, jsp,js...

Re:Costs. Windows is cheaper than Windows + Linux (2)

Pi1grim (1956208) | about 3 years ago | (#37575912)

If your X.org is crashing on you then you're holding it wrong.
And school application can and should be written as web, not desktop applications that work withing the browser. That's what other european countries do and it works out quite well for them.

Re:Costs. Windows is cheaper than Windows + Linux (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37575928)

Windows applications crashes routinely on me too.

It could be that I throw run four CAD suites, MS Office, OperOffice and a slew of database clients simultaneously together with a bunch of other apps - I rarely go below 3GB RAM used - and I can throw blame around on Intel, AMD and a dozen different software vendors whatnot for writing bad (WHQL) drivers and buggy apps, but that is not going to help me. It is 2011 and I get daily crashes and a BSOD a month.

And no, the problem does not lie anywhere other than in softwarespace. It has been like this for years, over several computers and Windows versions.

Re:Shoot the Schoolmaster CIO (5, Insightful)

KoolyM (602345) | about 3 years ago | (#37575900)

It's more subtle than that. The Dutch schoolmaster CIO only has two pieces of software to choose from, one of which is a bunch of outdated Windows desktop apps that are terrible to work with and the one TFA is about, which is a fairly decent set of web apps that unfortunately have never worked on anything but windows (first they used all sorts of ActiveX components, now it's a bunch of Silverlight crap, apparently). So there really is very little the schoolmaster CIO can do, and given the lack of options, he probably made the best possible choice.

Re:Shoot the Schoolmaster CIO (1)

xaccrocheur (470934) | about 3 years ago | (#37575934)

HTML5+JS

Re:Shoot the Schoolmaster CIO (1)

cyber-vandal (148830) | about 3 years ago | (#37576008)

You've just named a markup language and a scripting language well done. What does that have to do with the OP's point?

Re:Shoot the Schoolmaster CIO (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37576080)

Haven't you heard? HTML5 and JavaScript are the solutions to all problems these days. Do you need to write an operating system? Just use JavaScript! Did your dog just shit on the carpet? Use HTML5 to clean it up! Did you just drive over a nail, rupturing your car's tire? You can patch that hole with WebSockets! Did you accidentally pour acid on your genitals? Use jQuery to make yourself feel better.

Re:Shoot the Schoolmaster CIO (1)

gilleain (1310105) | about 3 years ago | (#37576140)

Haven't you heard? HTML5 and JavaScript are the solutions to all problems these days. Do you need to write an operating system? Just use JavaScript! Did your dog just shit on the carpet? Use HTML5 to clean it up! Did you just drive over a nail, rupturing your car's tire? You can patch that hole with WebSockets! Did you accidentally pour acid on your genitals? Use jQuery to make yourself feel better.

Except don't use jQuery if your page is XHTML, as there is a bug in the latest version (bug id : #9479).

Re:Shoot the Schoolmaster CIO (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37576002)

As far as I know they made the decision to "go Silverlight" just a few years ago, walking along with the Microsoft-sponsored hype machine and disregarding the market moving to open standards. If they are out of options now it's their own fault.

Re:Shoot the Schoolmaster CIO (1)

sgt scrub (869860) | about 3 years ago | (#37576016)

He could demand the source, release it to the community, and end up with an open source project with community support.

Re:Shoot the Schoolmaster CIO (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37581660)

I was thinking something similar, but I wouldn't be bothered asking for the source code if it's written for Silverlight. I was thinking more along the lines of concerned Dutch Citizens in the OS community just get together and rewrite the thing in a better way.

Re:Shoot the Schoolmaster CIO (1)

raboofje (538591) | about 3 years ago | (#37576434)

Really? I remember reading Magister has a respectable-but-far-from-monopolistic market share of 10%, and there seem to be various options available, including the web-based SOM (formerly Vocus, http://product.simaconderwijs.nl/Onze_producten/SOM [simaconderwijs.nl] ). Of course they'll differ in scope, but there certainly seems to be competition.

(full disclosure: i work for a sister-company of the company that develops SOM)

Re:Shoot the Schoolmaster CIO (1)

knarf (34928) | about 3 years ago | (#37576118)

No no no, that is not what you do when confronted with someone in a position of authority who is found incapable of making rational decisions. The right course of action is to first reward the person handsomely, treating him like a valued and honoured member of the community. Offer him (or her) a parachute so golden that it generates its own gravity. Don't ever reprimand the person, don't ever mention their incompetence. Either promote the person to a position of even more authority - put him somewhere high up in the organisation where he can safely absorb bonuses without causing direct harm - or allow him to take up a similar position in a competing business.

Remember, when you are above a certain pay scale you do not have to perform. You only have to keep up appearances. When that fails, you will be rewarded for failing.

Re:Shoot the Schoolmaster CIO (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37582430)

Ironically, the Schoolmaster CEO who made the decision to go .NET sold his company a while ago...

90+% discounts on Microsoft software (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37575856)

It will probably be difficult to act against a private company that chooses to support only the biggest player in their commercial software offering, but I think it is good that they also argue against the heavily subsidized Microsoft software in the educational market.

Giving away software to students only to make them buy it at full price later when they work in a company is like handing out crack in the schoolyard to make the kids addicted to it, then offering it to them at full price.

Re:90+% discounts on Microsoft software (1)

Slashdot Assistant (2336034) | about 3 years ago | (#37576070)

Giving away software to students only to make them buy it at full price later when they work in a company is like handing out crack in the schoolyard to make the kids addicted to it, then offering it to them at full price.

You check check an analogy to see whether or not it's become ridiculously out of proportion. To do this, simple reverse the analogy.

Handing out crack in the schoolyard to get kids addicted to it is like giving out free or heavily subsidized software to students, to later sell them full-price versions when they enter the workforce.

See?

FOSS School rules OK ? (1)

xaccrocheur (470934) | about 3 years ago | (#37575914)

I work for a major Linux distro in the education field. Around the world. Most decision-makers are actively bribed by Microsoft.

They shower Windows and Office licenses on schools and entire countries in exchange for brains.

Microsoft know what they are doing : *This*, the education market, is their bread and butter. They are extremely aggressive about that, just mention "education" to a Microsoft executive and observe his reaction.

Re:FOSS School rules OK ? (-1, Troll)

atomicbutterfly (1979388) | about 3 years ago | (#37576032)

So cheap copies of Windows and Office = bribibing? Sounds more like clever business to me.

OH! But it's Microsoft, how could I forget this little fact that completely ruins a person's objectivity...

Re:FOSS School rules OK ? (1)

MightyYar (622222) | about 3 years ago | (#37576062)

Sounds more like clever business to me.

In a competitive environment, it would be. In a monopoly position, it simply is anti-competitive in an area where you'd like some competition. I agree it is not "bribery", though.

Re:FOSS School rules OK ? (1)

atomicbutterfly (1979388) | about 3 years ago | (#37576098)

In a competitive environment, it would be. In a monopoly position, it simply is anti-competitive in an area where you'd like some competition. I agree it is not "bribery", though.

Oh please. The monopoly position doesn't hold much water these days. We're got alternatives - Linux and LibreOffice. They're freely available with no restrictions. Microsoft can offer Windows and MS Office as cheaply as they want, but they won't offer it for free because that doesn't exactly net them any money, so no matter what, they will always be offering the more expensive option compared to what I suggested. It's not like they're undercutting the opposition when the opposition is free.

No, there's more to it than that. People prefer to spend the money to keep the status quo and not have to learn anything new than try something that MIGHT work well enough for them, but would be different to what everyone else around them is using. We HAVE enough options now to keep everyone happy, so I don't see Microsoft as much of a monopoly now. They do have a huge market share though, but they can't remove the free option.

Re:FOSS School rules OK ? (2)

MightyYar (622222) | about 3 years ago | (#37576188)

We're got alternatives - Linux and LibreOffice.

No we don't. They are fine alternatives in that they are almost functional equivalents, but people aren't able to use them at work or school due to MS's monopoly position.

People prefer to spend the money to keep the status quo and not have to learn anything new than try something that MIGHT work well enough for them

People spent money on Office 2011 despite having to basically re-learn the program from scratch. OpenOffice requires almost no retraining from Office 2003. People buy Office because they have to if they want to interact with the outside world in an efficient way.

They do have a huge market share though

Yeah, a 94% market share - a monopoly.

Re:FOSS School rules OK ? (1)

cyber-vandal (148830) | about 3 years ago | (#37576796)

Does Linux run Win32 binaries flawlessly? If not then it is not a replacement for a lot of organisations. Does Libre Office run VBA macros flawlessly? If not then it is not a replacement for a lot of organisations.

Re:FOSS School rules OK ? (1)

peppepz (1311345) | about 3 years ago | (#37578574)

They do have a huge market share though, but they can't remove the free option.

With the UEFI secure boot, they actually found a way to remove it, and then blame the OEMs for that.

Re:FOSS School rules OK ? (1)

MightyMartian (840721) | about 3 years ago | (#37577604)

As I recall, Microsoft got into significant trouble for doing just that with Internet Explorer.

Re:FOSS School rules OK ? (1)

kenh (9056) | about 3 years ago | (#37577800)

Cheap is not free, Open Source options *can* be free, but cna cost much mor eif you want to manage a district full of Linux PCs in the same way you manage a district full of Windows PCs. Go price management solutions for 1,000-4,000 linux desktop deployments and compare that with the cost of MS-supplied and offered management tools for similar size Windows PC deplyments. Windows can be much cheaper to centrally manage - and yes, you do want to manage your school district's computers centrally.

Hiring a programmer to cobble together scripts is not a solution, it is a "hack", and hiring a programmer costs money, offsetting the "free" aspect of Open SOurce so many like to champion.

Re:FOSS School rules OK ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37578478)

"I'll give you something of value if you do something for me."

How is that not a bribe?

Re:FOSS School rules OK ? (1)

PPH (736903) | about 3 years ago | (#37577316)

This could have some interesting implications under the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act [wikipedia.org] . Given that school board members might very well be classified as government officials, handing out goodies might have implications that go well beyond slipping the officer of a private company, or a US official remuneration for their software choice.

On the other hand, Microsoft is smart in that they are dealing with a (private) third party supplier. Look Ma! No hands in government pockets!

Re:FOSS School rules OK ? (1)

kenh (9056) | about 3 years ago | (#37577876)

So your inabilty to penetrate the education market is based on Microsoft's success in giving away it's product. Why don't you give away your product also? Oh, because then your programmers wouldn't get paid. Interesting. I seem to recall Bill Gates making that very point a few years ago [wikipedia.org] ...

Do you realize you are arguing for a platform (Linux on the desktop) that has about 1/6th the market share of Windows Vista [wikipedia.org] ?

Silverlight truly cross-platform? Right. (3, Informative)

mrjb (547783) | about 3 years ago | (#37575964)

Please hit them with a clue-bat at info@schoolmaster.nl. This page on their website requires silverlight as well: http://www.schoolmaster.nl/Foldermateriaal/Magisterboek/tabid/615/language/nl-NL/Default.aspx [schoolmaster.nl] If you try installing the plug ins, you'll be redirected to the moonlight plugin. Which won't install because it is "not compatible with firefox 6". So in other words, it won't work on Linux. I wonder why am I not in the least bit surprised?

Re:Silverlight truly cross-platform? Right. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37576082)

Is it really incomparable, or is the supported version info in the XML file just not as up to date as Firefox? Could it be firefox's new release a new version rapidly vs the old approach screwing up add-on developers who aren't use to the rapid release cycle yet, and its intact the open source Firefox application that's screwing that up for you?

Re:Silverlight truly cross-platform? Right. (1)

barryvoeten (5508) | about 3 years ago | (#37576296)

Indeed. Even worse: Moonlight has never reached that maturity to keep up with the latest-of-the latest that's being used by Schoolmaster's Magister Silverlight app. I still keep a virtual WindowsXP available to boot, whenever I need to fill in marks for the kids.

Indeed, here's an IT teacher from NL with linux at home.

Re:Silverlight truly cross-platform? Right. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37580358)

So wait? Its magister's fault that moonlight and firefox can't work together? Does not compute. Maybe this has something to do with the absurd release schedule that firefox has adopted in an effort to ride Chrome's coattails. Since their update changes, the only firefox extension I have that remains compatible with the latest is Firebug. I'd imagine its even worse for actual plugins.

This is not how you change things (-1, Troll)

atomicbutterfly (1979388) | about 3 years ago | (#37576012)

Slashdot is fun. It reports news which basically doesn't exist. This is just some guy who is on an anti-Microsoft bender and wants to somehow make his ideology meaningful in a world which doesn't really give a shit (if the low Linux uptake has anything to go by).

His rant is way too emotional for something that the politicians and most parents won't even understand. I mean, everyone uses Windows right? It's installed on all computers, and if you point at a random computer user, it's probably 99% likely they use Windows or have at least one Windows machine in the house. This is slight hyperbole of course, but it's enough to bet money on most of the time.

Now I'm not saying there isn't value in a open and multi-platform way to distribute information. It's just that this guy overblows the matter. The number of people who would be affected by the requirement for Silverlight is probably going to be EXTREMELY minor. Should those people be penalized? Of course not. But they also made the decision to make life more difficult for themselves by going against the grain and choosing to use something other than Windows (an OS pre-installed on virtually all computers you can buy, so having to buy it yourself is unnecessary).

In other words, if you don't want to use Windows, be aware that you'll be treated like a second-class citizen and it's extremely hard to convince non-geeks (general public as well as politicians) that there's any issue at stake here. Heck, maybe this is part of the reason why people are scared off from using Linux - they see all these posts about "battles" and "fights" that just aren't faced if you use something more mainstream. One could argue that some fights are worth fighting for, but if so... a small petition from a bunch of geeks with too much emotion and too little tact is likely to not do a damn thing.

Yes, conform citizen, do as you are told (2)

SmallFurryCreature (593017) | about 3 years ago | (#37576034)

A wise post, I will now stay on the beaten path, do as I am told by my betters and take it up the arse like you have been doing all your life.

Sheep.

Please mark me as a foe, I can't mark you because there is no option for mindless twit.

Re:Yes, conform citizen, do as you are told (-1)

atomicbutterfly (1979388) | about 3 years ago | (#37576050)

This is the problem. People like you do not see anything but black and white. There is no grey apparently. You talk as if someone might actually find Windows more suitable for what they use a computer for than what Linux provides (e.g. me).

You seem to think I'm an idiot for having made a conscious choice to stick with Windows for logical and practical reasons, and since this does not click with your thought processes, you twitch, and post as you did.

It is hence you who is the mindless twit. For you do not accept a contradicting opinion.

Re:Yes, conform citizen, do as you are told (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37576272)

You do not force a vendor locked-down format upon people if you are a government instance.

If you do, it's the same as corruption, as you're forcing the people to use that format and therefore give money to the company which produces the proprietary software.

if you don't want to use Windows, be aware that you'll be treated like a second-class citizen and it's extremely hard to convince non-geeks (general public as well as politicians) that there's any issue at stake here

Why should it matter which OS one uses to access the information? There should be open access. Otherwise you are creating artificial monopolies through corruption. This is very anti-free market.

Re:Yes, conform citizen, do as you are told (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37576356)

You seem to think I'm an idiot for having made a conscious choice to stick with Windows for logical and practical reasons

Just take that thought a bit further. Choice. Conscious choice. Just exchange the name Microsoft with any other, in another area than internet-based information. Would you still maintain there really is a choice? Let's say Magister could only be viewed with Google Chrome, regardless of the platform, would you still find this 'logical and practical'? Let's say Dutch National TV could only be viewed on Samsung tv-sets, because that's what most people have anyway, would you agree?

From my perspective, a public service should be accessible by everyone. That logical and practical

Re:This is not how you change things (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37576042)

Why do you focus on Linux? There's this other OS called Mac OSX, which happens to be used by many students who are also having trouble with this. Not to mention the government *itself* decided open standards should be preferred over propietary ones. And all this guy does it point out the hypocricy of that and that there is actually a substantial non-Windows userbase here that is being affected.

I run Linux, I expect no one to care about that and I'm fine with that, but in this case they are just screwing over *every* non-Windows user while there are plenty of alternative ways to present this sort of stuff while not depending on Silverlight. Hell, even Flash would be better (since that at least works, unlike Moonlight, which has never been of any use to me - not a single Silverlight applet I've ever tried actually worked with that..)

Re:This is not how you change things (1)

atomicbutterfly (1979388) | about 3 years ago | (#37576112)

An excellent point of course. I didn't mention OS X because the blog seemed more focused on open source and the ideology of openness, which is traditionally more of a Linux focus than OS X, but you're still right.

Re:This is not how you change things (5, Insightful)

inglorion_on_the_net (1965514) | about 3 years ago | (#37576134)

Slashdot is fun. It reports news which basically doesn't exist. This is just some guy who is on an anti-Microsoft bender and wants to somehow make his ideology meaningful in a world which doesn't really give a shit (if the low Linux uptake has anything to go by).

This is not about Linux. It's about whether or not it is okay for public education institutions (and public institutions in general) to force the public to use a specific commercial product if they wish to partake. Given that there are various alternatives to said commercial product, and given that the government has adopted a policy of using open standards where they exist, I think forcing people to use a proprietary system is not okay. The fact that this system is also more expensive than many of the alternatives makes it even more odious.

His rant is way too emotional for something that the politicians and most parents won't even understand.

The story here is really simple: will we force everybody to pay for the most expensive option, or will we use standards, so that people can choose what they use?

If people refuse to understand that, that's still no reason to take the worse option.

I mean, everyone uses Windows right?

Even if that were the case, it would be irrelevant: if standards were used, then _any_ operating system would be able to participate, including Windows. It's not as if, by going with open standards, you would lock out the users who can now use the system. And that's the whole point: to not lock people out.

But they also made the decision to make life more difficult for themselves by going against the grain and choosing to use something other than Windows (an OS pre-installed on virtually all computers you can buy, so having to buy it yourself is unnecessary).

Now you're blaming the victims. It is not them who are making things more difficult, it is the people who implement systems that will only work with specific other products, rather than going with standards that can be supported anywhere.

One could argue that some fights are worth fighting for, but if so... a small petition from a bunch of geeks with too much emotion and too little tact is likely to not do a damn thing.

You may well be right there, especially considering that the government _officially_ has a policy to use open standards and even to prefer open source software - yet, in many cases, has gone for a proprietary solution without even looking into the alternatives.

On the other hand, it was also a small bunch of geeks who discovered that the voting computers we used to use in the Netherlands weren't reliable, and they were tenacious enough to eventually get them all banned - even though the initial reaction was denial, marginalization, and misinformation. It is a good example of exactly what you're up against if you want to replace a vested commercial interest with the right thing, but it also shows that you _can_ win. But you have to raise awareness, first, and that is what those guys are doing.

Re:This is not how you change things (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37576324)

Preference of open standards over closed standards is mandatory for a while now in the Netherlands. Unfortunately it's not enforced, creating real problems for real people. If the use of a government service is mandatory it should not be tied to a single platform.

Re:This is not how you change things (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37576450)

Actually, municipals (gemeentes) try to find ways to stay with MS products. Most of the time only because that's what they are used to, and don't want to change. As a government employed IT worker, I've seen it first hand and saw how contact with other municipals where contacted to find out how they circumvented any possible non-MS solution. A good one apparently is 'our software suppliers don't interoperate well with Openoffice (for example) and thus we must stick with MS Office'.

Huge shame really...

Re:This is not how you change things (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37577364)

Apparently 5-10% of the students have trouble with Silverlight, so 90-95% running Windows would be more accurate.

What always amazes me with this kind of high market share argument, which I heard many times over the years, is the blindness for the fact that there are platform independent open standards available that have 100% market share. Use them and *everyone* will be able to use your web interface. The market share argument is an argument for open standards. They can use Silverlight for a cooler version of the presentation if they like, but they should provide a fallback to something that works for everyone.

And politicians understand more than you seem to think. The open letter asks the government to act on their own policy to embrace open standards and open source (the software is used in public schools).

Re:This is not how you change things (1)

Shoe Puppet (1557239) | about 3 years ago | (#37578576)

Apparently 5-10% of the students have trouble with Silverlight, so 90-95% running Windows would be more accurate.

That assumes nobody using Windows will have any trouble with Silverlight.

C++/Qt? (1)

Gravis Zero (934156) | about 3 years ago | (#37576068)

Why not just use C++/Qt and recompile for each platform? Seriously, unless you are being naughty and using platform specific code, Qt is platform agnostic. All that would be required is a simple recompile and you could have a Windows, Linux and Mac OSX (OSX seems to be overlooked here). An additional bonus that you get a binary out which seems to be there preference as bytecode is easier to reverse engineer.

However, if they go with something else, I insist they go with .Net compiled as MSIL or Java as they are not architecture specific (and way easier to reverse engineer!) :D

Re:C++/Qt? (1)

Lennie (16154) | about 3 years ago | (#37576598)

It is a website. They changed it so that the website depends on a not-widely deployed plugin.

That really should not be needed, people can just use open standards HTML/JS/CSS.

Re:C++/Qt? (0)

kenh (9056) | about 3 years ago | (#37577664)

It is a website. They changed it so that the website depends on a not-widely deployed plugin.

Please define "not-widely deployed plugin" - as I read TFA, Silverlight is supported on 90% of desktops (those running MS operating systems)... That seems pretty widely deployed to me.

Re:C++/Qt? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37578712)

The delopyment rate of Silverlight is much lower than Windows. About 1/4 [riastats.com] of all desktops do not run any version of Sivlerlight.

Re:C++/Qt? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37597256)

Please define "not-widely deployed plugin" - as I read TFA, Silverlight is supported on 90% of desktops (those running MS operating systems)... That seems pretty widely deployed to me.

You do know the difference between deployed and supported, do you? It may be possible to deploy Silverlight on 90% of the desktop computers, but it has not been deployed on all of those 90%.

Not available for the best-selling PC in the world (1)

gig (78408) | about 3 years ago | (#37576216)

iPad is the best-selling PC in the world for over a year now, and there is no Silverlight there.

If you are making something that everybody needs to see, you use HTML5 or you fail. It is that simple. The whole fucking point of the Web is to be the one platform that is universal.

Tell the bozo developer to go to w3.org not microsoft.com. And tell him computing is centered in Silicon Valley, motherfucker, not Washington.

Re:Not available for the best-selling PC in the wo (1, Insightful)

wvmarle (1070040) | about 3 years ago | (#37576300)

A quick google gives me the following numbers:

iPad: about 10 million units sold first half 2011. So make that 20-25 million for the year. The total tablet market may reach something like 30 million this year.

PC's: about 350 million units sold in 2010.

iPad and other tablets may get all the press, but generic PC units outsell tablets by more than 10 to 1, and those generic PCs again come >90% with Windows pre-installed. No idea what you've been smoking but your statement is clearly nonsensical. You can stop trolling now. If you have something the world in general has to see, Windows is still a pretty good bet.

Point completely missed (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37577144)

But then, you did rush to the barriers with excuses aplenty and not too much evidence of an actual original thought.

FYI, the issue is that a public body has made a decision to disenfranchise a minority of its users by going with a Silverlight-based system. And here was the world + dog thinking that public bodies should not be doing that sort of thing.

Re:Not available for the best-selling PC in the wo (0)

Cwix (1671282) | about 3 years ago | (#37577388)

An ipad is alot of things, a PC it is not.

Re:Not available for the best-selling PC in the wo (0)

kenh (9056) | about 3 years ago | (#37577720)

If you are making something that everybody needs to see, you use HTML5 or you fail.

Wow, I didn't realize that HTML5 was so universal it is supported by all browsers, on all platforms.

Re:Not available for the best-selling PC in the wo (1)

Shoe Puppet (1557239) | about 3 years ago | (#37578582)

iPad is the best-selling PC in the world for over a year now, and there is no Silverlight there.

I'm a PC, and I object to being compared to an iPad.

Seems to me... (2)

kenh (9056) | about 3 years ago | (#37577622)

If the school system provided a terminal server for the 10% of desktop users that opt for Operating Systems which do not natively support "Silverlight" to access the school web sites this would be a non-issue. RDP clients are plentiful and work fine on nearly all platforms. Even iPads.

Re:Seems to me... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37579410)

No, this doesn't make it a non-issue.

This seems to be a common approach these days - develop for Windows, and make everyone else RDP to a Windows terminal server. Can I print from your windows terminal server to the printer in my house? No. Does cut and paste work between your terminal server and my machine? Well, kinda sorta maybe.

Re:Seems to me... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37581246)

This doesn't back it acceptable. It just routes around the real issue. It may be a half-ass solution to something a predecessor implemented or ok'd. It's not an acceptable solution.

silverlight, lol (1)

thetoadwarrior (1268702) | about 3 years ago | (#37577692)

It's pretty much dead in Microsoft's eyes. Maybe they'll get it right when they have to redo it in a few years because silverlight doesn't exist anywhere.

True intention of Mono and Moonlight (1)

Yfrwlf (998822) | about 3 years ago | (#37581988)

Was to give Microsoft an excuse so they could proclaim that their systems followed standards and were cross-platform. Of course in reality, the standards are always only possible if you're using Windows, otherwise you get only partial functionality, which means it's not really a standard.
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