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Ekonomi: Linux in the French schools (English version now available)

Nov 09, 1998, 09:13 (1 Talkback[s])


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(The original article is location at this link. The translation follows:

Thanks to Martin Vermeer for this translation.

Linux into French schools

The creation of Linus Torvalds, the operating system Linux, is in the process of conquering some large French companies and also the French Ministry of Education. The Ministry has recently concluded a frame contract with the Association for French-speaking Users of Linux, comparable with the contracts with Microsoft, Lotus and Bull. The Association assists with equipping computers with Linux and to set up computer systems based on free software, such as Linux, in the French schools. The symbolic significance of the contract is very great, thinks Stefane Fermigier, chairman of the Association and mathematics teacher at a university in Paris. Now we have been officially recognized, by municipalities and universities as well, he states in Liberation. Linux steps the giant Microsoft seriously upon the toes, especially where it concerns Windows NT, intended for specialists. Both the French IBM boss Bernard Dufau and Robert Di Cosmo, one of the authors of the book "Hold-Up Planetaire", are of the same opinion.

Reliable system

Di Cosmo stated recently straight out in a French TV programme that Linux is more secure [does he mean reliable? transl.] than Windows. According to an independent study, it is also the system that best satisfies its users. Among those are the French telecom company France Telecom, who uses Linux to publish its web site www.voila.fr. Linux is the system that on the longer term threatens Windows' power position, writes the French press. Special supplements and full page features in Le Monde, Le Figaro and Liberation about the great merits of Linux, "the programme created in 1991 by a young Finnish programmer, Linus Torvalds" are ever more frequent. Linux is the system that can achieve the necessary democratisation of the Internet and counter elitism and inequality, it says in press commentaries. Not only this, but Linux is according to experts the most reliable, stable and fast system for using PC's.

Can use old computers

Not only is Linux completely free of cost, which doesn't stop amazing the French, it can also be used on old computers, which does not apply for Windows programs, that become bigger and bigger al the time and demand more powerful machines. Linux offers a possibility to salvage old computers from big companies and ministries and sell them cheaply to schools and public service points. The problem with Linux up till now has been that it has been so complicated that only specialists, scientists and students have had any benefit from it. But development progresses at a blazing pace and all users can contribute to developing Linux, which in the final instance is overseen by its constructor, Linus Torvalds. The writer in the French Liberation is not too timid to compare the inmarch of Linux on the market with the Internet, originally intended for an inner circle. Microsoft ended up reconsidering its entire strategy when the web system came into large scale use. Now countless gifted individuals around the world labour to produce application systems for Linux, ranging from word processing to graphics, and more. For the time being, the phenomenon has been restricted to a circle of experts, but most agree that time works in Linux' favour and in favour of free access to the latest in electronics. The Linux phenomenon in France is rounded off by an insight among politicians and expert circles that Finland has special abilities to offer in electronics [translator's note: The newspaper Hufvudstadsbladet is published in Helsinki, and of course interested in Finnish export markets] Humanity has been handed down a new mutant, stated the Speaker of the French National Assemby, Laurent Fabius, under a visit by [his Finnish colleague] Speaker Riitta Uosukainen in France.

-- Gunn Gestrin