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