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Linux Desktops in New Zealand Schools

timothy posted more than 9 years ago | from the long-term-thinking dept.

SuSE 280

nigelr writes "The New Zealand Ministry of Education has signed a deal with Novell New Zealand to provide SUSE Linux desktop licenses in schools. The article claims that while the price for a desktop license now matches what Microsoft charge, the new deal will significantly reduce the over all cost due to reduced charges for existing Novell products used in schools around the country."

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New Zealand is the place on earth... (-1, Offtopic)

ArsenneLupin (766289) | more than 9 years ago | (#13111454)

... were the sun rises first! (apart from some small Pacific islands...)

Is New Zealand in the UK? (0, Offtopic)

coldeeze (832166) | more than 9 years ago | (#13111462)

shameless [overheardintheuk.com]

Isn't the point (3, Insightful)

utnow (808790) | more than 9 years ago | (#13111463)

of Linux that it's free and all that jazz? I mean... paying for it takes away a whole lot of the attractiveness IMHO.

Re:Isn't the point (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13111471)

Linux is free. Support isn't. And if I was running a school, I would surley want somebody to yell at when things go foobar.

Re:Isn't the point (4, Funny)

lxs (131946) | more than 9 years ago | (#13111656)

And if I was running a school, I would surley want somebody to yell at when things go foobar.

Isn't that what students are for?

Re:Isn't the point (1)

IvanYosifov (883512) | more than 9 years ago | (#13111747)

I think you mean FUBAR, not foobar. :)

Re:Isn't the point (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13111787)

And surely, not surley.

Re:Isn't the point (3, Insightful)

ByeLaw (186453) | more than 9 years ago | (#13111479)

So Novell is suppose to support it for free then?

Re:Isn't the point (4, Insightful)

Sheetrock (152993) | more than 9 years ago | (#13111487)

Well, part of what they're paying for is the support.

And as it is Linux on the desktop we're talking about, they'll be using that a great deal.

Re:Isn't the point (0, Redundant)

fuckdot (900791) | more than 9 years ago | (#13111497)

this should prove very interesting. Linux is known to have a steep learning curve, couple that with it's application in this case. Seems to me like it's going to get expensive fast!

Re:Isn't the point (4, Insightful)

Aim Here (765712) | more than 9 years ago | (#13111563)

Whatever you learn when you're a child has a shallow learning curve. Kids learn. They learn about whatever's around them. That's what kids do, and they do it *very* well.

The only problems with the Linux learning curve is with adults who didn't grow up with computers, have little or no interest in computing, and who learned Windows because they had to for work or whatever, and whose neuronal pathways have pretty much hardened in 'Windows mode'. Thankfully, there is, and will only ever be, one generation of these guys.

Re:Isn't the point (1)

ynohoo (234463) | more than 9 years ago | (#13111687)

So the first Linux script-kids will be from New Zealand.

Woo-hoo, go Kiwis!

Re:Isn't the point (1)

Nutria (679911) | more than 9 years ago | (#13111693)

whose neuronal pathways have pretty much hardened in 'Windows mode'. Thankfully, there is, and will only ever be, one generation of these guys.

Hmmm, don't bet on it.

As much as I "love" Linux/GNOME/FF/blah, Windows is going to stay the dominant desktop OS for 1 reason:

DMCA

Re:Isn't the point (4, Interesting)

Aim Here (765712) | more than 9 years ago | (#13111776)

Windows might remain the dominant desktop, but the people I'm describing - the computer illiterates who bought windows in their droves because they knew no better and didn't care to know, and who made Bill as rich as he is today, and are the people plaguing the net with spyware-infested, unsecured, Windows boxen today- will die out eventually.

As for the DMCA - the mechanism by which I'm guessing you think that works - content providers DRM their files and then don't license open source developers to write programs that can read it - depends on a few things:

1)US judges ruling that cracking a DRMed media file for the purposes of fair use and/or interoperability is against the DMCA (though the DMCA explicitly says otherwise)
2)Proprietary Linux/Apple companies NOT being licensed to write DRM-capable media players
3)The Disneys and RIAAs of this world still retaining their stranglehold on the mass entertainment media in the face of competition from random people on the internet and/or piracy.
4)Consumers being sheeplike enough and malleable to upgrade all their DVDs and CDs to the digital video/audio format of the month, whenever the content providers demand.
5)The DMCA, or something like it, being extended to the 96% of the population of the world to which it doesn't currently apply

It's emininently possible that all of these things might occur, so you could well be right, but it's not a foregone conclusion - I reckon patent lockups on internet servers, clients and protocols, (making using Linux a jarring experience compared to Windows) is a bigger portion of the threat meself.
But time will tell.

Re:Isn't the point (1)

Junichiro Koizumi (803690) | more than 9 years ago | (#13111721)

Oh, I thought Linux was difficult to learn because it's an inconsistent clusterfuck. You learn something new every day!

Re:Isn't the point (1)

CmdrGravy (645153) | more than 9 years ago | (#13111779)

Most of us do

Re:Isn't the point (3, Interesting)

Tomfrh (719891) | more than 9 years ago | (#13111733)

Children actually learn with a steep learning curve. If the learning curve is steep, skills are acquired faster.

It's laziness (1)

gilesjuk (604902) | more than 9 years ago | (#13111735)

Many Windows users have got used to the way Windows does things and are too lazy to change to something that requires a bit of brain usage.

What many fail to realise is yes, Linux takes a bit of fine tuning and tweaking, but you typically only have to do this once or twice since you should never need to reinstall.

People so easily forget the days of autoexec.bat, config.sys and all the other config files you were once required to play with in pre Win 95 days.

Re:Isn't the point (0, Redundant)

utnow (808790) | more than 9 years ago | (#13111502)

So why switch? It costs the same as MS's licenses... the kids won't be used to it because they have good old Windows back home on their PC, so you'll have insipid girls asking "Where's the start menu?" till the cows come home. I guess I just don't see the point of moving to linux except to be able to tell the news that they did.

Re:Isn't the point (4, Insightful)

badfish99 (826052) | more than 9 years ago | (#13111580)

So you think the kids shouldn't be shown anything at school that they're not already used to seeing at home? What do you think schools are for, then?

Re:Isn't the point (1)

leecn (828236) | more than 9 years ago | (#13111610)

Was it not Yoda that said the quote in your sig?

Re:Isn't the point (1)

biryokumaru (822262) | more than 9 years ago | (#13111648)

No, you're mixing it up. Yoda said:

"The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few."

People should pay better attention at movies.

Re:Isn't the point (1)

leecn (828236) | more than 9 years ago | (#13111674)

Oh right. It's a joke, not a mistake, I get it :)

Re:Isn't the point (1)

MountainMan101 (714389) | more than 9 years ago | (#13111670)

Yes, and Dr Spock was a paediatric doctor (children). The character in Star Trek was simply Spock (when 1st officer addressed Mr Spock in the navy tradition).

Any way neither Spocks nor Yoda were know for their use of Novell or any other flavour of Linux.

Re:Isn't the point (1)

leecn (828236) | more than 9 years ago | (#13111734)

paediatric doctor (children) = paediatrician (saves 2 words / 15 keystrokes)

Like my logic?

Re:Isn't the point (5, Insightful)

Mrs. Grundy (680212) | more than 9 years ago | (#13111496)

Well sure it can be free. Sex can be free too, but as those here on Slashdot certainly understand, it is sometimes just easier to pay for somebody to supply it rather than go through all the trouble of figuring out how to do it the free way. I mean if you can get it for free more power to you, but don't hold it against those who need a little help and support.

Re:Isn't the point (1)

leecn (828236) | more than 9 years ago | (#13111623)

Wow. When I read your post I thought it was a joke and would probably be modded funny, in fact it has been modded insightful?

Re:Isn't the point (3, Funny)

HerbieStone (64244) | more than 9 years ago | (#13111696)

Pretty amazing this got moded as Insightful and not as Funny. Is it common among Slashdotters to pay for sex?

Re:Isn't the point (5, Funny)

CmdrGravy (645153) | more than 9 years ago | (#13111785)

Well you don't really pay up front for the sex, it's the support you pay for to make sure it stays on-line.

nOOOO (3, Funny)

CdBee (742846) | more than 9 years ago | (#13111800)

There are loadsa girls out there who are very grateful for being freed from Claria/Gator/MSIE :-p

Re:Isn't the point (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13111535)

Have we already forgot the difference between free and free?

Re:Isn't the point (5, Informative)

lasindi (770329) | more than 9 years ago | (#13111539)

Isn't the point of Linux that it's free and all that jazz? I mean... paying for it takes away a whole lot of the attractiveness IMHO.

If you mean that it's free in the sense of it not costing any money, no, that's not the point. The point of the operating system that it's been bundled with, GNU, was to provide a "free" OS in the sense that the user could do whatever he wished with it, i.e. modify it and share it with others. The sharing aspect means that it's very easy to obtain without paying for it, but that wasn't the purpose. I paid for my copy of GNU/Linux. Why? I like Linux in large part because the source code is accessible, and I think good work deserves good pay.

Freeware (in the sense of cost) has always been around in great quantity. What makes open source programs different is the *open source code*, not the fact that you can download it for free.

Re:Isn't the point (1)

utnow (808790) | more than 9 years ago | (#13111553)

Then explain why a school (aka an institution that has no plans on accessing the code and making modifications as a hobby... just wants an easy to use desktop system) would want to mess with open source. I can't picture them making a school branded linux (Lawndale HS-OS. lol) and then getting a whole lot of value out of resale.

Re:Isn't the point (1)

badfish99 (826052) | more than 9 years ago | (#13111602)

They don't want to mess with it. They just want the cheapest deal on license costs and support.

Re:Isn't the point (1)

baldvin (267689) | more than 9 years ago | (#13111802)

The most important thing is that children are able to "live" in a system that can be discovered. Windows cannot be. However, if you are interested in how things work, with linux you can see not only some corporate blahblah, but get real insight, through docs _and_ source.

(Interesting: way back I used to live in a windows environment. I was reading a .hlp file about pipes. It was "Windows Pipes (r)". Well, seeing that (r) I thought pipes were invented by Windows. Or Microsoft. Years later I've learned a lot more about the topic... under linux.)

Re:Isn't the point (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13111549)

No, but I think that they should build a probe to shove in your ass but your hemroids are to big, KOW!

Re:Isn't the point (5, Insightful)

TuataraShoes (600303) | more than 9 years ago | (#13111571)

Why is it so difficult, even for some on /. to grasp the difference between free and free.

Gratis versus Libre [wikipedia.org]

  • You have free speech, but still have to buy your own microphone.
  • You are free to travel, but buy your own ticket.
  • You're free to choose, but pay the expenses of your own distro.
Supporting thousands of kids on desktops costs something. If you don't think so, then you try it. So who should carry the cost? These are state schools, the tax payer pays.

Businesses may at times contribute, but that tends to lead to businesses wanting something back. Microsoft is happy to negotiate with schools. All they want is that the school perpetuates Microsoft's desktop monopoly.

So the freedom we need is the practical freedom to educate kids without the curriculum being written by the mega-multi-nationals.

interesting??? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13111606)

who modedd this interesting??? This is uch a stupid and ignorant comment

Re:Isn't the point (1)

gilesjuk (604902) | more than 9 years ago | (#13111720)

Although the software may cost about the same as Windows or less, they get freedom, no file format lock-in, more flexible licenses and most importantly less viruses.

You can get and deploy free Linux in a school if you admin guys are unix gods, but I'd imagine most admin guys in schools struggle with Windows. Hence when something isn't playing ball they need a number to phone to bitch at someone.

Teacher!...leave the kids alone (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13111472)

maybe some of them wanna use Windows!

Re:Teacher!...leave the kids alone (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13111520)

Exactly. The New Zealand Ministry of Education has just sold those kids' futures for the sake of a few dollars less. When they get out into the real world, what practical knowledge will their experience with Linux afford them?

I don't know if any of you noticed, but Linux only has about a 1% share of the desktop market. What is the point of teaching these kids to use a system that nobody else does?

Basic IT skills are precious in that you can put what you learn in school immediately to use in industry, because (in 99% of cases) you've learned on exactly what the rest of the world uses (ie., MS Windows / Office). Now the ministry have just gone and fucked that, meaning the as soon as these kids finish school, they're going to have to be re-trained on the job from scratch. I'm sure local businesses are going to love that.

They might as well have bought them some second-hand Commodore Amigas.

Re:Teacher!...leave the kids alone (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13111625)

Exactly. The New Zealand Ministry of Education has just sold those kids' futures for the sake of a few dollars less. When they get out into the real world, what practical knowledge will their experience with Linux afford them?

Perhaps they'll actually know something,
which is apparently something you are incapable
of demonstrating.

Re:Teacher!...leave the kids alone (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13111736)

Oh noes did the mean man say something bad about Linux? Quick! Call him stupid! That'll show him!

Don't bother trying to refute any of the points he made in his post! Linux is perfect and he said something to the contrary so he MUST be wrong!

Fucking peon. Either argue the point or stop wasting everyone's time with your cretinous fucking posts.

Re:Teacher!...leave the kids alone (4, Insightful)

lasindi (770329) | more than 9 years ago | (#13111628)

I know that you've been modded down as a troll, but you have a good point, and even though I disagree with it, I think your post deserves an answer, not a troll mod.

I don't know if any of you noticed, but Linux only has about a 1% share of the desktop market. What is the point of teaching these kids to use a system that nobody else does?

Yes, Linux doesn't have a large share of the desktop market, but it's got a very large piece of the server pie, and is also prevalent in areas like supercomputing involved in scientific research. So the notion that learning Linux has no practical application in the "real world" is simply false. If these kids are doing tech support for the general public, yes, Windows is the system they should learn; if they're writing a program for a scientist to be executed on a cluster of Linux boxes (the job I happen to have right now), Linux is more appropriate.

However, even this is not necessarily relevant. If these kids are supposed to be learning academics (as opposed to vocational training), the operating system is really not that important in terms of how well the kids will learn. A mouse behaves about the same on Windows as on Linux, most of the skills involved in using Office are applicable to OpenOffice.org, etc. The concepts of computer science, for example, are platform-independent, no matter whether you like programming with vi/emacs or Visual Studio. So even programmers, those who have as much to do with computers as anyone, will become just as good programmers no matter which platform they learn on.

So what I'm saying is that in terms of educational value, if students learn Windows or learn Unix, it makes little difference. Also, many of these machines will be servers and computers that students won't come into contact with, and therefore they deserve an OS chosen purely on technical merits.

So, in a nutshell, what I'm saying is that the schools should get what they think is best, whether it's Windows or Linux. Their job isn't to help Microsoft maintain a monopoly just because they already have one.

Question.... (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13111478)

Why are they using a distro that has licensing fees at all? I mean, if you're going to migrate to Linux, why wouldn't you choose a free distro like Ubuntu, and if you needed support you could always urchase it from Canonical...

Not meant as a troll, or even "Distro X > Distro Y", but I don't see what it would be about SuSE that would make New Zealand schools choose them.

PLUS, if they're just now reaching the prices that microsoft charges... why change? You're not saving any money at this point, and you have the costs of migrating everything. I can see if the Linux migration was to free licenses, but "hey, its the same price!" wouldn't make me jump on the Linux boat.

Re:Question.... (3, Funny)

Hosiah (849792) | more than 9 years ago | (#13111503)

Quick! Somebody push another Linux distro to number one! I can't take the cult rattling their tambourines and chanting "Ubuntu" anymore!!!

Re:Question.... (1)

mabinogi (74033) | more than 9 years ago | (#13111557)

Well at least they're not going on about gentoo anymore ;)

Re:Question.... (1)

Orgazmus (761208) | more than 9 years ago | (#13111596)

We gave up on you guys, and recompiled X.org instead

note to mods: I am a gentoo fanboy, and yes, i am compiling X.org at this moment. show mercy

Re:Question.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13111504)

because the NZ government has a history of making stupid IT decisions like paying more than a million dollars to buy the newzealand.com domain or paying 100 million plus to IBM for a fancy new police supercomputer that never actually got built. Besides computer training in NZ schools is a joke anyway think typing tutor and how to save a word document i know ive got my NZQA National Certificate in Computing Level 2, what waste of time that was

Re:Question.... (5, Informative)

germ!nation (764234) | more than 9 years ago | (#13111511)

Clearly you didn't even read the whole summing up, let alone the article.

They are paying the same price for their desktops but as part of that their single license with Novell means that whatever else they are using (Zenworks, Netware or whatever) costs are greatly reduced. Good use of purchasing power IMO.

Re:Question.... (3, Insightful)

ne0n (884282) | more than 9 years ago | (#13111644)

There's a humongous difference between an unmanaged desktop on your home computer, and a networked school setup wherein each machine must be locked down and centrally managed. Plus, if you RTFA (or even the synopsis) the schools are getting a good discount on Novell software already in widespread use.

Indeed. But... (1)

Nailer (69468) | more than 9 years ago | (#13111704)

Why are they using a distro that has licensing fees at all? I mean, if you're going to migrate to Linux, why wouldn't you choose a free distro like Ubuntu, and if you needed support you could always urchase it from Canonical...

What kind of support infrastructure does Canonical have in New Zealand?

What does Novell have, for its Linux products?

What does Red Hat Asia Pacific have?

Re:Question....41 Million dollar savings (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13111768)

Why are they coy about the fee's being paid? In theory, it is supposed to be a matter of public record and gazetted.

Given that Open Office is marginally free, while WORD if licenced at $99 is (140,000*$99 * 3years) = 41.58 million dollars alone, excluding add ons like project, adobe and some AV package.

Savings = 41-50 Million dollars, plus there is no downside. You would think $41 million would be sufficent motivation, as thats money out of the mouths of children.

Perhaps it more like Trancendental Meditation (5, Insightful)

waferhead (557795) | more than 9 years ago | (#13111483)

When the guru tried to give it away for free, he was ignored.

When he started SELLING "training" for insane prices, it became all the rage.

Re:Perhaps it more like Trancendental Meditation (1)

Seumas (6865) | more than 9 years ago | (#13111772)

No kidding. They're paying through the ass for Suse when they could not only get Ubuntu for free, but get it mailed to them on a CD for free.

I love linux, but I can't imagine paying for it. For support, maybe, but . . .

Anyway, I just put together a kick ass top of the line laptop with Ubuntu on it for a friend of mine who I'm lending the laptop to for college (and it was her idea to have me install linux - not mine!). I was amazed at how slick it went. I only had the following problems:

During the install, the screen would go blank and nothing would happen. I solved this by using the following install line at the boot prompt:

linux vga=771

And while the ethernet card words, the Intel PowerPro 2200BG does not. That really sucks. It detects it. It just won't actually use it. And with the ethernet card, you still have to manually set the DNS servers - even though DHCP is configured.

And, finally, ATI Mobility Radeon 9700 (128MB) card support is pretty much non-existant. ATI's website says to go the manufacturer of the laptop to get their specific drivers. This is a custom laptop and not from Dell or Gateway or anything else. So while she can use GIMP, watch DVDs and videos - 3D is useless (as witnessed by trying to run a number of the many OpenGL/FireGL screensavers). There is a website out there with a guy who distributes modified/compiled ATI drivers for linux that supposedly work for the mobile card, but they require replacing the existing kernel and applying several patches and there is a distinct lack of detail on exactly what to do in what order. I could always recompile everything from scratch, but being this is just a school laptop, it isn't like she's really going to be using 3D anything much (if ever).

Anyway, my understanding is that ATI support for a desktop card is pretty decent. And package management (with synaptec) is pretty sweet. If I weren't already switching to OSX, I'd be giving Ubuntu a serious look for non-server deployments. I certainly wouldn't be looking at a "contract" with Suse. Even if I ran a school district.

Education! (0, Redundant)

Tezkah (771144) | more than 9 years ago | (#13111484)

The article claims that while the price for a desktop license now matches what Microsoft charge, the new deal ...

Og teach english slashdot editors in new zealand school!?

Re:Education! (-1, Offtopic)

Sheetrock (152993) | more than 9 years ago | (#13111507)

Company names in most English-dialect countries are treated as if they are plural. Hence, "Microsoft charge" is correct, even if it doesn't seem to fit normal English rules.

One of those things you don't realize until someone points it out, like the whole Z is pronounced Zed thing. To my interest, someone explained to me the other day that chopsticks originated not in Asia as most suspect but were invented by immigrants to American mining communities in the early 1800s as a means of differentiating their fare from that of other restaurants and pubs.

So-called "common knowledge" takes a while to learn, I suppose...

Chopsticks (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13111577)

That's not what Wikipedia says..
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chopsticks [wikipedia.org] (see the bottom)

Re:Education! (1)

1u3hr (530656) | more than 9 years ago | (#13111684)

To my interest, someone explained to me the other day that chopsticks originated not in Asia as most suspect but were invented by immigrants to American mining communities in the early 1800s

Bollocks. [about.com] "While the precise origins of chopsticks are unknown (the first chopsticks may have been twigs used to spear a roast cooked over an open fire) they were definitely in use by the Shang dynasty (1766 BC - 1122 BC)."

Bugger! (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13111485)

As a kiwi student, I'm saddened by this news,
my hacking of unsecure school network systems days are over :-(

But on the otherhand it is good to see the playing field levelled.

Re:Bugger! (1, Interesting)

speights_pride! (898232) | more than 9 years ago | (#13111582)

Ah I remember the days of creating trojan login screens on BBC Micros. I'd guess that most schools in New Zealand don't even have anyone with any IT knowledge (apart from the odd teacher who is a Microsoft "Expert").

Re:Bugger! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13111624)

The more exposure i have to Microsoft "experts" the more i but the word expert in quotes.

hopefully a sign of times to come (?) (2, Insightful)

h4ckintosh (842712) | more than 9 years ago | (#13111488)

Too bad schools don't switch to open-source quicker. I doubt anything like a large scale migration will ever happen though (in schools in the US, especially for some poor schools/school districts who don't know they have options), which is actually kind of sad on the part of the students -- now in 3rd world schools, I _believe_ it has already happened to an extent.

Additional Coverage (5, Interesting)

zaguar (881743) | more than 9 years ago | (#13111517)

More reports:

http://www.nbr.co.nz/home/column_article.asp?id=12 417&cid=3 [nbr.co.nz]

My take - I'm a student at Perth, Western Australia. My school recently got a whole bunch of iMac G5's, and Panther, and they are a nice set of machines. I run a heavily customized ubuntu/Gnome 2.10 setup at home and I would have to say that OS X is all that it's cracked up to be. It has a great interface and file/folder management system (finder), is stable, and seems to be easy to administrate (given that the sysadmins seem to do little work :D).

It's a great choice for a school desktop, due to it's ease of use and solid support base. I use Linux at home and prefer it's data management capabilities, but there will always be a place for OS X in my heart.

At least until the GNOME team creates an expose-like function

Re:Additional Coverage (1)

psyeye (883344) | more than 9 years ago | (#13111565)

You might want to try http://thegraveyard.org/skippy.php/ [thegraveyard.org] . I have heard of numerous success-story in the Gentoo forums - could eventually be exactly what you are missing.

psyeye

Re:Additional Coverage (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13111572)

So let me get this straight. Until Mac OS X got Expose, it wasn't ready for the desktop?

It's odd how everyone running a commercial CSS OS keeps saying "well, until $OSS_OS gets $FUNCTION, it won't be ready for the desktop", when $FUNCTION is only available with the most recent versions of their fav OS. It never seems to mean that no OS was ready for the desktop before then...

Re:Additional Coverage (1)

zaguar (881743) | more than 9 years ago | (#13111666)

Actually, what i meant was: Gnome is a superb WM, but it's method of handling multiple windows is lacking. No fanboyism from Gnome OR KDE will change that. Expose is superb, and it defines OS X. What other OS can function without a taskbar?

QED.

Re:Additional Coverage (0, Troll)

drsmithy (35869) | more than 9 years ago | (#13111737)

So let me get this straight. Until Mac OS X got Expose, it wasn't ready for the desktop?

Certainly, until OS X got Expose its window management and task-switching UIs were atrocious - down around Windows 3.1/Windows 95 levels of usability.

Whether or not that made it "not ready for the desktop" is a matter of opinion. Personally I'd be more inclined to raise its awful performance as the main crippling factor.

Re:Additional Coverage (0, Troll)

HuguesT (84078) | more than 9 years ago | (#13111755)

Personally I find expose an expensive, slow and showy way to push a window behind other windows, something X11 has been able to do since days one (with twm even), but neither Windows or OS/X seem to be able to pull off.

Re:Additional Coverage (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13111689)

What does this have todo with the story?

Also check out skippy for your expose-like-feature.
http://thegraveyard.org/skippy.php [thegraveyard.org]

Re:Additional Coverage (1)

ssj_195 (827847) | more than 9 years ago | (#13111773)

Also, for KDE, Kompose (http://kompose.berlios.de/ [berlios.de] ) is very nice but the grabbing/ scaling of windows is usually done completely in software (as the Composite extensions are still not fast/ stable for a lot of people - me for one :() - so is slow and not "live". The situation is rapidly improving (check out the Luminocity videos for examples of real-time thumbnailing of windows on unimpressive hardware), but probably won't be 100% mainstream until next year, I'd guess.

It's a shame xorg didn't split from Xfree much earlier - we'd probably have XGL as standard, by now :(

Re:Additional Coverage (1)

drsmithy (35869) | more than 9 years ago | (#13111727)

It has a great interface and file/folder management system (finder), is stable, and seems to be easy to administrate (given that the sysadmins seem to do little work :D).

Crikey, if you think Finder is stable and "great", I'd hate to see what you call "bad" :).

Re:Additional Coverage (1)

germanStefan (766513) | more than 9 years ago | (#13111745)

you can try to use kompose...its for kde but I'm using it on gnome...give it a try and see how you like it

A step in the right direction (4, Interesting)

Jerle0 (899471) | more than 9 years ago | (#13111530)

The problem is, no matter what kind of platform you use, the ease of maintenance has a pretty big impact on how much it costs. The 'free' part of Linux is nice for individual users or companies who have full-time IT staff, but for a school I think using a distro where they get support is a good choice. School IT staff is usually running tight as it is. Plus, now those kids will have a chance to learn something besides Windows at a younger age. I'm sure they'll get Windows exposeure elsewhere, so now they won't be locked into the 'Windows is all that I know, so let's use windows' pattern later.

Re:A step in the right direction (3, Interesting)

SpottedKuh (855161) | more than 9 years ago | (#13111559)

The problem is, no matter what kind of platform you use, the ease of maintenance has a pretty big impact on how much it costs. The 'free' part of Linux is nice for individual users or companies who have full-time IT staff, but for a school I think using a distro where they get support is a good choice.

The parent is bang on here. I can't say anything for how the system works in New Zealand, but I do recall my days as a high school student in Alberta, Canada. In my high school, the technical support staff were not permanent staff working at the high school -- heck, they weren't even government employees. They were simply tech support guys from a local company that were hired as the need arose to come into the school and fix up problems.

So, you have to remember -- each tech problem == cost to the school. Hence, if the schools can get a distro that offers tech support as part of its one-time up-front charge, this could translate into savings for the schools (especially during the first year or two, when the transition from Windows to Linux is being made -- quite frankly, no matter how easy different distros try to make that transition, there are always bumps that show up, where your average school librarian will need tech support help!)

Re:A step in the right direction (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13111743)

So, you have to remember -- each tech problem == cost to the school. Hence, if the schools can get a distro that offers tech support as part of its one-time up-front charge, this could translate into savings for the schools...

This is correct, to some degree. But it does go further than this.

In New Zealand, the public schools receive Microsoft software under the Microsoft Schools' Agreement. This agreement, although I'm not entirely sure on the details, allows public schools to receive Microsoft either predominantly subsidised by or completely paid for by the Ministry of Education, such that the schools do not pay for this software (Windows, Office, and it also includes CA InnoculateIT antivirus). I mean, they don't pay for it directly, it is paid for by the government rather than out of the school's budget.

An interesting part of this agreement (at least to my understanding of it, I work for the ICT department at a New Zealand private school- we could receive the Schools' Agreement with the payment of licensing fees that the public schools receive directly, but it is much cheaper for us to go the standard Volume License route), is that all computers capable of running Windows must be included in the calculation of the licensing fees (paid for by the government for public schools), not only those running Windows. So if a machine has a variant of Linux on it, it is still included in the license fee calculation for the Schools' Agreement. It sounds crazy, I know, and I may have the wrong idea of it, but this is what I have heard. It does mean, therefore, that schools have no incentive to run anything other than Windows, as they will still not receive any extra benefits in terms of funding to do so, as the money must still be paid by the government.

Therefore, any deal struck with a Linux or other OS vendor must provide a full service to the school, as paying for anything else will be costing them additional money (coming out of teacher wages, resources, stationery, whatever). Novell and RedHat are clearly the only two vendors who can offer this, and RedHat certainly has very little presence in New Zealand as far as support goes, while Novell still has infrastructure from the past when their Netware solutions were in use.

This deal should be a great benefit for public schools wanting to expand and move into Linux, and I have no doubt that private schools will also benefit, just at some cost to us. Although we have fairly reasonable Linux experience, we would need to rely on a support vendor were we to implement a large migration. Having said that, a significant migration away from Windows is not on the cards at the moment where I work, from an educational and user perspective, although we will hopefully continue to expand and offer a choice and education in multiple platforms. In fact, I seem to remember a suggestion in the syllabus for one of the IT NCEA levels being to 'demonstrate proficiency in using multiple operating systems', or similar.

So we are particularly interested in this deal and hope it will benefit us and our students.

The Point is Cultural Change (4, Insightful)

TuataraShoes (600303) | more than 9 years ago | (#13111540)

In a few years, people will no longer be saying, "everyone knows Windows... we expect new employees to know Windoze... it would cost too much to re-train our staff who only know Whindoes..."

It's the beginning of the end of the desktop monopoly. Kids will no longer be programmed with a view to maintaining the power structures of the status quo.

Re:The Point is Cultural Change (1)

jurt1235 (834677) | more than 9 years ago | (#13111590)

It is an important point to start at the schools. In the past however companies pushed windows into the schools. In the start we didn't work with windows, but with Mac and some other odd (I do not remember the names anymore) systems.

The only question I have since I am very familiar with the school market in the Netherlands, is the following:
Do New Zealand schools not suffer under a random set of badly written windows programs which they call there teaching method? This is really blocking all migration options in NL, since there are no standarized methods, a lot of software is written bad (not even following MS standards, so even MS has trouble running them between windows versions!!), and every CD a teacher carries into the school has to work (they want to install it themselves, and then expect people to be able to support them for almost nothing at all).

Re:The Point is Cultural Change (1)

TuataraShoes (600303) | more than 9 years ago | (#13111641)

Do New Zealand schools not suffer under a random set of badly written windows programs which they call there teaching method?
When I was in a New Zealand school, we had Apple ][, and the only educational software was Lode Runner, Castle Wolfenstein (the original - none of this 3D rubbish) and pong. There may have been something else, I don't remember.

Re:The Point is Cultural Change (1)

jurt1235 (834677) | more than 9 years ago | (#13111649)

Then we are about the same age I guess: Apple ][ & lode runner (I still suck at lode runner though)

Re:The Point is Cultural Change (1)

aixou (756713) | more than 9 years ago | (#13111672)

It's the beginning of the end of the desktop monopoly. Kids will no longer be programmed with a view to maintaining the power structures of the status quo.

Right, because then everyone would be saying "everyone knows KDE... we expect new employees to know KDE".
I think the general problem is that the populace just doesn't know enough about general functions of the computer, and instead have just familiarized themselves with whatever interface they use (be it the Windows interface, the OS X interface, KDE interface, whatever).
Instead of just memorizing an interface, people should learn computing basics on a more general/abstract level (these types of teachings could probably be done in gradeschool). If people would be familiar with what files are, how they can be operated on, how general gui techniques work (drag-and-drop), and what features they can expect on all current Operating Systems (e.g. to set preferences, to have the ability to change screen res, etc) they could become much more platform agnostic than they currently are.

Similar thign happening n the UK (5, Interesting)

slot32 (815657) | more than 9 years ago | (#13111558)

There's a big underswell push for Linux in schools happening around the UK too...

Times Educational Suppliment ran it a few weeks ago. You needed the paper version for the full article but this is a good summary and primer: http://www.tes.co.uk/2094985 [tes.co.uk]

Now... Can everyone who has kids in the UK start asking the teachers about this at their next school visit?

It's a pretty well known fact that if you TEACH *CHILDREN* to use Linux and not Windows from the start, it will filter up through the years and (with any luck) become the system of choice in the home too... Then the last 'bastion' will be industry... and with 1000's of up and coming children leaving schools with skills fully developed in Linux, the old excuse of 'training' kinda starts working against Microsoft. 'Cause none of the kids use it (nor want to). It's the same trick Microsoft used (Free O/S etc for schools).

Hope I haven't failed to explain in enough detail all of this, and you can all 'join the dots' and see where this might be going.

So... Start hassling your teachers NOW. I personally *am* getting involved in a new school to get all their computers on Linux from the start. When it opens in September.

If you're *serious* about wanting to see a less monopolostic computing environment, but don't know where you should put your effort in to help... This is the place... IMO

Re:Similar thign happening n the UK (2, Informative)

DataCannibal (181369) | more than 9 years ago | (#13111593)

If you want a bit more information on the BECTA reports in this area go to:

http://www.becta.org.uk/leas/display.cfm?section=1 4_9_1 [becta.org.uk]

This gives a lot more information than the short summary in the on-line Times Eudcational Supplement. As well as hassling the teachers (I hope your being a little facetious using the term "hassle") it's a good idea to approach any councillors who sit on the LEAs education committee, the LEA itself and, of course, the school governors. But before you do anything else speak to the Head Teacher. Without his/her support, or at least informing them what you are doing, you will find things difficult.

Re:Similar thign happening n the UK (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13111766)

Didn't Apple try that strategy?

This price comes from where....? (3, Interesting)

Volvogga (867092) | more than 9 years ago | (#13111568)

The Novell deals lets schools buy software for the same cost as Microsoft products, about $99 per product per server for a year-long licence.

This is a strange statement, due to TFA later saying the following:

The ministry won't comment on the cost of the contract.

Further investigation to this shows the following server costs from Novell's site:

http://www.novell.com/products/linuxenterpriseserv er/pricing.html [novell.com]

These are all non-haggled prices, too. There is nothing on there for $99, and I wouldn't think that they would be buying new servers just to change over the OS. Elseware I saw that these prices are supposed to include one year of matenence as well. Either I really missed something, or there is a flaw in Mr. Schwarz's journalism. Anybody have any insite into this little paradox?

Re:This price comes from where....? (4, Insightful)

hdparm (575302) | more than 9 years ago | (#13111799)

These deals are not made on a per-server or per-desktop pricing. Everybody knew the price tag for MS contract - NZ$50 mil. over two years, which gave right to schools to use unlimited number of Windows computers (server and desktop) and limited (I don't know to which exact number) number of MS Office installs. For MOE this was peanuts, for MS - fuck all, in money terms. However, MOE and schools were free from bootleg software headaches for two years and MS extended their lock-in a little bit longer.

Now, they claim the same licensing cost for Novell solution but I reckon everybody is getting better deal out of it - Novell makes a buck, MOE looks cool, schools are getting good software and more importantly support, thing that Microsoft always includes in cost but never actually provides.

In short, my not too wild guess is: price is $50 mil / 2 years, the only difference between vendors is that Novell guys are happy to do some work, too.

SuSe, why not? (4, Interesting)

4v4l0n42 (897836) | more than 9 years ago | (#13111576)


I guess the point here is that instead of having a solid Debian or a powerful Gentoo GNU/Linux, institution, companies, schools, prefer to have technical assistance and a commercial product in general, which will then be open source.

Do not forget that together with the SuSe package (that I do not really like myself) it comes a very well organized guide oriented for that distribution in particular, plus they have a phone number to call if they want professional help.

On the other hand, if the system adminnistrator was good enough to do everything in his own, he could have install e Debian through the whole netowrk, asking help to the community when needed. But that doesn't happen often, so you get these commercial packages.

I do not think that this is a problem, as long as it is Linux and not some creepy linux-similar distribution with tons of closed source application is fine to me.

Regards

Linux Destroys New Zealand Schools (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13111583)

I could have swore that said "Linux Destroys New Zealand Schools". Wow.

For all we know (4, Insightful)

mincognito (839071) | more than 9 years ago | (#13111601)

the contract could be for 500 Suse licenses -- like .0042% of New Zealand's 120,000 computers. The article doesn't say. Considering that the "three-year licensing contract with Microsoft, Apple and Computer Associates signed [by the ministry] last year was worth $27.5 million" there's no way Linux is going to be the primary desktop OS for NZ schools. At $99 a licence it would only take about $12 million of that $27.5 to make every one of those 120,000 computers a microsoft seat.

oops (1)

mincognito (839071) | more than 9 years ago | (#13111669)

Point still stands cause a lot of those computers are probably Macs. But, I made an error: three-year contract, $99 per year means it would cost $36 million for M$ on every computer.

Last time I use calc.exe (work computer). :-)

Re:For all we know (1)

mindstormpt (728974) | more than 9 years ago | (#13111682)

I'm not saying it's a license for all computers, but I doubt Suse would charge them the full retail price for a volume license, or it would be cheaper to stay with Windows.

Defeats the purpose of linux (1)

makaveli2005 (888857) | more than 9 years ago | (#13111608)

They spent money on linux.....

huh (0, Flamebait)

tsilb (867277) | more than 9 years ago | (#13111640)

! Novell's still around? I thought M$ had squished them.

You're talking about Linux in High Schools, right? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13111657)

Unless I'm mistaken, there is currently very little in the way of Linux-based software for Primary Schools...

Changes the playing field (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13111691)

With the "Microsoft Schools Agreement" in New Zealand, one has to count the total number of PCs (Pentium/Apple imac or better) and then Microsoft charges the School on the total units, regardless of OS... So if you are running a linux workstation on a pentium Microsoft still gets its $$$$$ . And the minedu are saying they are leveling the playing field, gee I wonder why? http://www.dsv.co.nz/moe/moe_faq.html [dsv.co.nz]

Re:Changes the playing field (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13111705)

And the minedu are saying they are leveling the playing field

Yes! Using buldozers!

Desktops the least of it (1)

Plug (14127) | more than 9 years ago | (#13111706)

From TFA (this was news last week, but The Dominion Post are running it from the OSS angle rather than the business angle this time):

The deal covers both open source and proprietary products from Novell. Proprietary products include Novell's Open Enterprise Server, asset management tool ZENworks, email and calendar program Groupwise and network security software BorderManager.

It will be of much more advantage to the schools in NZ currently paying ~$13,000 annually to Novell for eDirectory licenses, and those running Windows servers who want to be able to change to running something with similar identity and client management on a Windows desktop. Especially as the PCs will all still come preloaded with Windows, and in the current educational environment of "teach MS Publisher", the desktop component is probably not going to make a splash in schools here.

Script Kiddies! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13111729)

Great. So the first real educated script-kiddies will have developed on Linux (good) but are a bunch of sheep-shaggers (bad) Disclaimer: I'm Australian

Will not change to mutch (1)

bart416 (900487) | more than 9 years ago | (#13111762)

I wonder what will actualy change. btw, I got one of our IT managers at school convinced to get FF installed on all pc's (wow, i asked a MS freak to install Firefox on all school pc's :| ) So lets hope that when i start up a pc at school now that i see a firefox icon. That would be a major improvement. And now to the subject, They are paying for the support. Switching from windows to linux isn't easy. Especialy for schools, if you use software like autocad that doesn't work on linux you have major problems with that. So i think they are paying for more then only linux but for other applications too.
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