Why give precedence to Free Software at school?
Whether they like it or not, teachers make their pupils' parents buy proprietary software if they use it at school. By doing so, they contribute to a money-based selection even though Free Software used at school can be brought home! Free Software is republican software:
- "Liberté": freedom to use, copy, modify, distribute, get access to the source code. You can read more about Free Software's essential freedoms on our page What is Free Software?.
- "Égalité": equality between users, whatever school or family means may be: with Free Software, a small poorly-funded school has the same choice as a more affluent or prestigious one.
- "Fraternité": fraternity, cooperation and mutual aid between developers and users, between users, between school and family.
When appropriate, it is necessary to give students real computing skills, not only proprietary software "directions for use". Consequently, they should get unrestricted access to the source code, modify or adapt it to their own needs, and thus improve the applications they use or develop.
Free Software is particularly performing and secure for communication, a priority at school for Internet access and E-mail... Free Software allows remote servicing, a necessity for its deployment in large schools. Free Software is impervious to current viruses.
School has to stay away from consumerism. School needs, and the means they require, have to keep clear from fashion or software industry advertising. Free Software gives increased perennity to hardware as it allows a longer use of old (and cheap) hardware, particularly as terminals or "client" computers. Free Software allows software perennity as there is no necessity to buy the last software releases to obtain an (eventual) improvement. Updates can be immediatly developed (so you don't depend on an editor goodwill) and shared with other users worldwide.
Knowledge is universal, Free Software too.
In Education, means are more limited than in other sectors, because they have to be employed on a large scale. It's more relevant to pay grey matter (e.g. help for projects conception, personal and educational training) or extra devices than to pay proprietary licences.
The original version of this text was written by Jean Peyratout