LibreSchool project main goal is to support schools wishing to migrate or create new didactic laboratories using GNU/Linux operative system and free and open source software (FOSS).
And why this blending, Linux and schools, you ask? Any community involved in FOSS is absolutely positive that knowledge cannot exist without sharing; so it is logic to us to let two different worlds, which basic phylosophies are sharing and knowledge, to make contact and fuse: open source communities and the schools.
Why should a school be interested in becoming part of our project, if we exclude the phylosophycal/ethical motivations already explained? It would be too simplistic to say that it would reduce ownership costs for IT, since a lot of open source solutions are free as in beer, but there is more than meets the eye. Here is a non-exhaustive list:
- High quality: the offered solutions are of high quality and because of this, they are used inside scientific environments (Geneve CERN, NASA), big companies (Google, Facebook, London Stock Exchange) and institutions (Italian Defence Ministry). For example, in our solution you may find the following didactic software:
- Word processor: LibreOffice Writer
- Spreadsheets: LibreOffice Calc
- Slides and keynotes: LibreOffice Impress
- Artistic drawing and photo-editing: GIMP, Pensil, Tux Paint
- Technical drawing: LibreCAD, QCAD, FreeCAD
- Flow charts and mental maps: Dia, Freeplane, Vym
- Vectorial graphics: Inkscape, LibreOffice Draw
- Maths and Geometry: GeoGebra
- Desktop publishing (for producing journals, brochures, flyers and a lot more): Scribus
- Electronics: Fritzing
- Didactical series for pre-scholar institutes: GCompris
- Astronomy: Stellarium
- Security: this has always been the strength of GNU/Linux;
- Constant and automatic updates: Operative system and also installed programs are constantly and automatically upgraded, once a new version is a available, so no application becomes obsolete and insecure, as it usually happens with the proprietary ones;
- Freedom: Freedom of choice and use between a large number of softwares; this allows experiments and analysis of different software solutions, to check and verify which one would be the best fit for requirements and needs;
- Lawfulness: open source software is perfectly legal because it is fully licensed by authors for sharing, study, modification and, of course, usage;
- Old hardware re-use: GNU/Linux is usually less resource-intensive than other proprietary operative systems; this permits to use old (not prehistoric, anyways 🙂 ) hardware and does not force to necessarily change hardware to create a new laboratory. This enables some money savings for the schools;
- Helps family to follow didactics at home: the same tools used at school by childrens and students can be downloaded from Internet, legally licensed and free to be used on home PCs, without imposing other expenses to the families (again, as proprietary software usually forces). Usually open source software is multiplatform (it can be used on many, if not all, operative systems, also if they are proprietary ones like Windows or macOS), so it can be used anywhere;
- Technological updating: as of today, a lot of laboratories in schools (at least in Italy) use the old Windows XP, which is deemed unsupported by Microsoft itself from April, 2014. This implies that in this OS any bugs or new security problems are not fixed nor corrected, leaving most of the laboratories and IT infrastructure vulnerable to newer types of attacks.