[Community_studios] Re: [seul-edu] Donated Computers announcement, Take III

tompoe tompoe at renonevada.net
Sun May 5 09:59:52 EDT 2002

Hi:  Most impressive. Very polished.
Tom Poe
Reno, NV

On Sun, 5 May 2002, Leon Brooks wrote:

> Take 3, please criticise, and please offer more positive spin!
> --------8<----cut-here----8<--------
> The Internet, Tuesday, 07 May 2002: In an official announcement from the
> SchoolForge[0] group today, spokesman Leon Brooks refuted statements on
> Microsoft's website which have been widely interpreted as a roadblock to the
> acceptance of donated computers by schools and other needy organisations.
> "Using Linux, OpenOffice.org and other Open Source software, a school or
> charity can safely accept almost any donated computer," he said. "Simply wipe
> it and replace the software with Linux[1] and Open Source applications[2],
> then use the computer as a powerful workstation or server. It's an excellent
> idea to erase the existing operating system anyway - this also erases viruses
> and trojan horses, protects the donor's privacy, and complies with the
> typical EULA[3] - so why not install something better while you're there?"
> Mr Brooks also noted that Linux removed many of the burdens, costs and legal
> risks of licence management and software asset auditing faced by all
> businesses, organisations and individuals.
> The price tag is also attractive. "School decisions are often dominated by
> cost; much Open Source software is available at little or no cost, and runs
> well on donated computers," Mr Brooks explained, "Linux is easy to set up as
> a fast diskless workstation or `thin client', so many schools are rolling out
> networks using this technology with both donated and new equipment.
> "On top of this, Open Source software is immune to almost all existing
> viruses, has an excellent security record, is extremely reliable, and in an
> educational setting often provides a deeper involvement in computers than
> programs deliberately designed for the classroom."
> The most important benefits were outlined[4] by Peruvian Congressmen Edgar
> Núñez, Daniel Estrada and Jacques Ackerman after sponsoring a Bill to require
> State agencies to use Open Source where possible: greater autonomy,
> development of local talent, greater security, more complete accountability,
> and adherence to standards (interoperability). The ecological advantages of
> keeping computers and toxic parts out of landfill speak for themselves.
> "Microsoft claims on their website that `it is a legal requirement that
> pre-installed operating systems remain with the computer for the life of the
> machine',"[5] Brooks said, "I see this kind of problem often with Microsoft's
> software, as with viruses and security issues. The approach that many
> schools, charities and public bodies have taken is simply to use other
> software without this handicap. This happened[6] when Oregon and Washington
> schools recently found themselves being pushed into a software audit."
> The Simple End User Linux group has dozens of case studies from real schools
> on line[7] showing the immediate financial advantages of this strategy, and
> the K-12 Linux Terminal Server Project group[8] are recording the extensive
> benefits of the thin-client approach. They have scores of real examples
> submitted from real schools by the people using it on the front lines.
> Organisations of schools and charities[9] have been springing up to take
> advantage of this newly publicised wealth of software. SchoolForge is one of
> the many alliances formed to give schools a running start in Open Source.
> SchoolForge[10], is a rapidly growing international coalition of over 70
> schools and education-related companies dedicated to enhancing communication,
> sharing resources, and increasing the transparency of development in the
> area. As well as providing documentation and experience, SchoolForge can
> arrange to field volunteers to help schools and charitable organisations get
> started in the stable, secure, safe world of Linux.
> SchoolForge is always looking for new associates. The benefits of united and
> widespread negotiating power are considerable.
> Leon Brooks[10] is computer consultant working from Perth, Western Australia.
> Working through the consulting companies CyberKnights and Computer Clinic,
> Leon has worked with Open Source operating systems (including LTSP) and
> applications in a variety of businesses, private and State schools. Business
> is booming, and both companies are interested in adding talented local Open
> Source consultants to their teams.
> Leon also uses and recommends membership in the Perth Linux User Group. His
> business is 100% Linux and Open Source, and so (except for one Macintosh) is
> his household; there are Linux applications that his wife would fight to
> keep.
> [0] http://www.schoolforge.net/
> [1] See http://www.linux.org/ - other good OS choices may be found at
>     http://www.freebsd.org/ http://www.openbsd.org/ http://www.netbsd.org/
> [2] http://www.openoffice.org/ or http://www.koffice.org/ for excellent Open
>     Source office suites; http://www.mozilla.org/ or http://www.konqueror.org/
>     for web browser suites; Mozilla or http://kmail.kde.org/ or
>     http://www.ximian.com/products/ximian_evolution/ for email clients. There
>     is an enormous list of Open Source applications at http://freshmeat.net/
> [3] For example, the copy at http://nl.linux.org/geldterug/license.html says
>     "Microsoft may terminate this EULA [...and...] you must destroy all
>     copies of the SOFTWARE PRODUCT and all of its component parts."
> [4] http://www.gnu.org.pe/resmseng.html - at the time of writing, interest is
>     so intense that GNU Peru is redirecting queries to Google's cache of the
>     page to avoid overloading.
> [5] http://www.microsoft.com/education/?id=DonatedComputers first Q&A
>     question, as at 05 May 2002.
> [6] http://archives.seul.org/seul/edu/May-2002/msg00129.html (and see the
>     link), http://archives.seul.org/seul/edu/May-2002/msg00152.html and
>     http://archives.seul.org/seul/edu/May-2002/msg00129.html including these
>     notable quotes: `No one was talking about using software without
>     paying for it. It's just that when they came face to face with the power
>     an EULA gives MS, they saw things in a different light. MS software in
>     schools was seen as a logistical and financial liability when compared
>     with GPL licensed alternatives.' and `The Portland Public School
>     switchboard was jammed for two days with calls from Linux users
>     volunteering to come to PDX from all over the west coast to help with
>     software migration.'
> [7] http://casestudy.seul.org/
> [8] http://www.k12ltsp.org/casestudy.html
> [9] Western Australia's Computer Angels[9a] already use Linux rather than risk
>     being destroyed at the whim of a well-supported business[9b] as `PCs for
>     Kids'[9c] effectively was late last year, and a similar organisation in
>     New Zealand was in 1997[9d]. On the other side of the coin, Linux
>     suppliers and users have a long tradition of supporting[9e] worthy
>     organisations. Larger and American organisations are not immune, there's a
>     long list victims[9f], with only one fine under USD$50,000 and some
>     exceeding USD$500,000.
> [9a] http://www.ca.asn.au/
> [9b] http://www.bsaa.com.au/
> [9c] http://www.pcsforkids.org/
>      http://www.cnn.com/2001/BUSINESS/asia/08/09/aus.microsoftkids/
> [9d] http://www.idg.net.nz/webhome.nsf/UNID/1B2EA829EEBB476CCC256A8F000AD1BE
> [9e] http://www.idgnet.co.nz/webhome.nsf/UNID/DC8B080246F1F98CCC256A940001A54C
> [9f] http://www.softwaremetering.com/fines.html
> [10] leon AT cyberknights DOT com DOT au; http://www.cyberknights.com.au/
>      leon AT cclinic DOT com DOT au; http://www.cclinic.com.au/
>      http://plug.linux.org.au/
> --------8<----cut-here----8<--------
> I'm not sure it's wise to link directly to archives of email including the
> earlier versions of this document and discussion of it; it may be prudent to
> place the messages linked to in reference 6 into a separate node on the SEUL
> or SchoolForge website, and link to that instead.
> Cheers; Leon

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