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UK Government criticised for stifling open sauce in schools

Coalition of the unwilling
Tue Dec 19 2006, 11:09
OPEN SOURCE SOFTWARE is being kept out of schools through government policy which "stifles innovation and locks users into high cost software," open sorcerers claim.

John Pugh MP tabled an early day motion (EDM) in November, questioning a policy that promotes the "exclusive use of expensive, proprietary software in schools". He has since received support from nearly one in five backbench MPs, according to the Open Schools Alliance.

It claims the Department for Education and Skills favours the use of proprietary technologies from the likes of Microsoft. This is despite extensive research by the government's education ICT quango, BECTA, showing that schools could save millions by switching to Open Source software.

Sue McGuire, School Governor and member of the Open Schools Alliance said she is "concerned with the actual economics of the DfeS argument - someone must be able to explain why software that is supplied free of charge is supposed to cost more than similar software from the wealthiest company in the world."

MP Pugh reckons shcools should support independent or open source software firms. He says, "In my experience a school is a key part of the community and as such has a role to play in the economy of that community. By supporting SMEs the local high-technology industry will be encouraged which will benefit everyone." µ



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