I have been banging on about the advantages of open source software for schools for years, giving talks, writing green ink letters to civil servants, even (thanks to Patricia Hewitt) meeting some senior mandarins. Sadly, most politicians’ and bureaucrats’ understanding of information technology barely extends to email. This last fact, incidentally, might have something to do with the complete inability of government departments to bring in any IT project successfully on time or within budget—or, indeed, at all. [As if you needed reminding, it’s billions of pounds your money paying some gonk consultants to play Minesweeper while Windows XP “Professional” Service Pack 2 installs on a roomful of over-burdened server PCs.]

One of my allies in this futile struggle to infest British classrooms with communist software was a guy at Becta (British Educational Communications and Technology Association). He resigned in frustration at the clueless resistance from his colleagues and superiors to work for one of the biggest private sector open source software companies. I gave up plodding around government departments.

Now, according to The Times Educational Supplement Becta is either starting to get a clue

“Primary schools could cut their computer costs by nearly half if they stopped buying, operating and supporting products from the world’s largest software company, government research has found.

“Secondaries could also slash their information technology overheads by a quarter if they moved away from Microsoft and other commercial programs, according to an analysis carried out by the British Educational Communications and Technology Association, the Government’s ICT agency.”

or is pretending to do so in order to get a better deal from Microsoft in the government’s next round of negotiations to licence the giant’s horrible software. My well-worn money is on the latter.

This post, like all PooterGeek posts, was brought to you entirely by open source software. Viva la revolucion!