Waraku Education

Ideas, experiments and observations as they occur [and I have time] relating to teaching and learning in a secondary school - special focus on ICT.

Tuesday, October 12, 2004

Why do schools pay for software licenses?

Just got an email from one of the members of my school's Governing Council with a link to a news story about how Newham Borough Council , as a consequence of serious research into converting to the use of Open Source software, was able to negotiate a far better deal with Microsoft
This reminded me of another story relating to Thailand where Microsoft refused to negotiate until it was too late.  The headline "Microsoft Loses to Linux in Thailand Struggle" - http://www.linuxinsider.com/story/32110.html
" First-time PC users in Thailand find that the Linux Thai Language Edition is easier to use than Windows. Because most computer users in Thailand are first-time users, Microsoft doesn't benefit from market inertia the way they do in older markets." - http://www.cabalamat.org/weblog/art_86.html 
Market inertia might be developing in other ways in these countries.
These stories are exactly the point of pursuing Open Source software strongly at my school.  I want the whole region to get the benefit of what we are trying to do for our kids. 
In my experience, people tend to want stay with what they learn first.  Learning something new = effort.  When they are given the second alternative they invariably say it is more difficult to learn, is not as friendly, etc. 
Lets teach them the 'free' stuff first -  seems the only responsible thing to do.  Why do schools pay for software licenses when they (schools) are putting the marketing hooks of the software manufacturers into the students for them?  It seems that they (software manufacturers) should be paying us to give students exposure to their software.


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