Under BSF SUN now runs Bradford local authority schools IT

The computers were not conventional PCs, but _Sun Ray thin clients <http://www.sun.com/sunray/index.jsp%20>_. Sun Ray clients enable virtualized desktop sessions to run on a datacenter server, which houses the applications and data. ...

As the key technology partner to Bradford, Sun is not only providing the hardware, we're also designing the software that will facilitate learning. Using Sun's open source software as well as other open source educational software such as Moodlerooms, Sun has created an open source software environment for the school.

Zen wrote:
I can't see the ed sector taking on free software in any great volume in the near future ... the issues around support and compatibility (with workplaces and what parents have at home) are just too great.

If there was to be a shift away from MS/Windows, I think it is more likely to be in the direction of Apple and OSX. Apple are hooking kids with iPods and iPhones and the step from using an iPod (and iTunes on Win or OSX) or an iPhone to using a Mac running OSX is tiny. OSX with iWork does virtually everything people need. Someone mentioned earlier on that kids don't even get taught how to type in schools, but I think that's a minor issue ... I know plenty of kids who haven't been taught to touch type "properly" but who can whizz around their keyboards, mice, iPods, touch screens, etc faster than most touch typists. The keyboard as an interface will be less and less important as technologies develop (especially voice inputs).

The total cost of ownership of a Mac is (in my experience) far lower than running Windows machines. The hardware purchase price is high, but the OS is MILES cheaper (and miles more reliable) and iWork can do pretty much everything the average user needs for a lot less money than MS Office. If MS want to compete in the years ahead, they radically need to drop their prices.

Also, society is becoming far more creative and interactive .... socially and job wise. People need tools to get the job done simply - they don't care how those tools are made and they don't want to learn how to make the tools. Apple gives people software that works. They boot up and are productive more or less straight away. There's no need to learn how the OS works. There's no need to learn how to use MS Office. If people can use iTunes, they can pretty much intuitively use any part of Apple's core software suites (iWork and iLife). And the OS doesn't break all the time and it doesn't need a lot of IT support.

A UK school example from Apple:

And another thing is the growth of Apple not just in the iPod youth centred market, but in the Mac/PC market in the US - especially in US universities .... where the US is today, we often follow. An example:


Apple have been so smart in grabbing the attention of the iGeneration ... so long as they don't lose momentum, they have the potential to surpass MS in many markets.

There was a TV docu the other day about newspapers in the UK - virtually every office shot showed banks of people using Apples. Media based, I know - but half the population want a media related job these days.

People don't want free software. They want software that 'just works" and which doesn't cost an arm and a leg. They don't want the confusion of tons of MS Windows' flavours. Apple ticks all of those boxes and with the iPoders growing up and buying PCs the Windows market share will fall. People won;t switch to free OS platforms.

On 11 Feb 2009, at 12:10, Matt Barber wrote:

What about all the jobs that people have when they develop software that is paid for and licensed? If the switch to free software were to suddenly happen, would these people find themselves out of work? This isn't a stab at anybody, it's just an observation that I'd like to put in there. And I'm genuinely interested in the response from enthusiasts to the idea.

Also, I am a fan of both closed, and open software, using Microsoft and Mozilla products, enjoying and consuming DRM-Free media content. I don't often enjoy getting involved in open/closed/free/however discussions because I find they are very one sided a lot of the time.

Speaking of Linux in schools - I do find that out of the many Linux distributions that I have used, Ubuntu included, none were up to scratch to use in either a production or play environment for me. Flaky support - annoying buggy features that waste time instead of saving time, just unusual ways of working. That's my 'used to XP' side shining through. XP does what I want now - and to be frank, is reliable and fast. At least how I have it set up.

I do see the fun in being able to tweak the OS, and really get to grips with it's operation - if kids in computer science / computing / IT classes were taught to think that way then we would have a better IT society. But we must consider that first, we need a good platform to work from.

Where I work, we are able to choose whichever platform works best for us, as long as it doesn't affect productivity. Trouble is, schools are more important than the workplace in my opinion - and the kids might not know what they want just yet. Maybe that's the point this thread is trying to prove?
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