Glyn Moody recently posted this:
The Shame in Spain
I’ve written a number of times about Spain’s use of free software, notably at the provincial level. There’s even a handy – if rather out-dated – map that shows the extent of Penguin love there. Sadly, it looks like Microsoft is making the Spanish government an offer it thinks it can’t refuse:
According to a press release from HispaLinux, Spain’s national Linux association, Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero’s government is finalizing a plan that would supply all children who attend state schools with personal computers with touch-screens so to “promote awareness within families of the usefulness of information and communication technologies and encourage their use.” Specifically, we’re talking about Microsoft technologies.
Despite the enormous load this plan would have on the budget of each autonomous region (which would have to foot the bill), and hence, on the taxpayer, not a cent would find it’s way back to any Spanish company. The Spanish Ministry of Education has not considered any other vendor apart form Microsoft, there hasn’t been a public contest, and the media and other vendors were not informed about the pilot program until it was over. Furthermore, no other alternative has been considered.
If the plan gets the green light, it would have dire consequences for the communities of Andalucía, Castilla-La Mancha, Extremadura, Valencia, and all the other autonomous regions that already have a Linux-based IT infrastructures, which have already been paid for and are in use, in place within their school systems.
This is really scandalous on so many levels.
It’s clearly born of ignorance about what is really being offered – lock-in to Microsoft’s systems – in the naive belief that touch-screens are somehow the future, probably just because the iPhone has one.
It is born of arrogance that the government knows better, and therefore needn’t consult with others that might have a view or – heaven forfend – knowledge on the subject.
And it’s born of sheer stupidity, throwing away the huge lead that Spain had in this area, forcing local governments that had saved money by opting for GNU/Linux to waste money on an unnecessary and doubtless insecure solution from Microsoft, and as a result making the country dependent on a foreign supplier when it could have nurtured its own domestic software industry.
Shame on the Spanish government.
[From open…: The Shame in Spain]