Schools In Geneva Switching To GNU/Linux

“All primary and secondary public schools in the Swiss Canton of Geneva are switching to using Ubuntu GNU/Linux for the PCs used by teachers and students. The switch has been completed by all of the 170 primary public schools, and the migration of the canton’s 20 secondary schools is planned for the next school year. Ubuntu GNU/Linux offers powerful services to the teachers, is easier to maintain, faster, safer and more stable than the decade-old proprietary operating system it is replacing, the canton’s school IT department concludes, based on several four-year long pilots.” These guys took four years studying the matter and it will only take two years to switch their schools to GNU/Linux. It shows the Munich decade was some sort of aberration in terms of time taken to switch. The difference is the number of applications locked in to that other OS. Munich had hundreds. Geneva has only one or two. LibreOffice takes care of one…

Anyway, I think the migration in Geneva is remarkable because the Swiss are thorough. If they could be convinced in just four years, most of the rest of us should be convinced in a matter of hours. Get on with it folks. Take a look at Debian GNU/Linux and see what you’ve been missing: the freedom to use the hardware you own to its maximum capability, freedom from malware and freedom from paying about twice what IT should really cost you. In schools where I used GNU/Linux we easily had twice as much IT for the same cost and the cost of maintaining the larger system was less than the cost of maintaining the smaller system running that other OS. Freedom from the EULA of M$ which enslaves you rather than enabling you is the killer however. With FLOSS and GNU/Linux you can run, examine, modify and distribute the software to your heart’s content. Go with it. Seize the opportunity.

SeeGeneva class-rooms switching to free software | Joinup.

About Robert Pogson

I am a retired teacher in Canada. I taught in the subject areas where I have worked for almost forty years: maths, physics, chemistry and computers. I love hunting, fishing, picking berries and mushrooms, too.
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9 Responses to Schools In Geneva Switching To GNU/Linux

  1. Mats Hagglund says:

    “They should have compared the up-to date Ubuntu system with Windows 8 instead!”

    Which would make decision to move from Windows to Linux even more easier…

  2. dougman says:

    I have always said that M$ creating its own Chromebook device, Android device or even it’s own Linux distro would be the way to go.

    I’m not holding my breath though, has they just deep-sixed its Android phone.

  3. luvr wrote, “They should have compared the up-to date Ubuntu system with Windows 8 instead! “

    … or Debian GNU/Linux or Android/Linux or a $100 smartphone and a $800 legacy PC. I’ve been fortunate that many schools have batches of computers more or less identical with that other OS on them. It’s easy to fire them up side by side and watch the hard drive thrash or not. Further, it’s a real shock when they realize thanks to GPL, and GNU/Linux, they can use any old PC as a thin client of a fast/modern PC, something which EULA forbids. Everyone instantly understands what a ripoff buying N new Wintel boxes is. It’s only the EULA forbidding sharing software which prevents that other OS from doing the same. The hardware can do it. Using an OS that lets you use your hardware for no additional charge is a concept easily demonstrated and understood.

  4. matchrocket wrote, “the World would suddenly wake up to the fact that Microsoft is a parasite and not a “partner”. That “wake up moment” is in the realm of possibilities.”

    My recipe for waking up students:

    • have them take apart and reassemble a PC with or without mixing and matching parts and install GNU/Linux – they learn that PCs are actually flexible when they follow reasonable standards like ATX
    • have them read M$’s EULA and the GPL – ask them to think about using a PC under either conditions
    • have them read a few selections from exhibits in US DOJ v M$ – let them reflect on what is on retail shelves in that light
    • explain how Android/Linux works and that none of it comes from M$
    • explain how GNU/Linux works and that none of it comes from M$

    This works for computer geeks, ordinary folks and those who just could care less about computers. There’s something in there for everyone: violence, war, unfairness, monopoly, performance, economics, sharing… Everyone can understand what matters when it’s not hidden by a EULA, NDA, exclusive dealing, bundling and such.

    I’ve asked students to compare the performance of a new PC with that other OS and an old PC with GNU/Linux. That is an eye-opener. While M$ is checking “user experience” or “verifying authenticity”, they can actually be using their PC instead of being a slave.

  5. dougman wrote, “I predict that M$ will pink slip more of it’s workforce in the next 2-3 years.”

    They could certainly replace some salesmen with programmers but there isn’t really a need to have fewer programmers as the codebase grows unless they let it stagnate. I would predict, now that most of the old wood has been pruned, that M$ might actually become a decent business actually able to work for a living. It’s not only the world that is being freed from M$ but M$ is being freed from its evil ways. Once they start doing things that have technical rather than anticompetitive merit, they could become a significant factor in IT again. They will have to accept lower margins and lower market share but so be it. Imagine the distro those guys could crank out…

  6. kurkosdr says:

    “EULA of M$”

    Wow! Haven’t seen MS styled as M$ in quite a while now.

    After RedHat became a billion dollar business, FOSS-ies had to admit that making money is not that bad thing after all. They realized that blaming MS for making money through immoral acts (see undocumented standards) is OK, but blaming MS just for being rich is not a smart thing to do.

    Believe it or not, I actually agree with you on the “MS EULA in school computers” thing. There is a difference between a accepting the MS EULA for my personal use, or a company accepting the MS EULA for use of MS software on their private computers, and forcing students to accept the MS EULA to use the school computers. What if a student doesn’t want to accept the MS EULA? (a non-standard-contract of a private entity, in case anyone doesn’t know). Should he/she drop out of the computer class?

    Viewed from a purely constitutional perspective, no school should force students to accept a contract from a private corporation to be able to enroll and finish a certain class.

  7. dougman says:

    Mass adoption only needs 10% to take off.

    It will be amusing seeing M$ spin the story, once the world realizes that M$ is not needed anymore and on top of that, I predict that M$ will pink slip more of it’s workforce in the next 2-3 years.

  8. matchrocket says:

    It’s possible that the World might hit some critical mass of switch overs from proprietary Microsoft to GNU/Linux open source installations. Then the World would suddenly wake up to the fact that Microsoft is a parasite and not a “partner”. That “wake up moment” is in the realm of possibilities.

    It’s happened before with a core of the population being aware of something. The core grows slowly until it reaches some point, then the whole World becomes aware of it. It’s usually ticked off by some event. There doesn’t need to be anything special about the event, but the timing is usually the key.

  9. luvr says:

    “Ubuntu GNU/Linux offers powerful services to the teachers, is easier to maintain, faster, safer and more stable than the decade-old proprietary operating system it is replacing”

    Wanna bet that our beloved Windozers will complain that the comparison between Ubuntu and “the decade-old proprietary operating system” is unfair?
    They should have compared the up-to date Ubuntu system with Windows 8 instead! 😉

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