Software monopolies and enforced consumption in schools

What would you think if you got a letter from your (or your child’s) school telling you that kids could only take part in the gym class if they had a particular brand of trainers? Or if they could only take part in the art class if they bought a particular brand of paints? You’d be pretty cross, right?

There’s been an interesting discussion on the FSFE mailing lists (in German) about pupils in public schools being forced to buy computers running Windows 10 and a recent version of MS Office. Guido Arnold has blogged a helpful summary in English here.

At, we appreciate that it’s not always easy to do the right thing when you’re working in a complex institution. Although our schools do some great things, we’d like to help them do more to promote software freedom. We also really want to help pupils, teachers and parents to break free of enforced consumption, because the stakes are highest for young people when it comes to the environmental and social problems it causes.

Please share your experience of using free software in schools – and let us know if you’d like us to provide a consultation on the options for your school or class. We can also provide educational talks about tackling the problems of e-waste, conflict minerals and the life-cycle of commodities.

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