Lab computers are defined to be any computer that is available for campus use with software managed by CIT. The content of the lab software is determined by the needs of the faculty each year.
A request for lab software is sent to the faculty in the spring semester. Each summer, the labs undergo major software and hardware upgrades or replacements. During the academic year, physical access to lab computers is limited by classes and thus only minor maintenance is performed during fall break, winter term, and spring break. These changes are relegated to certain times of the year because there is a lot of work and careful testing that goes into lab image preparation.
In order to install a new piece of software, we have to test the software itself; make sure that it doesn’t conflict with all the other special software installed; make sure that our use conforms to manufacturer’s license requirements. Often software that is free for the end user requires a license at an institutional level.
Finally, we have to make sure that using the software does not conflict with our existing licenses and the implementation thereof. As a result of this level of work, we do not make changes to individual machines within a lab as that would necessitate another image just for one computer. For these reasons, we also do not temporarily repurpose some or all machines in a lab.
Overall, we have to make sure that the labs function optimally for the most people. Accommodating each person’s preference and software desires proves untenable and unaffordable.