12.16.08

Gemini version available ♊︎

‘Microsoft’ University: Open Source Too Expensive

Posted in Free/Libre Software, Microsoft at 9:22 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

For a little bit of background, see our previous posts about this ongoing mess at the ‘Open’ University (OU) [1, 2]. It was, on the face of it, sort of infiltrated by Microsoft. Here is the latest development, courtesy of Mark Ballard:

But the OU has refused to precipitate the wholesale switch of students from bought Microsoft software to (where appropriate) free open source alternatives because it would require too much effort and the costs would be too high at a time when the governments is squeezing student funding.

How does it cost more to move to Free software? The lamest excuse is to say, “let’s save money by staying with Microsoft and refusing to change.” Is denying Free software now an issue of cost, as opposed to those legends of “readiness”, “reliability”, and “dependability”? Since the OU is located in the UK, someone ought to urge them to ask London hospitals about the cost of viruses (cost of lives too). What about the LSE, which was suspended at a critical time due to a major .NET crash?

Abacus
Look — but dare not touch — the abacus

Share in other sites/networks: These icons link to social bookmarking sites where readers can share and discover new web pages.
  • Reddit
  • email

Decor ᶃ Gemini Space

Below is a Web proxy. We recommend getting a Gemini client/browser.

Black/white/grey bullet button This post is also available in Gemini over at this address (requires a Gemini client/browser to open).

Decor ✐ Cross-references

Black/white/grey bullet button Pages that cross-reference this one, if any exist, are listed below or will be listed below over time.

Decor ▢ Respond and Discuss

Black/white/grey bullet button If you liked this post, consider subscribing to the RSS feed or join us now at the IRC channels.

11 Comments

  1. AlexH said,

    December 16, 2008 at 9:26 pm

    Gravatar

    It costs money because they have to provide support, and in general their students have the software already.

    They distribute copies of StarOffice/OpenOffice.org and invest millions in free software. “Microsoft University” is pretty far from the truth.

  2. Roy Schestowitz said,

    December 16, 2008 at 9:29 pm

    Gravatar

    That’s why it has scare quotes.

    Regarding cost, not only short-term considerations need to be seen.

  3. AlexH said,

    December 16, 2008 at 10:13 pm

    Gravatar

    Given they’re willing to invest millions in developing a free software portfolio, I don’t think their outlook on costs is particularly short term.

  4. Needs Sunlight said,

    December 17, 2008 at 1:45 am

    Gravatar

    It would not be the first time an insider, operating on MS grant money, torpedoed an upgrade or discussion of open source. That includes even discussing open standards:
    http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2006/09/01/commission

    The cost argument is bullshit. Few if any users need more than a bit of moral support when upgrading from MS to better systems.

    The disruption is generally in the support staff, which have to be fired and replaced. If they let the MS problem get out of hand, then they won’t be able to retool and usually don’t know enough about IT to become useful in a working environment. However, a second way there might be migration costs is that whenever the MS onsite sales team (aka support department) gets even a whiff of an upgrade, they work feverously to rip out any non-MS infrastructure, especially mail and networking protocols. The web servers and intranets also get nailed hard and heavy with VBA and other insecure, unstable lock-in.

  5. Jim said,

    December 18, 2008 at 6:37 am

    Gravatar

    no suprise then that the new Vice-Chancellor is to be Martin Bean who is a microsoft employee

    http://www.open.ac.uk/platform/news/ou-news/new-vice-chancellor-announced?ONEML=pf001&MEDIA=pf001os_07

  6. Dante said,

    December 18, 2008 at 8:08 am

    Gravatar

    I can see the problem; as an OU student, I will run on Linux. For the OU itself, they’d need to train their tutors and ask that most of their students switch from one almost globally known interface to one that is, lets face it, different from Microsoft’s desktop.

    Note I am not saying bad, or good, but different.

    The obsucre naming conventions for Linux software, for instance, are part of the learning curve. (IE, instead of something with a catchy name, like Azure, or some rubbish like that, it’s given the name of 3543lb.3.0) The fact that there is no one clear guide for installing software in Linux aimed at a M$ customer is a big problem.

    I

  7. Jim said,

    December 18, 2008 at 8:26 am

    Gravatar

    well I am an OU student as well.
    cant say I see much difference in the interface between MS office and open office or star office which the OU supply.
    Better to teach word processing rather than a word processor.

  8. Charles Oliver said,

    December 18, 2008 at 1:09 pm

    Gravatar

    I have to agree with the majority of comments disagreeing with the tack of this article.

    As mentioned the OU distribute StarOffice to students. They also use FirstClass which has a Linux client (not open source) and a web interface.

    Though they aim their requirements Windows, they at least mention Macs on their student pages and it’s quite possible to access all that is required using Linux.

    That’s not a brilliant situation but it’s better than some other UK universities. I have recently been using the facilities at another UK university and the only way I can access parts of their system is via XP in Virtualbox.

    Though the tide is moving against the Microsoft monopoly it’s not gone yet and I guess the OU have to support what people have on their home systems.

  9. Bob Mottram said,

    December 18, 2008 at 3:51 pm

    Gravatar

    Traditionally higher education in the UK was the preserve of a wealthy upper middle class elite, and the Open University’s remit was to open up the possibility of higher education to everyone, by providing it at minimal cost and at the student’s convenience. Given the OU’s goals it absolutely seems like a no-brainer that if they’re requiring students to use computers that the software should be primarily FOSS based – both for reasons of cost and for reasons of facilitating study in computer science and related courses (you cannot genuinely study a Microsoft Windows OS, since the code is a secret).

  10. Roy Schestowitz said,

    December 18, 2008 at 3:55 pm

    Gravatar

    Here is an explanation of why Free software is required in education.

  11. Jo Shields said,

    December 18, 2008 at 4:42 pm

    Gravatar

    Here is an explanation of why Free software is required in education

    It’s a reasonable argument – I especially liked the OLPC approach of allowing 1-click access to the source of any app on the system

DecorWhat Else is New


  1. Links 4/12/2021: EndeavourOS Atlantis, Krita 5.0.0 Beta 5, Istio 1.11.5, and Wine 6.23; International Day Against DRM (IDAD) on December 10th

    Links for the day



  2. Another Gemini Milestone: 1,500 Active Capsules

    This page from Balázs Botond plots a graph, based on these statistics that now (as of minutes ago) say: “We successfully connected recently to 1500 of them.” Less than a fortnight ago more than 1,800 capsules overall were registered by Lupa, almost quadrupling in a single year



  3. [Meme] António Campinos and Socialist Posturing

    Staff of the EPO isn’t as gullible as António Campinos needs it to be



  4. António Campinos as EPO President is Considered Worse Than Benoît Battistelli (in Some Regards) After 3.5 Years in Europe's Second-Largest Institution

    The EPO's demise at the hands of people who don't understand patents and don't care what the EPO exists for is a real crisis which European media is unwilling to even speak about; today we share some internal publications and comment on them



  5. Media Coverage for Sale

    Today we're highlighting a couple of new examples (there are many other examples which can be found any day of the year) demonstrating that the World Wide Web is like a corporate spamfarm in "news" clothing



  6. Links 3/12/2021: GNU Poke 1.4 and KDDockWidgets 1.5.0

    Links for the day



  7. IRC Proceedings: Thursday, December 02, 2021

    IRC logs for Thursday, December 02, 2021



  8. Links 3/12/2021: Nitrux 1.7.1 and Xen 4.16 Released

    Links for the day



  9. Links 2/12/2021: OpenSUSE Leap 15.4 Alpha, Qt Creator 6

    Links for the day



  10. The EPO's “Gender Awareness Report”

    There’s a new document with remarks by the EPO’s staff representatives and it concerns opportunities for women at the EPO — a longstanding issue



  11. IRC Proceedings: Wednesday, December 01, 2021

    IRC logs for Wednesday, December 01, 2021



  12. EPO Staff Committee Compares the Tactics of António Campinos to Benoît Battistelli's

    The Central Staff Committee (CSC) of the EPO talks about EPO President António Campinos, arguing that “he seems to subscribe to the Manichean view, introduced by Mr Battistelli…”



  13. Prof. Thomas Jaeger in GRUR: Unified Patent Court (UPC) “Incompatible With EU Law“

    The truth remains unquestionable and the law remains unchanged; Team UPC is living in another universe, unable to accept that what it is scheming will inevitably face high-level legal challenges (shall that become necessary) and it will lose because the facts are all still the same



  14. Links 1/12/2021: LibrePlanet CFS Extended to December 15th and DB Comparer for PostgreSQL Reaches 5.0

    Links for the day



  15. EPO Cannot and Will Not Self-Regulate

    The term financialisation helps describe some of the activities of the EPO in recent years; see Wikipedia on financialisation below



  16. [Meme] Germany's Licence to Break the Law

    Remember that the young Campinos asked dad for his immunity after he had gotten drunk and crashed the car; maybe the EPO should stop giving diplomatic immunity to people, seeing what criminals (e.g. Benoît Battistelli) this attracts; the German government is destroying its image (and the EU’s) by fostering such corruption, wrongly believing that it’s worth it because of Eurozone domination for patents/litigation



  17. EPO Dislikes Science and Scientists

    The EPO's management has become like a corrupt political party with blind faith in money and monopolies (or monopoly money); it has lost sight of its original goals and at this moment it serves to exacerbate an awful pandemic, as the video above explains



  18. Links 1/12/2021: LibreOffice 7.3 Beta, Krita 5.0, Julia 1.7

    Links for the day



  19. Links 1/12/2021: NixOS 21.11 Released

    Links for the day



  20. IRC Proceedings: Tuesday, November 30, 2021

    IRC logs for Tuesday, November 30, 2021



  21. Links 1/12/2021: Tux Paint 0.9.27 and WordPress 5.9 Beta

    Links for the day



  22. [Meme] EPO Administrative Council Believing EPO-Bribed 'Media' (IAM Still Shilling and Lying for Cash)

    IAM continues to do what brings money from EPO management and Team UPC, never mind if it is being disputed by the patent examiners themselves



  23. The EPO's Mythical “Gap” Has Been Found and It's Bonuses for People Who Use Pure Fiction to Steal From Patent Examiners

    The phony president who has the audacity to claim there's a budget gap is issuing millions of euros for his enablers to enjoy; weeks ahead of the next meeting of national delegates the Central Staff Committee (CSC) tells them: "Events show that the delegations’ concerns about functional allowances have materialised. The lack of transparency and inflation of the budget envelope gives rise to the suspicion that high management is pursuing a policy of self-service at the expense of EPO staff, which is difficult to reconcile with the Office’s claimed cost-saving policy, and to the detriment of the whole Organisation."



  24. Video: Making the Internet a Better Place for People, Not Megacorporations

    Following that earlier list of suggested improvements for a freedom-respecting Internet, here's a video and outline



  25. Links 30/11/2021: KDE Plasma 5.23.4, 4MLinux 38.0, Long GitHub Downtime, and Microsoft's CEO Selling Away Shares

    Links for the day



  26. A Concise Manifesto For Freedom-Respecting Internet

    An informal list of considerations to make when reshaping the Internet to better serve people, not a few corporations that are mostly military contractors subsidised by the American taxpayers



  27. Freenode.net Becomes a 'Reddit Clone' and Freenode IRC is Back to Old Configurations After Flushing Down Decades' Worth of User/Channel Data and Locking/Shutting Out Longtime Users

    Freenode is having another go; after “chits” and “jobs” (among many other ideas) have clearly failed, and following the change of daemon (resulting in massive loss of data and even security issues associated with impersonation) as well as pointless rebrand as “Joseon”, the domain Freenode.net becomes something completely different and the IRC network reopens to all



  28. Jack Dorsey's Decision is a Wake-up Call: Social Control Media is Just a Toxic Bubble

    The state of the World Wide Web (reliability, preservation, accessibility, compatibility etc.) was worsened a lot more than a decade ago; with social control media that’s nowadays just a pile of JavaScript programs we’re basically seeing the Web gradually turning into another Adobe Flash (but this time they tell us it’s a “standard”), exacerbating an already-oversized ‘bubble economy’ where companies operate at a loss while claiming to be worth hundreds of billions (USD) and generally serve imperialistic objectives by means of manipulation like surveillance, selective curation, and censorship



  29. IRC Proceedings: Monday, November 29, 2021

    IRC logs for Monday, November 29, 2021



  30. Links 29/11/2021: NuTyX 21.10.5 and CrossOver 21.1.0

    Links for the day


RSS 64x64RSS Feed: subscribe to the RSS feed for regular updates

Home iconSite Wiki: You can improve this site by helping the extension of the site's content

Home iconSite Home: Background about the site and some key features in the front page

Chat iconIRC Channel: Come and chat with us in real time

Recent Posts