Becta excludes Vista, Office - again
Shouldn't be running in our classrooms
Microsoft’s hopes of getting Vista into British classrooms have been held back at least another year after Becta issued a scathing report on the operating system and its equally fresh-faced twin, Office 2007.
The UK's education technology agency concluded there are very few situations where it is worthwhile for schools and colleges to install the products, which actually hit the market at the tail end of 2006.
It has also reiterated its doubts over Microsoft’s licensing model, rubbished the vendor’s document format policy, and said schools and parents should be made fully aware of “free-to-use” products.
The report advised education establishments not to upgrade existing systems to Vista or Office 2007. It also advised against mixed environments. It grudgingly said: “Vista should be considered where new institution-wide ICT provision is being planned.”
It said there should be “no widespread deployment of Office 2007” until schools and colleges could be sure they have mechanisms in place to deal with “interopability and potential digital divide issues".
It goes on to state that if institutions are bamboozled into buying Office 2007, they should should not save in Microsoft’s OOXML format. To get round “limitations of Microsoft’s implementation” of ODF, it continues, they should opt for older formats such as .doc.
Where schools do want to expand their networks, it says they should exercise their downgrade rights and demand XP.
And if that wasn’t enough to make even the most wide-eyed head think twice, it then lays into Microsoft’s licensing strategy for schools, reiterating its advice not to sign up for the firm’s school licensing program.
The agency reported Microsoft to the OFT in October because of its concerns over the “all or nothing” nature of the contract, which can see schools having to pay Microsoft licence fees even for machines running non-Microsoft systems.
While the education sector is often derided for being behind the commercial sector, this time the two are in step. Corporates too are giving Microsoft’s flagship products a wide berth, forcing the vendor to extend the sales life of XP. ®
I work in a secondary school.
I have to buy MS because of the crap applications that others (Capita's SIMS - I'm looking at you) churn out. I don't have a choice on the information management system as this is controlled by the local authority.
Whilst I have open office installed on all of my machines takeup would be better if:
a) How to lock it down was documented (brilliantly you can change proxy settings though OO).
b) It's distribution to 100's of machines was easier.
c) people stopped buying crap 'managed' networks from the likes of RM.
I've overcome both of these problems, but this will put smaller schools off.
"RM recommends Windows Vista Business"
Just got a spam letter from RM this morning, spouting on about recommending Vista. The question is, would anyone recommend RM?
Free doesn't mean FREE
One thing all these anti-MS people on here really do have to remember is that just because Linux et al doesn't cost for the software, it does still have a cost attached.
If for example, you took a typical 20 person office that's been running Windows + MS Office for years and replaced it all with open source versions, you'd be looking at least 4 hours training per person just so they can accomplish their basic tasks (remember these are not techies), thus you've got a cost of £500 odd for the hours you're paying them for not to do their job. On top of that, the chances of a typical IT support company being able to support Linux isn't great, most of these people trained in Windows only, so you have to hunt around for one that can support Linux and likely pay extra for the privilage. Even then, you are likely going to get some people who don't ever get Linux and struggle to perform even the most basic tasks that they can manage under Windows due to familiarity.
Open source isn't the be all and end all of software, it certainly has it's place and in some enviroments you can realise the benefits (for example if you have a lot of techie staff).