"When the NSW Department of Education and Training put
out a tender for its $150 million 'netbooks for schools' contract,
the opportunity for Linux to be used in the State's education
system was looking quite possible. The tender specified that all
proposed devices must be able to run either Windows or Linux and
many of the vendors submitting proposals had been using Linux to
some extent. The final decision to use Lenovo Laptops powered by
Microsoft's operating system and running proprietary software was a
blow to the open source community, and also a blow, say some people
"ICT consultant Jeff Waugh thinks it was the Australian vendors
that lacked courage to take Linux to the next level where their
European counterparts might have done so. An IT manager for a
Sydney-based school says he can understand why the department
didn't go with Linux, even though he thinks it would be a better
solution. People, he says, are afraid of change. He has tried
rolling out Linux and open source in his school, as has a friend of
his in another school, but people have been unwilling to make the
change in both instances.
"Waugh said a tender like this has a very large impact on
infrastructure and a large impact on future purchasing so it is a
big blow for Linux and it's also a huge opportunity missed for the
vendors, not to mention for education itself."
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