Microsoft takes off the mask
4 May 2010
Recently the General Director for Education of Microsoft took off his mask arguing in a interview that here, in Andalusia, we are using software that Microsoft left ten years ago.
Here in Andalusia, at the south of Spain, every computer (400.000+) at the schools runs “software libre” thanks to the commitment made by the regional government 7 years ago. Specifically, we run Guadalinex Edu, a base of Ubuntu with a lot of free educational applications in the top.
During the interview you can read in spanish somethings like these:
- Journalist: “Andalusia has introduced free software in schools and has left out Microsoft …”
- Microsoft: “There are few communities that have implemented only free software, Andalusia is one. Free software is not sustainable by the model itself. We invest 9500 million annually in research and development and the results are the products we put on the market. We know what it takes to make an operating system and it’s a lot of money. The software is free of charge but who is paying this price? Because we have to pay someone to operate and maintain, and these costs are more expensive than ours. This is obvious because there are other interests behind. Free software is built with subsidies and you can’t do subsidies to be the engine that supports a model of technological innovation in the school.”
- Journalist: “Guadalinex is similar enough to Windows, right?”
- Microsoft: “Well, if you look in Windows 7, it does not look like Guadalinex at all. Sometimes, we make the mistake of comparing the latest versions of these operating systems with Microsoft products launched back in 2000. You say that the software used by schools in Andalusia is similar to XP, fine, but Windows XP is that it launched a decade ago. We left it 10 years ago and the world has changed. And if you keep Windows XP is due to a poor idea: Is it enough with what I have? Depends on the needs and if you want to give our kids the best or not.”
With the new version of Guadalinex Edu based on Ubuntu Lucid Lynx our students and teachers can:
- interact with each other thanks to new collaboration tool in a simple way.
- install a lot of software previously tested doing a single click through the software center.
- make a backup of all their personal files in a usb stick and recover it later doing a single click.
all of then installed and ready for use in less than 30 minutes through the network or usb device.
Furthermore, every people of the educational community can obtain professional support by phone for free of charge through the Advanced Center for ICT Schools Management who is in charge of the maintenance of the whole network. How many of these services offer Microsoft?
I would like to recommend this person of Microsoft to have a look at the new version of Guadalinex Edu (available in few days) and then ask him what do they think is the best for kids? Perhaps motivation, enthusiasm and hard work of the entire free software community can exceed 9.5 billion invested by Microsoft. Don’t worry about kids, you must be worried about the day when these children reach the professional market and the quality and freedom of the free software used at schools will have more weight than all the investment you are doing in your proprietary software.