Open up IT

February 4, 2016

Students aren’t always experts in technology” (News, 26 January), but neither, it seems, are those in management and IT departments. When universities complain that they lack the financial resources for students’ IT provision and demand more such resources, one has to ask: why are you not seeking an alternative solution?

Regarding IT, the ethical onus on UK higher education is to promote optional approaches, in the realm of OpenSource. First, there is the issue of cost – and managing cost. Second is the need to advocate sector-based innovation rather than buying in solutions. Third is the moral argument for developing OpenSource as an alternative to big IT companies. Fourth is the issue of tax avoidance. It is presumed that all the big IT companies are involved in minimising their contributions to the UK tax yield. Shouldn’t (part) publicly funded institutions shun such corporate providers?

There is sufficient advance with Linux (and BSD) for routine educational deployment. Have any faculty, for example, trialled HE-targeted operating systems such as UberStudent? Adopting any Linux distribution for higher education purposes can be easily facilitated. LibreOffice is now mature enough for any undergraduate roll-out. There are equivalent ready-to-use packages for all the applications currently bought in, which are also free (allowing further development) and free (available at no cost), thus addressing the fiscal as well as the moral issue.

Higher education should be embracing this moral approach as well as managing its financial resources instead of demanding more from the “consumer”.

Dave Postles
Loughborough


Send to

Letters should be sent to: THE.Letters@tesglobal.com
Letters for publication in Times Higher Education should arrive by 9am Monday.
View terms and conditions.

You've reached your article limit

Register to continue

Registration is free and only takes a moment. Once registered you can read a total of 6 articles each month, plus:

  • Sign up for the editor's highlights
  • Receive World University Rankings news first
  • Get job alerts, shortlist jobs and save job searches
  • Participate in reader discussions and post comments
Register

Have your say

Log in or register to post comments

Most Commented

United Nations peace keeper

Understanding the unwritten rules of graduate study is vital if you want to get the most from your PhD supervision, say Kevin O'Gorman and Robert MacIntosh

Eleanor Shakespeare illustration (5 January 2017)

Fixing problems in the academic job market by reducing the number of PhDs would homogenise the sector, argues Tom Cutterham

Houses of Parliament, Westminster, government

There really is no need for the Higher Education and Research Bill, says Anne Sheppard

poi, circus

Kate Riegle van West had to battle to bring her circus life and her academic life together

man with frozen beard, Lake Louise, Canada

Australia also makes gains in list of most attractive English-speaking nations as US slips