10 Dec

Open Source for Education

One often hears that schools want Micro$oft products and proprietary software ‘because it is what is used in business’. Notwithstanding the fact that by the time kids reach the workplace Redmond will have totally changed the user interface and menu sequences for all their products, or the fact that it is good to learn about ‘spreadsheets and databases’ more than ‘Exel and Access’, here is a good pressing argument for free and open source software (FOSS): it will lead to it’s use in business and consequently a lower cost business environment..

The Macedonian government is deploying a vast thin client architecture for their schoolkids and chose FOSS for that reason:

Some developing countries can be resistant to open source as they want to use the software they associate with developed countries — that is, Windows and Office. Was this a problem in Macedonia? —
Our product will work just fine under Microsoft Windows as well, but this was purely the decision made by the Macedonian government in terms of wanting to use open-source tools. Microsoft was involved in the programme, proposing using Windows XP Home Edition, but the government decided it wanted to stay with open-source. This was a decision the government made associated with wanting very low-cost infrastructure. [The decision was made] not just for the students to learn technology but, as they transition to the business community, having a very low-cost technology for businesses [is beneficial] as well.

The wider and interesting article is here. Let’s hope a certain Seattle based firm doesn’t use it’s monopoly power to corrupt this..