Tim (Assorted Stuff) nails it when he writes…

So these not-so-flush times are an excellent time to take a break, reflect and take a good, hard look at how all that stuff is being used…The anarchist in me wonders if this wouldn’t be a great time to try something different, to seriously experiment with using some of those open source and web 2.0 tools that we keep talking about but never seem to do anything with.

Our administrators really don’t like all that stuff since it doesn’t allow them to have total control.

But total control usually requires money and, when that’s in short supply, it opens the opportunity for imagination and a willingness to try some things that are outside the comfort zone.
Source: Opportunities in hard times

The idea isn’t that hard to swallow, unless you’re a network guy who says, “We run a Microsoft shop.” (substitute your vendor of choice in lieu of Microsoft). The fact is, free open source software makes it possible to accomplish what you couldn’t do before with commercial, unless you had lots of money. It may also mean you need to do things differently.

And, others agree with Tim’s contention that now–during an economic downturn–may be the time to try something new:

Short term — the next few weeks — everyone, whether commercial or proprietary, is going to find life unpleasant,” Asay says, adding that the last several months have been the “most unpleasant quarter I’ve ever been through.”

That’s the bad news. The good news, according to Asay, is that “Long term, I think open source will significantly benefit, as companies will significantly re-jigger budgets, keeping them the same or [making them] smaller.” That’s where the essentially free up-front cost of open source comes in.

Mark Driver, a research vice president at analyst firm Gartner, agrees. “I would think open source software would be extremely attractive, since the cost of acquisition is so much lower. If I can use it without paying for it, that’s great.”
Source: Linux.com “The tanking economy and OSS”

Are you ready to try something new? Not yet? Well, wait awhile…let’s see how long you hold on to your principles, especially when buying proprietary means diverting funding away from children and educators. Maybe it’s time to give up that ideal for total control and switch to focus on what works at lowest to no cost, as well as supports teaching, learning and leading.

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