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01.08.09

Microsoft Dumps on India, South Africa, Malta

Posted in Africa, Asia, Europe, Free/Libre Software, GNU/Linux, Office Suites, OpenOffice, Windows at 7:24 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

No dumping

Some days ago we wrote about Kerala and about EDGI. The issue is being covered by the Indian press now (“Proponent of Free Software gets marching orders”).

Free software article
Click image for a large-sized version

Those who want to process their taxes must purchase Microsoft Excel and its prerequisites. On top of this, the forced resignation sure makes it seem like Microsoft may be 'pulling a Quinn' using overseas collaborators with joint interests. It’s a familiar recipe.

Another country where Microsoft appears to be pulling such tricks is South Africa (it was offered StarOffice for virtually nothing). That’s where Microsoft wants to capture users while they are young and similar tactics are being applied to Malta. Several days ago we wrote about so-called 'donations' in Malta and now these ‘donations’ (addictionware) are reaching Maltese schools and higher education.

University students are enjoying more and more the benefits of Microsoft specialised training courses. Microsoft Malta teamed up with the Faculty of ICT at the University of Malta and is offering a course in Microsoft Certified Technology Specialist: Windows Development. This is currently being delivered to undergraduates over a period of nine months under the IT Academy Programme.

The university needs to offer education, not to become a taxpayers-funded Microsoft workshop [1, 2, 3]. Last night, Richard Stallman sent out this alert about the possible privatisation of US education.

Did Barack Obama Just Appoint An Under-qualified Stooge and Privatizer Secretary of Education?

The short answer seems to be “yes.” Before being appointed CEO of the Chicago Public Schools, Arne Duncan never saw the inside of a classroom as a teacher. This is probably a good thing, since Duncan does not possess the academic qualifications to be even a substitute teacher. Worse still, Duncan’s idea of improving inner-city schools in Chicago is handing them over to corporate-run charter schools or converting them to military academies. This, says longtime Chicago educator and activist George Schmidt, is not the change we voted for.

Going back to Malta, the country has been speaking about GNU/Linux and Free software for quite some time [1, 2, 3] and it was even close to choosing StarOffice [4], which Microsoft is committing a ‘targeted assassination’ against, according to the leaked EDGI memos. Is Microsoft ‘pulling an EDGI’ on this country? More importantly, will Malta’s authorities permit this kind of digital colonialism to carry on? Will citizens speak out? Justice rarely comes as a gift from above; it comes through struggles from the bottom.

______
[1] IBM Linux education programme [in Malta]

One of the ICT education initiatives is the Linux Education Programme, through which 60 persons who already work in the ICT industry ambit will certify themselves as Linux Entry Level Administrators.

[2] Leo Brincat’s missionary zeal – Malta and Open Source

While Labour “studies” what its weekly half-hour trip on the internet gives it, we are developing areas where we think the benefits of open-source technology can really make a difference.

[...]

Moreover, should he have researched even further he would have also realised that we are taking our open standards policy even a step further and extending it to cut across different technological platforms such as we recently did with the eGovernment Web Framework when we extended it to cover also Oracle technologies and are currently preparing for its final extension into Linux.

[3] Maltese Government and IBM sign strategic alliance

The strategic programmes and initiatives offered by IBM include educational initiatives such as the setting up of a Linux education programme to certify Maltese students, selected by the Government, as Linux Entry Level Administrators.

[4] € 2 scheme for teachers and students for StarOffice

Maltese students and teachers can purchase StarOffice applications software for a once-only payment of €2.

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2 Comments

  1. Friend said,

    January 8, 2009 at 8:32 am

    Gravatar

    Freedom is not going to be easy :) We need to fight for every inch of it !!

  2. Lyle Howard Seave said,

    January 8, 2009 at 10:39 am

    Gravatar

    The article about the new Secretary of Education is excellent.
    New boss, same as the old boss.

    Again, your links are awesome and now that PJ isnt doing links anymore, even more important for free software supporters.

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