[Linux-aus] Recent comments made to Education and Health Committee

Luke John luke.john at osmahi.com
Tue Apr 24 17:27:33 EST 2012

Hi PLUG, Linux-aus and lias,

Below are a number of extracts from the written transcript of evidence
given to the Western Australian Education and Health Committee inquiry
into improving educational outcomes for Western Australians of all


The CHAIRMAN: But are the platforms Mac, DOSS, Linux? What are the platforms?

Mr Doyle: We have Windows and the Apple operating systems and Linux is
a server platform that we use at central office. They generally
inter-operate okay, if you can use a word like that. Apple devices
will have a bit of difficulty with our legacy school administration
system because we are looking to upgrade that sometime in the future,
but it is predominantly a PC access base for Windows.


The CHAIRMAN: It has been put to me that for a lot of schools—I have
to get my language right—their platform is Windows, and they may have
been given Windows for the school because they know that the students
will then buy Windows to use at home as their package. But it could be
far more cost effective for schools if rather than using Windows they
used other platforms so that they could access open-source software
and packages. Could you explain that to me?

Mr Doyle: There are two primary operating systems for  computing that
sits in your hands—the desktop—and that is the Apple operating system,
and Windows, which is Microsoft. They are the two major computer
operating systems in the world. Then there are a number of other what
they call open source. So the first two big ones are big, proprietary
owned and cost a lot of money to spread across our system. The open
source is an alternative code produced by the IT industry and techno
people who do not like Microsoft and do not like Apple and they are
looking for cheaper alternatives that they can develop. So you have a
range of operating systems that would be called open source. The major
one of those will be Linux as an operating system for computers. We do
use Linux in our system, but it is not on the computer. It is actually
more a back-end data centre environment, where we have Linux operating
systems running large enterprise-class servers as they are called. So
it is just an alternative platform. Again, too much variety makes it
very difficult for communication. So it is about accepting that the
standard in the world is around Microsoft and Apple. They are going to
be the major players at this point in time. They will be the majority
of systems that our students will face when they go into the
workforce. They will be the vast majority of systems in offices and
factories. Anything else would be built on those environments. So it
makes a lot of good sense for SOE and it makes a lot of good sense for
future planning that we stick to the accepted major operating systems.

The CHAIRMAN: So your customer service centres would focus on Apple
and Windows rather than on Linux and other programs?

Mr Doyle: We have a range of software that we do support, and that
comes in three layers, if you like—two layers that we support, and one
that we do not. What we call our tier 1 applications are spread right
across the system. Everyone is using them. They are quite
straightforward office productivity things like Word and Excel and
those types of things.

The CHAIRMAN: So they are Windows packages?

Mr Doyle: They are Windows, or Apple; it depends on what device they
are using. They are a tier 1 application. Tier 2 applications  are if
a school wants to use them, and they are  generally fairly widespread
around schools, we will help schools with that particular range of


The representatives from the DET present for this hearing were;
  Ms Deborah Bevan (Manager, E-Schooling, Department of Education),
  Mr Lindsay Hale (Acting Executive Director, Statewide Planning and
Delivery, Department of Education)
  Mr Bevan Doyle (Chief Information Officer, Department of Education)

The document is available at

The committees email address is <laehsc at parliament.wa.gov.au>. and a
document explaining submissions to committees is available at

Also the inquiries webpage is at

Kind Regards
Luke John

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