They Will Stop at Nothing

Posted by derrell on Jun 15, 2005 11:13 AM EDT
Lobby4Linux; By Ken Stark
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A recent blog told of my experience with jr. high school teachers and yours truly walking them through the basics of PCLinuxOS and OpenOffice. Just to fill in some of the blanks, I had been working with the administration to try and get them to switch to Open Source Software. This particular school expressed an interest so I volunteered to help train a few teachers and then they could in turn train others. It is looking like they are serious about making the switch…at least until yesterday.

A recent blog told of my experience with jr. high school teachers and yours truly walking them through the basics of PCLinuxOS and OpenOffice. Just to fill in some of the blanks, I had been working with the administration to try and get them to switch to Open Source Software. This particular school expressed an interest so I volunteered to help train a few teachers and then they could in turn train others. It is looking like they are serious about making the switch…at least until yesterday. My phone rang at about 10:30 AM. It was the Vice Principal of the above-mentioned school and if his tone was any indication, he was a bit agitated. Their Microsoft licensing expires in August of this year it seems. A Microsoft representative stopped by the school Admin Offices a day after my first training session, thinking he would get ink on paper, renew his contract and skulk off to count his commissions. He was told to come back in 30 days because an open source alternative was being looked at and their agreement would probably be ammended. This particular school currently has 212 computers with MS licenses. Mr. Microsoft immediately launched into a tirade against OSS. From what I can gather, he has been running into this alot lately and it is causing him a measure of difficulty. Did I say difficulty?…I should have said it is causing him to experience what I call the “Linux Payroll Deduction”. If you are a Microsoft Sales Representative, you know exactly what I am talking about. The principal wanted to talk to me about a list of points he had jotted down, dictated to him by the sales rep. I thought I would take a minute and share them with you. I have a scanned copy of the list here in front of me: *Linux offers you absolutely no support options. *Open Office is completely incompatable with Microsoft Office documents. *Networking with other computers will be next to impossible with Linux. *the Linux Kernel is under constant development and therefore unstable. *Retraining staff to open source software will actually increase TCO. *Linux has lost its lead on the server side and is therefore losing support. *He left a copy of the “Get The Facts” brochure MS is currently using to dissuade Linux converts. What? I don’t care if you have only been using Linux for a week, you should recognize that every one of these “points” range from deceptive to outright lies. Yeah, I’m calling Mr. Microsoft a liar. I have the contact info for Mr. Microsoft and I will be calling his office today. I am going to go over each “point” and ask him for documentation for these claims. I will introduce myself as a technology advisor for the school and we will see how that goes. Stay tooned for I will publish a transcript of our conversation here. However, it was the conversation between the Principal and I that proved to be most interesting. I have to admire the guy…he is hanging in there. Now remember, this is the man that told me a month ago that he could be sued by Microsoft for removing Windows from his computer. He actually thought it was against the law to do so. This shows you the power of Microsoft’s stranglehold with OEM. It took less than 30 minutes to assure my shaken school principal that he had been misinformed by a sales rep who stood to lose thousands of dollars. While I can symathize with his situation, I cannot condone someone telling lies in order to regain a client. Yeah, it happens every day in business, but it seems to happen in Microsoft business on a daily basis. I found an interesting article on LXer.com that fits nicely in with what I am telling you. While I would have appreciated a few links to substantiate what the author is asserting, most of us know what he is saying to be true. Take a minute and read http://www.reallylinux.com/docs/amissopedx.shtml. I believe you will agree that something is questionable with what is happening in the Linux Community today. So what’s next? We need to stay the course. The Linux Community needs to keep improving the desktop and the gui. My group of teachers were absolutely wowed by the graphics of PCLinuxOS, so anyone saying graphic presentation of Linux is not important has not seen a group reaction first-hand. New users want “pretty”…they want choice. Unlike Mr. Microsoft, they realize that paying for your software does not immediately mean you will have choice. Just ask any new Linux convert. Allrighty-then helios

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the principal needs to know about Ernie Ball number6x 2 1,171 Jun 17, 2005 5:33 AM

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