03 April 2008

The Russian Experiment

I've always thought that Russia offered very fertile ground for free software. It has some of the best hackers in the worlds (not to mention crackers), a need for customised software (not least because it will be in Cyrillic) and not much dosh to pay for exorbitant licensing fees. So news that Russia was aiming to move schoolchildren to free software seemed promising, even if the cynic in me wondered whether anything would actually come of it.

Well, here's a useful update on what exactly is happening with the project:

First of all, first deliverables have already become available. Openly and publicly (Russian). Among others, you are able to download the specially tailored Linux distributions, including a version tailored for older PCs with 128-256 MB of RAM and P-233-class CPUs and a Terminal Server edition that allows to use older PCs as thin terminals provided a decent server is available in the classroom.Secondly, the information is now coming from more than one source, which indicates that the regional participants of the project have both freedom and willingness to act (Perm, Tomsk, Moscow, all in Russian). The most curious is the website of the Perm region, where a map of the integration progress is available. The numbers in black correspond to the total amount of schools (first number is for city/town schools, second is for rural schools), the numbers in red correspond to the schools where Free Software is already being used.

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