I would like to add a note of strong real-world support for this
observation - from both personal and management perspective. In fact I
will go even further and say that a tech that has been EDUCATED in
fundamental principles rather than TRAINED to follow platform specific
recipes can tackle any platform with equal proficiency and will be far
better able to handle the left field problems. In addition, as technology
evolves and versions change the EDUCATED tech will far more quickly adapt
with far less hand-holding and formal training.
It does not take much to realise that this ethos is the same one that all
our institutions should be practicing in the education of our students -
why can't it be the same for staff?
We practice this approach with great success. Part of the education of all
our techs is to expose them very early on to Win, Mac and Linux machines
and use that exposure to illustrate the fundamental principles that
underly all platforms. After an initial steep learning curve they very
quickly come to appreciate what they are learning and how they are being
taught to learn and problem solve. My aim is that when a tech does
eventually leave us they graduate from our team rather than just leaving.
These "graduates" of ours are people we remain in contact with and, from
time to time, we help them with the occasional problem in their subsequent
work and they help us with ours.
The result is we have a highly motivated and energetic IT team who can go
that extra mile for our users and satisfy their requirements with the most
effective technology for their needs at the least cost for the College.
So our multi-platform desktop network with Windows, Mac and Linux desktops
in server racks, labs, on staff desks and in student residential rooms
does not cost us more than a single-platform setup. In fact in many
respects we have saved money both directly and indirectly by using the
most appropriate technology for the task and being able to be flexible.
Also, like any diverse ecosystem, there is an inherent robustness in a
diverse network where if a problem strikes one platform (like Windows
viruses...) it does not take down the whole network.
Dr Richard Wraith [log in to unmask]
Director of IT & T and the Trinity Learning Innovation Centre
Trinity College Royal Parade Parkville 3052 Victoria Australia
tel: +61-3-9348 7112 mobile: 0417 361 093 fax: +61-3-9348 7498
On Thu, 27 Mar 2003, John M. Plunkett wrote:
> Date: Thu, 27 Mar 2003 12:56:21 -0500
> From: John M. Plunkett <[log in to unmask]>
> Reply-To: The EDUCAUSE CIO Constituent Group Listserv
> <[log in to unmask]>
> To: "[log in to unmask]" <[log in to unmask]>
> Subject: Re: [CIO] Platforms
> With all due respect, if a tech can support a Windows computer he/she can
> support a Mac. They need little training to be proficient, particularly in
> OS X. I've heard this statement before and in my experience managing the
> techs, once they get over the product preference issues they are quickly
> able to support either platform.
> John M Plunkett
> Gardner, MA 01440
> -----Original Message-----
> From: Bill Green [mailto:[log in to unmask]]
> Sent: Wednesday, March 26, 2003 8:02 PM
> To: [log in to unmask]
> Subject: Re: [CIO] Platforms
> We are mostly PC (over 90%), but with isolated specialty programs using
> Macs. Some faculty also use Macs, primarily by individual preference as
> suggested in several other postings on this topic.
> Being a relatively small institution (5000 FTE), staffing (or the lack
> of it) is the main concern re being able to support Macs as well as
> Windows machines, rather than initial cost.
> I have 5 techs to cover the basic desktop support for the PCs, but
> only 1 part-time person for Macs (20 hrs/week). Very few people are
> proficient with both systems, so in the Mac area there are times when no
> support is available. My Mac tech is not too far from retirement, and
> when he leaves it is unlikely we will be able to carry on with central
> Mac support - the specialty areas will have to continue on their own.
> Bill Green
> Director, IT Services
> Capilano College, North Vancouver BC
> (604) 984-1710 fax 984-1795
> [log in to unmask]
> Participation and subscription information for this EDUCAUSE Constituent
> Group discussion list can be found at http://www.educause.edu/memdir/cg/.
> Participation and subscription information for this EDUCAUSE Constituent Group discussion list can be found at http://www.educause.edu/memdir/cg/.
Participation and subscription information for this EDUCAUSE Constituent Group discussion list can be found at http://www.educause.edu/memdir/cg/.