Language Selection

English French German Italian Portuguese Spanish

Open source news not as good as it sounds

Filed under

Setting aside for a moment the debate going on in enterprises over whether to use Microsoft or open source alternatives, this week has seen much noise over two other battlegrounds: schools and local government.

It all started with word that a forthcoming report from the British Educational Communications and Technology Association (BECTA) will claim primary schools can halve IT costs if they go open source.

Microsoft quickly responded, saying it would not back down from a fight in the education market. It trotted out the old 'competition is good for customers' justification.

For local authorities, the news is that almost two-thirds are looking to increase their use of open source software because of cost and dissatisfaction with Microsoft, according to research from local government IT user group Socitm and the Financial Times.

Both developments look promising for the open source contingent but demand closer examination.

Microsoft said it won't cede the education market and should be taken seriously. Remember what it did to Apple, once the dominant computer supplier for schools? Now Windows on a Dell machine is the more likely tool in the classroom.

Even more so, both of these pieces of research base their case for open source on the fact it could save money for schools and local authorities. But cost is only one of the issues. Schools and councils also need a certain amount of know-how to switch to open source - both for the practical implementation and in even knowing it's an option - a point columnist Simon Moores brought up in an article today.

This is where education and local government start to look a lot like corporations. Ease-of-use, familiarity and the hassle of any migration must be weighed alongside cost and lock-in, no matter which market segment you're looking at - and perhaps even more so for those traditionally lacking the resources and technical know-how of the private sector.


More in Tux Machines

A History Of Everyday Linux User's 350 Blog Posts

This article is something of a landmark as it is the 350th post on Everyday Linux User. I took last week off to celebrate. Well actually I went away with the family down to England for a few days and didn't take a computer with me. I did take in Alnwick Castle however which is the location for Hogwarts from the Harry Potter films. Read more

Kodi 17 "Krypton" Beta 4 Released with ARMv8A 64-bit Builds for Android, Fixes

Today, October 25, 2016, Martijn Kaijser had the great pleasure of announcing the release and immediate availability of the fourth, and probably the last Beta milestone of the upcoming Kodi 17 open-source and cross-platform media center software. Read more

GNOME's Epiphany 3.24 Web Browser to Use Firefox Sync Service, HTTPS Everywhere

The GNOME developers are preparing to release the first development version of the upcoming GNOME 3.24 desktop environment, versioned 3.23.1, and we can't help but notice that some of the core apps were updated recently. Read more

Suse: Question. What do you call second-place in ARM enterprise server linux? Answer: Red Hat

ARM TechCon Suse is claiming victory over Red Hat by announcing – and these caveats are all crucial – "the first commercial enterprise Linux distribution optimized for ARM AArch64 architecture servers." In plainer English, Suse has developed an enterprise-grade Linux distribution that runs on 64-bit ARM servers (should you happen to ever find one). Suse claims this software is a world first because it is a finished commercial product, thus beating Red Hat to the punch: Red Hat Enterprise Linux Server for ARM is still only available as a beta-like development preview. Read more