Monthly Archives: October 2009

Encouraging open source in education

I’ve read today a case study by Gregor Bierhals about an Austrian project called desktop4education which creates a desktop environment for school based on open suse.

The fact that really surprised me (and for the better) was the fact that the federal government help the project by sending CDs/DVDs to other school and even willing to award schools to move to open source software and reducing license fees.

While schools don’t pay the the Microsoft Office license fee (10 euro per station), the federal government has decided to pay the schools 10 euro for each station that moved to open source software.

However, by the time of writing the situation is about to change as the Federal government increasingly adopts a policy that promotes the use of open source software in Austrian schools. Exemplary to this is the government’s decision to pay any school €10 for each workstation that runs the free productivity suite Open Office that is provided by Sun Microsystems in replace of Microsoft Office, for which the government introduced a calculative license fee of €10.

I think this decision is radical as it motives the schools to move to open source software, and benefiting financially from the move. So while the government might pay a bit more, the money goes to the schools instead of commercial companies. I’m sure that’s a better investment of tax payers money.

I can just hope more governments will adopt this policy.

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