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Ontario Schools License StarOffice

timothy posted more than 10 years ago | from the gateway-drug-for-free-software dept.

Sun Microsystems 536

An anonymous reader writes "Sun Microsystems has signed a contract with the Ontario Ministry of Education in one of the biggest deals yet for its StarOffice software. It covers 72 public and parochial school boards in Ontario. All will be licensed to use StarOffice 7 on all school-owned PCs. Financial details weren't disclosed but Ontario school officials said the cost is 'minimal.'" Reader Apostata adds that the move "will see the application suite used by 2.5 million students. No word on whether it ships with 'Canadian English' pack ;)"

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536 comments

Backstory (4, Interesting)

mfh (56) | more than 10 years ago | (#9362837)

I think this move is the most enlightened move the Ministry of Ed has made since inception. Sadly it's only motivated by the shoddy budget for education, and not a move in ideology, necessarily. The backstory to the Ontario Ministry of Education using Star Office has to do mostly with politics. Even with $2bil increase to spending on education in the 2004 budget, this is still a lot less than years prior, due to Tory cuts to education. It's really a sad state of affairs for children today, in Ontario.

Re:Backstory (4, Interesting)

Orgazmus (761208) | more than 10 years ago | (#9362900)

In our school(Norway), we have about 60pc's running licenced versions of WinXP, while we're out of everything else :\
Its sad..

Re:Backstory (5, Funny)

fembots (753724) | more than 10 years ago | (#9362925)

Does that mean that the best way to lobby for OpenSource is to lobby for cutting funding in education?

The ministry probably can't even get StarOffice if the budget is cut to $500mil, maybe then they'll start considering OpenOffice :)

Re:Backstory (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9362953)

Unfortunatly the problem (at least in California) is the teachers union. What percentage of increase in spending actually to directly educating the children, I.E new equipment, new texts, new schools. Hardly 25%. Most goes to Teachers salaries, administration salaries et al. Now there is no problem with paying teachers and administrators more money, but don't you think they should do a better job to earn it?

Flamebait or no, time and time again socialism and liberalism is proven to be the most inefficient form of government.

spelling and grammer errors brought to you by California's finest public education.

Re:Backstory (3, Insightful)

monkeyneck (648963) | more than 10 years ago | (#9363074)

"spelling and grammer errors brought to you by California's finest public education" Make that: spelling and grammar errors brought to you by someone who'd rather blame the system than learn some shit on his/her own.

2 frostiez in zee row! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9362841)

rbaldyga@comcast.net

Ze Sveedish Chef esaays... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9363092)

No, zis ize yer feerster failoor... bork, bork, bork!

Troll, troll, troll!

About damn time (2, Insightful)

asit+ler (688945) | more than 10 years ago | (#9362842)

It's about time some major organization, even a non-profit, started using StarOffice, or OOo.

Here's a mirror (0, Offtopic)

mirror_dude (775745) | more than 10 years ago | (#9362954)

Just in case the server crashes and burns (like they usually do),I have put up a mirror.
The mirror of http://www.zdnet.com.au/insight/toolkit/businessap ps/opensource/0,39024866,39149910,00.htm is at http://mirrorit.demonmoo.com/r_808/www.zdnet.com.a u/insight/toolkit/businessapps/opensource/0%2C3902 4866%2C39149910%2C00.htm [demonmoo.com]
The mirror of http://www.edu.gov.on.ca/eng/welcome.html is at http://mirrorit.demonmoo.com/r_808/www.edu.gov.on. ca/eng/welcome.html [demonmoo.com]
The mirror of http://wwws.sun.com/software/star/staroffice/ is at http://mirrorit.demonmoo.com/r_808/wwws.sun.com/so ftware/star/staroffice/ [demonmoo.com]

Karma whore (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9363024)

Yea, like zdnet and sun are really going to get slashdotted.

Re:Here's a mirror (1)

1u3hr (530656) | more than 10 years ago | (#9363053)

ust in case the server crashes and burns (like they usually do)

It's ZDnet, for God's sake. That can stand anything we throw at it. Save your mirrors for Geocities pages.

Need OO.o to MS filters (4, Insightful)

bstadil (7110) | more than 10 years ago | (#9362966)

I agree. We need openoffice to MS Office filters though. I am tired of sending .sxw or .sxc files to people and having to later point to OO.c for them to read it. (Sending .doc files is not an option, as it plays to MS)

I would be much better if you could suggest a filter that they could use within MS Office to read and write OO.o files directly.

Once OO.o reaches a 15%-20% marketshare, the battle is won as you can then demand they read your files not that they need to be "translated"

Re:Need OO.o to MS filters (0, Flamebait)

damiam (409504) | more than 10 years ago | (#9363011)

RTF.

Re:Need OO.o to MS filters (2, Interesting)

aled (228417) | more than 10 years ago | (#9363047)

And a standalone viewer would be cool. MS used to have standalones viewers for office, don't know now. Perhaps a simple app that xsl openoffice to rtf to open with wordpad would not be difficult.

Re:Need OO.o to MS filters (1)

tonyr60 (32153) | more than 10 years ago | (#9363057)

Sorry, but I do not grok this posting.

I only use Star Office 7 (same as latest OO) to write documentation etc. for my clients. I send it as a Word 97 document and so far have found zero recipients who cannot understand it. OK some (a few) may comment that some formatting is not as it should be, but the objective of the document works.

The filters are there, and they work for me....

And the point is (1)

bstadil (7110) | more than 10 years ago | (#9363089)

The point is to avoid sending .doc files Word97 or otherwise. Send native OO.o files and let the MS folks screw around with the filters.

Re:Need OO.o to MS filters (3, Insightful)

1u3hr (530656) | more than 10 years ago | (#9363065)

I agree. We need openoffice to MS Office filters though. I am tired of sending .sxw or .sxc files to people

  • plain text
  • HTML
  • PDF
  • RTF

FP (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9362843)

Frist Pist

Licensed...? (0, Flamebait)

tokachu(k) (780007) | more than 10 years ago | (#9362847)

What, they haven't heard of OpenOffice [openoffice.org] ?

My former slight thoughts of Canada's intelligence are withering.

Re:Licensed...? (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9362868)

Why not get support for very little money. Sun has such a low cost per seat that there would have been no point to using OOo instead of SO. Perhaps you would like to see development in OOo slow down, because if SO does not make Sun money, that's exactly what will happen.

Sun Sucks and Attempts to Destroy Our Community (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9362888)

Yeah, how dare Sun try to destroy OpenOffice, a competitor to StarOffice, by licensing StarOffice to people.

And, by competing against our community, Sun must be the enemy.

What has Sun done for the community? Nothing.

Long Live OpenOffice!

Re:Licensed...? (5, Informative)

irokitt (663593) | more than 10 years ago | (#9362927)

The difference between OpenOffice.org and StarOffice is that it comes with licensing, support, and the odd extra feature included. Corporations use StarOffice as opposed to OpenOffice for the same reasons they use Red Hat as opposed to Gentoo (I said it, I'm putting on asbestos underwear, you can't hurt me!). In a corporate setting that support tends to save you a few headaches.

Disclaimer: I like Gentoo, I just wouldn't use it as a server OS in a large corporation or an educational setting.

Re:Licensed...? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9363060)

Yes, but you are no match for my combined underpant gnomes / flaming tactics.

Re:Licensed...? (5, Funny)

antiMStroll (664213) | more than 10 years ago | (#9363007)

"My former slight thoughts of Canada's intelligence are withering."

Given the tortured grammar of that sentence, Canada feels no loss.

Re:Licensed...? (1)

drgonzo59 (747139) | more than 10 years ago | (#9363051)

ROFL Mod the parent up!

Hosers (3, Funny)

momerath2003 (606823) | more than 10 years ago | (#9362852)

'Canadian English'?

Will StarOffice append '", eh?" to every sentence? Or does it simply replace "about" with "aboot"?

Re:Hosers (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9362864)

Oh my that's funny. And so original.

Re:Hosers (2, Insightful)

momerath2003 (606823) | more than 10 years ago | (#9362873)

Oh my that's funny. And so original.

Yes, just like everything else on Slashdot. I have a carefully targeted audience. /bows

Re:Hosers (3, Funny)

ErichTheWebGuy (745925) | more than 10 years ago | (#9362882)

Take off, eh!

Re:Hosers (3, Insightful)

Mr. Flibble (12943) | more than 10 years ago | (#9362903)

As a Canadian, I was going to make this very joke, but I was beat to the punch.

However, I would like to know from those Americans on Slashdot: Where the heck does "aboot" come from? I have never met anyone in Canada that pronounces "about" as "aboot". Do any of you know where this originates?

(PS: "Zed" not "Zee" ;)

Re:Hosers (2, Informative)

momerath2003 (606823) | more than 10 years ago | (#9362914)

A lot of the great canadian references come from the movie "Strange Brew," based on characters from "The Great White North" which I believe was a Saturday Night Live skit.

As for hearing anyone but them say it this way, the only peoples who I personally have heard with such an accent are those in Minnesota, which, as you probably know, is geographically very close to Canada. ;)

Re:Hosers (4, Funny)

Pxtl (151020) | more than 10 years ago | (#9362935)

SCTV actually (where John Candy got his start) - it was a Canadian show, but aimed for the American mass market. There was a minute or two of extra time at the end of the show because of the difference between Canadian and American timeslot lengths, so they decided to add something "uniquely Canadian" and put in Bob and Doug in the "Great White North".

Re:Hosers (1)

wing03 (654457) | more than 10 years ago | (#9363093)

There was a minute or two of extra time at the end of the show because of the difference between Canadian and American timeslot lengths, so they decided to add something "uniquely Canadian" and put in Bob and Doug in the "Great White North".

Actually...

I believe there was a rule at that time that some TV shows had to have a certain percentage of Canadian content in order to quallify for funding or broadcast within our borders.

More a situation like Monty Python's "Contractual Obligations" album rather than fitting in a 22 minute time slot.

SCTV cast and crew looked among themselves and rolled their eyes. And soon were born a couple of stereotypical Canadians sitting on an old couch infront of a map of Canada with Canadian beer in hand spouting "eh?, Hoser, aboot and etc... to drive home the fact that there was indeed Canadian content in the show.

Re:Hosers (1)

Teh_monkeyCode (752769) | more than 10 years ago | (#9362942)

"The Great White North" was a skit on SCTV

Re:Hosers (1)

rowdent (203919) | more than 10 years ago | (#9362958)

Actually, it was an SCTV [sctv.org] skit. And yes, I would imagine that "aboot" comes from the Minnesota area, which is actually geographically close to Kenora, Ontario (right across the Lake of the Woods) and parts of Manitoba.

[OT] Re:Hosers (1)

turg (19864) | more than 10 years ago | (#9362915)

Never been to the east coast then, eh, b'y?

Re:Hosers (1)

Fnkmaster (89084) | more than 10 years ago | (#9362982)

I don't know where you live, but I used to travel extensively to Ottawa. I have definitely heard people in the Ottawa area pronounce the word "about" somewhat like "aboot". Don't know if there's a specific part of Ontario they were from, and I know the "aboot" is recognizable as a backwoods Minnesota accent too, but I've certainly heard it in Canada.

Western Ontario (2, Informative)

eisenbud (708663) | more than 10 years ago | (#9363022)

I drove west across the Trans-Canada Highway in '98 on my slightly roundabout way to California, and there was a definite patch of people saying "aboot" in Western Ontario. It was a long time ago now, but I think it was mostly between Sault Ste. Marie and Thunder Bay.

Re:Hosers (5, Interesting)

sommerfeld (106049) | more than 10 years ago | (#9363034)

It's real. Vowels tend to wander in regional dialects so what sounds like an "au" to you might sound closer to an "oo" to me. Google turned up "Canadian Raising" [yorku.ca] which explains this particular difference better than I can.

Re:Hosers (4, Funny)

bigdavex (155746) | more than 10 years ago | (#9363079)


I have never met anyone in Canada that pronounces "about" as "aboot".

The Canadians I know say "aboot" but they don't know it. One of them asked us about the reference in South park. "What's all that aboot? We don't say aboooot."

Re:Hosers (2, Interesting)

Champion3 (599877) | more than 10 years ago | (#9362906)

At least it will flag any occurances of "y'all."

Re:Hosers (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9362917)

Written using the NZ edition: "Sex fush 'n' chups thanks."

Re:Hosers (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9362930)

That should be "thunks", not "thanks".

Re:Hosers (1)

Wynken de Word (649514) | more than 10 years ago | (#9362955)

After some analyzing, I think your post harbours a more colourful theme at its centre: you Americans miss the extra 'u', the 'z' (pronounced 'zed') instead of 's', the 'er' switch, which we Canadians held over from ye ol' Brit English. Beware the spellcheck, eh?

Re:Hosers (2, Insightful)

lvdrproject (626577) | more than 10 years ago | (#9362998)

Actually, America didn't have the chance to 'hold over' the use of -'ise' in verbs. When America was still a colony (colonies, if you prefer), the British actually used -'ize', which was the original form. It wasn't until the 1800s, when they decided to emulate spelling changes in the language of their neighbours across the channel, that they changed to -'ise'. The Americans, of course, had already mostly established their language (and their country), and didn't have the influence of the French like the British did, so they left theirs -'ize'.

Coincidentally, even some British schools of grammar continue to use -'ize'. (Oxford, for example -- the traitors.)

In all seriousness... (2, Interesting)

Trillan (597339) | more than 10 years ago | (#9362973)

A few years ago, I added a spell checker to an application I wrote. I tried to find a Canadian English wordlist, either complete or as a supplement to a British or American dictionary.

It's very difficult to find. I eventually concluded I was going to have to contact some Canadian publishers, and around that time I decided not to bother.

Presumably, other Canadians did what I did -- use the American dictionary and correct it from time to time.

Re:In all seriousness... (1)

shepd (155729) | more than 10 years ago | (#9363038)

Try this dictionary [luther.ca] . Unfortunately, the author has some copyright rules [luther.ca] that'd make Microsoft cry, so it might not be the best source, although it is accurate.

Re:Hosers (2, Insightful)

njm (556768) | more than 10 years ago | (#9362988)

So, about this "oot and aboot" business... it's just plain wrong.

Though for Americans "aboot" is what might sound closest to many Canadians' pronunciation of the word "about," it isn't correct. The sound present in some dialects of Canadian (and American!) English results from a phonological process known as Canadian Raising [yorku.ca] . The "ow" sound is pronounced pretty universally in America as [aU]--i.e. a diphthong whose first element is like the a in father and whose second is like the u in put. However, before a voiceless segment (basically a consonant during whose articulation one's vocal chords are not vibrating), the first element is raised to an "uh"-like sound; i.e., the u in tuck. This also applies to the so-called "long i," in which the /aI/ diphthong is pronounced [@I]. (This is much more common in America than the /aU/ portion of Canadian Raising, too, so it's less widely mocked this side of the border.)

So, yeah, "oot and aboot" is wrong. That is all. ;)

Re:Hosers (1)

Phidoux (705500) | more than 10 years ago | (#9363083)

No! The spell checker changes colour to color.

Fools! (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9362855)

Fools: They could have it for 0$ if they'd used Open Office.

Re:Fools! (5, Insightful)

AmNotAScript (773861) | more than 10 years ago | (#9362870)

But they want the SUPPORT that comes with StarOffice.

Re:Fools! (1)

Neo-Rio-101 (700494) | more than 10 years ago | (#9363026)

Don't bash people who want the support version. Just in case some teacher can't use the suite, Sun probably has someone take calls (and it co$ts them to take those calls to).

Ok OK.... geeks would never EVER call a support centre (not without wasting a day trying first), which is why they simply cannot understand the need to pay for support...

BUT, the average folk WANT this support everytime they mistakenly save their file in Open Office format and their MSWord buddies can't read it - or they do something silly on the PC which has NOTHING TO DO with Star Office, but they blame Star Office anyway. They have NO TIME to fix it, and they want someone else to do it.
To a geek, paying for this boggles the mind, but to the average user it makes perfect sense to PAY for this support AND they are prepared to pay for it. Sun is doing them a favour by offering it.

Believe it or not, that's a business plan with no ??? in the middle.
What's also unbelivable is that many businesses use Windows server and still intend to use it.... but we'll save that for "Ripley's believe it or not!"

Re:Fools! (4, Interesting)

sasha328 (203458) | more than 10 years ago | (#9362926)

And who would you have look after re-training required?
Sun also has included some forms of training (and training for teachers as well)
There's a story [itbusiness.ca] at ITBusiness.ca [itbusiness.ca] that has more information.

Re:Fools! (2, Insightful)

jm91509 (161085) | more than 10 years ago | (#9363068)

And who would you have look after re-training required?

Its for schools. They havn't been trained at all yet.

Get em while they're young :)

It should come with Canadian English... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9362862)

After all, the copies licensed at Canadian Universities do.

What We Already Know (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9362866)

At least this didn't prove to us Canada is full of idiots. We already knew that. Thank you South Park.

Loss to Wordperfect, not Word (4, Informative)

mini me (132455) | more than 10 years ago | (#9362869)

The Ontario school board used Word Perfect in the past, which made sense, giving money to an Ontario company. I don't know why they didn't just use OpenOffice now. Unless times have changed since I was in the Ontario school system it will only be used for word processing anyway.

Re:Loss to Wordperfect, not Word (1)

BHearsum (325814) | more than 10 years ago | (#9362952)

Far in the past, yes. I was a student in Ontario for many years, and at *least* the past 5, probably much more have been with Microsoft Office. Now, we also had old versions of Corel Office stuff along with it, but everyone just used Office.

Re:Loss to Wordperfect, not Word (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9363015)

Last 5 years or so the school board here (Hamilton) has been using MS office.

This is good news

I wonder. (1)

Gay Nigger (676904) | more than 10 years ago | (#9362872)

I find it odd that they didn't opt for a free alternative to Star Office such as Open Office. Frankly, it seems that Open Office would have better support for foreign languages such as Quebecois French than Star Office would. Plus, since it's free, they would have the support of not just one company, but an entire community devoted to helping each other out in using the software.

It's too bad they didn't disclose what the "minimum cost" was, because it would be interesting to have someone calculate the money they would've been able to save by using the readily available open source alternative. The Open Office people have been doing a tremendous job in making their application more user friendly and easy to set up, I can't imagine them expending much on personell to support it.

One reason (1)

Matt Clare (692178) | more than 10 years ago | (#9362878)

It's all about the colour of money - but I'm glad to see the ministry of Ed is waking up. --Good show Calgary Flames --

Mac OS X native (0, Offtopic)

chocolatetrumpet (73058) | more than 10 years ago | (#9362880)

So.. yes this is offtopic, but not really if you consider the topic word processes...

Anyway, when do we get OpenOffice native on Mac OS X, again?

Re:Mac OS X native (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9362977)

by the same token, I'm looking forward to download QuickTime player for Linux, even though Mplayer plays quicktime files with no hitch and is not bloated like Apple QTP.

Anyway, what's the topic here, heh?

Re:Mac OS X native (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9363041)

It seems to be a bit stale (updated Jan '04) but we've got better luck wishing for this [befunk.com] .

No chance (4, Insightful)

lavalyn (649886) | more than 10 years ago | (#9362883)

Corel had a huge deal with the Ontario Board of Education a few years back, to get WordPerfect onto every computer. They got it installed... but nobody used it. The Microsoft hold was too strong by then. And this was like 2000. I don't think this had changed...

I recall talking to the "computer" teacher/sysadmin at the time, suggesting WordPerfect or StarDivison's Staroffice on the additional Word licenses the school held. His answer was basically "but nobody will use it." Educators after all aren't accountable for costs like private businesses would be.

Re:No chance (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9363046)

Educators after all aren't accountable for costs like private businesses would be.

That's not true. Each school has a budget, usually set on an enrollment basis. The difference is that there's no "profit" motive for schools. However, it doesn't make a difference since nearly all school budgets include a "fundraiser" percentage so that the county's portion of the school budget never covers 100% of operating costs anyhow.

Canadian English (2, Funny)

teklob (650327) | more than 10 years ago | (#9362892)

Just because I'm bored I'll post some canadian-american english translations
American - Canadian
Soda - Pop
11th Grade- Grade 11
well thats all i can think of, that sure killed 2 minutes

Re:Canadian English (4, Funny)

ForestGrump (644805) | more than 10 years ago | (#9362932)

Sadam Heussien- Prime minister
The only road- Highway 1
Dollar-1.25
(ok, you had to see that ep of south park to get it)

Re:Canadian English (1)

Afroplex (243562) | more than 10 years ago | (#9362963)

Depends on where you are for Soda/Pop. Where I'm at (Nebraska, USA) the soda, pop and coke are used equally. Some places use sodi, but outside my geographic region. This might make an interesting but useless research paper idea for someone.

Re:Canadian English (0)

UnCivil Liberty (786163) | more than 10 years ago | (#9362971)

passport - mullet

Re:Canadian English (5, Interesting)

Zagadka (6641) | more than 10 years ago | (#9362994)

Actually, the Pop vs Soda thing isn't Canadian vs American. Take a look at this map [popvssoda.com] , which shows which term is predominantly used in each part of the US and Canada.

The biggest differences between American and Canadian English that I know of have to do with spelling. eg: colour vs color, metre vs meter, etc. The only differences I've noticed in spoken English are zed vs zee thing, and the nonsensical way Americans use "quarter of" when referring to the time. (to me "quarter of 12" is 3, but to Americans it apparently means "a quarter to 12")

Re:Canadian English (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9363005)

A-C
Is that all? - I couldn't eat that in two meals!

Re:Canadian English (1)

dicepackage (526497) | more than 10 years ago | (#9363018)

I live in Detroit and everyone here calls their drinks pop. If you ask for a soda here people will just laugh at you.

Re:Canadian English (1)

lvdrproject (626577) | more than 10 years ago | (#9363023)

There are lots of places in America that call it 'pop'. Mostly the use of 'soda' is limited to the east and west coasts. 'Pop' is preferred in the northern half, while most Southerners just call it all 'Coke'. -_-

OpenSOURCE! (2, Informative)

Piranhaa (672441) | more than 10 years ago | (#9362896)

I know as a fact, that computer systems in schools cost a huge amount of dollars (buying licenses for hundreds of computers at a time). I think the move to open source for schools will reduce the amount of prices associated with computers and allow for that money saved to be put towards something other than software (like gym equipment, or something more useful). When they move to open source operating systems, that will dramatically decrease problems associated with Windows (as there are right now)...

Re:OpenSOURCE! (1)

agoatley (785428) | more than 10 years ago | (#9362956)

Unfortunately, Microsoft's stranglehold is probably too strong by now. I don't think that schools will move to Linux any time soon :(
Kids would immediately start complaining and asking where their good friend Microsoft got to.

-Ashton

Re:OpenSOURCE! (1)

Piranhaa (672441) | more than 10 years ago | (#9362974)

Don't you think the school would rather have computers that work, and not have to be updated for some time? My school runs a windows proxy and router, running windows 2000 on each computer. They just threw out hundreds of PI 133's which could have still been used by putting something other than windows on it. To me it's just a waste of money and computer power!

Re:OpenSOURCE! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9363062)

no.

you miss the whole point of OpenSOURCE!
ok..

open source does not necessarily mean "cheaper" or "free". open source merely means.. well.. source opened. I highly doubt that the ministry of ed. will make use of any source code.. even if it is available to them by sun.
so when you tout to all your friends and family to go openSOURCE!, remember that not all openSOURCE! applications are cheaper/free. get it?

Canuckistani English (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9362899)

All instances of "about" are spelled "aboot".

Cost? (4, Interesting)

LinuxInDallas (73952) | more than 10 years ago | (#9362908)

Interesting that the Canadian government can choose not to disclose the money spent on the contract. That's definitely in contrast to here in the US where even a teacher's pay is public record.

Re:Cost? (5, Insightful)

Zeebs (577100) | more than 10 years ago | (#9362944)

Well it is somewhere, the problem is that no one cares to look for it unless the money is declared missing by the opposition party. I believe on a whole we trust our government a slight bit more, until that it is it's brought to our attention. Good thing there is a federal election here on June 28th, god willing a minority liberal government will be in control.

PS for Canadian Slashdot'ers: Voting is as easy as ABC, Anybody But Conservative

Re:Cost? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9363006)

WRONG -- Anyone who pays their taxes has access to government financial information. Municipal, Provincial or Federal!

Did you really beLIEve the Liberal party when they said that they weren't aware of the $6 Billion dept the Conservative government accumulated. If you don't know you shouldn't be elected dammit!

Re:Cost? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9363036)

Interesting that the Canadian government can choose not to disclose the money spent on the contract. That's definitely in contrast to here in the US where even a teacher's pay is public record.

Not anybody really uses this information, considering we are nearly $8 Trillion in debt [brillig.com] .

I'm Torn (0, Offtopic)

The Lost Supertone (754279) | more than 10 years ago | (#9362924)

Ontario's Ed policies on sex ed aggravate me, yet this makes me happy....

Re:I'm Torn (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9363052)

I'm an American and hopelessly curious: what do you find wrong with Ontario sex ed?

Before everyone starts complaining... (5, Insightful)

Granos (746051) | more than 10 years ago | (#9362972)

Before everyone starts complaining about why they didn't use a free alternative like OOo, look at the Star Office 7 link in the summary. It IS free for educational use:
Education No license fees; cost of media and shipping
It was probably cheaper than trying to burn and distrubute thousands and thousands of OOo CDs, since most schools don't have CD burners available that would be able to produce a quantity like that. They bulk of the 'minimal' amount of money probably went to a support contract.

Well,... (1)

Mark_MF-WN (678030) | more than 10 years ago | (#9363002)

This needs modding up. That's a pretty big detail to have been overlooked.

Microsoft will retaliate (4, Insightful)

tisme (414989) | more than 10 years ago | (#9362975)

Microsoft is not going to let this happen, and I think I know what they will do. First, drastic price cuts will be implemented followed by the creation of additional tools and resources for schools and teachers.

The reason Microsoft will refuse to give in, even if it means that they might lose a load of money in the short run, is because they understand that if they can get students hooked while they are young, they can keep perpetuating a monopoly. My younger siblings want Microsoft Word/Powerpoint/Excel on their computer/laptop simply because they know it from school.

It will be a tough fight if larger inroads are made, because Microsoft will certainly retaliate. Another problem is schools are still able to opt for Microsoft Office instead, which many of them will certainly do.

Correction. (2, Informative)

Raven42rac (448205) | more than 10 years ago | (#9362978)

It is not "Canadian English", it is "The Queen's English" that pretty much every other English-speaking country other than the US uses.

Re:Correction. (1)

tisme (414989) | more than 10 years ago | (#9363025)

Not entirely true, Canadian english borrows heavily from both English proper and American English, and is viewed seperately because some terms used from English proper would be wrong, whereas others used from American English would be considered wrong as well. Canadian english is a mixture of the two and I must say Microsoft Word does a dang good job of getting it right for the most part. I am going to look into availability of language packs for OpenOffice & StarOffice for Canadian english and compare them with Canadian dictionaries to see if they are as good as Microsoft Word. Frankly, they should be because all it takes is for someone to copy the appropriate words from a Canadian dictionary straight into a spell check...

Re:Correction. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9363045)

Having been to both southern England and the Eastern and Western edges of Canada, I have to disagree - Canadian English is in a class all its own.

Re:Correction. (0, Offtopic)

rowdent (203919) | more than 10 years ago | (#9363056)

I don't know where you're getting your information from... Last time I checked, "The Queen" didn't write the grammar books... Canadian English differs greatly from British English. For example, many of us use Z's instead of S's in words such as jeopardize. However, Canadian English is very much subject to personal preference, and so it is very difficult to have a definitive "Canadian English" at all, let alone a dictionary of Canadian English

Re:Correction. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9363076)

Last time I checked the Queen was still the Canadian head of state. That would make Canadian English the Queen's English.

Re:Correction. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9363070)

It's not a troll, it's the correct term.

Why care about America Junior? (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9362990)

This would be big news if it happened in California. But Ontario? Big whoop.

The context in which this occurred (5, Informative)

Qwavel (733416) | more than 10 years ago | (#9362995)

For anyone interested, here's (my interpretation of) the political and economic context in which this happened. This is a big win for OpenOffice, and I think this contextual information is relevant to the school boards decision to stop using MS Office.

Ontario, the most populous province in Canada, has had almost a decade of right- wing government: tax cuts and spending cuts. The economy has, on the whole, been pretty good but the debt and deficit have continued the rapid rise that began with the 89-93 recession.

Over this period the government has fought its main battles with the powerful teachers union to try and save money on their education budget.

In the recent election, both the incumbent right-wing party and the centrist party lied outrageouslly about what they could do in spite of the state of the budget. It seems that you have to do this to get elected these days. (The only party that told the truth about the budget got clobbered.)

The centrist party won the election and then had to come thru on its promises, which included a better relationship between gov't and teachers. This was clearly impossible, so they had to look at every conceivable way to save money without hurting teachers or letting any more schools fall apart. As usual, this exercise in cost cutting didn't yield even a fraction of what was promised, but it did get them to drop MS Office.

So, maybe debts, deficits, cuts, and politians aren't all bad.

But don't expect to see anything similar in big businesses. In my time doing systems consulting I found that, while government, small businesses, retail, and manufacturing were pretty strapped, most sectors of big business were wallowing in cash. The amount that these big companies are wasting on MS software is a tiny fraction of what they waste on all sorts of other things.

'Canadian English' pack? (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9362997)

eh?

Is this such a great idea...? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9363009)

... Training students with a suite of programs that (unfortunately) aren't used by most of the corporate world?

Yes, it's good for StarOffice to gain a foothold in the next generation. But being proficient in it won't get you a job.

Intresting (1)

gremlins (588904) | more than 10 years ago | (#9363031)

Its aboot time aye

Canadian Software Piracy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9363033)

Generally Canadian don't give a dam about software piracy. As a result most high school student have office XP on there home computers and only know how to use word when they get to school. Using star office is good because it might just be close enough to Office XP for student to switch. If they leave evan an old copy of Microsoft office on the computers student will go with what they are comfortable with and Star Office will never be used.
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