Demo FL_TeacherTool and let them know that many others in Canada like
myself are using K12LTSP successfully. Remember the number one benefit
is not cost savings on initial systems purchase but on ease/cost of
*************But be sure to explain FOSS carefully.**************
*steps on soapbox*
After listening to Steve Hargadon podcast interview of Maddog. k12opensource.com
I remembered my conversation with our districts IT admin.
I think the main issue holding back adoption is getting people to really understand and BELIEVE in FOSS.
The response I got back was that the "Open Source development model was not something the district could rely upon".
Have you ever tried explaining FOSS to someone who has never heard of it before?
about TEN minutes of explaining they may understand the
constructs/rules by which it operates but I would be very surprised if
they understood the implications and consequences. I think part of the
reason Cath and Bazzar was so revolutionary was that it was the first
explanation of this seemingly counter intuitive phenomenon. Problem is most people will not read it, I haven't even read
every word of The C and B. Most people when they hear the word "Free"
immediatley think "Nothing is free!" or as ESR puts it "It must be
cheap/shoddy quality". The first question I usually get is "if it's
free how do they make money?". Convincing people in positions of power
(who are not FOSS savvy) that the development model is reliable and
robust is difficult especially when they are not directly paying money
for the software. I've heard comments like "what if the devs decide to
stop work on the project? Then where are we left?" If you already have
thought about this question (which I don't believe everyone in FOSS
has) you can reply that the developers are usually the people who need
the software the most so they have a vested interest in seeing
continued development. Also since the devs are also (usually) users of
the software there is good communication between users and devs. In the
FOSS world this close relationship between users and devs produces
great software as it's in a continual state of improvment directed by
user requests/desires. So FOSS development DOES have direction: The
In addition the potential to participate in FOSS should not be
overlooked (as it usually is). Imagine if a school district says "we
need this feature" so they hire a dev (or pay an existing dev in the
project) to add it and in the process provide that feature to everyone
else on the planet. Sometimes this opportunity gets a response of "Why
should we pay for something others will benefit from?" But remind them
it also means others improvments will become your benefits. In the
regular business world this IDEA is not something which is not second
nature as most businesses work on a "Dog eat dog, everyone for
themselves attitude". This doesn't work in FOSS.
Bottom line. It's not easy to truly understand and believe in
FOSS. It's taken me years to discover it's full potential. THIS is, in
my opinion, the biggest barrier of adoption.
*steps off soapbox*