The tiny Communist state of Kerala in southern India has made a stand against monopolistic corporations by encouraging schools to use Linux systems, reports The New York TImes
. Along with imposing a ban on Coca-Cola and Pepsi, the Kerala government is encouraging the state's 12,500 schools to switch to the free Linux operating system
“It is well-known that Microsoft wants to have a monopoly in the field of computer technology. Naturally, being a democratic and progressive government, we want to encourage the spread of free software,” M. A. Baby, the state’s education minister, said by telephone.
Kerala has one of the higher literacy rates in India and about 30,000 computers are already in use in schools across the state. 600,000 students opted to take free software training classes this year.
Financial rather than ideological constraints may have been the determining factor for encouraging Linux in the schools. Although Microsoft responded to the announcement by saying that it keeps its prices low, selling one version of Windows for between $25 and $30 per computer, that's a far cry from free.
“Under the School Agreement program, Microsoft has successfully created a very competitive pricing-value model, keeping in mind the financial constraints that beleaguer most educational institutions,” said Mr. Kumar, Microsoft’s public sector head in India.