Hash: SHA1

Oldham Council deploy Open Source software to lower cost of services to

Oldham Council announced today that it has migrated the infrastructure
delivering Internet connectivity to its schools to Open Source software.
The Council hired Sirius Corporation plc, the European Open Source
services group, to build the high speed web delivery and filtering
solution that will lower costs and improve operational performance.

The new system will filter Internet content delivered to Oldham's 112
primary and secondary schools, approximately 25,000 school children.

Sirius Corporation was selected by the Council's ICT provider, Unity
Partnership, because it has a successful track record working on similar
projects for Carmarthenshire County Council and the Yorkshire &
Humberside Grid for Learning.

Unity Partnership became interested in Open Source software when
investigation proved that it could be combined with existing branded
software to deliver a faster, cheaper and more scalable solution to
their client.

In this case, the Open Source web proxy Squid, MySQL and Linux have
been used in combination with Websense, a market-leading web filtering
technology, to protect Oldham's school children from accessing
inappropriate content on the Internet.


Software vendors bid for schools IT contracts

,----[ Quote ]
| Becta, the organisation charged by the government to provide schools IT,
| declined to give details of specific bidders. However, the organisation said
| that inviting both proprietary and open-source vendors was consistent with
| its policies.
| OGCbuying.solutions, the purchasing arm of the Office of Government Commerce,
| is assisting Becta in the tendering process. OGCbuying.solutions stated that
| 16 vendors were on the final shortlist, and that 'pure' open-source vendors
| had been on the list. OGCbuying.solutions declined to comment on individual
| vendors.


Mixed reactions to open source plan for schools

,----[ Quote ]
| But there are doubts as to whether the official sanctioning of open source in
| education will make a difference to the most technologically advanced
| schools.
| Certain schools are already working outside the Becta framework, and even
| those involved with Building Schools for the Future (BSF) could continue to
| use software such as Moodle, according to Ian Lynch, a member of the Open
| Schools Alliance.
| “Those already using open source are probably the most technologically
| self-sufficient. They’re not going to pay to give up their autonomy,” he
| said.
| “Why would I go to a firm to buy what I can get off the web free, without the
| associated overhead of dealing with a large organisation? Possibly because
| there is support, quality assurance and training provided by the Becta
| framework supplier, for example.
- ----


Abolish BECTA Now

,----[ Quote ]
| Has it ever occurred to them that if they started negotiating from a position
| of dignity and strength, rather than abject, supine servitude, they might
| just possibly do their job a teensy-weensy bit better?
| Microsoft is scared witless by the prospect of open source getting a foothold
| in schools, and would agree to any deal rather than let the UK education
| system discover the power and value of free software.


Ian Lynch's take on the BECTA fiasco

,----[ Quote ]
| Fundamentally, I’m not complaining that we were not successful in the
| tender - I have no idea how strong the winning bid was. I’m 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 “cronyism”
| and “political sleaze”.
| 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.


How not to negotiate a software contract

,----[ Quote ]
| I’m not going to comment on the legal reasons given but the subject of
| Becta’s negotiating position is worth considering. As Glyn Moody eloquently
| points out in his call for Becta’s abolition, Becta’s position could hardly
| be any weaker.
| “Has it ever occurred to them that if they started negotiating from a
| position of dignity and strength, rather than abject, supine servitude, they
| might just possibly do their job a teensy-weensy bit better?” he asks.


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 wasn’t 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 you’re a blogger, I invite you to use this new term. SCO’s being
| Groklawed, OOXML’s 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 – 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 “no known experience or track record in FOSS”. *


Becta schools deal stuns British open-istas

,----[ Qyuote ]
| He claimed that the decision to snub bidders that included Red Hat-backed
| Sirius and Canonical-backed The Learning Machine exposed Becta’s open
| source “posturings” as a “sham”. *
| Becta, which in recent months has been a vocal critic of Microsoft’s
| monopolistic stranglehold on software, invited bidders to tender for
| its “Open Source Schools” project in May. *
| At the time it said: “Becta 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.” *


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.

Version: GnuPG v1.4.9 (GNU/Linux)