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CIO  March 2003

CIO March 2003

Subject:

Re: Platforms

From:

"Larry N. Osborne (lists)" <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

The EDUCAUSE CIO Constituent Group Listserv <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Fri, 21 Mar 2003 15:08:25 -1000

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (60 lines)

At Chaminade University we seem to be bucking the trend.  From only
supporting wintel boxes in the past, we are beginning to allow, if not
encourage, more Mac use.  Our communications department, the student
newspapers, and Institutional Advancement have always used macs.

We also have a standard package (currently it's a mid-level Dell costing
about $900). Specifications for the basic package are set by my unit with
advice from the Provost's Cabinet.  We divide our budget for PCs by the cost
of a machine meeting the specs to determine how many machines we will be
able to replace each year.  Non-replacements (for new positions, for
example) come 100% from the requesting department's budget.

We are beginning to allow Mac purchases if the requesting department will
make up any cost difference between the Mac and the standard Dell
configuration.  For an iMac with the same basic specs (ignoring CPU speed,
since similar speeds don't produce similar results) the cost is about the
same, but since we don't have a site license for the Mac version of
Microsoft's Office suite, the final cost comes to about $300 more when we
add that in.  Any special-purpose software has to be purchased from the
department's funds ... and we are pretty careful to ensure that they really
do purchase it rather than steal it ... that part of the process is the same
as it is for wintel boxes.  If people also want to run windoze programs on
their macs the cost goes up by about $200 for Virtual PC (but if they want
they can use our site license for the windows version of Office and save the
$300 for the Mac version).  The difference comes out of the department's
budget, the basic $900 comes from mine.

We are taking this path because:
     1.  Virtual PC allows us to run just about all our windows-only
programs if we need to, so we don't have the problem of some software only
working on our wintel machines.  I only wish there was an easy Mac emulator
for the wintel side.  Virtual PC even provides the blue screen of death when
appropriate;
     2.  The creative people want macs and business wants wintel.  Our
business is to supply what allows each to do their jobs most effectively,
and satisfaction with the tool affects efficiency;
     3.  Because macs don't break very often, there isn't a major
maintenance issue (yet ... but the next help desk technician we hire will
have familiarity with Macs);
     4.  Because most mac functions really are intuitive (to most mac users,
I've never understood dragging a disk to the trash to unmount it), help with
program use isn't a major help-desk issue (pre OS X at least);
     5.  And most important, I like macs.  (I'm writing this now from a mac
running outlook express 2000 under Virtual PC.)

While we don't have an issue with Mac/Wintel, we are now being asked more
and more for Linux boxes (by people in professional studies and natural
sciences), and I don't know what to do about those requests.

-oz

Larry N. Osborne
Dean, Information Services and the Library
Chaminade University
vox: 808.735.4825
fax: 808.739.8355

**********
Participation and subscription information for this EDUCAUSE Constituent Group discussion list can be found at http://www.educause.edu/memdir/cg/.

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