Anyone successfully migrated a school in the UK to Linux?

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Anyone successfully migrated a school in the UK to Linux?

Postby hamish » Sat May 07, 2005 10:50 am

Hey all,

been reading th mag for ages. It rocks.

Anyway, I'm posting to see if anyone has successfully moved a school in the UK from using windows to using linux. Maybe someone is a sysadmin out there and did it. Or maybe you know because your cool linux-loving kids told you.

I'm just curious as I was talking to a teacher the other week about the situation in their school.

So, the question is: has it been done quite frequently, what there the main problems and has it been a success?

Thanks in advance, and enjoy the weekend.

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RE: Anyone successfully migrated a school in the UK to Linux

Postby towy71 » Sat May 07, 2005 11:03 am

first off if you have been looking at this site you can't have failed to see linuxgirlie and her site: http://www.karoshi.org.uk/
then there are these two places:
http://www.lfsp.org/
http://www.suse.com/uk/company/schools/

and finally I beleive Powys schools run linux as servers and stuff and some Carmarthenshire schools also run linux as desktops and servers
HTH
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Postby M0PHP » Sat May 07, 2005 1:15 pm

At the school I work at as a technician, we run several linux servers for web, mail, file serving and proxies which run brilliantly. We are hoping to try it on the desktop soon, but for the majority, software for schools are written for Windows and therefore it wouldn't be sensible for us to run linux desktops on the 230 computers we have. Plus our management software, SIMS, only runs on Windows and needs Windows servers.
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Postby Nigel » Sat May 07, 2005 2:55 pm

>> Plus our management software, SIMS, only runs on Windows and needs Windows servers.

... and that situation will only get worse as SIMS.net gets rolled out. Individual school offices don't have a choice here, they have to follow the LEA policy, and that (I believe) is dictated by central government.

Curriculum stuff is another matter. Here the main stumbling block is the teachers - they are trained on Windows (or the god-awful RM interface that sits on top of Windows and takes away what little control you may have had otherwise) and don't have the time (allegedly) to look at anything else.
Hope this helps,

Nigel.
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Postby M0PHP » Sat May 07, 2005 3:45 pm

Nigel wrote:... and that situation will only get worse as SIMS.net gets rolled out. Individual school offices don't have a choice here, they have to follow the LEA policy, and that (I believe) is dictated by central government.


Absolutely right. We just recently upgraded to SIMS.net for E-registration, and SIMS.net is now on every classrom computer for registration purposes.

Nigel wrote:Curriculum stuff is another matter. Here the main stumbling block is the teachers - they are trained on Windows (or the god-awful RM interface that sits on top of Windows and takes away what little control you may have had otherwise) and don't have the time (allegedly) to look at anything else.


Right again... we also have an RM system (put in place before I started) and while it does provide an overlay ontop of a Windows 2000/2003 and XP network (and has a few nice touches like Learning Resources and such), it does allow you to go into the depths of GPOs on the servers.

The costs we have to pay RM for the network and licenses and for Windows and Office could be cut quite significantly, but it just wouldn't make sense to ditch the current network with Windows software just yet, for something that may or may not fulfil our school's individual needs.
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Postby zarathustra » Mon May 09, 2005 8:07 pm

I personally onn the old forum noted that I had persuaded the rector of my local secondary to accept some Ath Xp machines running various flavours of linux. These were as desktops and one server on a test basis. * I paid for em out of my own pocket* this was the only way they could *cough* afford to obtain them. According to what the rector told me, they are allowed control over the IT budget, so long as they use approved suppliers! *An excellent example of Orwells double think* Alas all was well until I asked them "so are you ready to move over to linux wherever possible?" The response was a deafening "NO" Apparently, as you note above, too much software is for windows only, crossover just doesn't cut the mustard and open source alternatives are spartan to say the least. Yes the server is allowed to stay because linux does that very well, but the handful of desktops had to be converted to windows or removed from the school as they were not allowed to pay for admin of non standard boxes. Having looked at some of their windows machines, they were so tweaked *if that's what you want to call it* that they were less computers in the conventional sense of something 'You' administer and more of a simple appliance, the use of which was dictated and closely controlled.
I did try and I suppose the server was a success, but it doesn't get the pupils close to linux :(

This is partially why I posted about what to do with old Ath XP machines, because I was given them all back! Except the dual mp, though I had my own personal one and a local charity was most grateful for the network I built them, all linux I might add :)
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Postby towy71 » Tue May 10, 2005 7:25 am

re my reference to Powys County Council: http://www.telecentres.com/opensource/
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Postby linuxgirlie » Tue May 10, 2005 12:56 pm

Well towy71, I think I can take that as a compliment!!

From a Karoshi project view point we now have 15 schools converted but due to some schools not wanting to be named as yet, only those on the list at present is what people see as being the converted.
I actually got my job because of Linux and Karoshi and Open Source, and replaced the old RM system with one with more flexablity and functions that the school is still in shock!!

I personally believe that if schools are looking to move, they should move servers first, get rid of RM etc, and then look at the clients. As for SIMS if the school doesn't want to move go as far as you can. Have Linux servers, Open Source Software and Windows Clients. A small change is better than no change and our mixed curriclum/admin network works fine, and the SIMS server doesn't blink an eye that it is authicating with a Linux PDC!!

As always if anyone wants to come and visit, jsut drop me an email and they would be very welcome....
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Postby kevanf1 » Tue May 10, 2005 1:17 pm

linuxgirlie wrote:I personally believe that if schools are looking to move, they should move servers first, get rid of RM etc, and then look at the clients.


That's exactly what it 'seems' that my local high school is doing. My wife works there - and my two youngest attend as pupils - and she has seen Red Hat manuals floating around. All the staff in her office keep saying I should be working there because the system keeps falling over at the moment. It's M$...need I say more. Hopefully they will be migrating a few areas. My idea is that they really ought to run a test mini network first to get up to speed with Linux. Then gradually replace other servers. I'm quite sure most software used in the school has an OSS equivalent.
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Postby M0PHP » Tue May 10, 2005 1:17 pm

I'm going to have a play about with linux terminal services over the coming months to recycle 30x 6-year-old computers which are just gathering dust at present. Only being a technician ( :? ) at the school I'm not holding the reigns as to where we go in the big grand scheme of things, but I'm doing my bit with the few servers I've done (mail and proxy).

Re: linuxgirlie, I've looked at Karoshi a few weeks ago aswell and was quite impressed with it; although the wiki seems bare as to how to get it working :cry: My congratulations to you to make such a brave move in such a Microsoft-centric market.
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Postby linuxgirlie » Tue May 10, 2005 1:31 pm

Its only me doing documentation so its not quite up to scratch at the moment as I have hundreds of things going on, including doing a OU Computer Science degree!! I am going to update the site tonight as we have a beta 4.2 being released, so I will do some documentation for you at the same time :D
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Postby M0PHP » Tue May 10, 2005 1:47 pm

That's understandable. I'm on the CCNA course at the moment, studying RHCE and juggling other personal commitments as well as what's going on at work. It will be interesting to see some more Karoshi information :D
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Postby linuxgirlie » Tue May 10, 2005 1:51 pm

No Problem, I will only be able to fit in a few bits, is there anything in particular you wanted to see first as I will do those?!

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Postby M0PHP » Tue May 10, 2005 1:56 pm

It was just the Installation procedure, the page that said "The procedure for isntallation ahs now changed and will be updated shortly".

Also, do you plan to stay with Mandrake now they have changed to Mandriva?
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Postby linuxgirlie » Tue May 10, 2005 2:07 pm

Thats fine, I can do that tonight, I wouldn't mind a reply though of how easy/not easy it looks!!

I quite like 2005 its nice, but we have tried our best to try and get Karoshi to work on all systems, though there are a few changes needing to be done, it should work on anything that runs KDE!! (rpm based though not deb), though it would be nice to have a few people test it on other systems and give us feed back!! There is only two of us and now Micromart has gotten us working in a karoshi@home version its alot of hard work for something so simple!!

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