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posted by martyb on Monday April 25 2016, @10:02PM   Printer-friendly
from the freeeedom! dept.

The European Union's interoperability page reports

The primary school in Saint Léger en Yvelines (France) has nearly completely switched to using free software reports the village's deputy mayor Olivier Guillard. "Do not underestimate the task", he advises others on the forum of Etalab, France's open government portal, "and, most of all, persist".

Saint Léger en Yvelines is a commune some 50 km west of Paris. The village has one school, with 6 classes, and includes pre-school. The Jean Moulin school is attended by all of the around 30 children in the commune up to the age of 11. On [April 15], deputy mayor Guillard published his recommendations for others that want to "free their schools from the commercial agenda of proprietary software vendors". Free software is unhindered by the constraint of financial profitability, he argues: there is no planned obsolescence and no lock-in to specific hardware.

Olivier Guillard urges rigorous testing of solutions before suggesting them to teachers. Just as important is to convince the teachers of the benefits of free software. He also recommends being proactive on maintenance and monitoring.

He cautions patience. The school's transition to free software took years, he writes. "Seven years of convincing. Seven years to find free software alternatives for each new commercial offering. Seven years of creating a dialogue and building communication channels with teachers dedicated to digitisation of education."

The school has not rid itself of proprietary software completely. Whiteboard solutions and office documents exchanged in France's education sector forces teachers to use proprietary software, for which the school keeps apart two PCs with proprietary office tools, the deputy mayor writes.

Blogger, Linux advocate, and retired 1-man school IT staff Robert Pogson has a short (two paragraph) post. [It offers several open-source software alternatives as well as hardware recommendations — fair use precludes including the whole post here. -Ed.]


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  • (Score: 3, Informative) by frojack on Tuesday April 26 2016, @01:41AM

    by frojack (1554) on Tuesday April 26 2016, @01:41AM (#337219) Journal

    Whiteboard solutions and office documents exchanged in France's education sector forces teachers to use proprietary software, for which the school keeps apart two PCs with proprietary office tools, the deputy mayor writes.

    Whiteboards? I don't know what the hell he's talking about.

    Office Document Exchanges with the rest of the education sector? HE doesn't know what he's talking about.

    This is a non-issue unless France is running their education system with a bunch of script burdened spreadsheets. I routinely exchange massive, but not script-laden spread sheets with state agencies, and All I ever use is LibreOffice. I just save documents in MS Office formats. Works great.

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  • (Score: 1, Informative) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday April 26 2016, @02:41AM

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday April 26 2016, @02:41AM (#337261)

    This is a non-issue unless France is running their education system with a bunch of script burdened spreadsheets. I routinely exchange massive, but not script-laden spread sheets with state agencies, and All I ever use is LibreOffice. I just save documents in MS Office formats. Works great.

    At my university, most of the paperwork is in MS Office files. Sometimes LibreOffice (mostly) works, sometimes it doesn't.

    If you're lucky, there will only be a few formatting problems, fixable while looking at the example PDF. It seems LibreOffice has some hard-coded limits about row height and font handling that MS Office doesn't, which breaks a lot of layouts carefully crafted with newlines and spaces. Yes, you shouldn't create a layout that way in the first place, but that's not a realistic expectation :/

    If you're unlucky, there will be an Excel sheet with a script or two, or a Word document with complex tables or something. For these, I have to use a shared PC in the lab, it's the only one with Windows and MS Office.

    • (Score: 1, Interesting) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday April 26 2016, @08:04AM

      by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday April 26 2016, @08:04AM (#337373)

      At my university, most of the paperwork is in MS Office files. Sometimes LibreOffice (mostly) works, sometimes it doesn't.

      The really great thing is, that when it doesn't, you can blame it on MS, since the same thing happens with different versions of their own Office files! "Can't open your attachment!" "Oh, sorry, must be a Microsoft Compatibility Issue." Mischief Managed.

    • (Score: 1, Interesting) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday April 26 2016, @04:10PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday April 26 2016, @04:10PM (#337541)

      Word document with complex tables or something

      yeah, and i would bet the problem is with word's BS implementation, not LO. just like how certain(all?) versions of outlook use Word's html rendering instead of IE's (good decision, dumb asses) so you can't use modern html & css in html emails to the hoardes of dipshits using outlook.

      • (Score: 1, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday April 26 2016, @08:27PM

        by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday April 26 2016, @08:27PM (#337619)

        the problem is with [M$] word's BS implementation, not [LibreOffice]

        Every time this topic comes up, people who start the topic will purposely(?) omit the fact that the version-to-version compatibility of M$'s products is crap.

        Broadly speaking, the compatibility of the FOSS suites with M$'s current product is at least as good as that--often better.
        (The standard solution for a M$ Word .DOC that won't open with your version of Redmond's product is to open it with a FOSS word processor and do a Save As. Never seen it fail.)

        Word's html

        You need to put "HTML" in quote marks for that instance.
        Quick exercise:
        1) Start with an HTML file that passes muster with the HTML Validator. [w3.org]
        2) Open it with M$'s word processor.
        3) Do a Save.
        4) Feed *that* to the Validator.
        5) (Optional) Laugh heartily at how many errors have been injected into the file by M$'s app.

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