Student Computer Ownership Committee Meeting Minutes

January 22, 2001


Members Present: Gregory Abowd (CoC), Linda Cabot (OIT), Rob Riding (Bookstore), Dan Morrison (Housing), Matthew Realff (CoE), Micab Shaw (UG), Marc Smith (CoE), Kathy Tomajko (Lib)

The major purpose of the meeting was to finalize hardware and software recommendations for Fall 2001.

The committee felt that the current hardware recommendations that can be found on were sufficient and that they should be extended to include laptops with the same specifications. The SCO pages have been updated to reflect that change.

It was decided that since laptops were being added to the list of possible hardware, we will go ahead and modify the SCO page to try to give some guidance as to the pros and cons of laptop purchase. These modifications have been made.

There has been "progress" on the anti-virus software and the contract has been negotiated. We will go with the NAI anti-virus with a perpetual site license for 100K and a yearly fee of 36K. The software will be made available through OIT and we will place a link off the SCO page. We are looking at a free distribution on CD.

We considered three requests for possible additions to the SCO recommended software suite:

Adobe Distiller - possible use as a PDF generator for project and homework turn-in. Linda Cabot had found license costs of $5000/100 licenses. The committee felt that the benefit of Distiller was not sufficient to justify adding this to the recommended suite. The full version of Adobe Acrobat has additional features beyond the generation of PDFs that make it attractive to faculty and staff, but this would cost $99, and thus it was not worth creating the ability to purchase the Distiller only through OIT. The committee will continue to consider the issue of student turn-in format and how this can best be supported given the advances in software versions and the lack of support for faculty in purchasing updates.

SAS - used in economics. The software can be purchased through MSD for $225/PC and a $200 renewal. Although this package was once supported on the computer clusters, it has not been for the last 3-4 years. The committee felt that the high cost per student and the relatively specialized use (one School) did not justify adding this to the recommended software at the Institute level.

IGOR - used in bioengineering. The software is $337/PC and $127 renewal. Again this software was considered too expensive and limited to one school's use to include it in the recommendations.

The committee also recommends the removal of Kaleidagraph from the recommended suite. This has not seen widespread use, only one course in the last 3-5 years has required it. Many of the functions that this software tool provides are available in Matlab or Excel which are in the suite, and its more advanced features are not used in a wide enough variety of courses to justify its retention.

There was no update on the bookstore.

The SCO web pages were again viewed with the changes that had been made and a few further updates were made. The pages will be finalized before the Academic Senate meeting on the 6th of February.