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Portugal: schools advised not to renew proprietary software licences

In what could be interpreted move to increase the amount of open source software used in academia (or just public sector miserliness. Ed.), Portugal’s Ministry of Education has advised the country’s schools not to renew their licences for proprietary operating systems and office applications. The ministry, in its letter addressed to all schools in October, announced it would no longer refund these costs. This advice was confirmed by a Ministry spokesperson yesterday, according to Joinup.

“The Ministry of Education and Science suggested that schools do not renew the (proprietary) licenses for this year and next year. It announced it will not transfer to the schools’ budgets the corresponding amount”, the spokesperson explained. “However, schools are free to renew licenses by using their own funds.”

This policy affects 19,300 desktop computers, 31,500 laptops and 1,300 servers that were distributed to the country’s schools between 2004 and 2007. All of these came included with proprietary software licences that have to be renewed every year.

The ministry believes the new policy will help save €850,000 in the present academic year.

Since 2004 all computers in all schools in Portugal have offered the user to choice when booting between a proprietary system or one based on Linux and other free and open source applications.