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Open source question for UK schools

Lawrence D'Oliveiro
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Critics say Becta — the government agency that oversees the procurement
of all technology for schools — has not done enough to promote OSS.

Peter Hughes, head of procurement agreements at Becta, told the BBC that
more would be done.


“Many schools are frozen in time from the year 2000, when it became
obvious computer literacy was not going to be optional but then they
haven’t moved on.

“They don’t want to move away from what they know, not just to Linux but
equally to Vista and Office 2007 as well. Good teachers will always be
looking to move forward but they are so busy that they are often
conservative ...”


“That said, schools still need to do their homework. There can be just
as many caveats with open source as there are with proprietary

And Microsoft’s view:

“A lot of people are trained in Microsoft-based technologies, so there
may be increased costs in re-training to learn how to use open source


He also mentioned the work Microsoft has done getting IIS, its flagship
web server software, to work with the PHP web scripting language.

Thereby adding to those “increased re-training costs”?

Mr Gavigan felt that the free nature of open source software sometimes
worked against it.

“Announcing you have spent amazing sums of money trying to tackle a
problem has more impact with your audience than saying you have used a
free solution. There is an unfortunate myth that if it doesn’t cost
anything, it isn’t worth anything” he said.

Overall a reasonable, balanced article.
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