Socialist Party in Spain wants open source on school laptops

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Socialist Party in Spain wants open source on school laptops

Spain’s socialist party (PSOE) wants the laptops that are to be disseminated to 420,000 school students in September to be equipped with open source software.

According to a report by the Spanish newspaper El Mundo, Leire Pajín, the party’s secretary in a speech in the city of Toledo last Friday said: “We will ensure these computers use open source.”

Pajín responded to plans announced by the Spanish government last month to hand out laptops with only proprietary software to all primary school students.

Apart from the political opposition, the school laptop plan has been criticised by teachers, parent organisations the Spanish free software association Hispalinux and the Spanish consumer advocacy group ‘Facua-Consumidores en Acción’.

Spanish newspaper El Pais for instance quoted high school teacher Marta Pacheco of the Averoes school in Cordoba, saying the proprietary software licences would be too expensive yet working with open source would limit the number of options.

Hispalinux in April criticised the laptop plan, saying the government had not even requested a public tender for the laptops. According to El Mundo, the Facua-Consumer Action organisation has written prime minister José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero and the minister of Education, Ángel Gabilondo, urging them to make sure the school computers use open source software, to avoid promoting just a single brand.

The group warned that fitting the laptops with both proprietary and open source operating systems would mean a huge expense for the government, forcing it to by thousands of proprietary licences. “Using only free software would result in substantial savings for the state and the autonomous regions.”

Visiting Toledo on Friday, Pajín complimented the governments of Castile-La Mancha and Extremadura, both of which have developed open source systems used in their schools.

More information:

El Mundo news item (in Spanish)

Software livre news item (in Portuguese)

El Pais news item (in Spanish)

Source : OSOR

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