Tag Archive for 'education'

New Zealand school goes totally open source

Albany Senior High School in Auckland New Zealand is a new school, set up just last year in 2009. Most education institutions are “Microsoft shops” but this school has bucked the trend by going the free software route.

Applications used within the school include OpenOffice, Google Docs, Moodle for managing education content, and Mahara for student portfolios. The Koha software used by the school library was also customised to integrate more closely with the LDAP security system and to allow book recommendations.

Go my Kiwi cousins, go!

A call for the Government to use Free software

It has just been revealed that the Australian Government spends “over half a billion dollars each year” on proprietary software licenses. That’s somewhere over $500,000,000.

The Greens are heading a call for the Government to use free software and for the first time in my life I find myself agreeing with them.

Greens communication spokesman Scott Ludlam said:

“We know [software] costs are sky high and governments are a huge revenue source for companies like Microsoft, but there are also very strong public policy grounds for using open-source software. And one is to make sure that government information is accessible to the largest number of people as possible at no cost to them.”

It was on the front page of the Canberra Times yesterday.

If the PM wants to save money, here’s a great way to do it. In fact, for the cost of licenses for a single year, the Government could hire 5000 full time highly paid open source developers. By leveraging existing free software it wouldn’t be too hard to build anything and everything that the Government uses for it and the Educational sectors.

-c

Nicaraguan schools to move to Linux

Argentia, Brazil, Linux activity is a hot bed in South America. Now the latest country, Nicaragua, has announced that they are migrating their schools to Linux.

The Ministry of Education have plans for developing an Ubuntu-based educational distribution aimed at public and private elementary and secondary schools in Nicaragua…

One of the first tasks is to identify and classify all the free educational software included in the Ubuntu repositories, and see which software packages needs to be adapted to fit the national curriculum for schools and how much new software has to be developed from scratch.

Good on ‘em.

Danish and German schools to get OpenOffice.org

It’s happening all around the world, but here is a report from Germany and Danmark about schools rolling out OpenOffice.org.

The administration of the Danish municipality of Lyngby-Taarbæk is installing OpenOffice on some 1700 school desktop PCs, the administration announced yesterday. The first school where OpenOffice will be installed is the Lindegård school. At the school earlier today mayor Rolf Aagaard-Svendsen showed the first desktop running the open source suite of productivity tools. According to a report by the Danish IT news site Version2, the move to open source is intended to prevent students from using unlicensed software.

Meanwhile in Germany, trials of OpenOffice.org has begun as servers are migrated to Linux.

The city of Münster has started a pilot using OpenOffice in schools. The city’s IT department, Citeq, will also switch all of the 150 servers used in its primary and secondary schools over to GNU/Linux. Half of these have already been migrated to open source.

Hopefully we will see more of this as time rolls on!

NSW locks students into proprietary systems

The NSW Government has announced the roll out of 240,000 netbooks to year 9 students.

The system is completely proprietary:
Windows 7
Microsoft Office
Adobe Photoshop
Apple iTunes
and more..

But then I guess you’d expect nothing less from the Australian Indoctrination Education system.

Not only that, but the Government is touting these as “unhackable.” Oh yeah, right. Here we go..

This comment on Slashdot by by GradiusCVK says it all:

What is it with governments and hubris? If they had just shipped all these laptops without any mention of “unhackableness”, you know what would have happened?
1: 240,000 kids would have gotten reasonably secure systems with useful software on them
2: People would have noticed how secure and safe the systems were, and appreciated the low rate of problems they experienced
3: Eventually, some smart students would have figured out how to bypass all the security so they can play world of warcraft or something, but nobody would have cared and it wouldn’t have gotten any press

Instead, some asshat announces to the world “Bow to our unhackable laptops! We are awesome! HAHAHA!”, and now thousands of hackers and security researchers out there have made it their personal crusade to find a way to totally decimate all the security on the box. You’re right… It’s gonna take about 1 month for an exploit for these things to make it to the front page on slashdot. F****ing idiots.

Footnote:
Yes, I’m aware that security through obscurity is no security at all, but that’s not the issue here. The issue is that instead of nobody caring or trying to break the reasonable security they’ve implemented, now they’ve got thousands of people working on it. THAT does matter.

Sigh.