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Re: openSUSE to release "add-on" distro image dubbed 'SLEDucator'

On Tuesday 26. June 2007 17:42, José L. Redrejo Rodríguez wrote:
> But they have a lot of money and
> people and, if some day they do it seriously, we could speak in a medium
> term of about 500.000 pcs running Novell. And that amount has to be
> taken into account.

In Norway they got a sales staff of 6-7 people. Its now people selling 
hardware with preinstalled Skolelinux, and they can match Novells effort. 
Novell covers rest of the industrial and public sector too, so they got a 
whole lot of ground to cover. 

The reason we got people selling Skolelinux in Norway, is because we have 
invested in such an approach. It's same situation in Germany where Debian is 
supported commercially.

* City of Munich begins Linux migration:

* Munich's KDE distribution LiMux has been certified to meet 
   the international usability standard ISO 9241: 

I got an distinct feeling that several Spanish regional government are not 
interested in supporting local entrepreneurship based on inland competence. 
They want to buy from GNU/Linux suppliers which sells it as Microsoft sells 
Windows. Regional governments buy a brand and more additional consultancy 
effort, costing more than the competitor. 

German cities got an other viewpoint. This was also the advice from Ministry 
of Education and Research in Norway. They suggested us to make a support 
business. Through that schools had someone to call professionally, where 
voluntary support are difficult to get on daytime, and you need that to get 
your server up running if anythings screws up. So we made a business which 
selling support agreements to schools. 

Yes, there are some schools running SuSE Novell in Norway, but they are still 
few. The reason is basicly that municipality computer department want's to 
support Windows desktops with Linux as a choice, and Novell are paid a lot of 
money from Microsoft to make this believeable. So they actually pays much 
more for maintaining their solution, and making procurement requirement that  
includes complexity, and disregard public procurement regulation buying from 
the lowest bidder when it comes to lifetime cost. 

This municipalities now supporting two desktop OS-es, both SuSE Novell and 
Windows. That cost considerable more to buy, maintain, and maybe twice as 
much as a single OS install. Their architecture are still based on 
workstations. Then municipalities gets twice the maintenance cost compared to 
low-fat clients (diskless). 

Also the setup cost are much higher compared to Skolelinux, since SuSE don't 
got an preinstalled architecture for municipalities wide installations. I 
know of municipalities using 200 000 Euro for configuring up a Novell based 
server-room to serve 20 schools (just configuring the software). The 
installation cost was the same with Windows, they told. You can do the same 
with Skolelinux for 10-20% of that price. When updating, configuration has to 
be done again (probably cheaper, but it will cost them much more than with 

In sale its not good to bash your competitor, but what Novell actually does in 
schools now is to introduce significantly higher maintenance cost compared to 
other GNU/Linux-solutions for schools. We know why, and in a business case, 
we usually know how to argue, winning on price. 

We also see school districts evaluating Skolelinux, and then stating that it's 
too difficult because the municipality ICT staff just know Windows, and have 
spent years to learn that (and will get hell when Windows Vista is introduced  
2-3 years from now). 

One last thing, my impression is that schools are all in favour of 3-4 years 
release cycles when it comes to software updates (distro updates). Faster 
upgrades will be bogged down in user questions. When upgrading the ICT-staff 
get a whole lot of questions, and you also introduces instability where it's 
always something left out. Doing upgrades every 6-18 months are introducing 
much more maintenance cost compared with doing it with 36 months cycles. 

We got school districts running K12LTSP in combination with Skolelinux for a 
while. They ditched K12LTSP when Skolelinux 2.0 came with newer software 
because of stability. The fedora based K12LTSP had to be rebooted every night 
because of instability, memory leakages and such. Skolelinux is built on rock 
solid Debian. Then ICT staff just runs the servers for months. It just works 
they say. Open SuSE got 6 months release cycles. If you don't know how to 
operate a stable ICT maintenance operation, you maybe go for that. After a 
while you just want that the schools 15-20 servers working for months, and 
you don't need to restart every server every night. 

Interesting links:  

Best regards

Knut Yrvin
Community Manager / Developer Tools - Trolltech ASA
cell: + 47 908 95 765, phone: +47 21 60 27 58

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