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[News] Open Learning Centre Alleges That Microsoft is Ripping Britain Off

  • Subject: [News] Open Learning Centre Alleges That Microsoft is Ripping Britain Off
  • From: Roy Schestowitz <newsgroups@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Wed, 17 Mar 2010 18:22:57 +0000
  • Followup-to: comp.os.linux.advocacy
  • Newsgroups: comp.os.linux.advocacy
  • User-agent: KNode/4.3.1
Hash: SHA1

Does Microsoft think "Rip-Off Britain" is an instruction?

,----[ Quote ]
| In the current economic climate what do you 
| think is the best way to keep existing 
| customers happy and encourage them to spend 
| more with you?
| Introduce some special offers perhaps? Add 
| extra value to your products and services? Be 
| even more nice than you are normally?
| [...]
| Just think about that for a moment. That's 
| 100,000,000 individual downloads of a free 
| product, the alternative legacy application 
| from Microsoft will soon cost you Â430. Oh 
| yes, and those 100,000,000 downloads happened 
| in a year and 16 days...



Saving Becta: a great new open source venture

,----[ Quote ]
| This post follows swiftly on from last
| week's blog in which I touted BECTA's
| demise. Things in edu-world after this
| weekend are looking much worse if you
| believe Ed Balls the Labour Secretary of
| State for Education and Michael Gove the
| Shadow Secretary.
| Mr Balls is looking for Â300 million in
| school cuts, he has identified Â100 million
| so far and Â40 million will come directly
| out of BECTA (but not abolished, note). Mr
| Gove has announced a root and branch review
| of both the National Curriculum and the
| Examination Boards. Simply put he favours a
| return to a simpler more 'traditional'
| curriculum...circa 1980's by the look of it
| (pre-Microsoft?).
| [...]
| I love my Sony E-reader, I covet the latest
| Kindle but I hate buying books on-line.
| Three things really annoy me.
| 1) The on-line buying experience is
| miserable. So much 'security' with OS
| specific (Microsoft wouldn't you know?)
| client software to keep control of the DRM
| stuff that so obsesses publishers.
| 2) The cost. You can often get much the
| same book for much the same price from your
| local store. Duh, where are the printing
| and distribution costs? You can't kid me
| that producing digital books is 'hard',
| it's not.


Is BECTA for the Chop?

,----[ Quote ]
| And the future for BECTA?  Here is what the reportâs
| authors conclude:
| âAbolish the British Educational Communications and
| Technology Agency (BECTA). BECTA oversees IT
| procurement and technology strategy for schools in
| England and Wales. This has had negative
| consequences for many schools, precluding them from
| organising IT facilities and programmes as they see
| necessary. It hinders an open and competitive
| market, and if schools were to be allocated money
| directly, the sensible option would be to let them
| purchase the equipment that they required according
| to their needs. Abolishing BECTA would realise a
| saving of Â11 million.â
| It would be a controversial move, but I suspect not
| one regretted by the vast majority of teachers.
| Another plus would be that the gaping hole BECTAâs
| demise would create in the centre of the main hall
| at the BETT Show could be used to actually showcase
| real students (rather than bureaucrats) using
| technology as part of their leaning.


UK schools chief begs for Home Access scheme cash

,----[ Quote ]
| Schools minister Jim Knight, who was speaking at the opening of this year's
| Bett event at Olympia in London, said today that Microsoft has created
| something he described as a âre-investment fundâ. The software maker
| will âcommit to fund a foundation in support of the Home Access programme,â
| he said.
| However, Knight didnât reveal how much cash Microsoft was pumping into the
| initiative, which has been periodically wheeled out by the Department for
| Children, Schools and Families (DCSF) for the past 12 months, perhaps in part
| to help resuscitate Gordon Brown's premiership.
| [...]
| However, this latest agreement with Microsoft to inject some money into the
| Home Access programme could ruffle some feathers, particularly among the open
| source community.
| The Microsoft-funded foundation will develop and implement a programme of
| training and support for teachers, parents, as well as to help
| create "awareness" for the Home Office programme, said Knight.


Ian Lynch's take on the BECTA fiasco

,----[ Quote ]
| Fundamentally, Iâm not complaining that we were not successful in the
| tender - I have no idea how strong the winning bid was. Iâm complaining that
| the tender process adopted was broken. This is despite the fact that 130 MPs
| signed an Early Day Motion in Parliament last year censuring BECTA for
| procurement frameworks that block out Open Source.


Becta's Open Source Contract To Alpha Plus Outrages Other Bidders

,----[ Quote ]
| Mark Tylor, the Chief Executive of Sirius, an enterprise support company, has
| written an open letter on the name of Becta, charging it of âcronyismâ
| and âpolitical sleazeâ.
| Mark Tylor claims that the project cannot work out properly, as the
| consultancy that has been awarded with the contract is incapable of handling
| open source project.


Open Source UK attacks schools quango

,----[ Quote ]
| The Schools Open Source Project had been intended to encourage the use of
| Open Source software in schools, for education and infrastructure, and it so
| far seems to have achieved the feat of uniting the Open Source community, but
| against it.
| Ross Gardler, who bid as part of the not-for-profit OSS-Watch, also raised
| questions about Becta's evaluation process: "Some of the marks on our
| [evaluation] sheet were indicated as having been modified during the
| moderation phase," he said.


Row erupts over schools open-source project

,----[ Quote ]
| Taylor went on to urge schools to ignore Becta and the project, adding: "Any
| of the organisations Becta rejected will be your best choice". It also called
| for an open source industry boycott of the project, claiming the project
| was "about jobs for the boys, spin, and discrediting non-proprietary
| software".


The Groklaw effect hits Becta. And yes, I am coining a new term

,----[ Quote ]
| Right now Becta ( [the UK agency that snubbed the free software
| community]http://www.freesoftwaremagazin[...]) ) is in the process of being
| Groklawed by the free software community. A source close to the events right
| now told me quite clearly that Freedom Of Information Act requests are
| hitting Becta in flurries. In this case, it wasnât Groklaw that Groklawed
| Becta. Instead, it was The Register with their article on Becta.
| [...]
| Unlike the Slashdot effect, the Groklaw effect is much more dooming for the
| company receiving it. While the Slashdot effect eventually lessens, and your
| servers can finally stop working overtime, the Groklaw effect are
| longer-lasting, and in order to get it to stop you can either straightened
| your actions, or pay the dearest price for any illegal or unethical action
| you carried out.
| If youâre a blogger, I invite you to use this new term. SCOâs being
| Groklawed, OOXMLâs been Groklawed, and so is Becta.


The OSC's open letter to Becta

,----[ Quote ]
| If you are a school, ignore Becta's project, ignore Becta, and seek advice
| from the people who are able to give it. Any of the organisations Becta
| rejected will be your best choice.
| If you are a member of the Open Source community or industry not yet touched
| by this scandal, boycott the project and refuse to have anything to do with
| it. It's not about 'Open Source', it's about jobs for the boys, spin, and
| discrediting non-proprietary software.
| If you are anyone else, throw your hands up in despair at yet more political
| sleaze, cronyism and incompetence, and vote for someone other than the
| current government at the next election, preferably someone with policies on
| Open Source and Open Government.


The Case for Linux in the Classroom

,----[ Quote ]
| Linux is the only OS designed and equipped with Education in mind. Edubuntu,
| a flavor of Linux, is designed with the classroom in mind. It comes
| preinstalled with education software and applications that suit students of
| all grade levels, and even has some handy applications for the teacher too.


BECTA Rubbishes Almost the Entire UK Open Source Industry

,----[ Quote ]
| I've written a number of times about BECTA, charting its constant flip-flops
| on open source in schools â sometimes damning it, sometimes driving it. Like
| me, you've probably been increasingly confused about BECTA's real attitude to
| free software. Well, I think we know now, following the snubbing of all the
| most experienced UK open source players in the awarding of a major contract
| to promote open source in schools.


A learning experience

,----[ Quote ]
| The situation looked to have improved in early May when it was revealed that
| Becta had issued an invitation to tender for a project to set up and run an
| open source schools project.
| As Glyn Moody reports, however, despite bids from the great and the good of
| open source in the UK (supported by the likes of Red Hat and Canonical) the
| contract was awarded to The AlphaPlus Consultancy, a company described as
| having âno known experience or track record in FOSSâ.


Becta schools deal stuns British open-istas

,----[ Quote ]
| He claimed that the decision to snub bidders that included Red Hat-backed
| Sirius and Canonical-backed The Learning Machine exposed Bectaâs open
| source âposturingsâ as a âshamâ.
| Becta, which in recent months has been a vocal critic of Microsoftâs
| monopolistic stranglehold on software, invited bidders to tender for
| its âOpen Source Schoolsâ project in May.
| At the time it said: âBecta wishes to ensure that schools are aware of and
| can access the wide variety of open source software in the marketplace. To
| achieve this it recognises that they must be supported in its awareness,
| adoption, deployment, use and ongoing development.â


Becta, open source and education: Too little, too late?

,----[ Quote ]
| Slow adoption of open source and free software in UK schools can be
| attributed to the same kind of inertia that afflicts SMEs in the UK. It
| arises from a fear of the unknown, misapprehensions of the capabilities of
| the software, over-reliance on trusted suppliers, and general lack of
| awareness of the alternatives - but the major obstacle has been a lack of
| coordination, direction or understanding from the relevant authorities,
| exacerbated by a series of agreements with Microsoft at government level that
| have effectively tied the education system into Microsoft-only solutions.



Lawmaker blasts U.K. government on Microsoft policy

,----[ Quote ]
| "A member of Parliament of the United Kingdom has launched a stinging
| attack on the U.K. government's IT strategy, saying that it has given
| Microsoft too much control.
| John Pugh, who is a member of Parliament, or MP, for Southport and a
| member of the Public Accounts Committee, was speaking in an
| adjournment debate on Tuesday that he had called. The aim of the
| debate, he said, was to explore the alternatives to using Microsoft
| software, including open source."
| [...]


Becta's schools software scheme reported to EC

,----[ Quote ]
| An advisor to Becta, the education technology quango, has complained
| to the European Commission about its procurement process for firms
| to provide online learning platforms and content to British schools.


Becta under fire for procurement framework

,----[ Quote ]
| Nineteen MPs have accused a government agency of restricting the
| procurement of software in schools.

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