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Greek school network increasingly turning to open source

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The Greek School Network is extensively using open source, reports Panagiotis Angelopoulos, an IT engineer working for national ICT technology research institute Diophantus. Free and open source IT solutions are implemented both on GSN's servers and on school desktops. The solutions are used for teaching and for providing IT services such as email.

Angelopoulos talked about the use of open source in the GSN at a workshop organised by Osepa in Athens, on 6 and 7 November. The Osepa project aims to increase awareness on the advantages of free and open source software. The consortium of public administrations and IT researchers is funded in part by the European Regional Development Fund, until December this year.

The Greek School Network now connects 16,111 schools, 9000 school LANs, 891 school administrations, 594 libraries and 60 archives in the country. GSN is used by 180,000 teachers and 1,350,000 pupils.

IT engineer Angelopoulos lists six advantages of the use of free and open source. It lowers IT costs and provides lots of choice. It runs well on all kinds of computer hardware, which means organisations can avoid costly hardware upgrades. Free and open source software prevents organisations from being locked-in by IT vendors, is more secure and it encourages the use of open standards.

Thousands of users
Postfix, Dovecot, Horde, Spamassin and Clamav, open source applications used for email and related services, are combined to provide more than 135,000 email accounts. The same tools are used to offer disk space to teachers and students. Each month, more than 35,000 users access the services, according to the engineer.

Open source mailing list software is used by teachers and school administrators to keep up with official communication and briefings. E-learning, content management and document management tools are provided with open source systems Moodle, Worpress, Joomla, Bigbluebotton and Open Eclass.

These services are used by many thousands of users, according to the numbers presented by Angelopoulos. The weblog service hosts 14,000 blogs and the electronic classroom has 7713 teachers registered. The network's school portal has been visited over 312,000 times, he said, citing data from last January.

A recent addition is the Library of Educational Software 'Opensoft', showcasing 415 educational open source software packages. One of the goals of this project is to brief those working in educational on the use of these IT solutions. The site presents international examples and aims to get teachers to collaborate and exchange ideas.

More information:
Greek School Network email
Greek School Network mailing lists
Greek School Network free and open source software library
Osepa report on its final workshop
Osepa workshop presentations
Osepa web site