Spanish Government Reconsiders School Laptop Project

May 25, 2009

A widespread project to equip Spanish primary students with laptops was under attack by the free software community for being an undercover operation from Microsoft to take over the educational system in the country. Now the government is considering a kind of dual booting system.

As we reported some days ago here, a widespread project to equip Spanish primary students with laptops was under attack by the free software community for being an undercover operation from Microsoft to take over the educational system in the country. In the ongoing flurry of official announcements since then, the government has back-pedaled several times, changing its original agenda to include regions that are already using free software, and then again to announce that the systems would be dual-booting devices.

Note that dual booting does not mean in this context what it means to the rest of the world, the idea being that recipients of the machines would choose the OS they want to use during the first boot and the non-selected OS would be erased from the device automatically. However, this would still mean paying Microsoft for licenses on all laptops, even though in many cases their software would be jettisoned. This would be against the law in Spain, because the government would be paying for products and services that it is not receiving. This was pointed out by HispaLinux, which led to more backpedaling. The latest announcement, coming from Leire Pajín, Secretary of Organization of the ruling socialist party, explicitly states that "we are going to make sure that those computers come with open source."

But it still seems that the powers that be in Spain haven't given this new focus much consideration: publishing school textbooks in Spain is a multimillion-euro business and many publishers have insisted that the digital books that go on to the laptops be DRM-protected. How exactly this would be technically and legally implemented on an all FLOSS-based device remains to be seen.

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Comments

  • Corruption = Microsoft = ROBERY

    Is a shame, that such things happen in Europe. Specially the absolutely stupid solution of Dual Boot... And specially if you have to pay for a system you will not use.

    For me is a question of Europe independence, honesty, progress and evolution. Hope the Spain people, make a good example, of this, to all Europe and stop Microsoft invasion in schools... The future is the children, and is very important they begin to use Linux or other computer solutions besides Microsoft. So they can growth healthy and open minded adults, to a bigger universe of solutions.
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