Title: Edubuntu implementation from the perspectives of free software communities
In 2007, one of the most important change in Macedonian primary and secondary education began - a project for implementing a computer for every student. To the delight of the free software communities, the tender winner offered to implement the project using Edubuntu, the educational flavour of the famous Ubuntu GNU/Linux distribution. Hopes were high...
Fast forward to 2009, what is the status of the implementation?
This huge reform in the education is not an easy endeavour. Aside from using "non familiar" software environment, the response about the project so far has been mixed. From controversy and alleged corruption, to refusal of teachers to use the software. What has Macedonia gained from this approach and what has it lost?
One of the most important benefits of the implementation is obviously the use of free software. This approach has contributed in a relatively independent position of the government from the provider, and the further commitment to use free software as an educational platform is bringing relatively low cost to the project whilst having a good selection of different educational tools, from edutainment toys for learning Latin, to CAD software for the specialised secondary classes.
But in the implementation, the government forgot to establish a committed relationship with several communities, one of which, was the free software community. From localisation issues to support, the implementers did not take into account the skills and knowledge the community has already invested, and was willing to put on disposal in the future.
Regarding this, there should be a delicate relationship between the government and communal ecosystems such as free software and free culture (Wikimedia, Creative Commons), providing a great wealth of information goods for the e-* (*government, *education, ...).