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[K12OSN] Re: LTSP presentation to all Alberta Ed tech leaders conference

I did teach in AB briefly. It is not a very Linux-friendly province. The
educational leadership does not listen to the grassroots much and the
bosses are pro-Microsoft. AB Education gives stuff away to schools that
only works with Windows/MacOS, for instance. The province is rolling in
oil cash and they seem at one time say teachers cost too much and on the
other hand they are generous to Microsoft. Schools are squeezed. Many
have ancient computer systems (including XP) that crash frequently and
they have little choice of software because they only know to buy
shrink-wrapped. The tech guys mostly know Windows and are reluctant to
learn something new. The teachers may be worse. They run away screaming
in fear at the mention of an alternative universe.

I will never forget the time a principal was giving me a tour of a
school and I chatted with the computer teacher. He said he wanted to
talk with me afterwards. In that private conference he intoned solemnly
that his '2000 server had been running without a crash for six months
and his 'XP machines only crashed daily so he was not about to make any
changes... The server crashed pretty regularly when I worked there. The
machines I set up in my classroom never crashed, but he still was not
interested. Until a critical mass of knowledgeable folks discuss the
issues no real choices can be made. Presentations may work on the right
people at the right time and likely can do no wrong. I get mixed
results. Some people who could make a difference do not even reply to my
e-mail. I have met several "consultants" who have never used Linux
proclaim it is not ready, never will be and is strictly for amateurs. I
was showing Koha and Emilda to our librarian and a visiting consultant.
The consultant made all kinds of untrue statements about Linux and FOSS
after I left the room. The consultant wanted the school to spend
thousands on a proprietary package that did the same stuff... It goes
on. It has taken a decade or more for attitudes to form and it takes
time to change them.

I am in a school in Manitoba that ran out of options. They budgeted so
little for IT that no Windows solution could fit. ;-) I gave them an
LTSP system that gives them more than twice the capability they could
have had with Windows and will be much easier to maintain. So I found a
little chink in the walls of the monopoly and advanced. Now there are
hundreds of people who have used Linux in place of hundreds who had
never heard of it.

I recommend decent server hardware when demonstrating LTSP. The server
costs so little of the total cost that it does not pay to scrimp there.
You want snap to your presentation. Give them lots of RAM with lots of
cached files and RAID1. Max out your disc heads. Use gigabit/s to the
switch for sure. Make sure any clunker clients have 100 megabits/s NICs.
Include an LCD monitor, and laser mice too. A doorstop looks a lot
better if the user interface is new. I really like the compact/fanless
new thin clients. Some are less than $200.

Robert Pogson

On Wed, 2006-11-10 at 21:01 -0400, k12osn-request redhat com wrote:
> Date: Wed, 11 Oct 2006 11:31:00 -0600
> From: Joe Guenther <jguenther chinooksedge ab ca>
> Subject: [K12OSN] LTSP presentation to all Alberta Ed tech leaders
>         conference 

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