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Windows on an iMac (says the invoice); Red Hat's Alternative 594

A user writes "According to a story at The Register, schools who want to take advantage of educational bulk licensing agreements with Microsoft have to count all PCs (and Macs!), even those not running Windows." One package of software applies to all installed PCs and Macs, including those running Linux or BSD, so schools end up paying for stations that Windows (and other programs) cannot or do not run on. Microsoft's justification is that the agreement requires an "institution-wide commitment." Coincidentally, bc90021 points out that "RedHat announced its Linux Pilot Program for schools today. Designed to improve the overall learning experience for children, seven North Carolina school districts have already joined. One county director is quoted as saying: 'With the money we saved from not buying proprietary licenses, the school district purchased additional resources that directly [a]ffected the learning experience of our students and brought us into the 21st century.'"
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Windows on an iMac (says the invoice); Red Hat's Alternative

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  • Fish Bowl? (Score:4, Funny)

    by Niles_Stonne ( 105949 ) on Tuesday May 07, 2002 @05:03PM (#3479834) Homepage
    Would that include the old Mac case that the network admin changed into a fish bowl too?
  • by fetta ( 141344 ) on Tuesday May 07, 2002 @05:05PM (#3479844)
    by eliminating the accounting necessary for Microsoft licencing?
    • by ackthpt ( 218170 ) on Tuesday May 07, 2002 @05:13PM (#3479932) Homepage Journal
      The funny, or should I say ironic, thing is schools got along for centuries without computers, let alone Microsoft stuff. Isn't it a wonder, when you add it all up, what it costs to involve computers in education. Certainly students will need some familiarity with computers, maybe even some common apps, like word processing or spread sheets, but it seems to me that a book is still a book and a pen is still a pen, if you can't work with either of those, you'll be lucky to get a job pumping gas.
      • by PunchMonkey ( 261983 ) on Tuesday May 07, 2002 @05:45PM (#3480190) Homepage
        but it seems to me that a book is still a book and a pen is still a pen

        Absolutely. I can see computers in a few classes in High School (Like say, programming :-) But in elementary school??? Pffft, why bother. You might as well have a TV and a nintendo too while you're at it.

        Kids should be spending more time socializing, maybe replace the computers with sports equipment -- that'd do them some good. Heck, the amount of money some schools spend on computers you could probably put in a swimming pool.
        • Blockquoth the poster:

          But in elementary school??? Pffft, why bother. You might as well have a TV and a nintendo too while you're at it.

          Well, if you use the computer like a TV or a Nintendo, then yeah. And alas most educational software doesn't rise even to that level. But if the computers were used as real data-loggers, real info-miners, and real automation-control units, then those kids would be learning to cope in the world of 2025 (their eventual home) than currently is the case. Computers are way more important for their conditional-logic abilities than for number crunching... and no matter how well the old pen-and-paper has served us in the past, it clearly is not the info tech of the future.
      • Bah! (Score:3, Insightful)

        by hey! ( 33014 )
        Computers are, as Steve Jobs puts it, bicycles for the mind. Google, for example, is a tremendous educational resources.

        Microsoft, however, adds no value to the educational mix over what is available for free. Possibly it subtracts. It's a scandal that school districts are putting themselves at mercy of Microsoft's predatory licensing practices.

    • You might want to do what we have done. We have given our software auditing people a project code they fill in on their timesheets. So far this project, preparing for MS-Licensing 6.0, has cost us about $60,000 for about 1150 desktops.

      We could have hired a pretty damn good UNIX sysadmin for that much money.
  • Virtual PC (Score:2, Interesting)

    by cliffy2000 ( 185461 )
    I wonder if the school could buy the stripped down (OS-less) Connectix Virtual PC for their Macs... and use the Microsoft Windows license through emulation. Just a thought and a way to at least somewhat compensate for the additional expenses.
    • Re:Virtual PC (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Dephex Twin ( 416238 ) on Tuesday May 07, 2002 @05:08PM (#3479888) Homepage
      Doesn't that just mean giving up?

      "Well, they can force us to buy licenses of Windows we don't need... we might as well make the best of it and figure out uses for all the extras."

      I guess they should also just install Windows on any *nix machines too?

      Would be a shame if they got to choose, huh?

  • by Warped-Reality ( 125140 ) on Tuesday May 07, 2002 @05:05PM (#3479858) Journal
    With all this MS licensing crap, why do schools even consider going with it? Even if they don't go to Linux/BSD, iMacs are perfectly good replacements for windows, and they can do anything a Windows station can (that a school would need, anyways)
  • by Mr.Intel ( 165870 ) <> on Tuesday May 07, 2002 @05:06PM (#3479860) Homepage Journal
    One version of the agreement it suggests that they sount all the staff (even the ones not using computers at all) working over 200 hours a year to get a license purchased. So when do we have to include a license for buildings and cars?
  • calculators (Score:5, Insightful)

    by mach-5 ( 73873 ) on Tuesday May 07, 2002 @05:06PM (#3479861) Homepage
    What about graphing calculators? I mean, how far do you go? Slide rule? Abacus? They are all computing devices.
    • Grade 1? (Score:3, Funny)

      by schon ( 31600 )
      Don't give them ideas!

      I mean, how far do you go? Slide rule? Abacus? They are all computing devices.

      BSA Rep: "I'm afraid you're not in compliance with your license agreement, because each of those children has ten fingers, which they use to compute basic mathematics. For your class of 20 first grade students, you will need to purchase an additional 200 licenses."
  • Wake up call (Score:4, Insightful)

    by rot26 ( 240034 ) on Tuesday May 07, 2002 @05:06PM (#3479864) Homepage Journal
    I don't think it's going to be long before people/organizations actually start READING those agreements they sign, once word about this kind of stuff gets out (school board meetings, company newsletters, etc). THAT'S when the shit will hit the fan for MS.
    • Re:Wake up call (Score:3, Insightful)

      • I don't think it's going to be long before people/organizations actually start READING those agreements they sign... THAT'S when the shit will hit the fan for MS.
      Actually, I think this makes sense for companies in the short term. And by short term I mean until MS change the license again. The reason is that the old school license is still available. This license will only be accepted if it makes economic sense. So, MS gives huges discounts on a per seat/PC basis, so that the total costs are less. Why would MS make it cheaper, and therefor lose money? Because it becomes very attractive to get rid of non-Windows OS' because there's no perceived cost to it. Windows then looks as free as Linux does for new hardware.

      Its another master move by the MS marketing team. Sadly.
  • by Tackhead ( 54550 ) on Tuesday May 07, 2002 @05:07PM (#3479865)
    If Microsoft can require an iMac to have a Windows license, maybe that's why California "needed" to buy 250,000 Oracle licenses, even though that's more than one Oracle license per state employee!

    "Look, just because you can't even install or use the software doesn't mean you don't have to pay for it! I paid $25,000 to your campaign, and I want my $95M in revenues, dammit!"

    • I paid $25,000 to your campaign, and I want my $95M in revenues, dammit!"

      Ya know, it doesn't suprise me that much that politicians are for sale. But I never cease to be amazed at how low their prices seem to be.
      • "Ya know, it doesn't suprise me that much that politicians are for sale. But I never cease to be amazed at how low their prices seem to be."

        Yeah, but pretty soon if you buy American politicians in the UK you will have to pay 17.5% VAT on them.


  • that's why my tuition so high!

    my school is under a bulk licensing program from MS. Students get access to various MS software for free, such as 2 licenses of Office XP.

    We also have a ton of non-MS systems. Databases run SCT on top of Solaris, many labs in the CS and Physics dept run Solaris and Linux (those physics folk have a 64-node beowulf cluster!), Art depts have a lot of macs. The student webserver is Solaris.

    Man, Drexel spends a lot on all those non-MS systems. No wonder tuition so high!
    • I remember when Drexel had a handful of MS machines and the rest were mac's, every PC in the dorm was a Mac, labs, etc. Would MS still charge site wide if only a smidgeon of the machines were MS?
  • Why is it that when schools save money, they go and spend it on more fucking technology? Like the dude: we are bringing our students into the 21st century. What the fuck? You saved money, so you spent it? How the fuck is that saving money. That money was spent either fucking way.

    God dammit, this fucking makes me so mad that there's spittle on my fucking monitor, and that's pretty damn savage. Why can't money be spent on important shit? I don't see computers being more important than quality chairs, desks, supplies, instructors. A computer doesn't teach people shit. Does giving a chef some new T-Fal shit suddenly make them fucking Iron Chef? Fuck no. It was grunt work that did.

    Fucking people and their ideas that computers can replace good instruction. It doesn't matter what the fucking OS is. The OS is just some shit that is the vehicle for edufuckingcation. It's not an end. It's a means.
    • Apparently you've not been exposed to government budgeting concepts. Preeminent among them is the notion that if you didn't spend all of your budget last year, you must not have needed it, so we (the gummint) will take the money we previously allocated to you and allocate it to someone else this year. Nevermind that you might need it this year, or that you saved it up with the notion of using it this year.

      School district officials are quite familiar with this concept, as well as the concept that it spending adequately on primary and secondary public school education in the United States just doesn't happen. I can totally understand why they would take the money that they saved and immediately spend it on something else. They're allocating scarce resources and trying to keep them from getting scarcer.
    • I can say a few things about your rant.

      It was consistent.
      It should've been modded up a bit.
      It was funny (Iron Chef??! Wow...)
      It was something that would make nuns blush.

      Cool. Any more profane, and you'll just turn into Andrew Dice Clay, who's neither consistent or funny.

      I echo your point: in most situations in education, a computer is a simple tool, and should not be a means for pure profit. Microsoft is taking toll on the FUCKING FUTURE, the greedy motherfuckers.

      Wow. Now I'm getting profane. I like it.
  • But really, what educational software is available for Linux? What good is a free OS if the software they require runs exclusively on Windows or MacOS?
    • Much of the software that gets run on school computers are stuff like web browsers and word processors. In fact, I'd expect that they'd feel more of a gap with regard to desktop publishing software than educational software -- offloading students to "educational software" rather than actually teaching them is just bad practice, and none of the teachers I know (and I've a few in the family) are guilty of it.

      Okay, there is software that's genuinely useful in an educational setting -- stuff like logo, for instance, or Mavis Beacon Teaches Typing. Logo runs anywhere, and Mavis Beacon has (less pretty, but more portable) Free equivalents. Math Blaster and their ilk try to be a replacement for classroom instruction, and suck at it; no school worth their beans will try to use that stuff anyhow.
    • How about MATLAB?

      $99 buys you the base linux version...and $159 buys you the base version along with the most useful toolboxes.
  • The first time Microsoft settled an antitrust investigation, they agreed (if memory serves) to stop charging hardware makers per machine sold.
    • Yup...

      I couldn't find a reference to that suit, but here's a story at CNet [] which discusses this. Note this paragraph:

      The U.S. government in 1990 accused Microsoft of coercing computer resellers into paying a fee for each PC they shipped, whether or not a Microsoft operating system was actually installed. This action long preceded the separate antitrust case filed in 1998 by the Dept. of Justice and 19 states.
      The article is actually discussing a stunt Microsoft pulled to get resellers to tattle on anyone who bought a PC without Windows.

      Bill & co. never cease to amaze me -- but what amazes me more is that so few people have caught on to what they're doing.

  • Enough (Score:5, Insightful)

    by flacco ( 324089 ) on Tuesday May 07, 2002 @05:08PM (#3479894)
    On one hand, I want to say "This fucking insanity has to stop."

    On the other, I don't know if I should direct the statement at Microsoft or its customers.

    Institutions should just refuse these licenses on principle.

    • then they get audited, even if they are complient. it still costs lots of money and time to go through that process.

      and if they are refusing to use MS software, their previous agreement will still allow for an audit.

      not to mention the time involved in converting an entire school to a different OS, getting the bugs worked out, training the teachers, the students will usually be fine after a short intro.

      The long run will most likely save money, but the short time will prove to be prohibiting. Not to mention that most Sys admins at schools are Minesweeper solitaire cert experts, who believe anything MS says.

      no offense to those that are MCSE and know what the hell they are doing. Just the ones that think since they have that piece of paper they can walk on water.
      • Not to mention that most Sys admins at schools are Minesweeper solitaire cert experts, who believe anything MS says.

        This situation could be assuaged if universities paid more than $35K/yr for a junior sysadmin position. Or worse, they hire workstudy students to do the work at $8/hr.

        You get what you pay for, especially in IT.
        • Re:Enough (Score:2, Informative)

          by Anonymous Coward
          haha! I'm the Unix admin at medium sized (5000 student) college and I only make 36K. Does it affect my work? Maybe. Do I enjoy the lack of drug tests that my peers in industry are subjected to? You better believe it!
      • My ass. The first thing I would do after an opensource migration is to make it known to former vendors that since "The Software" is not installed that all such agreements are null and void. If they persisted in an audit (there wouldn't be anything to find) then they can expect to be sued for wasting time and resources, barratry, persecution and anything else a good lawyer can think of.
  • ... and I though Oracle licensing was bad ...
  • Is an AMD a Pentium? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by MagnaMark ( 468484 ) on Tuesday May 07, 2002 @05:11PM (#3479906)
    From the article []:

    In the US "Microsoft Schools Agreement 3.0," for example, "100 per cent of all Pentiums, Power Macs, iMacs or better" are specified, whereas the FAQ document for the UK Microsoft School Agreement says "You need to count 100% of all Pentiums, Power Macs and iMacs."

    So AMD's are OK? Phew!

  • CNN recently had an article about tuition for private schools are rising faster than inflation and average family income, meaning college is truely out of reach for some mid- and almost all lower class families. Perhaps MS's bulk licensing is a contributing reason? (sorry, i cant find the link at the moment)
  • by Fig, formerly A.C. ( 543042 ) on Tuesday May 07, 2002 @05:11PM (#3479915)
    ...about computers or about Windows? Linux and Windows and MacOS will all do the same business functions (spreadsheets and whatnot), but if you want to delve any deeper into how computers work and what the OS really does the 3 OS are certainly not equal. Windows will only work to a certain level of advancement in computer know-how, since it focuses entirely on apps. So if we really want the kids to learn something about COMPUTERS, shouldn't we go open source and teach what makes them tick?
    • How does running a BASH shell help anyone learn how computers actually work? It doesn't. If you are saying the students are suddenly going to be interested in the source code because its available, you're also wrong. Any student who would be that interested is probably already looking at it at home.
      • by gilroy ( 155262 ) on Tuesday May 07, 2002 @05:59PM (#3480314) Homepage Journal
        Blockquoth the poster:

        How does running a BASH shell help anyone learn how computers actually work?

        OK, it doesn't help you understand all that solid-state stuff, but that's not really relevant. On the other hand, command-line interfaces absolutely demand a greater awareness of what each program does, what it expects, and how it interacts with other programs. Plus it encourages a can-fix attitude to problems, as opposed to the learned helplessness of most GUIs.
    • How many public K-12 schools need to go into how an OS works? How many elementary and middle school students can take programming classes, so they can get into OS design and implementation in high school?

      Yes, some kids can do it - some do do it. But not very many.

      The advantage Linux and friends have is that they are cheap. With my school district and state strapped for cash, cheap is important.

      But as far as education and my expierence in grade school, OS internals are a little too advanced.
      • by ||Deech|| ( 16749 ) on Tuesday May 07, 2002 @05:59PM (#3480313)
        Ergh! I'm sick of people deciding what's too "advanced" for our children.. Oh no.. that's too *harrrdd*... They can't possibly handle *that*! I say BULLSHIT! Children's brains are like great gaping holes that you can pour information into. They adapt, their thought processes are never going to be in better shape to learn. Teach them multiple languages, they will pick it up *easily*, teach them the workings of the OS on a low level, even if they don't use it, it still will help them in the long run! How much of that Earth Science are you using now adays? It's still a requirement, because it's part of your environment. So will computers be when these kids get out of school. Show them we have the confidence in them to learn and give them as much information as we can. How many kids can organize their thoughts and think logically? Don't you think learning a programming language would help? My daughter (10) is currently working on learning BASIC on my old PCjr. No, she'll probably never actually apply her "L337" Basic skilz, but she's learning to plan her ideas, and logically comunicate her thoughts to the computer, and that, my friend, is some seriously valuable lessons.
    • by Dephex Twin ( 416238 ) on Tuesday May 07, 2002 @05:30PM (#3480091) Homepage
      For kids who want to learn what makes computers tick, sure.

      In driver's ed you don't learn to build a car, you learn to drive it. Likewise, in junior high/high school computer class you learn to operate a computer, not program it.

      Kids who want to delve into computers further should be able to do so, in specialty courses.

      Not to say that the general classes should be Windows. I think you'd have more kids be genuinely excited to use computers if they were Macs, because Mac OS (X) is just such a pleasing, non-intimidating platform.


    • How does open source (and by your inference, Linux) teach kids about how computers work? It's just software. And very complicated software at that.

      My public-school computer programming courses in grades 3-8 consisted mainly of writing rudimentary BASIC and LOGO programs on the school's room full of TRS-80's.

      That was as good and introduction as any, really.

    • > ...about computers or about Windows?

      Neither. We're teaching them how to MAKE MONEY FAST!!! with pushy business practices.

      That's what's important in America, you know.

  • How Low can M$ go? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by greg2000 ( 558606 ) on Tuesday May 07, 2002 @05:14PM (#3479945)
    As if the consumer wasn't enough those scumbags are now trying to extort money from out education system. I personally am going to go about getting every school in my area to at least aknowledge the existence of sowtware suppliers that don't screw their customers over. As a high school student myself, this senseless waste of taxpayers money on Proprietry sowtware sickens me. My School has every M$ Application it's possible to have and the result: I'm the only person in a 1500 pupil school that knows how to use an OS other than Windows. For M$, this kills two birds with one stone; they can extort money from schools in the short term and then cash in on the fact that the've raised a whole generation of people that know nothing but their crappy software in the long term because they've discouraged their school from even providing an alternative to Windows. Sorry if this is too much of a rant but this really bugs me.
  • MS haiku (Score:4, Funny)

    by Sarlok ( 144969 ) on Tuesday May 07, 2002 @05:15PM (#3479956)
    Microsoft license
    Squeezing money from our schools
    Linux saves the day
  • Office (Score:3, Interesting)

    by tombou ( 233875 ) on Tuesday May 07, 2002 @05:15PM (#3479957)
    The Microsoft agreements provide other software than the OS. Most Mac users use Office and therefore can benefit from an agreement. At the University level, it is most beneficial to have agreements that cover entire campuses. It is too bad Apple has not been as aggressive in the educational markets (like they used to be). Now Apple just has token programs like the iBooks in Maine. Too bad we dont live in Maine. Lets not talk about Star Office for Win32---Yukk. And LInux (believe it or not) does not have serious market penetration...just the way it is.
    • *cough* *sputter* (Score:5, Informative)

      by realgone ( 147744 ) on Tuesday May 07, 2002 @05:46PM (#3480198)
      The Microsoft agreements provide other software than the OS. Most Mac users use Office and therefore can benefit from an agreement.

      Erm... run that by me again?

      Here's a list of the software regulated by this agreement. I'll drop the ones that are currently available for Mac (as listed on the MSFT site) into boldface:

      • Desktop Package* (Includes Office, Core CAL & Windows Upgrades)
      • Office Standard, Pro and Macintosh Editions
      • Windows Desktop Operating System Upgrades
      • Core Client Access Licenses (CALs)
      • SQL ServerTM CALs
      • Visio Professional Edition
      • FrontPage
      • Visual Studio
      • Project
      • Publisher
      • Encarta Class Server
      • Encarta Reference Library and Online Deluxe
      • Magic School Bus
      • Windows 2000 Professional Step by Step Interactive by Microsoft Press
      • Web Publishing Step by Step Interactive by Microsoft Press
      Now can you repeat that bit again about Mac users benefiting from this?
      • I think that the CALs are required for Macs. At least if they are accessing Windows file shares, Inter/intra-net servers, etc. Also, from tallying at my own site, the price of CAL's are large, and not to be dismissed lightly.

        OTOH, I'm not sure that these 'benefit' Mac users, if you know what I mean.

  • ...without know how much the discount it. If it turns out that the cost of buying 100 licenses for only 50 PCs is less than the full price of 10 licenses then this is a bit of a non-issue isn't it?
  • When you keep seeing this stuff coming out, each time a more egregious, ridiculous example of monopolistic greed run crazy, you have to keep asking: Do they remember that they are in the penalty phase of an antitrust trial? That there are 9 brave states looking to cut them off? That the EU can still take a crack at it? Are things so isolated up at Redmond that nobody there recognizes how astonishing bad all of this makes them look?
  • by slackerweb ( 313212 ) on Tuesday May 07, 2002 @05:17PM (#3479974)
    This is obviously an illegal use of Microsoft's monopoly. Stopping these types of practices should be the Justice Department's primary goal.

    IIRC there was some kind of law suit against Microsoft years ago for forcing OEMs to pay for Windows licenses on machines that did not include Windows. I believe Microsoft lost that suite. Wouldn't this fall under that ruling?
  • It's not like they can't buy licenses just for the machines they want, it's that if they want to save some money they have to include all the machines. Sure it's a bit bullish of Microsoft, but if they end up saving money fine. What I would have a problem with is if this policy (of buying in bulk) was not applied evenly by Microsoft to all institutions and businesses. Another thing to look at, is whether they'd have to buy licenses for all future machines as well. But again, it's part of the deal. You deal with MS, you do it on its terms. You don't want to deal, you can always go with OSX and apple or Linux.
    • What isn't mentioned in this story is that a lot of schools have just been told to sign to the new plan or be forced to drop everything and audit their software in the middle of finals.

      The problem is that it's extortion. They know very well no one will have time to do a changeover so that's at least one year of bulk licencing.

  • by theolein ( 316044 ) on Tuesday May 07, 2002 @05:17PM (#3479978) Journal
    I'm not excatly sure how legal something like this is and what rights MS has to prosecute if the school simply ignores them and only notes PCs runnning windows?

    Don't the schools ever bother to contact their lawyers when faced with something like this? Don't any of these people write to their political representatives over issues like this? I was under the impression that in the US you can sue over something like MS "requiring an institution wide commitment". Isn't that criminal in the US? Since when does MS have the right to require *anything* whatsoever. Isn't this in the legue of charging for services not rendered, or goods not sold?

    I am shocked and amazed by the arrogance of that company. I wrote a post asking if someday MS would make it a criminal offence to not have a PC in your house with Windows on it. This does seem very close to that sort of behaviour. I would assume that others would be too because it the future of their children that is at stake.
    • What MS is doing is bad, but not quite as evil as you suggest. Institutions have the option of purchsing a separate permanent license for each computer rather than this "yearly fee for all your computers, even if you add some". So it's not like they're saying "pay us lots of money, or don't use MS software".
  • Microsoft's justification is that the agreement requires an "institution-wide commitment."

    That's not justification, that's a descriptor of what they want. Justification would be something like "because it helps us to rule the world."

  • Wasn't part of the old Consent Decree that MS thumbed their noses at, that requiring OEMs to pay MS for every PC they sold, even those without Windows, was illegal and had to stop?

    How is this different?
  • Isn't this the sort of thing the anti-trust trial was (is) about?
  • It looks like they haven't learned their lesson. This is clearly illegal, they need to be stopped again.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    I believe that computers running as UNIX thin clients are exempt from having to pay. To be a thin client the computer must have no harddrives and must boot from the server. We are working on a project using ltsp to get Unix labs around having to pay the per computer license. Oddly,we will still have to pay $50 a year for the Linux server, but its better than paying for the other 10-25 boxes as well.

    Interestingly, I wonder if macs would be exempt if the harddrives were stripped and they were booted using OS X Server and NetBoot as thin clients.
  • A lot of people seem to agree that putting Linux on computers in schools is a good idea. There's one thing that's always bothered me about the idea, though - there doesn't seem to be much of a selection of good educational titles that run on Linux. I know that more generic applications (such as word processors) are very useful in the classroom, and those are most certainly present on Linux. But what about education games? Or tools for the teacher's own use (such as gradebook software)?

    Admittedly, I haven't done a lot of searching for these things, so maybe they exist. If so, then that's great! But if not, and no one does anything about it, it seems to me these Linux-in-the-classroom programs are going to eventually fail - and Microsoft will have the opportunity for a big "I told you so!"
  • Back in the olden days, Miscrosoft had a similar deal with IBM with DOS. If IBM made a computer, they were charged for a copy of DOS, wheather it was on the machine or not. It quickly had every IBM-PC running DOS straight out of the factory. Why should we expect MS to change? I mean, it's a sweet deal! I'd like to be able to charge people for things they didn't buy.
  • IBM and Novell joined back in the day for schools, offering a blue box of Netware with an IBM software set called ICLASS. It was a very low-cost system...until support ate up more money than other software would have. I worry that Red Hat may offer low-cost or free software, but the added support needed may be as high as some other solution.

  • by surfcow ( 169572 ) on Tuesday May 07, 2002 @05:30PM (#3480087) Homepage
    Perhaps come up with a one-CD, bootable Linux distro specific for high school. It doesn't have to have 6 word processord and apache and 4 window managers and etc, etc, just a very few workable apps. Bare bones, simple, clean, works on "typical" school hardware.

    Sounds like we might see more schools systems (with Mac + Linux and no Windows at all) bragging about the money they saved and the purchases they made with these savings. It would be nice if they could network and share expertise. Might also be nice if Macs and Linix interfaced a little more seamlessly.


    PS: This might be another occasion where Microsoft's aggressive policies work for us and against them. If they really are hard-assed about this "all or nothing" licensing, several schools systems will choose to opt out, especially those that are Mac-heavy.

  • 1- Do true UNIX desktop machines count as PCs? Is a Sun Blade 100 (Sun's $1000 desktop) a PC under these rules? Since this licensing is obviously targeted to XP Professional, what about serious UNIX workstations? Is an X86 OEM or UNIX workstation with two or four CPUs and 2 gigs of RAM even really a PC?

    2- For a large high school, the savings offered by Red Hat with StarOffice could probably pay the salary of a decent Linux admin to manage the computer labs and train the teaching staff, if not teach full time. I think we can expect to see this really take off once teaching/school administration journals are full of articles about the savings offered by running Open/Free/Cheap Software.

    3- Has anyone else noticed that Apple and Red Hat are both trying to push into schools with open source operating systems running a ton of well supported GNU software? If Red Hat and Apple work together to make it easier to kids to learn both systems and the associated tools, Microsoft will have some serious trouble from the Open Source world in education.
  • Must be... (Score:3, Funny)

    by macdaddy ( 38372 ) on Tuesday May 07, 2002 @05:32PM (#3480104) Homepage Journal
    ...that new-fangled Oracle License.
  • In a sea of "I can't believe MS did this!" and "Now people will wake up to the horrors of MS!" I can make some sense on why they did it.

    How easy is it for a sys admin to simply format a linux box and throw Win2K on it with a CD he has? Basically, they are making sure campus admins don't say "We have 5,000 computers, but only 1,000 will run Win2K" then they go and install Win2K on all of them.

    Just a capitalistic company covering their rears. Sure, to the open source community its an "outrageous greed act," but all it is is economics.
  • by GypC ( 7592 )

    The more Microsoft pulls bullshit like this, the more contempt I have for people who buy their products.

    I'm going to lose a lot of karma here, but all you Microsofties need to wake the fuck up!

    Thank you.

    • You're slamming people who purchase MS software on slashdot.

      Ohhh, oh... ohhhh woah woah woah shit

      oh thank heavens, you've got karma to burn

      you'll need it!

      : O
  • Does anyone else have the impression that MS is slowly, very slowly, but quite noisily self-destructing? You would think that someone at the board level would make some effort to rein in this kind of heavy-handed communication. Just because your brand has 98% market penetration does not make you immune to public opinion. Its like watching a slow-motion train wreck.
  • In response to Red Hat's announcement, I sent the following email to the technology director of Jefferson County (KY) Public Schools:

    Greetings Dr. Whitworth,

    I found your email address online at the JCPS site. As a citizen of Louisville who is deeply concerned not only about the education of children, but also the costs of doing so, I am sending you a link ( s_education2.html) to a new program being offered by Red Hat to bring open source software into the schools to replace proprietary (read: very expensive) software by Microsoft. This is not a marketing letter, and I have no affiliation with Red Hat whatsoever. I'm simply a local software developer who can attest that the Linux operating system can do everything that Microsoft Windows can do (with few exceptions), with a lot more reliability and requiring fewer hardware resources.

    I hope that JCPS will be a technology leader and simultaneously fiscally responsible enough to consider all the possibilities that working with Red Hat and other open source software providers will bring to the table.

    Best regards,
    Steve Magruder

    [Street Address]


  • From the RedHat site:"With the money we saved from not buying proprietary licenses, the school district purchased additional resources that directly effected the learning experience of our students and brought us into the 21st century."

    effect: (v) - To cause to be.
    affect: (v) - To influence or move.

    The implications of this passage are either:
    • Without RedHat, the district never would have been able to buy "additional resources," and the students would have had NO learning experience, or
    • RedHat decided to quote an educator that doesn't know the difference between 'affect' and 'effect,' illustrating that the students will receive an imperfect education regardless of OS.
  • When Queensland's Education Department signed up for the Microsoft School Agreement, they tried the same thing. Schools using Macs were expected to count their computers as well. After alot of blowup, either the Education Department or Microsoft backed down. It was never made clear which.

    Also the asking price that the schools were expected to pay was far too high, especially considering most schools wouldn't get much advantage right off the bat. In this case the Education Department subsidised the cost.
  • The precise implementation of the agreement seems to vary depending on what part of the world you're in, but the inclusion of Macs in the headcount, and the insistence that you have to count all PCs rather than just a specific number you want to license, is probably general. In the US "Microsoft Schools Agreement 3.0," for example, "100 per cent of all Pentiums, Power Macs, iMacs or better" are specified, whereas the FAQ document for the UK Microsoft School Agreement says "You need to count 100% of all Pentiums, Power Macs and iMacs."

    Is it just me, or do I spot a loophole []?
  • This is ri-Goddamn-diculous.... it's exactly like when they forced PC manufacturers to pay for a Windows license for every machine they shipped, whether or not Windows was on all the machines. By making anyone pay for Windows where it won't be used, they are effectively levying a financial penalty for the use of a non-Windows computer.

    What next, will consumers have to pay for Windows licenses for everyone in their household? Will they include newborn babies who couldn't possibly use the computer? Will two licenses be required if there's a pregnant woman in the house? What about pets? If there's a photo of your dead grandfather on the wall somewhere in the house, will you have to pay for a license for him, too?

    How much farther will these shitbags go towards squeezing every penny possible out of multi-celled organism on the planet, before consumers, institutions, and corporations revolt against them?

    I'm starting to think that the only government action that could possibly stop these jackals from misbehaving would involve the use of a small tactical nuke, air burst over their headquarters.


  • If MSFT is allowing me to pay for the right to run Microsoft on a Mac (and stating Mac explicity as part of the license), then it seems that there is an inherent warranty that Microsoft must make Windows work on my Mac. If they can't, they're the ones in breach of the agreement, and therefore, their licensing gestapo can go take a collective flying dump. When they audit me, I intend to deduct the cost of extra computers to run the extra licenses at $2,000 a pop.

    "Hello, Microsoft, our Windows won't work on our Mac."

    "Um, Windows doesn't work on Mac"

    "But the terms of this license says I get to run Windows on the Mac. So, can I arrange for you to bring a small programming team down here, say a couple of thousand member are so?"

  • Simple Solution (Score:2, Informative)

    by Sheepdot ( 211478 )

    From r#pc

    Counting Eligible PCs
    School Agreement requires an institution-wide commitment. To that end, you must include all of the eligible PCs in the participating school(s) or district. Eligible PCs include all of the Pentium machines, Power Macs, iMacs or better.

    The solution is simple: Buy "AMD machines" and don't count them when licensing comes around.

    If Microsoft wants to treat the customers as idiots (which I will suggest more than half typically are) perhaps those that aren't idiots should act like it and not count the AMD machines.

    And just so you know. This kind of stuff *does* happen, and oftentimes it *is* intentional. I'll count the iMacs, but I'm not counting the AMDs.

  • The Reg is being subtly smart on this one. If you read the story with your ad blocker off, what do you see on the left side banner ad?

    An orangish coloured box with a picture of a vacuum cleaner on it, over which are the words "Clean Business?" . The ad then flips to just the background with the following message:

    Our aim is to remove the growing threat of piracy.

    For further information on the resources available, including details on the authorised distribution channel, click here.


    Coincedence, or has that ad with the thinly veiled threat of software auditing been placed there specifically to pound home a message?

    I laughed when I realised what the Reg was doing. Summary: We have a story about MS being unreasonable in thier licensing on which we have an ad threatening businesses with audits, more evidence of how heavy handed they are in regards to licensing. The kicker? Microsoft likely paid to have the ad on the Reg, and the Reg, in true BOFH style, shoved thier nose in it. :-D

    I wonder how long the ad will last on that page...

  • Each bulk license is only $53. So for a large university with 5000 FTE equivalants, we're talking about a total of ~$250,000 per annum. Seems like a pretty darn good deal, wether you have to pay for a few computers that don't use the software or not. Please, bash MS for the stuff they do that is actually bad! Please somebody tell me what I am missing and why this is causing everyone to cry!
  • Although it's absolutely amazing Microsoft is still getting away with this, it's certainly business as usual.

    As detailed in Jerry Kaplan's excellent book Startup: A Silicon Valley Adventure [], about the rise and fall of the GO Corporation, one of the first anti-trust cases to be brought up against Microsoft involved a very similar license (circa late-80's, early-90's).

    Basically, every retailer who wanted to sell Microsoft products (and who didn't - even then it was very popular software) had to sign a contract with Microsoft stating that for every competitor's product they sell, they had to pay a 100% royalty back to Microsoft! (you read that right - here's a quick example: if the retailer buys both a MS product and a GO product for $50 a piece, and typically doubles the price to $100 to make a profit, they'd have to pay Microsoft $50 if they sold the GO product, so the retailer is basically forced to sell the GO product for double their usual markup ($150) - 50 to GO, 50 to Microsoft, and 50 to themselves). And as icing on the cake, the retailer wasn't allowed to mention the terms of the contract to anyone.

    The only way GO eventually found out was from a rare retailer who had seen the contract, but decided not to sign it (and therefore not to sell any MS products in his store).

    Bizarre? I'd say. Illegal? Oh yeah. I think that's a text-book definition of anti-competitive behavior. And it's basically the exact same thing they're doing to the schools - the school still has to pay Microsoft for using a competing product.

    Sadly, the DOJ didn't pursue it to closure because they couldn't get enough witnesses (they were too scared to lose Microsoft's business).

    (OT: it's a great book, read it if you get a chance - it should have been required-reading for all dot-coms).

  • Come, now, are these for real, or were they just made up to inflame the trolls of Slashdot?

  • by The Fink ( 300855 ) <> on Tuesday May 07, 2002 @06:05PM (#3480355) Homepage
    Recently my own state (Queensland, AU) implemented a similar thing within the public school system here. Basically a Burgundy Select license pack - "unlimited" licenses for any product within the pack (including education editions of stuff like Visual Basic), and a fixed cost of AU$400.00 per computer per year. Regardless of what kind - mac, Linux box, PC, you name it. Unless it was a server-class machine, where it costs $1200.00 (again, regardless of what it was actually running).

    Schools can't afford that - what $400 equated to in a school of 600 with 100 computers, was literally the entire IT budget. The school I'm involved with rejected the "offer", only to be told that doing so meant they were no longer licensed to use Windows or any other Microsoft product - even those supplied OEM. That is, "since you broke the contract here, we're nullifying every EULA you've ever seen!"

    My school has since switched to 100% non-Microsoft products (Sun, Linux, some macs) and haven't regretted it since. They're able to use older machines as thin-clients of sorts, and with a couple of bright students and a lot of learning, they haven't needed to look back.

    The Department of Education are not amused, and neither I imagine are Microsoft. Education Queensland have used the carrot ("but this is so much easier to account for than Linux, and here, we'll give you 10% more IT budget than last year...") and the stick (need I say more?) approach, but it so far hasn't worked.

  • by Corporate Drone ( 316880 ) on Tuesday May 07, 2002 @06:24PM (#3480537)
    OK, it strikes a nerve to see them set those kinds of terms and conditions, but look at the prices:

    Windows upgrades $18

    Core $15

    Office $24

    all three of the above $48

    SQL server, Visio, FrontPage, Project, Publisher $5 (each)

    Vis Studio $2

    Looking at their education main page, I believe that this is an annual license fee. However, let's assume you're the head of I.T. for a school district. Do you really think you're going to get a better deal than that for those licenses?

    Don't think so. So, you swallow your indignation (if you have any), and buck up...

    • I couldn't care what the prices currently listed are. It's what they'll be when they've got you hooked that count. If you have 500 Macs and 20 PCs and you're charged for all 520, you might purchase PCs at the next computer purchase round. Thinking it's "cheaper" to "standardize". Then what will they be charging?

      It's never better to set yourself up to be bled dry.

  • by AragornCG ( 246184 ) on Tuesday May 07, 2002 @08:20PM (#3481404)
    OK guys... this is coming from someone who has actually signed a Microsoft School Agreement, so I sort of know what I'm talking about here.

    You might find it helpful to open this page [] while reading this message, as it gives you a very clear overview of the different licensing options MS has.

    This is School Agreement 3.0 that the article is referring to. Way before SA 3.0, there was SA 1.0. The 1.0 agreement was designed to give schools a fixed-price-per-year subscription for everything they could possibly want software-wise. There are plenty of other academic licensing options available.. this one was incredibly cheap (roughly $50 per seat per year max, decreases dramatically in volume) and makes sure you've got everything covered. Education is a unique market to sell software (assuming they are going to purchase software and not use open source) because money comes through an annual budgeting process. If a school can say that they have (x) computers and each one costs (x) in each budget cycle to keep in software, that's something that can be planned for. Buying software (er, anything) when needed is darn near impossible in many schools. The other advantage is that when a new machine is purchased, Microsoft includes it on the license until the next yearly cycle. Therefore, if you have 100 machines, you can buy 500 more without any software and be immediately licensed without any charge until the next year, when you pay Microsoft for 600 seats. Because of the free-software-for-new-boxen clause (which is VERY helpful... software acquisiton budgets and hardware acquisition budgets often do not coincide) Microsoft requires that every box in the school be included. This is only one of many options!

    The reason Macs were included was dualfold - the agreement covers BackOffice Client Access Licenses, for one - for consistency, Microsoft doesn't want you dealing with having some computers covered for BackOffice and others not, thereby allowing you to 'fudge' on your servers - and the inclusion of various Mac-based software (office:mac, etc.)

    Would this be a bad license if it was intended for everyone or the only option? Yes. Did it save my school in budget crunches becasue current software we needed (While open source is nice, let's be honest - it's neither designed for nor up to the usability needed for an educational deployment) could be billed as a required expense instead of an optional upgrade was available? Yes.

    Now the confusion came up when Microsoft redid the license as School Agreement 3.0. Now, instead of receiving a package (which included Windows, Visual Studio, Office, BackOffice CAL, etc.), institutions can pick and choose products. The old option is still available for roughly the same price as a "desktop/client bundle" plus a few upgrades (Visual Studio is $2 a seat, for instance). There are a few minor differences which are detailed on the Microsoft licensing website... and a few changes for the better, like allowing schools to buy Microsoft software and simply give it to their students. (This is a great development for Visual Studio, for instance... Pay $2 per student in a CS course and they get development tools. Is it a GNU tool? Nope, but it does create young coders who will discover open source later.)

    Because the basic premise of the agreement is the same, and options can be added and subtracted, they apparently didn't change the counting restrictions since 1.0. The difference now is that because you can order only certain products, people who don't fully buy into the plan and *only* purchase PC products wind up buying more licenses than they otherwise should. If this happens, school agreement should be avoided at all costs. IMHO you should only buy into this arrangement if you as a school want a large percentages of the stuff; simply licensing Windows is not productive here.

    To be fair to Microsoft, pricing on these licenses takes into account the fact that the software will probably not be used on every box. Think about it... a single license for Visual Studio.NET Pro Academic runs $99, while the per seat cost here is $2. They're obviously recognizing that secretaries and many teachers' desk machines won't be running Visual Studio. In the case of Windows, the license cost is $18. That is far less than a volume license of an NT-based professional OS has ever cost in 100-300 unit quantities - so the acknoweldgement is made that not every machine will be running Windows that is counted. (If it does, then you get an even better deal. That's why this only makes sense for some schools.) This "subpricing" strategy is not something I made up - they do detail it on their licensing site.

    If interested, these are the prices:

    • Office Standard, Pro and Macintosh Editions $24.00
    • Windows Desktop Operating System Upgrades $18.00
    • Core Client Access Licenses (CALs) $15.00
    • SQL ServerTM CALs $5.00
    • Visio® Professional Edition $5.00
    • FrontPage $5.00
    • Visual Studio $2.00
    • Project $5.00
    • Publisher $2.00
    • Encarta Class Server CALs $5.00
    • Encarta® Reference Suite and Online Deluxe $5.00
    • Magic School Bus $2.00
    • Windows 2000 Professional Step by Step Interactive by Microsoft Press $2.00
    • Web Publishing Step by Step Interactive by Microsoft Press $2.00

    Please mod this message up - the discussions so far haven't been acknowledging what the license is really about. For a task that is already very difficult (especially for those of us who'd rather not buy the stuff to begin wtih), School Agreement makes school IT admins who are forced to work wtih MS products' jobs much easier and (when signed properly) can save money.


Scientists are people who build the Brooklyn Bridge and then buy it. -- William Buckley