foobar on computers, software and the rest of the world


UK schools to become more open-source friendly

, posted: 22-May-2008 05:19

Officials in the UK traditionally have chosen software from Microsoft, and have earned a lot of criticism for this over the years. Now we hear that purchasing decisions for schools will be made differently there. Specifically, open source companies were invited and are encouraged to participate in tenders:
Becta, the government procurement quango, reformed its purchasing regime to break the software giant's hold on education, and launched a programme to get schools to adopt open source software.
I have long argued for the necessity of open source in schools and educational facilities. There is really no reason at all why software in schools has to be proprietary. People often ask me: Why should we use open source in schools? I think this needs to be turned around: Why do you think you should NOT use open source? Why do you feel you have to use proprietary software?

Another quote from the article:
Becta has also specifically called on open source companies to join its £80 million framework list of certified suppliers of software to schools ... The last framework list consisted entirely of Microsoft suppliers and drew Becta widespread criticism for favouring the convicted monopolist over cheaper, homegrown alternatives.
The last sentence there is important: As long as you buy from a single vendor your (tax) money will go wherever that vendor is, who in this case happens to be overseas. Your tax dollars/pounds/euros are better spent supporting your local economy and helping to grow local expertise and businesses. And don't say that local consultancies who specialise in Microsoft solutions would also do the trick here. A significant portion of the money will always go into Microsoft license fees, which almost entirely will be sent off to Redmond.

The UK still has a long way to go, since Microsoft is so deeply entrenched there. But this at least is the beginning of a good development.


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Other related posts:
UK government supports open source
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New Zealand


  • Who I am: Software developer and consultant.
  • What I do: System level programming, Linux/Unix. C, C++, Java, Python, and a long time ago even Assembler.
  • What I like: I'm a big fan of free and open source software. I'm Windows-free, running Ubuntu on my laptop. To a somewhat lesser degree, I also follow the SaaS industry.
  • Where I have been: Here and there, all over the place.




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