August 11, 2005 8:32 AM PDT

Massive Linux handout set for French schools

Thousands of secondary schools students in the French region of Auvergne will receive CDs containing free and open-source software when they return to school in September.

The project, which has been funded by the local government, will distribute 64,000 packs of CDs to students, according to Linux Arverne, a Linux user group involved in the initiative. The project aims to get students and their families more interested in free and open-source software.

Every student between the ages of 15 and 19 attending a school in Auvergne will be given a pack containing two CDs. The first CD contains free software for Microsoft Windows and Apple Computer's Mac OS X, including the OpenOffice.org office productivity application, the Firefox browser and the GIMP image editing application. The second CD is a Linux Live CD, allowing pupils to try the open source operating system without installing it. The Linux Live CD is based on Kaella, a French derivative of Knoppix.

The project is providing two CDs to make it easier for students to progress from a proprietary desktop to an open-source desktop, said Nicolas Spallinger, a member of Linux Arverne.

"The idea is to be progressive: start with FLOSS (free/libre and open-source software) on a Windows or Mac, try out a Live CD without the fear of messing things up, and then install your preferred" Linux distribution, he said.

The CD packs will be distributed on Sept. 2. After distributing the CDs, Linux Arverne hopes to set up training sessions and extend the project to younger pupils and university students, Spallinger said.

He added that three other regions have expressed an interest in this project, including the largest region Ile-de-France, which contains Paris.

"At least three regions are seriously interested so far in our project: Pays de Loire, Lorraine, Ile-de-France. We expect other people in the Francophone free software community will show their interest when the holiday period is over," Spallinger said. "We think this will get big."

Ingrid Marson of ZDNet UK reported from London.

11 comments

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Yes!!! Bravo!!! Magnifico!!!
Market, market, market. Reach out. Touch. Go out. Spread the word (err CDs). "Hands-on" advertisement works!

Grab the young generation's attention. Be creative. Throw hypes. Excite. Tap the youth. Instill Linux as a brand!

Then you've just directly secured Linux's future as the product for everyone...
Posted by Mendz (519 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Kind of how AOL coasters
are distributed.
Posted by Milly Staples (24 comments )
Link Flag
waste of money!
total waste of money, instead of distributing cd, put the money in some research or give to poor people in africa.
Posted by (128 comments )
Reply Link Flag
p.c. brainwashing!
"or give to poor people in africa."
Gimme a break!
Africa is a wreck BECAUSE of people who think like that.
Stop giving them fish, and teach them to fish! (Force them to fish for themselves!)
And if Mugab-oid dictators keep stealing everything, well, there IS a remedy for that...
Posted by powerclam (70 comments )
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What a waste?
Your missing the point, why don't the big companies feed the world?
Posted by wtortorici (102 comments )
Link Flag
Penguin for the people!
It's about time someone did something to address the issue of the "haves" and the "have nots " in the public school system. America could do the same if it were not controlled by corporate greed. Not only could the students use Open Office but the schools should do likewise. We would save millions in software costs that could then go to the classroom.
Posted by Mister C (423 comments )
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When We see it here?
I'd try it if it is available here in the US ofA
Posted by wtortorici (102 comments )
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Free to all
The entire office suite is available for the Windows OS at:

<a class="jive-link-external" href="http://www.openoffice.org/" target="_newWindow">http://www.openoffice.org/</a>

You can open/create/save in Open Office or MS format.

I haven't used the MS stuff since Office 97. You can even save in PDF format. Best of all it's free.
Posted by Mister C (423 comments )
Link Flag
Massive Linux handout set for French schools
Will they include a condom?
Posted by tbsteph (62 comments )
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Now teach the kids about participating in development
Teaching the kids about FOSS is good. But it would be better if they learn they can participate and influence. Teenagers like to make a difference. In FOSS they can participate, contribute, influence the development of the products. That's cool! You can actually meet the developers on the web, tell them what you think, perhaps get some of your suggestions into the next version. Perhaps contribute code?

If FOSS can attract high school kids, it would make a big difference. They would be the next generation of adults.

The trick would not to look for the geek teenagers. They would find FOSS anyway. The trick is to find the others that would not find their way to participating on their own. To find those that would never think about participating in developing computer software on their spare time. Those who can hardly find their way around their computer, but wh o have talents that can be useful. Those that can help in graphic design. Those that can help in sound effects. Those that can help in judging usability though will never be able to code usable software on their own. Those who just want to use the computer, but are good on expressing what they want, what they like and what they don't like. Almost anyone can participate somehow if given the right tools. Getting lots of teenagers to participate would make a big difference in the longrun.
Posted by hadaso (468 comments )
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