Experience implementing Ubuntu in a non-governmental educational institution

    Hello, dear Khabrovites!

    I would like to share with you my experience of implementing Ubuntu Linux in the enterprise, and to make it even more interesting, I will tell you how I managed to do this in a higher educational institution. Are you still thinking about transferring the company you work for to open source software? Then, perhaps, you will find under the cat answers to some of your questions.

    So, let's begin.

    It so happened that I work in the same place where I study. With your permission, I will not publish the name of the university, which will be discussed. I will give out just a little information so that you can clearly outline your situation. This university is a non-governmental educational institution of a humanitarian orientation, a sufficiently large contingent of students. We are located in the Volga region, the city is not small, but the capital is still far :)

    So, it so happened that in the next upcoming 2010 year, we will suffer the fate of any educational institution, namely, accreditation. Evil uncles and aunts come and start, therefore, tormenting the rector, vice-rectors, ordinary workers and, of course, students. But all would be fine, but the experience of passing such accreditation in an adjacent university has shown that some particularly corrosive examiners also check the licensing of the software installed on the computers of the organization. In connection with this circumstance, which could bring down the whole procedure, I proposed a project for transferring practically all PCs to open source software to optimize the organization’s funds. The plan was approved.

    Of course, I had experience with Linux. But it was a NetUP distribution! based on Knoppix, as well as Knoppix itself, ordered in an online store and even somehow installed on an old computer. Also, the book "Linux for Dummies" was read, well, plus, of course, the Internet.

    When choosing a distribution kit, I was guided, firstly, by the full localization and logic of the interface, and secondly, by my own intuition. Which let me down twice. I started with ALT Linux. I don’t want to throw stones at anyone’s garden, but somehow it’s ... unclear. For the initial development, it seemed to me clumsy (stupid girls with peroxide-burned hair would sit at the PC with it). The second time the devil pulled download Linux XP. Solemnly demolished an hour after installation. No comments.
    Fortunately, the mind won and I downloaded and installed Ubuntu 9.04, then beta, first on my own laptop, and then, as I understand it, on computers in computer class. Well, on the rise. Currently, under Ubuntu 9.04 and 9.10, about a hundred computers work.

    So, the problems I encountered. The order is spontaneous, as you recall.

    1. Well, of course, the cries and squeals of employees. Unusual, uncomfortable, unusual solitaire, everything is different. Naturally, all dissatisfaction either subsided by itself, or I suppressed it, explaining how to work with the new system, or (in especially frostbitten cases) I had to bring the matter to the attention of the authorities.
    By the way, no one has ever asked for three purchased books on Linux and OpenOffice. But I did offer!

    2.Of course, unfamiliarity. Initially, the search for a change in page orientation in OpenOffice Writer turned into a two-minute attraction “find a tick”.

    3. Since I mentioned OpenOffice, I can't help but kick it lightly. The formatting of documents created in Microsoft Word / Excel looked different in Writer / Calc. In some cases, these are trifles, but in some really large and complex documents, the correction was seriously taken.

    4.Search for drivers. Thank you, there were no problems with the drivers for components. After training, the drivers for Nvidia were installed half a penny; there were no problems with other internals. But there is such a big BUT. It consists in the disgusting support of Linux by peripheral device manufacturers. Namely, I want to send a ray of “love” to my comrades from Canon. The LBP2900 series laser printers did not work at all, at all. Even despite the presence of drivers on the official website. However, no panic. "Ask google." There is a solution. The same goes for HP printers, though to a slightly lesser extent. By the way, Canon scanners, mass purchased a long time ago, work with xsane perfectly. We attribute this to magic.

    5.Often, I just did not know what to do if the system or programs failed. This rarely happened, but as usual, aptly. Search engines did not give answers. I had to demolish the system.

    BTW! Huge respect to the developers for the incredible omnivorousness of an already installed system! I created an “archive” of clean new disks onto which the system is mounted, and when I bought a new computer (or another machine that is migrating from Windows), I simply stuck a new hard drive and merged the old information. This is really cool.

    Now for the learning process.
    Since Ubuntu was installed on all 54 PCs in computer labs, it was necessary to rewrite computer science manuals in accordance with the new system interface and looking at its features.
    I was very surprised and pleased with the reaction of students. There was no “psycho”. All students simply followed the instructions of the teacher when completing assignments in the classroom. In my opinion, the differences for freshmen, on which OS they will be trained - zero! It’s good that brains have not lost flexibility. Well, I will not be distracted.
    For some special subjects, such as "Information Technologies in Management", I had to additionally install Gnumeric on computers (it has advanced tools for computing and graphing than OpenOffice Calc).

    The main work performed by our employees on computers is the listing of statements, schedules and other routine electronic-paper work. No special programs are worth it, because the transfer to Linux was basically painless, given, of course, the problems listed above.

    As for bookkeeping, I had to buy licensed Windows disks for it. I don’t know how much easier it was than other options, but I did so.

    There is another aspect related exclusively to the state system. Hosting FEPO (already flashed a couple of times on the hub) having the appearance of an executable file, developed only for Windows. In terms of the transition of Russian educational institutions to open source software, this seems at least strange. However, the program started without problems using wine installed from the repositories.

    Eventually. We have an organization that has almost completely switched to free software, which has not lost anything, has saved on licensing jobs and is ready for accreditation (by the way, I haven’t been given a bonus, but I saved a lot).

    Of course, I have plans. For example, when I move to another building, I will not buy new computers, but I will prefer thin clients and a terminal server, including for the remaining “soft” bookkeeping, detailed configuration of the local file storage (at the moment I have not quite figured out the translation of rights to shared folder), maybe I'll take care of virtual machines ... The main thing is to move forward in your own development! And when at the same time the organization only wins, it means the admin is great. It warms the soul.

    If you have any questions - ask them in the comments, I will gladly discuss the topic of education, open source software and their joint coexistence that has touched me so closely.

    Quick solutions to complex issues and all the best to you!

    PS And a couple of months ago, having just finished the mass migration, I installed the new Windows 7 on my Acer Travelmate 2483 laptop and breathed out relaxed ...

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