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Valencia Linux School Distro Saves 36 Million Euro 158

Posted by timothy
from the oh-no-big-deal dept.
jrepin (667425) writes "The government of the autonomous region of Valencia (Spain) earlier this month made available the next version of Lliurex, a customisation of the Edubuntu Linux distribution. The distro is used on over 110,000 PCs in schools in the Valencia region, saving some 36 million euro over the past nine years, the government says." I'd lke to see more efforts like this in the U.S.; if mega school districts are paying for computers, I'd rather they at least support open source development as a consequence.
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Valencia Linux School Distro Saves 36 Million Euro

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  • by Anonymous Coward

    The region of Valencia has the highest debt of all Spain and has been part of many corruption scandals usually involving stupid expenses, like an airport nobody uses and has cost the citizens millions. Now they claim they are saving money. Yeah, right, only after firing the whole public TV sector in order to save millions. TV sector which coincidentally started to reveal the corruption *after* they were fired, but not while they were being pampered by bribes...

    • by ruir (2709173)
      One does not need to be the brightest bulb to understand TV reporters have salaries akin to football players for some very odd reason.
  • TCO (Score:3, Insightful)

    by rsilvergun (571051) on Sunday July 27, 2014 @06:13PM (#47545975)
    At the risk of being modded troll I'll ask if anyone knows the TCO on these Linux roll outs. If Spain has lower tech wages it might be much lower than Windows, but in the United States at least there's tonnes of cheap Windows IT gurus but if you want someone that can admin your Linux boxes you'll pay through the nose. Google Docs and other web apps might be changing that though, at least until you hit college.
    • Re:TCO (Score:5, Insightful)

      by cheesybagel (670288) on Sunday July 27, 2014 @06:32PM (#47546073)

      From my experience you need less Linux sysadmins to begin with. Its easier to do remote admin. So the TCO numbers Microsoft claims are usually bullshit.

      • Re:TCO (Score:5, Informative)

        by thesupraman (179040) on Sunday July 27, 2014 @07:10PM (#47546231)

        This.
        Most Microsoft TCO analysis involves:

        All equipment being re-purchased to use linux, and then replaced at the standard windows replacement rates, which is BS.
        All administration staff to be assumed to be windows trained but zero knowledge of linux, but are retained, and consultants bought in to run linux
        All microsoft user end software to still be supported (outlook, windows web frontends, databases, office 'apps', etc), requiring additional complexity and many many retained windows servers and workstations.
        Basically they create a horrific hybrid solution required to support any and all historical solutions, keep all the baggage from windows they can, then point out that it costs more.

        The fact is that any reasonably well planned transition is just that - a transition.
        And the savings are clear and obvious, as more and more locations are finding.
        Hell, even the savings of transitioning backend servers to Linux, and frontend software to OSS, while retaining windows for users, are huge.

        • by Anonymous Coward

          Given this TCO analysis, nobody should ever switch from an old windows version to a more recent one, the risk of offtime and stolen data would be cheaper.

          • Re:TCO (Score:5, Informative)

            by FatLittleMonkey (1341387) on Sunday July 27, 2014 @08:49PM (#47546733)

            Good point, thesupraman forgot one additional MS TCO assumption:

            "There's no ongoing transitional costs from Microsoft upgrades."

            Microsoft only compares with a stable Win/Office environment. But often these transitions to Linux/FOSS are made in the face of a major Windows/Office upgrade. So the comparison is "Transition to FOSS vs Transition to different MS-ware".

            • by ruir (2709173)
              And there are no antivirus costs for *every* workstation and *every* server.
        • by julian67 (1022593)

          That's probably the best short description of Microsoft's TCO comparisons that I've seen, thank you.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by LordLimecat (1103839)

          I agreed with everything until here:

          And the savings are clear and obvious, as more and more locations are finding.

          This reeks of "Linux is the hammer for every problem" thinking. What if they require Quickbooks server? What if they have tried alternatives, but indicate that they need Microsoft Publisher, or Excel? I have heard all three of these before, and they make me hesitate to say "screw what you think you need, we're changing everything because FOSS!"

          Sometimes its feasible. Sometimes you're just creating headaches and big sunk costs of conversion for no real reason.

          • by Anonymous Coward

            When a customer says "I need", what you should be hearing is " I've only been trained on " or "this is what my boss who knows little to nothing about my job is requiring me to choose".

            • Sometimes, yes, sometimes, no. Customers definitely DO have legitimate needs sometimes. Sure, for 90% of what MS-Office users do, Libre Office would be fine. Not so with Photoshop vs GIMP. Gimp is close and getting closer, but not enough for the moment.
              • If the customer hates it, you arent doing them any favors. Try a 2-3 month trial, if it turns out they hate it and / or have installed office on the sly (I've seen this), give it up and accept that Office is worth the licensing cost to them.

                This isnt an ideological fight, its the real world where the goal is to produce things, not prove a point.

            • It sounds indeed like you're hearing, but not listening.

              You are there to facilitate the customer's needs, not vice versa.

          • by Anonymous Coward

            Some time ago someone built their business practices around the tools that were available on the platform they chose at the time. If they choose a new platform there should be an expectation of flexibility in the business practices to match the new platform. It doesn't matter which direction you go or what you're changing. It will never be 100% the same as the old solution.

            • by mpe (36238)
              Some time ago someone built their business practices around the tools that were available on the platform they chose at the time. If they choose a new platform there should be an expectation of flexibility in the business practices to match the new platform. It doesn't matter which direction you go or what you're changing. It will never be 100% the same as the old solution.

              That's true even if you "stick with" Microsoft. With many organisations just recently having undergone a very complex and painful migr
              • Changing workstations is a huge change, but at least you're not tossing the infrastructure.

                Tossing both the enduser side AND the infrastructure side all at once is a surefire recipe for disaster, pissed off end users, and IT staffing changes.

          • by Anonymous Coward

            I was once given the task to connect PERL DBI to a MS SQL Server. I searched for it and found that "SQL Server" is a Sybase dialect, and FreeTDS can read it's native format. I had the perl program in no time.

            There are almost always effective libraries to read data from Microsoft products from Linux. Real SQL databases are large and hard to move, but most MS files can just be moved onto a Linux disk and used.

            The Total Cost of being Owned by proprietary formats is quite high.

            • Maybe.

              Im just saying that sometimes the right answer is "yea, I guess you do need (/want) Office", rather than "I will make LibreOffice work or die trying".

          • by sjames (1099)

            The savings remain clear and obvious, they just can't take advantage of it. It does give them a real measure of the cost of sticking with those apps.

        • You can use your Puppet/Chef tool to generate DSC information for Server 2012+. Was it hard 10 years ago? Sure. These days? Not so much. There's just the problem that Linux admins are so inherently afraid of Windows that they'd never dare keep up with what's going on with it, out of fear of being rejected by their *NIX peers, and Windows people have a disturbing tendency to stop learning as soon as they figure out they can open up GUI interfaces.
      • Re:TCO (Score:5, Interesting)

        by Culture20 (968837) on Sunday July 27, 2014 @08:32PM (#47546653)
        This is a mistaken belief. Windows is actually pretty easy to mass-admin remotely, even with built-in windows services (not relying on SSH). But... Windows admins who know how to mass-admin boxes remotely usually get paid as much as Linux admins. Usually because once they've gotten to this point, they've gotten *nix under their belt.
        • cheap shot (Score:3, Funny)

          by Anonymous Coward

          > This is a mistaken belief. Windows is actually pretty easy to
          > mass-admin remotely, even with built-in windows services

          Just ask anyone running their own botnet!

      • Re:TCO (Score:5, Interesting)

        by pla (258480) on Monday July 28, 2014 @06:52AM (#47548487) Journal
        From my experience you need less Linux sysadmins to begin with. Its easier to do remote admin. So the TCO numbers Microsoft claims are usually bullshit.

        You have thought about that in terms of doing machine-by-machine maintenance. A large school district has a similar topology to a large enterprise corporation - thousands of systems spread out over dozens or hundreds of sites, with dozens or hundreds of different user-types grouped by function, having various seemingly-arbitrary blocking and auditability rules, and possible liability for certain types of breach, etc.

        For maintaining a farm of identical servers, I agree with you completely. For maintaining Grandma's desktop remotely, I agree with you completely. But for maintaining an enterprise desktop environment, Microsoft simply has the best tools for the job. Linux AD-via-Samba quite simply doesn't even come close for the convenience of centralized GP maintenance, and has aothing anywhere near the convenience of drag-and-drop group-based software installation (though Linux does have non-stock application deployment packages available, like Puppet, that partially fill that last point). Linux has nothing even remotely like (W)SUS. And those two alone count as complete showstoppers when it comes to minimizing the number of people required to maintain a large network.

        I love Linux, I use Linux, but Linux at the enterprise scale amounts to a non-starter.

        Of course, the biggest irony here, school districts don't tend to use Windows, either - They loooove them some Apple products, which have all the same problems described above, plus the pricetag (not saying Apples still cost more, but they don't come free). So in that sense, yes, I can see how Linux would save school districts a hefty chunk of money; at some scale, however, you'll find that switching to MS would likely save money vs the overhead of sys/net ops and helpdesk staff.
        • by mpe (36238)
          For maintaining a farm of identical servers, I agree with you completely. For maintaining Grandma's desktop remotely, I agree with you completely. But for maintaining an enterprise desktop environment, Microsoft simply has the best tools for the job. Linux AD-via-Samba quite simply doesn't even come close for the convenience of centralized GP maintenance, and has aothing anywhere near the convenience of drag-and-drop group-based software installation (though Linux does have non-stock application deployment
        • by Rutulian (171771)

          (though Linux does have non-stock application deployment packages available, like Puppet, that partially fill that last point).

          You're kidding right? In addition to Puppet, which is a relative newcomer, there has been Satellite (http://www.redhat.com/products/enterprise-linux/satellite/) and Landscape (http://www.ubuntu.com/management/landscape-features) among others (Suse has one too). Where do you think the distros make their money? Now you may have meant there is no free application deployment and management software, but last time I checked Windows Server was definitely not free. If you need free, though, you can roll some scrip

      • by mpe (36238)
        From my experience you need less Linux sysadmins to begin with. Its easier to do remote admin.

        Also whilst there might be plenty of MSCEs highly skilled Windows sysadmins are hard to find. (They might even be the same people as Linux sysadmins...) There's also a certain irony in "Power Shell" becoming an important Windows admin tool.

        So the TCO numbers Microsoft claims are usually bullshit.

        TCO numbers are generally political bovine excrement. It dosn't matter if they are applied to computer software, el
    • Re: (Score:1, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Posting AC because this will elicit knee-jerk responses:

      When I was in college, Macs were primarly used, then Linux. However, the second one graduated, one faced a world that is all Windows. Not Zimbra, but Exchange/OWA. Not Thunderbird, but Outlook. Not OpenOffice, but LibreOffice. To boot, being versed in MS's way of things is the difference between getting a job versus not.

      Then there is the vast gulf between Linux enthusiasts versus Linux IT people.

      Yes, one can use Linux to route iSCSI over a Wi-Fi c

      • by Ol Olsoc (1175323)

        Posting AC because this will elicit knee-jerk responses..

        tl;dr: The world runs on Windows, and the school does a disservice to the students by not preparing them for reality.

        And will forever, until the end of time. Just like MS-DOS.

        Congratulations, bringing biblical style circular arguments to the world of computers.

        Windows is the gold standard because it is the gold standard because it is the gold standard. World without end, amen.

      • Re:TCO (Score:5, Interesting)

        by aaaaaaargh! (1150173) on Monday July 28, 2014 @05:00AM (#47548211)

        The goal of school education in computers is not to prepare pupils to use commercial software and become better consumerists. They already know how to use commercial software anyway, most of them even better than their teachers. What they lack and need to learn is the fundamentals of how computers work, how operating systems work, what safety and security means (especially online), and the basics of programming. In a nutshell: No, Windows is definitely not needed or desirable in schools. To be fair, iPads and Android tablets are even less useful, because it is almost impossible to teach programming on them in a fruitful way.

        I'd even go farther and state the obvious that commercial software packages should be banned in public institutions entirely when there is an acceptable free substitute for them.

        To give a typical example of how Windows computers are used in such environments, our institute at a public university in Europe has dozens of +5 years old PCs that are overloaded with tons of viruses and trojans and the crappy paid anti-virus we're using fails to detect them. The machines have become even slower after they had to be upgraded from XP to Windows 7 recently. I've test run Ubuntu on one of them for years and it worked better and faster in each and every respect except compatibility of LibreOffice with Word (which is broken intentionally by Microsoft, but strange enough it also breaks routinely between versions of their own software). The tax payer is paying huge fees to Microsoft with no benefits at all - and you have to check your USB stick for viruses each time you've used one of those machines.

        • by cdrudge (68377)

          No, Windows is definitely not needed or desirable in schools.

          And then in 99% of entry level interviews in the Real World, the freshly out of school candidate gets screwed over because while they may be equal in every other way, a job that requires use of Word and Excel is going to take the candidate that has Word and Excel experience over the one that doesn't.

          Not saying that it's right or fair, just explaining the reality of the situation. My wife just found a job after looking for the better part of 8 mon

      • by Lumpy (12016)

        "Oh, and of course, upgrading willy-nilly is a no-no. Slap RedHat or CentOS 7 on existing 6.5 installs, and shit breaks. Shit will break big time."

        Oh, and of course, upgrading willy-nilly is a no-no. Slap Windows 8.1 on existing Windows 7 installs, and shit breaks. Shit will break big time.

        So please tell me how this is any different?

    • by guruevi (827432)

      Any sysadmin worth their salt is going to cost a pretty penny. If you cheap out on the workers, you'll get what you pay for including multi-million dollar license fees. The license fees for MS products in EDU is currently at ~$1000/year/FTE or full-time student. You only need to have ~50-150 people total (depending on your area) to pay for a good sysadmin.

      • by Retron (577778)

        It's actually nowhere near that, at least in the UK. (Disclaimer: I work in a school in the IT department).

        The actual cost is based on the number of full-time *staff*, not pupils, and the rates are far lower than the $1000/year you quote. This gets you Office, Windows, all the CALs you need, SCCM and lots more besides. You still have to pay for server licences (Windows and SQL), but they're deeply discounted.

        I don't know what it's like in the States, but in the UK school sysadmins (or network managers, to g

        • by jabuzz (182671)

          Problem is that in the U.K. school I.T. is for the most part appalling. I work in I.T. support in the University sector and I see for first hand the difference between that and school I.T. that my sister has to suffer as a teacher as I supplement the rubbish I.T. support with actually useful support that is not a bunch of lies and half truths.

          The difference is that pay rate of the staff involved. The university sector pays significantly more than the school sector for the same skills, easily £1

          • by Retron (577778)

            It's nothing to do with pay, more what managers expect from their staff. Some schools are happy to put up with poor infrastructure and so on, while others, such as the one I work in, pride themselves on offering an up-to-date network for the students. (We skipped Windows 8 though, sticking with Windows 7 x64 - and getting old educational programs working with that was no mean feat!)

            You won't have any problems around here recruiting tech support staff for £12 to £14K. I was effectively running th

    • by Lumpy (12016)

      "but in the United States at least there's tonnes of cheap Windows IT gurus "

      No we do not have many "gurus" we have a lot of poesurs that THINK they know something about windows and PC's in general and can fake it well enough in front of people that dont know to keep their jobs. but they are NOT Guru level by any stretch of the imagination.

      The Windows Gurus that are really good at their jobs command the same salary as linux guys. No matter what Guru level means you get paid a lot. Everyone not getting

    • by jbolden (176878)

      I'll ask if anyone knows the TCO on these Linux roll outs.

      There haven't been many lately. About a decade ago they were popular. You have to classify 3 groups of rollouters.

      a) Companies that never had much of a Windows culture. Often their desktops were mostly Windows running terminals, X-Stations (or windows as an X-client)... The servers were SCO, Solaris, HPUX, AIX... They converted to Linux cheaply and easily.

      b) Companies that were mid sized or small and highly motivated. Generally the owner

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Will they invest any of the 36 million Euro savings in Linux development or are they just free loaders?

    • by Skarjak (3492305) on Sunday July 27, 2014 @06:40PM (#47546121)
      The very first line of the summary says they're making available their own custom distro. So they're obviously not free loaders. FFS, I know that most people don't RTFA, but at least RTFS before bitching.
      • Making it available doesn't mean they're giving back any of those 36M though. It's pretty cheap to make it available once comparted to creating it.

        The real question is: how mucho of those 36M will be reinvested into FLOSS development.

        • by Skarjak (3492305)
          I honestly don't think they have any duty to give back any more than they're doing now. Do you donate 100$ everytime you install linux on a computer? Cause that's what it would have cost you otherwise. I know for sure that almost no one does. It's nice if they decide to give back but they have no responsability to do so. The whole concept of "freeloaders" is laughable to be honest. I thought one of the primary visions behind FLOSS was that information should be free? I guess if you view open source a
          • I honestly don't think they have any duty to give back any more than they're doing now.

            Nor do I. They have no obligations. Nobody implied that. We just said not doing so made them freeloaders.

            Do you donate 100$ everytime you install linux on a computer? Cause that's what it would have cost you otherwise.

            I do not. I do collaborate by open sourcing most of me development, and contribute into various proyecto thourgh various means. Also, I'm not saving $100 by using linux in my computer because I have not migrated from something propietary.

            I know for sure that almost no one does.

            Relevancy?

            It's nice if they decide to give back but they have no responsability to do so. The whole concept of "freeloaders" is laughable to be honest. I thought one of the primary visions behind FLOSS was that information should be free? I guess if you view open source as merely a means to an end, you might think such a thing as a freeloader could exist, but I completely disagree with that vision.

            No, they have no responsability to give anything back. Nor I, nor GP stated that this was the case.

            Can you please describe why the concept is laughable?

            • by Skarjak (3492305)
              Do I really have to explain to you that the word freeloader is pejorative? Also, don't do that "quote piece by piece" thing. It prevents you from seeing the big picture and basically pigeonholes you into nitpicking. Every question you asked is answered in the comment I already made, if you take it as a whole. There's a reason this is frowned upon in forums.
              • No, you don't need to explain why it's pejorative; what I asked is for you to explain why it's laughable, something competely different.
                I quote by-piece, because you make different statements, and I reply to each one individually. Replying inline has been proper etiquette for several decades now.
                Finally, no, none of my statements were replied above. But since this is your second reply attempting to divert attention from the subject at hand, I'm guessing your merely using a Red Hering to disguise your lack o

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Linux is FREE for anyone to use.
      No such thing as a freeloader, or are you now saying large organisations must be forced to pay ?

      • There is a perception among open source advocates that if open source software saves you money, you now owe some of that money to them. If you don't pay, you get called a freeloader. This agrees with the "from each according to his abilities" part of Marx's famous saying.
        • Huh? I've heard of commercial companies getting criticised for not giving back code changes even though they're making money from OSS, but I think you're very mistaken.
    • by cascadingstylesheet (140919) on Sunday July 27, 2014 @08:14PM (#47546561)

      Will they invest any of the 36 million Euro savings in Linux development or are they just free loaders?

      That's an odd perspective ... you can't have it both ways. If you want the freedom of the GPL, then you get ... the freedom of the GPL.

    • by paugq (443696)

      There are/have been several Debian developers in their payroll: Jordi Mallach, Miquel Gea and others.

  • by Lolaine (262966) on Sunday July 27, 2014 @06:39PM (#47546113)

    First of all: Valencia is the most indebted region of Spain in relation to it's GDP (and second in monetary value) . Having spent billions on ill-fated projects (F1 track, Americas Cup, Arts and Science City) that have failed to meet economic returns. The former President resigned over corruption charges, Majors being investigated for contract mishandling and enrichment, a former governor in jailed this same week, etc... No thing that comes from this region is out of suspect.

    This said, What it is commonly spoken about these projects is that they do not exist to leverage libre/opensource software on the school. They exist to praise regionalism of the different autonomies(regions) of Spain by local politicians, so, instead of viable ecosystems, they become second-choice-dual-boot-distros that exist to fill the pockets of several local companies (distro makers, maintainers, call-centers, certifiers...) that do literaly nothing contributing to the communities they get their software from.

    Also, every region spent millions on creating their own distro, duplicating efforts (which is a clear indicator that it is a national-regionalist issue rather than a techno-economical one). If Extremadura has it distro, Andalusia also wants it and Valencia too.

    Moreover, I put in doubt the claim that a somewhat high amount of Euros were saved whatsoever because educational licensing is usually done on a gubernamental level and not on a seat level.

    So, this is only one more sample of PR-BS for me.

    • by wvmarle (1070040)

      At least in this case they made significant savings - or at least, so they claim. The question is now of course, how was this calculated, and will it pass muster if an independent accountant checks the figures.

      It's harder to give economic returns of a F1 race track; even harder to make an overall profit on one.

    • by ccguy (1116865)

      First of all: Valencia is the most indebted region of Spain in relation to it's GDP (and second in monetary value) . Having spent billions on ill-fated projects (F1 track, Americas Cup, Arts and Science City) that have failed to meet economic returns. The former President resigned over corruption charges, Majors being investigated for contract mishandling and enrichment, a former governor in jailed this same week, etc... No thing that comes from this region is out of suspect.

      Thank fuck someone replies knowing what they are talking about.

      The last thing Valencia needs is someone putting it as an example of how to do things. Valencia is a corrupt region, and one where corruption is pretty much impossible to eradicate because voters continue to support corrupt politicians election after election, with justifications like "yeah, he stole a lot but he also built a great hospital", and shit like that.

      If they moved to linux most likely is because they can't pay for Windows anymore

    • by paugq (443696) <`gro.reuaple' `ta' `seliuqgp'> on Monday July 28, 2014 @05:28AM (#47548259) Homepage

      In Valencia, they have actually replaced every Windows, Microsoft Office and any other non-FLOSS software with LliureX. It was done last year, when Microsoft threatened to take legal action after the regional government failed to pay for Microsoft licenses. LliureX had been languishing for years before that, after a huge hype, excitement and first deployments about 10 years ago.

      Had Microsoft not threatened to take legal action, Linux would not be in use today. Thank you, Microsoft!

  • European governments can easily claim theyve saved money by switching to open source software, whereas its almost impossible for the american governments education system to do so. Why? because europeans consider employees a resource whereas american government considers its employees an expenditure or overhead.

    extra IT and teacher training are considered an expense in america, whereas outsourcing to Azure cloud services means only having to pay the license. We factor pensions and holiday pay into the cos

  • Microsoft is pricing themselves right out of the market more & more
  • or 48 million dolla.
  • As the developper of the educational software GCompris ( http://gcompris.net/ [gcompris.net] ), I am glad to see how far they went in their project. Just looked at their documentation and it is really impressive. It is really motivating for free software developpers to see our work is useful.
  • 1 - Schools in the USA do not hire competent IT or Teachers that can handle a powerful Operating system like Linux. Actually paying for competent staff is outside of their budget.
    2 - Microsoft will quickly give the schools all the free licenses they want for the OS, Office, etc.. if they even threaten to switch to anything else.

    Microsoft knows that if you dont get the children hooked when they are young, they might use their curiosity and explore other operating systems. And we cant have that.

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