This report is full of half-truths and non-truths:
On Fri, 2006-09-01 at 00:48 +0530, Frederick Noronha wrote:
The changeover on computers used in some 12,500 high
schools in the
state of Kerala is set for Friday, and teachers are being trained on
the new software, said the state's education minister, M.A. Baby.
The change over has happened in almost half the schools last year
itself. Eighth standard changed the year before last. The new Supplement
that was brought out to enable the change clearly states in its preface
that IT education will now use Free Software. It is unimaginable that
the switch takes place one fine morning in the middle of a school year!
The decision to switch to Linux came after free
software guru Richard
Stallman, founder of the open-source GNU software project, visited
Kerala two weeks ago, and persuaded officials to discard proprietary
software, such as Microsoft, at state-run schools, Baby said.
The IT@School project had already decided to switch to Free Software,
and, as mentioned above, a large number of schools had already made the
switch before Stallman came here.
Despite the denials that Microsoft was the target,
M.A. Shahnawaz, of the Congress party, said he believed the decision
was based on the communists'opposition to the software giant's
Interestingly, the decision had already been taken before the new
ministry took charge, though it was the leftist teachers union and the
present Chief Minister (the then opposition leader) that had put their
weight behind the move and made it possible.
He cited the communists'opposition to a
training program that the Congress party enacted in 2002 when it ruled
It was a training programme that was supported by Intel and Microsoft,
and the opposition first came from the FS supporters. The opposition was
not just because it was supported by Microsoft, but because it promoted
Microsoft software and Intel products explicitly. This opposition should
be supported by anyone who believes in maintaining ethical standards in
"I think schools should be given the option to
choose whether teachers
are to be trained in Linux systems or Microsoft,"Shahnawaz said.
As though they are two different companies!
V. Sasi Kumar <sasi.fsf(a)gmail.com>
Free Software Foundation of India