Congratulations for selling our kids. I'm sure Coke and Cadbury's would also offer "massive discounts" to push their products in schools. Is that OK too
It has nothing to do with selling the kids and everything to do with trying to get the best value for money. If Apple were better and cheaper for our needs then we would go with them for the most part like I know for a fact blackpool college did. From what I know of previous systems before I arrived, years ago everything was bought from and managed by Novell. Don't mistake your own anti-ms stance as being perfect for everyones needs.
Why are you paying money for GNU/Linux licences? Presumably because the "enterprise" versions contain non-free management tools?
Partly and partly because many licenses only allow the software to be 'free' if it is used at home for personal use only. Once you place it in a commercial environment you have to pay for it.
Are there no free alternatives?
None of an acceptable standard that would allow us to do our job without spending too much time messing about. We are only a small department managing a large site. We would also need support for any issues that we may come across that we do not have the experience in troubleshooting. Support costs money.
Is a 6th form college school really an "enterprise"?
We are not a school. We are an independent 6th form registered as a private business although we do receive a large proportion of our funding from government. Also many software licenses only cover up to high school to be eligible for educational pricing. Adobe for example, specifically excluded 6th forms from their education CS3 licensing until about 12 months ago. I am happy to say that we were instrumental in getting that policy changed and now in part thanks to us, colleges all over the country can now license CS3 for around £3000 per site, not almost £400 per desktop.
Well done. You've proved that change costs money.
Yes it does. We operate on a budget. Are you going to dip into your pocket to provide the extra cash needed?
I'm also not clear on why a 6th form college needs 600+ desktop computers. I thought 6th form colleges were about education, not training. What are you running, a typing school?
Then you have no idea about a modern educational establishment. Every classroom needs a computer for student registration, running the interactive whiteboards etc. We have 200+ classrooms not counting offices. Teachers in all departments seem incapable these days of teaching a class without the use of a computer as there is always panic should one fail at the start of a lesson. We attract a large number of I.T. and computing students which we need to accomodate so we have a dozen computer suites. Some departments like English insist on having 2 or 3 PCs in each classroom for student use. Media have 2 suites of Macs. Music have a mixed suite of Macs and PCs. Art also have seperate suite. Our library (or learning resource centre as they now have to be called) has just under 100 PCs.
You see how all these numbers quickly add up? Not to mention we have to fulfill government criteria of having 1 computer per 3 students. And despite these numbers at every years intake when timetables etc are being organised management still complain that there are not enough to go around to timetable everyone in. We currently have around 1600 full-time students (plus some part-time, plus adult education so about 2000 in total) so we fulfil the governments criteria at 2.6 computers per student but only because every year we include staff only machines in those figures. Take those figures away and we would have to buy a lot more to meet the 1:3 ratio