Bonum Certa Men Certa

New Article Explains How Bill Gates Prevents Schools From Moving to GNU/Linux and Free Software

Summary: A new article from Al Jazeera provides details about the role of so-called 'charities' of billionaires inside school systems

We recently wrote about the Gates Foundation's promotion of Common Core for profit, having previously covered InBloom and the Microsoft connection (surveillance on children for profit [1, 2]). It is all about control and monetary gain. Based on this new article from Al Jazeera, Los Angeles (LA) is leaving Apple and affluent opportunists are already hanging around because they to try to keep LA away from Free software, which should be default in education:



Foisting computers on schools has been a lucrative business, one easily disguised as charity. Among Pearson’s allies is the Gates Foundation, which works alongside Microsoft’s education arm to promote the Common Core in schools and support libraries, with Microsoft software in hand. Gates’ competitor for the richest-person-in-the-world slot, Mexican telecom monopolist Carlos Slim, has proposed to bypass schools altogether by bankrolling the online-only Khan Academy. Now Rupert Murdoch is trying to enter the education tech business with a tablet of his own.

[...]

One might, for instance, consider replacing the iPad with a little device called a Raspberry Pi. About the size of a credit card, it’s a fully featured computer, though a keyboard and screen need to be plugged in separately. It comes as a single circuit board with no casing, which reflects its philosophy; the basic parts of the machine are plain for a student to see — the video card, the CPU, the power system, the USB ports. The nonprofit Raspberry Pi Foundation sells it for as little as $25, compared with $299 to $929 for an iPad. One Laptop per Child (OLPC), another nonprofit project, produces low-cost laptops and tablets with education in mind.

Software can be even cheaper. The Raspberry Pi and OLPC run on Linux, a free, open-source operating system, which is constantly being improved and expanded by thousands of programmers around the world. An enormous variety of free, community-developed programs, including fully featured office suites, graphics tools and games — as well as popular commercial programs such as Skype and Dropbox — can be installed on the device. Apple and Microsoft often tell us that open-source software is unreliable and unfriendly to use, but that hasn’t stopped Linux from being the basis of Android phones, many everyday appliances and most of the Internet. The computer I used to write this article runs Linux.


This article reinforces a lot of of what we have shown over the years. It is really simple to see why education systems should teach methods rather than preach brands; they need to teach with transparency and participation, not restrictive licences, spying, and lock-in. On the other hand, it is simple to see why people like Gates wish to impose Windows on an obligatory and publicly-funded system.

LA's policy for school procurement should be rather clear now, never mind how close it is (geographically) to Apple, the company that lets people's private (sometimes nude) photographs leak out because its security mechanisms are technically a farce. Children would be an easy target here.

"...it is simple to see why people like Gates wish to impose Windows on an obligatory and publicly-funded system."Speaking of privacy, the NSA-tied Microsoft now promotes "always-on" in phones and after Box's CEO made some noise about privacy he shows his company to be just another NSA surveillance tool through Microsoft Office. No school should impose such nonsense on its students. Any school that still teaches Windows and Microsoft Office should seriously consider whether it is teaching or selling/marketing.

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