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FSCONS 2013: Why is free software important in education?
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FSCONS 2013: Why is free software important in education?

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Education, especially higher education (also PhD) is tightly connected to computers and software on them. We need an operating system to use computer with possible peripheral devices, several ...

Education, especially higher education (also PhD) is tightly connected to computers and software on them. We need an operating system to use computer with possible peripheral devices, several different applications to work at our everyday academic tasks. For all that, we need software. We can buy it or use free and open source software (hereinafter: FOSS) to save money but not only - also our souls, if I may say so.

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    FSCONS 2013: Why is free software important in education? FSCONS 2013: Why is free software important in education? Presentation Transcript

    • Why is free software important in education? Edmund Laugasson, PhD student from Tallinn University, Institute of Informatics, Estonia edmund.laugasson@gmail.com https://sites.google.com/site/phdedmund/ The Digital Safety Lab is supported by the Tiger University Program of the Information Technology Foundation for Education. This research was supported by the Tiger University Program of the Information Technology Foundation for Education.
    • Keywords ● sharing the knowledge ● sharing the tools ● social responsibility ● independence ● learning ● saving costs ● quality http://bqtglobal.com/W_EU/Images/Photo/Software.jpg
    • Why is FOSS important in education? FOSS: free and open-source software ● user freedom – FOSS respects user's freedom and social solidarity of his community – proprietary software take away user's freedom, keeping them divided and helpless http://www.gnu.org/education/
    • Why is FOSS important in education? Divided because users are forbidden from sharing the program, and helpless because they do not have the source code of the program. That is: users cannot change the software, they cannot find out what the program is really doing, and it can do very bad things. So – users cannot share the knowledge and tools in case of proprietary software but it suppose to not be so. http://www.gnu.org/education/ FOSS: free and open-source software
    • Why is FOSS important in education? Free Software means that the user has the 4 essential freedoms: Freedom 0 is the freedom to run the program for any purpose. Freedom 1 is the freedom to study the source code of the program and change it to make it do what you wish. http://www.gnu.org/education/ FOSS: free and open-source software
    • Why is FOSS important in education? Free Software means that the user has the 4 essential freedoms: Freedom 2 is the freedom to help your neighbour; that is, the freedom to make and distribute exact copies of the program whenever you want. Freedom 3 is the freedom to contribute to your community; that is the freedom to make and distribute copies of your modified versions of the program. http://www.gnu.org/education/ FOSS: free and open-source software
    • Why is FOSS important in education? With these four freedoms a program is Free Software because the social system for its use and distribution is an ethical system that respects everyone's freedom and the freedom of the community of users. Software must be Free because we all deserve freedom, we all deserve to be allowed to participate in a free community. Therefore, schools should teach mostly Free Software. There are four reasons why this is so. http://www.gnu.org/education/ FOSS: free and open-source software
    • Why is FOSS important in education? The most shallow reason is to save money. Schools do not have enough money, so they should not waste their money paying for permission to use proprietary software. This is an obvious reason, but some proprietary software companies usually eliminate this reason by donating copies of their proprietary programs to the school at no charge or at a small price. http://www.gnu.org/education/ FOSS: free and open-source software
    • Why is FOSS important in education? The reason why they do so is, that is to get students addicted. It is a malicious plan. This is a plan to use schools as instruments to impose a permanent dependence on students. If a school teaches how to use a proprietary program, the student will be dependent on that program and after he graduates he will have to pay to use that program. He will probably work for a company that does not receive copies of the program free of charge. http://www.gnu.org/education/ FOSS: free and open-source software
    • Why is FOSS important in education? Therefore, proprietary software developers use schools to impose permanent dependence on the whole society. Schools must refuse to participate in such a malicious plan because schools have a social mission which is to educate the next generation to be good citizens of a capable, strong, independent, cooperating and free society. This can only be achieved by teaching Free Software. Schools should mostly use Free Software and very rare cases proprietary software. http://www.gnu.org/education/ FOSS: free and open-source software
    • Why is FOSS important in education? But there is a deeper reason: to form good programmers, because in order to learn good programming skills students need to read lots of code and write lots of code. To learn to write good code for big programs students need to write small changes in the code of big programs. All this is possible only with Free Software. Only Free Software allows education in information technology. http://www.gnu.org/education/ FOSS: free and open-source software
    • Why is FOSS important in education? But there is still a deeper reason: to teach good citizenship, because schools have the mission to teach not only facts and technical skills, but above all the spirit of good will, the habit of helping others. Therefore, each class should have this rule: student - if you bring a program to the class, you can not keep it for yourself, you must share it with the rest of the class. http://www.gnu.org/education/ FOSS: free and open-source software
    • Why is FOSS important in education? The school should practice what it preaches, it should introduce Free Software in the classroom. All schools should migrate to Free Software and teach Free Software because each school should participate in leading society towards freedom and social solidarity. http://www.gnu.org/education/ FOSS: free and open-source software
    • What is happening in Estonia? ● World Bank rated Estonia as a high income country in spring 2011 ● Microsoft has increased their prices up to 25 times since 1st July 2011 ● Microsoft offered 3-year contract with old fixed prices during 1st July 2011 till 1st July 2014 – these dates may vary in different schools ● it is hard to find more money for schools ● Estonian Government has been done 5 state procurements in FOSS field
    • What is happening in Estonia? ● spring 2013 has started active discussion over it at schools in Estonia – lost two years ● Microsoft Office will mostly be abandoned ● Microsoft Windows will remain in some places until incompatibility issues cannot be solved Most important incompatibilities are: ● people's attitude toward FOSS ● knowledge – e.g. do not edit and save OOXML files (docx, xlsx etc) with LibreOffice – convert to ODF formats (odt, ods etc) and then edit
    • About expenses to switch FOSS ● if to deploy free software – training about new software – existing data backup/restore if necessary – software installation and configuration – setup domain (OpenLDAP) + filesharing (e.g. NFS) in case of roaming profiles – support service – maintenance service
    • About expenses to stay M$ ● if to remain onto proprietary software – up to 25 times higher licence fees – possible higher security issues (old OEM's but also Microsoft Windows itself) – support service – maintenance service Schools in Estonia are usually using Microsoft School Agreement (MSA), which requires to licence all computers in school regardless of their real usage. Also it requires base licence (OEM ~85€ together when buying new computer or Get Genuine ~110€ per computer for later licensing), because MSA is an upgrade licencing type.
    • Rough calculations about transition ● Estonian capital city Tallinn has 204 educational institutions – schools (~80), kindergartens ● ~7000 computers ● in one school ~80 computers ● in one kindergarten ~5...10 computers ● expenses are increasing from ~20 000 € to ~360 000 €, it means 18 times roughly (VAT 20% included)
    • Tallinn: installation calculations ● ~80 computer per school and 1 hour per computer if to clone previously prepared customized installation media containing all needed software and updates already ● 35€/hour x 80 computers = 2800 € per school for software installation ● 80 schools x 2800€ = 224 000 € for all Tallinn schools (one time expense) ● with same price goes other costs if needed – backup/restore, setup domain + filesharing, etc.
    • Tallinn: teachers training calculations ● per school: average 3 groups, 15 people per group ● 35€/h x 3 hours x 3 groups = 315 € per school ● 80 schools x 315€ = 25 200 € for all schools 25 200 € roughly one time expense would be for teaching the basics of using GNU/Linux operating system, hereinafter: Linux.
    • Tallinn: IT-specialists training calculations ● 3 days, á 8 hours = 40 hours ● 15 people in group, ~150 IT-specialists in Tallinn schools ● 10 groups x 40 hours x 35€/h = 14 000 € 14 000 € roughly would be one time expense to educate IT-specialists to support free software at Tallinn schools.
    • Transition costs together ● 80 schools at Tallinn, Estonia – 224 000 € for installation – 25 200 € for teachers training – 14 000 € for IT-specialists training It makes 263 200 € roughly as one time expense. Additionally comes setup of domain + possible filesharing. Also support and maintenance costs. These are expected to reduce due to more stable and more resistant against malware. Plus more valuable community.
    • When to remain to old system... ● 7000 computers in Tallinn schools, Estonia ● Microsoft School Agreement requires o licence all computers at school ● MS Windows costs 24 € per year one computer ● MS Office costs 32 € per year one computer ● 7000 x 24 = 168 000 € for MS Windows per year ● 7000 x 32 = 224 000 € for MS Office per year
    • When to remain to old system... ● MS Windows + MS Office together: 168 000 + 224 000 = 392 000 € roughly per year ● Plus support and maintenance costs. ● Vendor lock-in, malware and damages from them.
    • Further plans ● create Free Software Competence Centre in Estonia – offer FOSS support to public sector ● for IT-specialists (technical) ● for regular users (user-level) – courses for IT-specialists and users – develop FOSS solutions – promote FOSS in Estonia but not only – find partners in Estonia and also outside – etc... ● pilot project in Tallinn: move three schools and two kinderkartens onto FOSS – Linux as OS and LibreOffice as office suite
    • Questions? Edmund Laugasson, PhD student from Tallinn University, Institute of Informatics, Estonia edmund.laugasson@gmail.com https://sites.google.com/site/phdedmund/ The Digital Safety Lab is supported by the Tiger University Program of the Information Technology Foundation for Education. This research was supported by the Tiger University Program of the Information Technology Foundation for Education.