>  Who cares if
> MS is de facto in the school setting if it serves its purpose?=20

Its purpose (as someone else pointed out quite eloquently) is to teach
kids. I don't know how well MS software teaches anything other than how
to use the previous version of MS software, a skill that at best
devalued by the time you get into the workplace.

> Even if on
> the face of it FOSS could replace it, all that existing knowledge is go=
> because people have to relearn how to work the computers to a standard =
> were at before.=20

For the average computer user this is their experience of upgrades to
new versions of MS software.

There is a bogus upgrade bait and switch cycle that keeps people
upgrading their intel hardware, MS OS, and MS software to prevent them
losing their investment in each when the next one is declared outmoded
by the company that sells it. GNU/Linux can break the OS part of this
cycle, and Dave has mentioned WINE.

> A phased migration is the only workable solution, and even
> that becomes harder and harder when you have outsourced service and sup=
> from third parties as Neil mentioned.

These third parties must remain competitive if they wish to continue to
receive tax money. I allege that the advantages of switching to Free
Software *can* outweigh the costs (sic) of support, teaching, and third
party staff upgrading their skills to more open, flexible and studiable
systems. ;-)

- Rob.

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