Southern Suburbs Weekly Newsletter - Computers 4 Kids

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					               Computers 4 Kids – Southern Suburbs
                          Weekly Newsletter – 13 June 2006

What’s happening….

I have often been asked by educators what the plural of a computer mouse is, so I went onto the internet and discovered
that it is a question that has been asked by many. I found a very amusing website and have included in this week’s
There is also more on the FOSS saga for those of you that are interested in knowing more about Open Source.

A reminder that there are Youth Day activities that can be used with your learners to commemorate June 16th.

Another long weekend coming up.
Curl up with a good book!


Head Office News
Attached please find a document
regarding a set of reading materials for
primary schools. Please forward to any
interested parties at your school.

Two useful websites to bookmark: one
for printable maps in and around
If you are looking for a South African
postal code, do a search here:

A reminder to schools who have the
older copies of the World Cup Cricket
modules – they were designed to be
adapted for any World Cup series so
why not pull them out of the cupboard
and use them for the World Cup
Football. We will have the original
copies on our webpage to download by
the end of this week should you wish to
make use of them but have maybe               Free Download:
misplaced them!                               DESKTOP UTILITIES
                                              Hot Keyboard Pro

Kind Regards                                  This utility scans your computer for all installed software and gives
                                              you a list of functions that you can attribute hot keys to.
Russell Pengelly
                                              These include anything from adjusting the volume of your music
                                              player to starting and closing programs. You can also adjust the
                                              suggested hot keys to suit your taste.

By Andy Walker, Cyberwalker Media Syndicate

Question: We have a different kind of question for CyberWalker. What is the plural of computer mouse, "mouses"
or "mice"?

Answer: I' been on the trail for an answer for this question for a week and in the process I was snubbed by the
very inventor of the computer mouse.

I started my search for the truth about mouse plurality with Douglas Engelbart, who invented the device at the
Stanford Research Centre in California in 1963. You may recall that he was recently named the winner of the 1997
Lemelson-M.I.T. Prize for his inventions, which besides the computer mouse, include windowing and

             t                        m
Well, he didn'answer my e-mail and I' a little indignant about it. I browsed his Web page at
anyway and discovered that in his 1970 patent application for the device, he called it an X-Y Position Indicator for
a Display System. By extrapolation, Engelbart' plural of mouse is XY-PIDSes. Not exactly catchy. Good thing he
     t                                                           t
didn'go into product-naming as a career. Then again I shouldn'complain, if he had we might be eating the
Agrandized Multi-Layered Hamburger Sandwich at McDonald'      s.

The next stop on the rodential syntax search was M.I.T. After all, they' a bunch of bright folks and they did give
Doug a half-million dollars for his badly named, but nifty invention. On their Web page was a media release about
the prize. In it they refer to the plural of the device as "mice," quotes included. That suggests to me that they don'
quite take the word very seriously.

                                         s                                       re          s
At a bit of a loss, I headed for Logitech' home page at' the world' largest makers of the
mouse. I sent them an e-mail too, asking for a definitive answer. None arrived. In their marketing material they
refer to the word "mice." But who can take marketers seriously? I mean on the same pages they refer to scanners
and video cameras as "imaging solutions." That' like calling your feet "transportation enablers" or your mouth a
"communication output orifice."

Completely frustrated and at my wit' end, I punched in a few search terms into the Altavista search engine and
came up with what may be as close an answer I as can find. His frankness and willingness to indulge me was
refreshing. He even checked a real dictionary, something I' neglected to do.

"Webster' 7th Collegiate Dictionary would appear to give mice as the plural for mouse in all instances," he

"However, the plural of this device should be determined by common usage. If this is the case then it would appear
that both mice and mouses are acceptable."

In researching his answer for me, he did a search on Altavista for both terms.

"Both turned up an abundance of hits," he said.

                               mouses' preferred because it avoids confusing a few peripheral input devices
"But one could even argue that '      is
with a few small rodents."

So there you have it. Both are appropriate. I endorse Mayer' final analysis though. "There is one way to avoid
confusion," he concluded. "I do not have two mice and I do not have two mouses ... I have one mouse and come
to think of it, I have another mouse."
                                                   Free/Open Source Software

                                                    A General Introduction

                                                  Kenneth Wong and Phet Sayo

How large are the savings from FOSS?
There have been recent reports about the tremendous savings from FOSS, most noticeably from giant corporations that have migrated
their internal systems to GNU/Linux. Intel reportedly saved US$200 million from a move to GNU/Linux from Unix, and Amazon reported
a savings of US$17 millioni from switching their servers to GNU/Linux. Major financial institutions such as Credit Suisse First Boston,
Morgan Stanley, Goldman Sachs and Charles Schwab are moving a significant portion of their infrastructure to FOSS systems to reap
these cost savingsii.

There are few TCO studies showing the total cost of running FOSS systems versus proprietary systems. These studies analyze
multiple cost factors other than software licensing costs, including maintenance, personnel and opportunity costs from service
disruptions. Several have been very positive towards FOSS:

    •    A TCO study performed by the Robert Frances Group showed that GNU/Linux costs roughly 40 percent of Microsoft Windows
         and as low as 14 percent of Sun Microsystem’s Solarisi.
    •    NetProject reported that the TCO of GNU/Linux was 35 percent of Microsoft Window’s TCOii. Even more interesting was that
         the savings was due not just to licensing costs but also to various other costs, including reduction in the number of support
         staff and software updates that results from using GNU/Linux.
    •    Gartner reported that using GNU/Linux in a “locked” configuration resulted in a roughly 15 percent lower TCO compared to
         Windows XPiii.

Merrill Lynch, a major financial management company, recently reported that using GNU/Linux could reduce costs dramatically. The
unusual part of their TCO study was that the largest costs savings was not from software licensing costs but from personnel and
hardware costsiv.

Direct Cost Savings – An Example

Cybersourcev of Australia has done an analysis of FOSS savings based on a comparison between Microsoft products and FOSS-based
software that provide similar functionalities. The study, “Linux vs. Windows: The Bottom Line”, looked at potential savings for three
hypothetical companies (A: 50 users; B: 100 users; and C: 250 users). All numbers are in US dollars:

                                      Microsoft        Linux/FOSS
                                      Solution           Solution          Savings

         Company A: 50 Users           $87,988             $80             $87,908

         Company B: 100 Users         $136,734             $80             $136,654

         Company C: 250 Users         $282,974             $80             $282,894

Note: The savings achieved from implementing the FOSS solution instead of the Microsoft solution actually increases with the number
of users—the bigger the outfit, the greater the savings. The financial incentives for migrating to FOSS increase with the size of the

The Cybersource study is straightforward, comparing nothing more than the costs of software packages. The following two tables list
the prices of two software solutions, Microsoft and FOSS, for a company of 50 users.
    Microsoft Solution Software Cost
                                                                            FOSS Solution Software Cost
    Software                               Copies    Cost
                                                                            Software                                Copies    Cost
    Norton Antivirus 2002                       50          $2,498
                                                                            Linux Distribution (eg Red Hat 9.0)           1      $80
    MS Internet Information Server               2             $0
                                                                            Apache (Web server)                                      $0
    MS Windows 2000 Advanced Server              5       $19,995
                                                                            Squid (Proxy server)                                     $0
    MS Commerce Server                           1       $12,333

                                                                            PostgreSQL (Database)                                    $0
    MS ISA Standard Server 2000                  1          $1,499

                                                                            iptables (Firewall)                                      $0
    MS SQL Server 2000                           1          $4,999

    MS Exchange Standard Server 2000             1          $1,299          Sendmail/Postfix (Mail servers)                          $0

    Windows XP Professional                     50       $14,950            KDevelop (IDE)                                           $0

    MS Visual Studio 6.0                         3          $3,237          GIMP (Graphics)                                          $0

    MS Office Standard                          50       $23,950            Open Office (Productivity suite)                         $0

    Adobe Photoshop 6                            2          $1,218                                                                   $0
                                                                            OSCommerce (e-Commerce suite)
    Additional Client Access Licenses           30          $2,010
                                                                            Total                                                $80

    Total                                                $87,988

Note: The cost of the GNU/Linux software solution remains fixed even when the number of users
increases. This is because the licensing for GNU/Linux is not limited, whereas there are additional costs
per user in licensing Microsoft and other proprietary software.

Public sector organizations often have far more users, which means even more dramatic savings. For
example, the government of Sweden has identified savings of $1 billion a year while the government of
Denmark has identified savings of between $480 million to $730 millioni.

Glover, Tony, “Microsoft losing market grip as rivals go on the offensive”, 18 May 2002, Scotland on Sunday; available from; Internet; accessed on November 8, 2003.

Orzech, Dan, “Linux TCO: Less Than Half The Cost of Windows”, 7 October 2002, CIO Update; available from; Internet; accessed on November 7, 2003.

“netproject – Cost of Ownership” [home page online]; available from; Internet; accessed
   on November 7, 2003.

Maguire, James, “Windows vs. Linux: TCO Feud Rages On”, 01 August 2003, Newsfactor Network [home page online]; available from; Internet; accessed on November 8, 2003.

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