We want no free software at school – says Russian government

The Ministry of Information and Communication presented a program to provide a basic software suit for every school in Russia by the new academic year. The Ministry of Finance says the program needs to be reconsidered for it may lead to Microsoft’s monopoly. Still officials who run the question in the Ministry of Information and Communication are sure opensource software would do no good to Russian school education.

The software suit described in the federal program was formed after revision of computer equipment in Russian schools. Schools reported what kind of software or what certain program they need at computer classes. The program is to compromise educational needs and federal budget possibilities. As a result Microsoft’s Windows and Office, Adobe’s graphic managers and other high-cost products were chosen. Within those not even any educational or campus program was mentioned in Ministry’s document. The main reason they give against using free software is that major applications are not supported by Linux. And that skills of using Linux (or any other alternative to patent license software) don’t meet business demands which young professionals face.

“We want our children to get the best. Let them learn driving on Audi, so that they could manage Audis when they are adults”, comments Maksut Shadaev, the head of national projects department in the Ministry of Information and Communication. But at the moment most schools are using PCs running on unlicensed Windows copies while their teachers are sued for copyright infringement.

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