My alma mater is setting up "lifetime email accounts" for alumni. Which seems nice, and makes sense for them trying to get their message out with a connection directly to alumni.

I'm surprised that email accounts haven't become more of a thing with most people having a mail client that will combine multiple accounts (their phone).

Imagine if your doctor gave you an account where you could send/receive messages. If they never left the server and used secure protocols to connect it'd work.

I'm surprised (and annoyed) that universities have refused to play the role they had for e-mail for other things (like e-mail encryption... or some IM protocol, like , or maybe Matrix these days). I'd love to have that from my uni, and it could have done a ton of good for the internet in general.

Instead, our IT department just outsourced pretty much everything to the cloud. All of our communication are belong to Microsoft now.


@Mr_Teatime ... expensive and difficult if done right so people leave that to those who know how to do it rather than doing it by themselves.

@z428 @ted
...except hospitals did not invent cars, but universities pretty much shaped the web ... and they have some specific requirements, none of which are taken are of now. We have pretty much a corporate infrastructure now and if you need to run a Linux machine, you're on your own.

They only dropped the plan to outsource the compute cluster after an external consultant found it'd cost 4 times as much. Despite the cluster admin shouting that at their faces for a year, in vain.

@Mr_Teatime I agree, but just to some point. Being into technology for research and future infrastructure purposes is one thing. Doing robust, scalable, available 24x7 hosting of e-mail or messaging infrastructure is another thing. Universities also at some point started buying pre-built computers rather than soldering and building them entirely on their own. Time moves on, maybe we just need more ethical cloud providers.

@z428 @ted

...difficult to contradict you there. Hosting bog-standard stuff with high uptime is done better and more efficiently by a dedicated company, indeed. However, forcing an entire university to use Outlook (no POP/IMAP available!) and Office 365 (not GDPR-compliant), while trating science comuting like office work (I have to manage Linux myself now, hardly time-efficient)... they've gone from trailblazing to abandoning agency in no time.

While _increasing_ the IT budget.

@z428 @ted

My analysis of what exactly the root of the problem is may be wrong, but the symptoms are plain to see: We pay more, and we get prefab service which doesn't take into account what a university does, is or should be.

All the ideas of free-thinking, breaking moulds etc.. are safely buried, at least with regards to IT, at least where I work.

@Mr_Teatime Hmmm, ok, valid point. Not sure about Office and GDPR but infrastructure outsourcing should not get into the way of the university and students "mission" to teach and make people tinker with things. But I think it's possible to do both, if done right.

@z428 @ted

here's a study on MS office and the GDPR:

My previous place (not a uni) moved IT service to a contractor, but they worked on stuff specific to us. We all had nicely configured Linux workstations. A bit on the "mature" side of things but if I needed stuff to work, it worked. Even had virtual Windows for MS office (I used LO, and that was also fine)

@z428 @ted

My issue is less with outsourcing and more about losing the will to do anything different from the norm.
They went from defining the modes of online communication to just following the herd (and, frankly, trailing a little...)

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