Open source community in spain protests national plan for school PCs


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 Open source community in spain protests national plan for school PCs

The Spanish free software association Hispalinux is protesting plans by the Spanish government to massively introduce Microsoft’s operating systems and applications on school computers.

In a statement published last Monday, the association alleges that the Spanish government is finalising a plan to supply all primary school students attending state schools with touch-screen computers, running Microsoft Windows and Microsoft Office. “We are not opposed to the plan to offer computers to school students. But we think it is an outright scandal the government is not using a public tender for this project and is settling on using proprietary software.”

The association says the deal is violating the country’s procurement rules. “This is not an example of good governance. There are free software alternatives available for education. These have passed rigorous testing in schools in the autonomous regions Extremadura, Andalusia and by pupils in cities such as Madrid and Valencia.”

“Some of these regions have been using free software in schools for about ten years. Moving them over to a proprietary system would void their investments and would mean a break in their philosophical approach.” Solutions based on free software has helped save the Spanish government a great deal of money, says Hispalinux. It suggests that instead of moving all schools to Microsoft software, the government should spend the money on 3235 new teachers with an annual salary of 30,000 euro.

Microsoft has earlier introduced its plan for school PCs in Catalonia last February. That announcement at the time surprised the open source developers involved in Catalonia’s open source schools project.

The Hispalinux association has about eight thousand members. The association has been involved in several political campaigns concerning open source and open standards.