CyberTech Rambler

October 13, 2008

Should schools that opt-out of Microsoft License keep the money?

Filed under: Uncategorized — ctrambler @ 11:53 am

An interesting debate pop up in New Zealand, should school that selects to use non-Microsoft products get the Microsoft licensing money earmarked for them to support their non-Microsoft products?

As if aimed at complicating the debate, the school proposed to share the benefit with other schools who uses Microsoft products by proposing to get only a portion of the money.

In terms of bureaucracy, accountability and technicality mainly aimed at preventing misuse, I can see why money marked with the words “Microsoft licensing cost” cannot be used for other purposes. However, as usual the counter arguement we should share in the proceed of any saving I can get for you. Otherwise, it certainly feels like being penalized.

Add to the mix the complication that NZ’s Ministry of Education says “state schools are free to choose their software provider”, which implies that MoE should support any “breakaway” school by funding them appropriately (read give them some money from the MS pot).

Moreover, the school wants to use the money  “to employ a local technician and further develop the Linux environment.” This complicate the issues because moving “MS licensing money” to simply generic “licensing money” is much easier than changing it to “technical support money”.

There is no easy solution to this. It looks simplistic but the consequence is difficult to predict. We know it will take up meeting time in the ministry to discuss this, and it will involve more paperwork for the ministry to reallocate the fund if it choose to. Since we heard about it, it means we have to add a public dimension to it. If Warrington School is successful, other schools will want to copy it and this can weakens MoE bargaining stick with Microsoft because the pot is smaller and this will inevitably cost other schools who genuinely wants Microsoft products more, creating dissentment. Not to mention the politicking and lobbying effort intensified from both pro- and anti- microsoft product front.

It’s a can of worms basically. One that in my opinion, has to be opened.

Another classic example of chaos theory?A simple flapping of butterfly wings in Otaga causes a hurricane in MoE ?

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