Friday, September 1, 2006

An OS Revolution in India

On August 31st, the government of the state of Kerala in India has announced that it plans on switching all of its schools computers from Microsoft Windows to the free Linux operating system. This change affects 12,500 high schools in the state, and the teachers are currently being trained on the new software.

One of the motivating factors in this decision is the state's top official, Chief Minister V.S. Achuthanandan, is a major supporter of free software and a detractor of Microsoft's dominance in the industry. Another factor may also be cost - Microsoft Windows XP software costs around 6,400 rupees, or $139USD, per copy.

However, this decision does have its detractors. M.A. Shahnawaz, the opposition leader in the state, believes that the decision was solely based on the bias against Microsoft and other corporate giants (Kerala also banned sales of Coca Cola and Pepsi in the state). Mr. Shahnawaz believes that schools should be given a choice of which OS the school would like to use.

What is your position on this decision? Do you applaud the Chief Minister's decision? Do you agree with Mr. Shahnawaz? Do you see points in both gentlemen's arguments? Post your thoughts.

Source: Thomas, V.M. Indian state switching all school computers from Windows to Linux. Associated Press, 01 September 2006. Retrieved from on 01 September 2006.

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