Cheap and cheerful

Oct 23, 2008 11:05 · 172 words · 1 minute read

Glyn Moody points to a Russian press release which is announcing that Russian schools are switching over to open source software, and contrasts that with the virtual monopoly that Microsoft enjoys in the English education sector. As he points out, that’s primarly down to the virtually-total Microsoft centricity of Becta, the educational technology quango. In that respect, they’re a microcosm of the wider UK public sector.

There’s a golden opportunity coming up to change some of this, though - the Department of Children, Schools and Families is about to kick off a pilot home-access programme to ensure that all school-age children have access to the Interwebs at home. Given that it’s aimed primarily at low-income families, you’d think that low-cost options like open-source would be an ideal solution.

I’m not holding my breath, though - the process is being run by Becta through an “approved supplier” list due to be announced in January. And I’m fully expecting that it will consist of the usual RM-and-Microsoft suspects, flogging cut-price Vista and Office packages.