Implementing a free solution costs money in training, deployment, etc. But I'd rather pay that price than having a company lock my government data.
I don't quite understand the problem with governments not being able to modify proprietary source code though - where is the practical disadvantage?
With open source, you can customize your systems to a great extent. You also employ local specialists to do so. And you can make minimal systems for critical applications. With predictable behavior. Ones that don't message box or screen saver on you.
By the way, there's also a petition to promote open source software in American schoos, too:
I wonder who could have written the spec.
2) Perhaps you have not heard or understood that people are dying of hunger or freezing from cold because the government has increased taxes on food, electricity, gas and oil/petrol. This is not the majority of course, but they are enough.
3) MS products are "standard business" in your business. That does not mean it is for every one nor that it should be.
4) Schools are not training centers for businesses. For god sake, public education is about other values, not creating what some businesses require.
As I watch my kids go through school (my oldest started college this year), it was clear since 6th grade that education is about finding your path to a career. The only way that works is if the education people are receiving is of value to businesses.
So, while it is certainly possible for an individual to pursue an education for its own sake, the educational system is a training center for businesses.
Everyone (I hope...) is free to believe whatever they think right. However, in some respects, I feel sad about your kids.
My belief is that education should shape values, ethics and other boring things.
2) Holy cow, that's a loaded argument: "Use Linux or people will starve!!!"
4) Fully agreed.
2) This is nowhere near what I said. You should better think before you speak, especially when it is about people dieing as a result of other people's decisions.
YES, there is an increasing number of people committing suicide saying in their suicide notesthat they can not live being a burden and/or without dignity (http://www.keeptalkinggreece.com/2012/11/22/greece-in-crisis...) because of a government/EU/bankers inflicted "crisis".
YES, there are a lot of disabled people who are being left to die as a result of "reduced spending" (http://www.keeptalkinggreece.com/2012/11/06/health-s-o-s-gre...)
YES, since this winter it looks like there will be even more people with health problem because of other "unforeseen consequences" I would never believe could happen (http://www.keeptalkinggreece.com/2012/12/27/athens-suffocate...).
In a situation where the government
a)is taxing people living on 0 euro per year (through a system which claims that even if you declared 0e income you need at least 3000e to survive/exist so you will be taxed for 3000e income)
b) cuts down on 280e/month pensions
c) cuts down on health spending to the extend that hospitals ask patient's relatives to buy consumables
d) people stopped turning on their heating because heating oil has been heavily taxed (4x in less than 10 years). There are already enough occasions of people died in fires (http://www.keeptalkinggreece.com/2012/12/10/freezing-and-dyi...)
Then YES, a few millions paid to microsoft annoys me A LOT and I do not want to be paying for MS skilled workers.
2) Why is that bad in the context of school?
The correct answer is: Nobody cares. You are bullshitting us.
I mean, maybe it will matter. Maybe it won't. Maybe everyone will migrate to tablets.
You don't have to teach narrow and expiring skills in school. Like "Windows XP" or "Microsoft Office". The half-life of such skills is smaller than the length of the full school course.
And of course you should not rely on the teaching of narrow and expiring skills and lie to us about how someone is going to lose billions over narrow and expiring skills being teached in a different way.
By the time they get out of school, there will be the next big thing around them. Thing ms dos -> windows, menus -> ribbon, classical -> tiled windows, pc -> tablet.
It does not make sense and you should not base your decisions on it..
It can be more useful to train students in commercial software if they are ubiquitous everywhere else. For example, in a graphic design course, one would teach students to use Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign, etc. It would be detrimental to train them in GIMP and Inkscape, as aside from these software being substandard for serious use, hardly anyone uses them. Whereas showing someone how to use even the older CS2 version of Photoshop, these skills will transfer easily to the latest CS6.
In case of graphic design, school should let the creativity of the children involved unfold. So now you have to prove that GIMP and Inkscape are detrimental to creativity.
The "skills" gained in school do not matter. But open source has another strong poit: convenience.
Compare two stories.
A teenager took a course in design on CS2, liked it, but didn't have the software on his home computer so he didn't practice extracirricularly. After coming to the design field in ten years he discovers he doesn't remember anything and the skills he does remember are obsolete. He's also not very good since the lack of practice.
A teenager took a course in design on GIMP. He installed GIMP at home, designed every day religiously for ten years. After coming to the design field he picked up some Photoshop skills and was happily designing ever since.
Anyway, GIMP is seriously limited when compared to the feature set of Photoshop. It makes no sense for him to kickstart a design career using inferior software, just because it happens to be open sourced.
The feature set is an interesting question but an orthogonal to one we've been discussing, that is: preferring the current mainstream, business-adopted software even if it costs significantly more.
I don't see why you demote this to merely an option. It's the cruical selling point. Open source programs also tend to be cross platform (available to more students) and support open data formats (their data will not be locked, flowing freely).
At the client end, my students are already using a variety of devices of their own with non-Microsoft interfaces. I have no doubt of their ability to cope with client PCs that had (say) Gnome Shell or Unity running on them, certainly no issues with XFCE4 or one of the Gnome 3 'remixed' interfaces. We already use RDP to access more exotic software such as Adobe/Autocad &c. The musicians and media people have their Macs for Logic and Final Cut.
As always it comes down to the business systems, and daring to be the first institution to change. If Greece is still at the stage of putting building-wide wifi into their schools, well, it strikes me that there is an opportunity to try a different approach possibly with lower total cost.
Anything over and above that _is_ waste.
(FWIW, I dislike the term 'training'. Someone else said this first, but I agree: training is what you do to dogs, education is what you provide people.)
Open source would have caused Greece to spend a part of that money inside the country, employing local specialists.
For example, it's worth paying for Windows Server just for how much easier it is to run large deployments of PCs and users from it using Active Directory, group policies and suchlike. Rather than hacking something up in Linux or whatever.
Your argument assumes that the commercial and open-source offerings are equal in quality and features, when in fact the major commercial software is far superior.
My argument isn't an abstract commercial vs open-source one: it all hinges on the quality of the software: if Microsoft suddenly open-sourced their entire operating system and productivity suites, they would still be the top choice in my book.
But I argue that for large-scale development it is feasible to develop a Linux distribution that will fit schools better than Windows ever does. With everything school workplace needs, installable in one click.
Laptops? Seriously? Is the premium for buying laptops instead of desktops for school computers really justified, especially under the dire economic situation?
"We need your help to complete the translation of Apache OpenOffice 3.4 into Greek!
"This note is in English because we have no one to translate it into your language. The links on the page will help you download and install OpenOffice.org 3.3.0, an older version of our product. It is missing many bug fixes, performance enhancements and even new features that are in Apache OpenOffice 3.4.
"We would be happy to make Apache OpenOffice 3.4 available in Greek, but we need help completing the translation of the user interface."
Whereas the latest version of Microsoft Office has a full and comprehensive Greek translation as standard, upon release, done by professionals.