Skolelinux for Germany's Rhineland-Palatinate Schools

Mar 16, 2009

From now on, the schools in Germany's Rhineland-Palatinate federal state will be running Skolelinux on their computers, based on a decision made a year ago. The project is now announcing its next phase.

The federal state schools will not only adopt Skolelinux as their operating system, but also use it to develop curriculum in 11 pilot schools. The 10-point plan, roughly translated as "Media Competence Is Our Schools," involves an adapted Skolelinux version, according to Burkhard Schaefer, consultant for the federal state's ministry of education, science, youth and culture: "The decision went to Skolelinux because it offered through available pedagogical network solutions from the Debian community a sustainable development based on software concepts." Rhineland-Palatinate is the second federal state after Hamburg to select a Linux solution for its schools.

Klaus Knopper (of Knoppix fame) and Professor Bettina Reuter of the University of Applied Sciences in Kaiserslautern assumed project leadership. They will adapt Skolelinux to the educational needs of the federal state and integrate the results into the international project. Knopper’s assessment of the software is that, "Based on its openness and compliance with open standards it can achieve a stability that current proprietary systems cannot attain."

A newly founded Society for Advancement of Free Software in Rhineland-Palatinate Schools should address the wishes and suggestions of teachers and administrators and pass them on to the project. Director of the society Thomas Rhode summarized the advantages of Skolelinux as, "With it, everyone can actively participate in the future of information technology and still have fun doing it." For one thing, students can take the school software home for their private use.

After the first phase, ending in March, in which schools integrate their existing networks with Skolelinux and manage them with Skolelinux servers, schools then have until April 3, 2009 to apply to get the Linux variant installed on their hardware.

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