Open Minded Part 1

April 12, 2009 § Leave a comment

Since stumbling upon the FLOSS / FOSS Open Source community we now actively seek open source opportunities when looking to innovate. For example, with the exception of our Schools Licensing Agreement (Operating system / OFFICE suite) our main ICT products are now open source. Our school website is Joomla, our VLE is Moodle (and we are very happy with both) and we manage our network with Spiceworks. Next in the firing line are community building tools such as Elgg or Dolphin and communication tools such as ejabberd and la.conica, possibly integrating with Joomla / Moodle.

What brought our attention to FLOSS? Investigating a netbook 121 scheme for Hamble Community Sports College seemed the obvious next step for our IT development plan. The plan seemed to be straightforward until we hit licensing issues and since that point our development has been fraught with pitfalls, unanswered questions and stumbling blocks. For example;

Which grade of license do we purchase (of course we needed the netbooks to be on our network)?

The cost of the upgraded license and what additional software (FLOSS/proprietary) do we install? Again licensing is not far from the conversation.

What do we/students do when we come to the end of the purchase plan? Or if the student leaves Hamble Community Sports College and wants to purchase their netbook? What do we do about the returning the original license? Will parents understand the difference between an OS and the software?

How much technician time will be used in preparing the netbook and then having to re-image the netbook at the end of the purchase plan? What time cost here?

Some deep thinking, conversation and collaboration is needed here to envision the next 2-3 years. The possible integration of netbooks or move to opensource. Within our particular context, can Hamble Community Sports College manage a move to an open sourced network / solution? More to the point can we afford to ignore it? Our context may inhibit our immediate progress, but I am not discounting it, perhaps a small scale project to begin with?

As well as FLOSS we are promoting open source projects such as KDE Education Project or sharing communities such k12opensource and Open Source Schools. At this point I would like to acknowledge the active support Open Source Schools, if you are interested in FLOSS then this is a good great place to start with passionate open source teachers ‘walking the walk.’

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