Student Computer Ownership Committee Meeting

January 23, 2002


Members Present:  Gregory Abowd (CoC, chair), Linda Cabot (OIT), Miles Edson (Housing/ResNet), Kathy Tomajko (Library), Jim McClellan (ECE), Gene Germanovich (student), Matthew Realff (CHE)


The following items were discussed:

1.  The hardware and software requirements document, to appear on the SCO Web site, was discussed and revised. A version of the document is being distributed to the SCO committee for final approval and is being taken over by OIT to update the SCO Web site by mid-February. The following issues arose in these discussions:

 a. There was a request from the College of Computing to consider including a data base package in the software suite. After discussion, this request was turned down because there is no clear cross-platform database product to recommend at a reasonable price to the students. Some alternatives will be communicated to the College of Computing. First, the campus has a site license to Oracle and they could consider having students use that for the intro CS course introduction to databases. Second, the College of Computing has a separate agreement to license software from Microsoft and could consider extending that to students while enrolled in the CS intro course, though this will not satisfy a database solution for Macintosh users.

b.  There was another request from the College of Computing to have the Macintosh OS recommendation be for OS 10.1. This OS was added explicitly to the list, but the software requirement still includes OS 9.1 since it is required to remain on the list for backwards compatibility.

c.       An additional Q&A item was added to the end of the document to provide advice to students wanting to run an OS that is not on the recommended software list. This makes it explicit that OIT does not guarantee support.

d.      It will be made more explicit on the SCO Web site that Netscape 6.x does not work with the online Banner registration system. This point was also added to the requirements document.

e.       Another discussion concerning the addition of PDF utilities to the software list was initiated. We have decided not to include that this year but to pursue this issue more fervently in the coming year. Opinions from the general faculty will be solicited through a general request from Ed Thomas. Based on this feedback, we will decide at the next meeting whether this committee wishes to recommend to OIT that a university license for PDF utilities be obtained. In addition, Linda Cabot will look into what PDF utilities are available on the prism system currently.

2.  In preparation for the remainder of this year’s activities, we had a discussion on topics to pursue. Those topics are:

a.       Investigation of PDF utilities in software suite (see discussion in 1e above).

b.      Discussion of the future of wireless access on campus and the impact on student computer ownership and this committee.

c.       Discussion of how this committee can make an effective case to the campus on the true cost of student computer ownership to the campus as a whole. The purpose of this activity is to determine whether the campus needs to provide additional funding to pay for this cost, rather than have it absorbed by the existing budgets of units like OIT and Housing.

d.      With the new Library Commons area and the impending construction of ILRC, this committee feels the need to be more educated on the future of common spaces on campus and how it will affect student computer ownership.


Action Items:

1)  Gregory Abowd: communicate decision of SCOC on two requests by College of

Computing to alter software recommendation suite.

2)  Linda Cabot: Make sure SCO Web site is updated to indicate incompatibility of

Netscape 6.x with Banner online registration system.

3)  Matthew Realff: draft letter to be sent to Ed Thomas soliciting opinions from general faculty on the need to provide PDF utilities to students as part of the recommended software suite.

4)  Linda Cabot: Investigate and report back to this committee on availability of PDF tools on the prism system supported by OIT. The results of this will be turned into a Q&A on the SCO Web site.