First off, here's an entertaining and, to be blunt, entirely bogus quote from a Fronter representative:
Moodle can’t meet the availability and reliability necessary for a 24-hour-a-day, seven-day-a-week operation.Let's look at least one of the huge assumptions packed into such a tiny statement. First of all, this statement attempts to reinforce the notion that using an Open Source tool means that it's got to be installed on a second-hand (and probably old) server somewhere in a dusty server room, probably maintained by a pale-skinned geek who, if he doesn't communicate in binary, barely speaks English and might live in a shed. It's a bit like saying that MS Office wouldn't be worth relying on because there's a chance it might be installed on a old, dodgy laptop with a flaky hard disk and badly seated memory and the "S" key missing from the keyboard. The above statement would ring true if it read:
A badly-run and supported server can’t meet the availability and reliability necessary for a 24-hour-a-day, seven-day-a-week operation.Now that rings true, but do you see the problem with a statement like that? This statement would mean that any learning platform, VLE, or other critical service would not "meet the availability and reliability" if the service underpinning it wasn't up to scratch. Imagine the horror if a core element of a Learning Platform service wasn't available for four days. That couldn't happen. Could it? Oops, looks like it could. Now then, the RM Easymail system can be part of the RM Learning Platform offering, but could you see a Fronter rep saying something similar about RM? Nope, I didn't think so either...
How badly thought through that statement is becomes even clearer when you consider what Becta have said (again and again) about what the Learning Platform framework is about. It's not about a product, it's about a service. That service is the totality of everything - the product, the infrastructure supporting it, the helpdesk which supports the users... hopefully you get the idea. Also, does the Fronter rep seriously think that the Open University, the LSE and others aren't bothered about their services being available 24/7?
Now of course, any server can go down, but that doesn't reflect on the services being run on it - unless you're threatened by another product, in which case don't worry about being accurate, just make stuff up. A quote from an RM rep says:
What are the costs of hosting, managing and running it? What does it cost to tailor it to what you want it to be? Moodle is very 'tailorable' but it can have slightly higher configuration charges. You have to sit down and do it yourself or every teacher has to, and that has a cost.Well, let's answer that in the context that I know about, that of what we're doing in Bucks.
The cost of hosting, managing and running it? The same, if not less, than any commercial offering. Moodle is offered to our schools as part of their broadband connection and costs them nothing to host. As for managing and running it - the cost is the same as anything and it's a time cost and resourcing cost for the thing that's worth investing in - people. This cost exists for any learning environment and it's a fallacy to suggest otherwise.
To suggest that every teacher needs to configure Moodle themselves is bizarre (and for what it's worth fits neatly into at least one of the Top 10 Moodle Myths which you might like to read immediately after).
Yet again, take a closer look at that statement. How is the notion of "slightly higher configuration charges" arrived at? We've been working with West Sussex and other LAs to develop, over a number of years, the optimum way of setting up Moodles for our schools and this doesn't cost the schools anything. Actually, a phrase like "slightly higher configuration charges" does sound exactly like it's inspired by the Wikipedia definition of Fear Uncertainty and Doubt referred to earlier...
FUD is generally a strategic attempt to influence public perception by disseminating negative (and vague) information.
Here's a statement which made me smile (wryly and to myself):
The need for interoperability is crucial, insist the [proprietary] learning platform people, because secondary schools are expected to work collaboratively with neighbouring schools on the new 14-19 diplomas.
The implication of this statement is that it's not possible to interoperate with Moodle. Well, it's a good thing that that's crucial, since we've only got a system which allows single sign-on for any of our users into any school Moodle (with permission) using the same username and password - and all this without going near Shibboleth (which Moodle can do in its sleep).
Sometimes statements like this confuse me. I can't decide if they come from an accidental misunderstanding of Moodle (or whatever) or a deliberate piece of misinformation. As it's a new year and I'm feeling charitable, I'll assume the former, but you can make up your own mind. Either way, these statements are just plain wrong. Rest assured though, if you're a school trawling around BETT this week and you mention that you're using Moodle to one of the Becta LP Platform suppliers, they'll be doing their best to scare you out of it...