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

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

Thanks to Martin Vermeer for this

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

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