"The central issue, of course, is that the BECTA model of spending IT money is centred on paying a commercial company for licences, hardware, training, support and installation, and because of previous bad experiences these commercial companies are required to be of a certain size and age. This doesn't sit well with open source projects, whose focus is on small groups, communities and informal consortia."
I got this related call through today, which I'm happy to pass on here:
"John Pugh MP has tabled an Early Day Motion in the House of Commons entitled Software in Education, number 179. Please write to, or email, your MP within the next week with a request that he or she add their name to this motion:
"That this House congratulates the Open University and other schools, colleges and universities for utilising free and open source software to deliver cost-effective educational benefit not just for their own institutions but also the wider community; and expresses concern that Becta and the Department for Education and Skills, through the use of outdated purchasing frameworks, are effectively denying schools the option of benefiting from both free and open source and the value and experience small and medium ICT companies could bring to the schools market."
This is a huge opportunity to put FLOSS on our politicians agenda, and the issue is precisely where we want the DfES to take action. Please let Ian Roberts know about your letters. Iain is co-ordinating this effort on behalf of the Open Schools Alliance."