9000 computers in Swiss schools have been dual-booting Windows and and Ubuntu for some time now in anticipation of guidelines from the Switzerland's Department of Public Instruction, whose motto is "Long Live Free Software." The Tribune de Geneve featured a story on Friday about the elimination of dual boot capabilities in all of these machines and a migration exclusively to Linux (the original story is available here in French or here in English courtesy of Google's language tools).
Beginning this September, all 9000 computers will run only Ubuntu and free and open source software. While officials are happy to be saving money on licensing, the Department of Public instruction largely made the move out of what they considered best practices for student education (please note that the translation below is directly from Google Translation; non-French speakers should get the idea, though).
Why go to FOSS? Free, effective teaching, "they have only advantages," says Manuel Grandjean, director of the Media Service Schools of DPI and as such contractor for the migration department to the Open source. On the one hand, they offer enough to satisfy the saving plan of the State Council, which advocates measuring 28 "to promote open-source software" in the administration. But there was no question of a solution on the cheap. "We chose open-source software for their qualities," says Manuel Grandjean.
There are, analysis there, "a real convergence" between the foundations of education practiced in DIP and free software. Through their community development, "they encourage the sharing and democratization of knowledge, as well as autonomy with the acquisition of skills."
This move also levels the playing field for students who may not be able to afford computers with the latest Microsoft software:
Another advantage is not inconsiderable: Students can work at home by using free programs at the same school, which "strengthens equality of opportunity," says Manuel Grandjean... And then he says with a touch of irony, "it avoids providing captive customers for large companies ..."