Estonian Schools Piloting Open Source Software

Alexandra Gerea | ZME Science | March 3, 2016

Schools in Estonia’s capital Tallinn are piloting a new program, gradually moving to PC workstations running on free and open source software. Students, teachers, school administration and kindergartens’ staff members are using LibreOffice, Ubuntu-Linux and other open source tools, saving millions of dollars on software fees.

As computers have become ubiquitous, schools are basically forced to incorporate computers in the educational process. But buying a computer for a school isn’t as easy as simply buying a computer – you have to buy useful, licensed software through public auctions, and that often costs a lot of money. Furthermore, this teaches kids to be reliant on some software which they may not have access to at home, at it may hinder their development.

By September 2015, the Tallinn Education Board had implemented Ubuntu-Linux (open-source operating system) on 4000 of the in total 6000 workstations and laptops that it manages across the 50 schools in the city. Most of these hosts are dual boot, allowing computers to switch between Linux and Windows or other alternatives. For editing documents, they’re using LibreOffice...