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04.01.09

Authorities in China and Australia ‘Sell’ Their Children to Microsoft

Posted in Asia, Australia, GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Office Suites, Windows at 2:38 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

It’s no hoax

“They’ll get sort of addicted, and then we’ll somehow figure out how to collect sometime in the next decade.”

Bill Gates

WELL, what can we say? Like most such deals, it smacks of collusion or dumping, sometimes even bribes like Live@Edu, public looting, or even addiction techniques like the *Spark programmes.

The first article which was sent to us by a reader speaks of an outcry in China where Microsoft signed an anti-competitive deal.

A collaborative agreement between Qinghua University in Beijing and Microsoft has caused an outcry led by a top Chinese computer scientist. This three-year agreement specifies Qinghua’s participation in Microsoft’s campus genuine software initiative, which requires that all on-campus computers used by students and faculty members be installed with genuine versions of the Microsoft Vista operating system and Office 2007 suite.

This is a new development involving the software giant, after it released its “Black Screen” antipiracy patch last October, which directly impacted many thousands of individual computer users. Since then, an increasing number of schools are opting for the Linux operating system and domestic Office software packages.

What a coincidence. It must be what Microsoft calls Project Marshall.

Another similar case which may involve kickbacks or collusion is now being seen in Australia where Microsoft intercepted a long-standing plan to move to GNU/Linux.

Microsoft and Lenovo have won a massive deal worth hundreds of millions to supply sub-notebooks running Windows XP and Microsoft Office to 200,000 year 9 students in NSW state schools. The three year deal, with an option to renew, will see all year 9 students get the notebooks to keep for the remainder of their school years and beyond.

ZDNet Australia gives some essential background.

In December 2006, DET information services director Tim Anderson claimed the department was taking Linux seriously. “The possibility of running Linux-based desktop platforms is real for us,” he says in this video. “We have to consider [open source] very seriously,” he continued, “because it is clearly an industry trend. We need to have genuine competition in the marketplace for desktops … a lot of innovative educational solutions are coming out of the open source area.”

[...]

After two years of frantic development, Linux (particularly Ubuntu) has achieved a strong presence in the now-mainstream netbook market courtesy of Asus’ courageous early decision to focus on the open source platform, education-friendly derivatives like Edubuntu are well-developed, and few cross-platform or driver issues still dog Linus Torvalds’ baby on standard hardware.

When your wife’s friend’s 60-year-old mother tells you at a Christmas party at a lovely Indian diner in Newtown that she loves her Xandros-based Linux PC and wants to buy more for her children, you know Linux has arrived.

We wrote some more — using a lot of references — about Australia’s affair with GNU/Linux and Microsoft’s response to it. What happens at the moment is particularly shameful because the government uses taxpayers’ money to turn young people into customers of an abusive monopolist from another country.

Mark on the back

Stained for life

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5 Comments

  1. Socceroos said,

    April 1, 2009 at 6:07 pm

    Gravatar

    Roy, where are these “references about Australia’s affair with GNU/Linux and Microsoft’s response to it”?

    I’m emailing my representatives in government and would appreciate the extra information as references for them.

    The quicker you respond the quicker I can email them! =)

    Roy Schestowitz Reply:

    Hmmm….

    This is weird.

    I thought I had added a link to a post that contains many of the references, but I forgot the graft it. Look here (see 3.x and 4.x).

    I have some more if you require them.

  2. ram said,

    April 1, 2009 at 8:20 pm

    Gravatar

    Ever since the Howard regime, Australia’s government procurements seem to be all based on backhanders, bribes, and kickbacks. It is like doing business in Nigeria – maybe worse. This procurement is no exception. No worries, the school kids or their parents will be selling off the useless netbooks at the local pubs and pawn shops within days of getting them. Enterprising truants will buy them for little money, put linux on them, and resell them. This is what happens with ex-school desktop machines and ‘excess’ government department machines already.

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