Bonum Certa Men Certa

Did Microsoft Bribe Its Way Into Kicking GNU/Linux out of South African Schools?

Ballmer money
Steve Ballmer in Windows 1.0 advertisement

Summary: Can students be required to buy a particular product from a particular abusive company that virtually bribes teachers to achieve this?

THE OTHER day we showed that Microsoft had paid South African teachers not to use GNU/Linux. It's part of an ongoing attack on ODF and GNU/Linux adoption in this country. It's one among several such attacks on the competition.

In order to achieve its goals, Microsoft has already insulted South Africans and used the Live@Edu stunt (paying students to sell out their peers) to restrict choice ans harm GNU/Linux users at the University of South Africa. This strategy is related to EDGI, which is a programme for fighting the competition by dumping software. This may be illegal.

The latest news from South Africa would suggest that Microsoft's strategy may be paying off because, as the author puts it, "South Africa's department of education shuts out FOSS."

The decision by the department of education to specify proprietary Microsoft software as the minimum requirement for the purchase of laptops by teachers runs contrary to the South African national strategy of open standards and open source software. The government-backed Minimum Interoperability Standards (MIOS) for information systems in government, for example, specifies a set of standards for information sharing within government departments as well as between government and citizens, which specifies formats such as text, OpenDocument Format, XHTML and CSV for document sharing but does not include Microsoft’s Word format.

Has Microsoft suddenly reversed the country's policies?

For what it's worth, Apple is no angel either. Using the education system in Missouri Apple or its fans appear to be pushing students to buy a particular product from a particular company.

Missouri journalism students required to buy iPhone or iPod touch?


Before you protest that it may seem ridiculous, lavish, or favoring Apple to force students to pick up one of these expensive pieces of hardware, Brian Brooks, associate dean of the journalism school, told the Columbia Missourian that the requirement "will not be enforced, however, and there will not be a penalty for students who chose not to buy an iPod touch or iPhone."

So why require it? Brooks said that it'll helps students review recorded lectures, but the real reason for "requiring" the purchase is for the benefit of students on financial aid.

Say what? Microsoft is already known to be bribing professors and occasionally it shows, but what about Apple? It does have some academic plans (one DRM per child).


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