Linux in schools (Gaza style)

From an Open Source perspective January has been a very busy, if slightly surreal, start to 2009 and from a blogging perspective it has been not dissimilar to Alice in Wonderland. By this I mean that like Alice, if you follow a rabbit pel mel into a hole you cannot be sure what will emerge.

To illustrate:

Last week we were at the UK's biggest education technology event (BETT) where we found huge amounts of interest in Open Source software, Netbooks and Thin-Client computing; all very gratifying as I have been banging on about this for ages, but events soon took on an unreal feel.

First there was a very welcome but surprise interview with the BBC about the virtues of Open Source software then, bizarrely, the Linux OLPC (One Laptop Per Child) hove back view being promoted by The BECTA-Gov sponsored Open Schools Alliance ?.. and if that were not enough for one day, Linux Today reported that 5000 OLPCs are to be given by UNRWA to children in Gaza.

To whit, "United Nations Relief and Workers Agency (UNRWA) to give to Palestinian children in the Gaza strip. UNRWA operates 800 schools for Palestinian refugees in Jordan, Labanon, Gaza and the West Bank". Jolly good for them I say.

The OLPC has recently come to Europe with the 'buy one give one free' scheme which may help to counter some of the depressing madness as the following previous press reminds us.

...was it was the 2006 headlines that announced Libya's purchase of 1,000,000 OLPC Linux units, followed by the 2007 press headline downgrading that figure to 500,000 units, followed by the 2008 press that Libya is to buy the Windows XP Intel Class-Mate instead, that defined problems ahead for OLPC?

It seems such was Libya's rehabilitation in the Bush Administration's eye that they were allowed to embrace that ultimate token of subsidised freedom... a full-on Microsoft OS for their school kids. So far so political.

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