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Yvelines School Completes Switch to Free Software

Accepted submission by -- OriginalOwner_ http://tinyurl.com/OriginalOwner at 2016-04-25 12:29:44
Software

from the freeeedom! dept.

The European Union's interoperability page reports [europa.eu]

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 adds [mrpogson.com]

They still keep a few machines with [That Other OS] for compatibility and whiteboards. My advice? Stick with projectors and Gromit [debian.org] and the latest version of LibreOffice [documentfoundation.org]. I would use Debian [archive.org] rather than Mint.

Further, to reduce the capital costs and maintenance, use ARMed thin clients and a GNU/Linux terminal server [ltsp.org]. It's a wee bit more work to set up but that work spread over N machines is tiny compared to installing on N machines. Look at Odroid-C2 [hardkernel.com] for clients and Lemaker Cello [cnx-software.com] for servers.


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