Minutes of the February 27, 2008
Committee on Information Technology
Present: Luis González, Jeff Muday, Anne Bishop, Wei-chin Lee, Hugh Howards, Jolie Tingen, Paul Escott, Ching-Wan Yip, Patrick Morton, Rick Matthews, Will Elliot, Susan Smith, Todd Torgersen
The first agenda item was recommended Thinkpads for 2008-2009 (Patrick Morton)Pat was asked to look for a new standard machine with a set of criteria: cost, capability, size, weight, repairability. He found two options; the R61 14” widescreen and the R61 in 15” widescreen. Both computers have a resolution of WXGA+ (1400X900), a 2.0 Ghz Penryn processor, a 250 GB 5400 rpm hard drive, and 1 GB of RAM. The 14” is 5.2 pounds and the 15” is 6.4 pounds. Pat said that we must stay in the R series range for price. The T series is higher end and the R series is the workhorse model. Pat said people don’t like computers that are too big and/or too heavy. Lenovo increased the feature set for R series. The computers have a matte finish and the 14” has a Firewire port. Each has a titanium composite honeycombed plate on the bottom and top. The wireless antenna gets better reception. The 14” model can have a web camera. Each model comes with the smaller 3 cell battery but we could get the 6 cell battery. However, this would increase the weight of the computer. The computers have the 128MB Nvidia Quad graphics card. Pat said this model is faster and runs cooler than current models. Luis mentioned that in last negotiation, faculty had the option to get the T series. Pat said that IS can’t offer the T model series to faculty this year. Rick asked about the R61 model in comparison to the T60 (current model to be traded in). Pat said that the two are comparable. Yip said the processor is not a true Penryn processor. It only has 2 MB of cache as opposed to 6 or 8 MB. It may not be faster than the T60p model. Yip didn’t think that screens offer WXGA+ resolution. Yip said that IBM never gives us the true specifications of the models. He said that the new models are actually slower than the R60. He said that the graphics cards are slower. He said that we would be dropping to a 2 MB cache from 4 MB cache with the new model. Pat said we got the T60p by mistake because Lenovo misquoted us. Because we had it in writing, they honored their mistake. Paul clarified that the new model will be better than his T60 but not better than the T60p. Rick said that we won’t get a T60p equivalent at our price point. Rick pointed out that we might have considered putting more money into the laptop budget if we couldn’t get the T60p model. He said that we need to have a discussion about this. He said that he thinks it would help everyone involved if we had good, hard benchmarks so the university can make a decision if we are at the right price point. Todd asked if the new model has been tested for use with Solaris. He said that Windows is not the right thing for Computer Science and they have problems keeping Linux going. The more proprietary video cards are a problem for Linux compatibility. Pat said that Tim Miller has said that Nvidia is better for Linux than ATI. Yip asked Todd if Computer Science would not use the closed source video driver. He said they would use it but that support is an issue. Pat said that he is checking with Tim and Jonas about Linux compatibility. Todd said that T60p is great computer. There is a configuration issue that only one model has a firewire port. Delphine asked if we have to stick with 1 GB of RAM. Pat said that he can only afford 1 GB with the budget he has been given. Delphine clarified that you will have remove both modules to upgrade to 2 GB. Yip said that online you can get 1 GB as one RAM module at no cost but we can’t get that at our level of negotiation. He also pointed out that it is hard to install more RAM . Additions would have to be installed by IS. Delphine and Rick agreed that it is worth negotiating additional RAM. Yip said the issue is who will bear the cost. Yip said that the street price of RAM is $30. Paul said that we should say if there is a performance issue we need to consider that. The price is low and the performance benefit is high. The university should consider this. Paul moved that the committee recommend additional RAM for the new model. Anne, Pat, and Luis will take this issue to the administration.
The second agenda item was report on Blackboard Survey (Jolie Tingen). This agenda item was moved to the next meeting.
The third agenda item was project prioritizing at IS (Rick Matthews) Rick wants to start a group to get together every two weeks to go through IS academic projects for priority. He said that IS is very busy working on a back log of requests. The name of the group is the IS Partnership Council. Mike Tesh, Mary Gerardy, Tim Snyder, Paul Heinrichs are on the administrative group. He wants the CIT to have representation in the academic group. He said the goal is for the group to reach consensus. Luis asked how long the meetings will be. Rick said that the group will meet every two weeks for a year then once a month. Meetings should last about an hour. Luis asked a representative from every division is needed. Rick said that would be too big. He said that if the CIT recommends a representative from every division, he will do that. But he wants something smaller. He said this will only work if we’re making people happy. Todd said that the reason there is a conflict is because administrative needs are always more important than academic needs. Todd said that academic needs its own pool of resources such as an academic computing group. Rick said that we are too small to have a dedicated group. Rick said that until about a year ago we had academic resources from IS. Right after the Banner deployment, new administrators came with different data needs. This taxed IS to reconfigure Banner to meet those needs. He said there are information ownership issues. IS figured this out about the time Banner went live. He said that IS could get most of the work done in a year. He said that as we move into the fall there will be more resources available for academic resources. He said the financial system isn’t looking for innovation – just to run. He thinks that it doesn’t make sense to create a separate academic computing group when looking long range. Todd said that if Tim Miller goes to Banner their program can not survive. Rick said that this group will set those parameters. He said there are non-Banner things that are happening. Rick said that he would send out an e-mail before Monday about the group. Jeff has volunteered. Todd will ask Stan about representation from Computer Science. The chairs will be informed of the committee. Rick said this group will have as little bureaucracy as possible. Hugh and Delphine think that Computer Science will help identify requests. IS defines how much work each project will take and what else will break when setting up projects. Anne said that an example of an academic request is that a faculty member requested a new feature of WIN. Rick said this group closes the loop on the process and that is exciting. Anne has a sheet that tracks every project. Rick said that at every meeting the group gets a report on project progress. Nothing will slip through the cracks. Rick is looking for volunteers and it doesn’t have to be CIT committee members.
The fourth agenda item was open source software (Todd Torgersen). Todd has used open source software a great deal. He uses Solaris, Linux, and Irix. He primarily uses open source applications. The body of open source is huge. He said that he needs a 64 bit operating system for his work in computer science. Yip said that we can move to 64 bit. Todd said that 64 bit is not just the issue. He also needs horsepower. He said that someone mentioned to him the committee was looking at open source web authoring software. He heard that Adobe pricing is rising. Pat said that there is a cost issue and an operability issue. Delphine argued that since we are training professionals we need what the professionals use. Todd asked if Adobe is not giving us a good price break. Delphine said that the student price for the Adobe suite is $1,000. He said that OpenOffice is a drop-in replacement for Microsoft Office. Todd asked about SeaMonkey for web development. Yip said that it is not being developed. Pat said that Adobe does not sell concurrent licenses for Dreamweaver. Pat said that when the laptop program began, the university wanted to put tools in students’ hands that they would use as professionals. Todd said that we should be looking at changes in that world. He used video shops as an example. Movies like Titanic were produced on Linux computers. Pat agreed that we should look at open source. Paul said that we should be looking at infrastructure alternatives. For example, Blackboard could be replaced by open source. He said that it wouldn’t disadvantage us to move away from Windows or PowerPoint in terms of the discipline of History. Yip said that California is buying concurrent licenses for Dreamweaver. Pat said that he has been asking for a year for concurrent licensing with no luck. Delphine asked why the consortium is dragging us down for price. Yip asked if we need to look at purchasing our own licenses. Susan asked if we need to put Dreamweaver on the laptop. Todd said that we need labs. Rick said that rooms are expensive. Pat said that we can get away with 500 licenses. Pat said this is the tip of the iceberg in terms of price increases for licenses. Rick said that we should separately negotiate the Adobe Suite. Rick said that it’s often cheaper to get all applications. We have upgrade protection on Dreamweaver which means that we own the product and pay to upgrade. With Acrobat we only license the computers distributed each year. Pricing and mode is not the same for all software programs. To virtualize Dreamweaver is another license agreement. We would need a new negotiation. There would be a minimal fee. Delphine asked about performance degredation. Pat said there would be performance issues with some programs using virtualization. Rick said the real driver for that kind of deployement is not great for the academic environment. Anne said we should find out who is using Dreamweaver and if they could use something else. Delphine said that CS 101 uses Dreamweaver but Todd said they don’t have to use that. Yip said that Microsoft is giving software away to students (DreamSpark). Anne asked if the ITGs can look to see what faculty are using. Jolie said the ITGs have previously provided this information but she will ask again. Delphine said that programmers will use Dreamweaver. Delphine mentioned that Knowledge2Work needs Dreamweaver. Todd suggested that we should just buy the licenses we need.
The next CIT meeting is March 26, 2008 at 3:00 pm in the ZSR Library Director’s conference room.