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Old 12-05-2011, 02:59 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Linux At My Workplace.

As many of you may or may not know, I previously worked at another school district within the area. They were a Windows district having difficulty justifying the expensive costs of Microsoft software, despite the insane educational discounts Microsoft provided. It's just far too expensive these days, yet technology is being demanded more and more in the classroom due to the degree of advantages that come with the equipment. We began to flirt with Ubuntu systems and servers in our environment. To say we had outstanding success is an understatement. I parted ways with this district in September of 2011 due to taking an opportunity in Penn Manor School District, which is the district being referenced in these technology blog links. While there are a lot of similarities between school districts in the area, there are a lot of differences too. A very welcoming difference was the fact this predominantly Apple district was rocking the boat by transitioning to Linux. While I came into the picture mid-transition, it's very apparent that Penn Manor is having just as much success with Linux as my previous district did.

Below are some technology blogs from the Penn Manor School District in Pennsylvania regarding the development phases of Ubuntu in the district, for thin clients, servers, desktops, and laptops.

Part 1 - Ubuntu for our Schools: Part 1 : PM Technology Blog
Part 2 - Ubuntu for Schools Part 2: Apps and Software : PM Technology Blog
Part 3 - Ubuntu for Schools Part 3: Lenovo X120e : PM Technology Blog
Part 4 - Ubuntu for Schools: Project Update : PM Technology Blog

I love my job.
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Old 12-05-2011, 04:36 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: Linux At My Workplace.

Can I have your job? *yank*

Nice move, man!
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Old 12-06-2011, 03:27 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: Linux At My Workplace.

Seems as if the local paper caught wind:

Penn Manor's tech team cuts costs - News
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Old 12-06-2011, 04:21 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: Linux At My Workplace.

Now, why can't every school district do that? No doubt they'd save a lot of money...
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Old 12-06-2011, 06:19 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: Linux At My Workplace.

I'll have to see what I can do about that primary school I mentioned, I've also got some friends ears I can whisper in working in IT at a couple of other schools viva la resistance.
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Old 12-06-2011, 08:54 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Default Re: Linux At My Workplace.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Nitestick View Post
I'll have to see what I can do about that primary school I mentioned, I've also got some friends ears I can whisper in working in IT at a couple of other schools viva la resistance.
Feel free to fire these links out to anybody who might listen. It's really an exceptional platform and works great in the classroom.

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Originally Posted by MindoverMaster View Post
Now, why can't every school district do that? No doubt they'd save a lot of money...
More often than not, most districts are lead by people who don't like to try new things. I think that's the beauty of the IT field. If you never try anything new, you'll miss out on so many great things. I know there are still a select few applications out there that are Microsoft/Apple only, but there are so many alternatives out there that work as good/better. You just need to give it a shot.

To see the magnitude of hard earned tax payer dollars that were saved by going this route still baffles me. I've been involved with several school districts at this point. I see how hard they work to cut costs and how much they try to cut back. Being able to save 318k simply by purchasing Lenovos and using Linux still blows my mind.
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Old 12-06-2011, 09:01 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Default Re: Linux At My Workplace.

True to that. I could see how they'd have to use MS Office and Photoshop. These are the most widely used applications, not OpenOffice and Gimp. One day soon, Linux will rule. And more just a server OS.
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Old 12-07-2011, 08:33 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Default Re: Linux At My Workplace.

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Originally Posted by MindoverMaster View Post
True to that. I could see how they'd have to use MS Office and Photoshop. These are the most widely used applications, not OpenOffice and Gimp. One day soon, Linux will rule. And more just a server OS.
And even that I don't think MS Office is as well justified as it used to be, or even Photoshop. So few people *need* the features Photoshop offers over Gimp. Most times it's a preference based thing with how Photoshop looks versus Gimp's multi window layout. With Gimp 2.7 (available in Linux only from what I understand) they're testing a beta version which allows you to run Gimp in single window mode. I personally love it. Supposedly with Gimp 2.8 (available on all 3 platforms) it'll be either an easy feature to switch on or it'll come with that as default, but Gimp 2.8 isn't released yet. It's a work in progress.

About Libre Office, they've gotten more support in 1 year than OpenOffice did in 10 years, and I was even a fan of Open Office. With Libre Office and Google Docs, I see little/no need for Microsoft Office in the majority of scenarios. I suppose if you need some advanced functionality that MS Access might offer or even something in Word/Excel that Libre Office or the limited-but-convenient Google Docs might not support, then you'd be well warranted for that. For all of the work I do in my day-to-day, I haven't once said "Dang, I need MS Office for that." Sure, my uses are different than other people's out there, and that's okay if you personally in your field need those applications. That's why they still exist. But look where I'm at. We're talking about students who need to type research papers and do spreadsheets (which is also the majority of the home user's needs as well), it's honestly... I'll say it... wasted money to put MS Office on each seat.

I just got the local newspaper. Seems as if they did a spread on it well. Hopefully some "if they can do it, why can't I?" questions come about as a result.
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Old 12-07-2011, 09:28 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Default Re: Linux At My Workplace.

There was just a few things I couldn't do in OpenOffice. In Impress (Powerpoint) I couldn't mass import images and put each on a slide. But I found an add-on that does that. People just want it out of the box, not to search for add-ons and such.

I know a bunch of people that don't like the new interface in MS Office. But Libre/O.O. is more like the older interface.

I never used Gimp much. I know a 3rd party actually made a directive of Gimp, called Gimpshop. That's supposed to look more like PS.

But alas, people want to stay in their safe place. Only us want to explore other options.
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Old 12-07-2011, 10:52 AM   #10 (permalink)
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I will go ahead and play the devils advocate here.

Personally gimp vs Photoshop is the perfect example of you get what you pay for. Yes gimp has a lot of functionality for being free but it also may have the worst UI of any application I have ever used. It took me far longer to learn how to use it than Photoshop and even after all that time I still was not nearly as productive with it. That's not an issue for a home user but in a business environment time is money which can make the cost of Photoshop seem trivial compared to the lost productivity without it.

Libre office is a more viable alternative but I still don't think it has caught up to Microsoft office. One I bought a copy of Office 2010 I have had zero desire to go back to Libre office.
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