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WIRED: Mexican Schools Embrace Windows (followup to the 'RedEscolar' story)

Aug 02, 2001, 18:26 (22 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Angel Gonzalez)

One of the older stories of interest about Linux deployments in education was the 'Red Escolar' project, an effort to bring more computing facilities to schools in Mexico first announced in 1998. Initially, the project's leads anticipated using Linux over Microsoft and saving ~$120,000,000 in software costs. This followup says things haven't gone as planned, with Windows machines taking the lion's share of the installations. The organizers cite lack of political support and poor familiarity with Linux as the cause. At the same time, the article notes, some early problems have been overcome and the project plans quite a few more Linux deployments over time.

"This year, 1,400 schools will be equipped with external modems, and Ibarra plans to install Linux on those computers.

For developers like Espinosa, using a free operating system is both a pragmatic and a moral choice.

"The reason is not technical, for Windows has become a very capable operating system, but ethical," Espinosa said. "Linux is more than enough to satisfy the government's needs. The hundreds of millions of dollars spent on software license fees leave the country, never to come back.

"It's the Mexican taxpayers' money, and it could be better spent on developing national industry."

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