The use of free and open source software by sixteen schools in the Swedish municipality of Sollefteå is proving its usefulness to the municipal administration, says school IT sysadmin Daniel Hedblom.
The Sollefteå council is more and more becoming aware of the advantages of free and open source, says Hedblom. "For those who are not IT savvy, IT vendor lock-in is hard to understand. However, the cost of IT is an important topic for the council." He expects that the success of free and open source software in Sollefteå's schools will motivate the municipality to increasingly turn to this software in their own organisation.
Hedblom is the IT administrator managing more than 1600 PCs for the in total 2600 students and numerous laptops for the teachers.
The schools rely on the Resara Linux Server, providing commercial support for Samba, open source tools for offering group policies, file and print services in networks of PCs running proprietary operating systems.
On the PC, schools uses many open source applications, including LibreOffice, a suite of office tools, and webbrowsers Chrome and Firefox.
"Savings on licences for proprietary software was at first the main reason to use open source, but as we gained experienced with it, we find that for many tasks, free and open source is the better solution."
Advocates in the Sollefteå municipality are not in contact with like-minded public administrations or schools in Sweden, regrets Hedblom: "Advocating free and open source software attracts attention of those who will resist it at any cost. Those that use it, have learned to be quiet about it."