[rescue] off topic - red hat linux book

wa2egp at att.net wa2egp at att.net
Sun Oct 25 16:37:39 CDT 2009

> At $WORK (public K-12 school district) we manage about 1,500
> educational and administrative workstations with 8 people (Director,
> DBA, Win Admin, Mac Admin, 3 desktop technicians (two covering two
> elemenatry buildings, one tech for the high school and one tech (me!)
> for the middle school). We are 1/2 Win (6-12), 1/2 Mac (K-5) and have
> 4,000 users of, to put it lightly, varying levels of
> sophistication/abilities w/r/t computers. We also have responsibility
> to support an incomprehensible collection of software, a lot of it
> mainstream applications, but a significant number of specialized
> applications for special ed users.

Speaking from the user end, I feel your pain.  My building alone we have 300 machines.  We have six high schools and far more grammar schools.

> We have NO programming resources in-district, so developing in-house
> tools like IGOR is not an option. CFEngine and Puppet are frameworks,
> not turn-key solutions. If we have to add a headcount to
> support/implement a "free tool" it is too expensive.
> We have NO "spare cycles" to learn/integrate an opensource tool and
> "make it work" in our environment (we don't have any interns or
> Graduate Assistants to pad the staff), and we have to defend to the
> community every expenditure - and adding headcount isn't happening
> (they'd cut if they could).

Our "techs" are teachers who chose to become tech and have a minimum of training, and only in software.  We have three "bigwigs" who run things (Educational Technology Department) who are somewhat clueless.  The "techs" get no help and have to "solve their own problems".  Our tech is at our building for only two days a week.  We share him with at least one other building.

> I believe we spend a certain amount of time "battling" against the
> Win/Mac environments to make them work properly (as we define it), but
> on the whole, I believe we save more than we waste. Can I prove it -
> no, but I also don't know of any public school districts of even half
> the size of our own that have converted to Linux - private schools,
> foreign school districts, and others don't count - they have different
> dynamics than a public school district in the US does.

I don't think we'd ever convert to anything else, not even OSX.  The powers-that-be are die hard PC people and wouldn't even think of going to anything else, even if it was "better".  That's why they don't touch my Ultra 30 in my stockroom. :-]  Although they did try to inventory it as their own once.  I put a stop to that, real quick!
> Side note: In our area (central New Jersey) exactly ONE school
> district tried to convert a small number of users to Linux - the users
> hated it (unfamilar, why were they being given "second-class tools"
> when others kept Win/Mac, familiar programs were gone, etc.) and the
> Win/Mac admins couldn't learn the new platform "in their copius spare
> time" while working their full-time positions. While a few in the
> community applauded the effort, most were against it and it died a
> quick death.
> Lionel
Some of our faculty are so computer illiterate that they had to have special training on how to use them.  We're so behind the times that some of our machines still run 98 and when they put XP in, they forget to upgrade memory.  XP doesn't run in 128 meg, it crawls!  The only reason they haven't upgraded to Vista/Windows 7 is that they don't know how to get it to play nice with Novell!
We got two laptops to use with the new SmartBoards and they wiped off Vista and loaded XP.  Recently, one did something funny (all the files moved to different directories, don't ask me how) and after the tech got it straightened out, he proceeded to pontificate about how the users were messing up the system.  That's the attitude in the school system so the less we know, the less damage we can cause.  BTW, my "duty" this year is computer repair.  I have no qualms in stripping down a couple of machines and making a good one out of the parts. :-]  Did that last year to a couple of laser printers.  Now working a couple of color laser printers that some one threw out!  Go figure.


More information about the rescue mailing list