Open-source proponents blast proprietary software in Dutch schools

Locking schools into Microsoft Silverlight is bad for the future, group say

Dutch education authorities have decided to throw out their government’s open standards policy and instead lock in to Microsoft proprietary software for years to come, according to open-source advocates.

Marja Bijsterveldt, the Netherlands’ secretary of education, said that she was unwilling to force open standards on educational institutions, sparking an outcry from open-source advocates who say that Dutch students using free software or devices without Silverlight-support will find themselves locked out of schools' online systems.

The open standards policy was approved by the Dutch Parliament in 2007, but has not been fully implemented. Now, free software advocates are starting a new battle to make the use of open standards mandatory for all publicly funded institutions.

Students who complain about being locked out of their school's system are being advised to buy the proprietary Microsoft Windows OS, said For Free Software advocate Jan Stedehouder. "This behavior is not only unacceptable but also illegal. Our campaign aims at passing new legislation to ensure the mandatory use of open standards in education, to make sure that students have access to the free technology they deserve."

"Though this problem is all too common around the world, the Dutch government's stance is particularly disappointing," said Karsten Gerloff, president of Free Software Foundation Europe. "The Netherlands have some of the most progressive policies on free software and open standards in the world. But the education ministry utterly fails to implement them. I can well understand that Dutch parliamentarians are dissatisfied and want to push for a more robust policy."

Open-source advocates are concerned that students will miss out on learning real computing skills, instead relying on proprietary software "directions for use."

Follow Jennifer on Twitter at @BrusselsGeek or email tips and comments to jennifer_baker@idg.com.

Join the Good Gear Guide newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags open sourceGovernment use of ITregulationeducationsoftwaregovernmentindustry verticals

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Jennifer Baker

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Essentials

Microsoft L5V-00027 Sculpt Ergonomic Keyboard Desktop

Learn more >

Lexar® JumpDrive® S57 USB 3.0 flash drive

Learn more >

Mobile

Lexar® JumpDrive® S45 USB 3.0 flash drive 

Learn more >

Exec

Lexar® Professional 1800x microSDHC™/microSDXC™ UHS-II cards 

Learn more >

Lexar® JumpDrive® C20c USB Type-C flash drive 

Learn more >

Audio-Technica ATH-ANC70 Noise Cancelling Headphones

Learn more >

HD Pan/Tilt Wi-Fi Camera with Night Vision NC450

Learn more >

Budget

Back To Business Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Aysha Strobbe

Windows 10 / HP Spectre

Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!

Mark Escubio

Windows 10 / Lenovo Yoga

For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.

Kathy Cassidy

STYLISTIC Q702

First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.

Anthony Grifoni

STYLISTIC Q572

For work use, Microsoft Word and Excel programs pre-installed on the device are adequate for preparing short documents.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?