Japanese schools may convert aging computers to Linux

Japanese schools may convert aging computers to Linux

Summary: A recent article in OhMyNews.com discusses the results of a conference in Tokyo at which educators recommended converting aging computers running Windows 98 and ME to Linux.

SHARE:

A recent article in OhMyNews.com discusses the results of a conference in Tokyo at which educators recommended converting aging computers running Windows 98 and ME to Linux.  About 400,000 such machines exist in Japan's public schools and either can't run more up-to-date operating systems or the cost of upgrade is prohibitive.

Enthusiasm for the initiative has built after a successful trial of Linux with about 1000 students began in 2004.  Under consideration are an education-centered distro of Knoppix, Debian, and TurboLinux, all of which can run with minimal system requirements.

The article highlights several similar initiatives internationally:

"The move toward open-source software within Japan mirrors similar transformations ongoing within educational institutions in numerous other countries around the world. An article late last month in Linux.com reports that "Linux and open source software are receiving increased interest within the educational sector as an alternative to Microsoft Windows Vista," noting that the British Educational Communications and Technology Agency (Becta), among others, warned of "lock-in" risks due to Microsoft's licensing programs. In Venezuela, the government has gone so far as to make it illegal -- by issue of a Presidential Decree -- to use proprietary software in public educational institutions, giving rise to several open-source movements. Meanwhile, Chinese government officials reportedly now regard the open-source community as "a key to its software industry" and plans to invest more resources in Linux-based systems."

Microsoft Student Innovation Suite, anyone?

Topics: Linux, Government, Microsoft, Open Source, Operating Systems, Software, Windows

Christopher Dawson

About Christopher Dawson

Chris Dawson is a freelance writer, consultant, and policy advocate with 20 years of experience in education, technology, and the intersection of the two.

Kick off your day with ZDNet's daily email newsletter. It's the freshest tech news and opinion, served hot. Get it.

Talkback

13 comments
Log in or register to join the discussion
  • In Venezuela, are violators of a Presidential decree...

    ... liable for arrest and fines or imprisonment? That's the single most compelling argument in favor of Linux use that I've encountered. Shows that persuasion would be expected to fail.

    Linux: it's better than jail.

    And so Microsoft once again becomes the hope of freedom loving people everywhere. Anyone opposed to domineering government authority must now endorse having the option to use Windows and Office. And never again say that Linux represents choice or an expansion of options in the country mandating Linux.

    Linux spread comes at substantial cost to idealism.
    Anton Philidor
    • Whereas in the USA

      ... Federal offices [b]not[/b] using Microsoft products are violating a Clinton-Era Presidential decree replacing non-MS software.

      Your point was ... ?
      Yagotta B. Kidding
    • What are you talking about?

      Dude. what presidential decree? What is a compelling argument? Is Linux better than Jail in that it is a crime to use Pirated Windows or do you mean something else?

      [B]And so Microsoft once again becomes the hope of freedom loving people everywhere. [/B]

      Interesting. I have RARELY heard the word freedom and Microsoft used in conjunction like that. Again though, what are you talking about?

      Finally, what, if anything, does this have to do with the Story?

      TripleII
      TripleII-21189418044173169409978279405827
      • Ahh, I figured it out

        I suspect that the decree is to head off the 99.998% price reduction and a team of lobbyists and "consultants" with lots of resources from descending on all the key players in Venezuela in the PUBLIC education system.

        If I was DETERMINED to build my own countries self reliance and computer industry, then I might go the same route. You are right though, the students are no longer free to experience the lock in.

        TripleII
        TripleII-21189418044173169409978279405827
    • Hmm by extension

      that means that Windows is NOT better than jail, since Windows is NOT Linux....

      Perhaps the choice is to lock up a few users, or lock up an entire country within Windows....

      Methinks that the decree is just to prevent the possibility of government departments going their own way, and ruining interoperability within the government. I didn't see any specification of a particular vendor in the news item - so it hardly constitutes an assault on freedom.
      Freebird54
  • Lets not cherry pick

    The article stated " make it illegal ? by issue of a Presidential Decree ? to use proprietary software in<b>public educational institutions</b>"

    What is sound like, is there are trying to headoff the $3 MS bundle (opps) $3 blunder.

    Governments set standards for public schools all the time. Remember Wordpefect, Lotus 123, Harvard Graphics etc. were the standards. Standards are not etched in stone, they change overtime... just a fact of life

    O, by the way, Wordperfect still make a helluva Office suite

    ..ruped24....
    ruped24
    • No, the venezuelan government could prevent benefitting...

      ... from Microsoft's generous offer by ignoring it. The $3 software package is for governments which are willing to pay at least half the hardware cost.

      So if the government wants to assure that its citizens use only pirated versions of Windows, even for the time required to overwrite the legitimately purchased versions, the government need only let people do as they will.

      Though Mr. Chavez might want to have nothing to do with US products, the ability of people to get what they want, such as Windows, can restore confidence in the human spirit.
      Anton Philidor
      • A Daniel come to judgement....

        My own confidence - dare I say faith ? - in the human spirit, which I have sometimes found elusive and hard to grasp, has been restored by signature ?Anton Philador?'s equating the latter with the ability to obtain Windows. ?A Daniel come to judgement? was, I believe, the way Shakespeare put it....

        Henri
        mhenriday
      • You seem to think everything will always be the same

        [B]Though Mr. Chavez might want to have nothing to do with US products, the ability of people to get what they want, such as Windows, can restore confidence in the human spirit.[/B]

        Brought a tear to my eye. Give it 5 years and the masses will be thinking MS, why, everything is Open Source here? Your #1 fallacy is since everyone (9.x out of 10) uses Windows, everyone will always use Windows. This despite the overwhelming evidence that despite MS's best efforts everywhere, literally, everywhere, to delay/stop/crush Open Source acceptance, they are, indeed slowly failing.

        TripleII
        TripleII-21189418044173169409978279405827
      • Chavez helping MS?

        Perhaps Mr. Chavez is trying to cut down on all those illegal copies of Microsoft software so prevalent the third world?

        Are the Japanese tools of Microsoft as well?
        viztor
    • WordPerfect makes a hellava Office Suite

      Maybe so... just that, nobody will know
      JonWayn
  • Chavez is such a jerk, but a savvy one.

    He'll have everyone in Venezuela behind him, they will HATE MS, and he'll be the man who saved them from the wicked capitalists in Redmond. The government won't have to fine anyone for breaking the law, the people will just beat the offender, burn down his house, and run him out of town.

    When the wall came down in Germany, a relative of my wife came to the west for the first time in 30 years, and was pretty sure that his way of life was better, and that they'd be teaching the westerners how to do a lot of things. He was convinced that communism was a good thing, better for everyone, despite the fact that he was driving a 1957 Trabant, with a 2 stroke, 3 cylinder engine and a wooden firewall between the cabin and the engine compartment. He had half an engine in the trunk as spare parts in case something broke because they never made or sold spare parts, just cannibalized old ones. And he bought over $1000 in gold chains and rings over the weekend he spent with us, because gold can be used when money is worthless.

    Chavez will make it work in his country too.
    ajole
  • Well...

    Converting older systems to Linux can help in the "tech waste" arena (those old systems don't have to be tossed), as well as provide valuble "tech ed" to students where cost is an issue.
    fewiii