The Portuguese Ministry of Education and Science (MEC) has told school boards across the country that it will not be shelling out huge amounts of dosh for Microsoft software this year.
It wants schools to keep their old computers and install free Linux software instead as part of an austerity measure.
According to the Publico magazine the government has decided that it will not renew licences to use Voleware on 50,000 computers which were distributed between 2004 and 2007.
The numbers of computers in Portuguese school rooms which are that old are only a small percentage of the total. The government distributed 111,491 computers in 2009 under the Technological Plan for Education and these will still have software which runs on Microsoft.
But the government can’t be bothered shelling out for the older gear that is left which is 31,558 laptops and 19,358 desktops,
According to a government circular a lot of these devices, given their age, will not be in good working order and do not support the latest versions of Microsoft products.
Many of the computers are no longer in operation so the fact that they are being forced to migrate to Linux is not really a problem.
One headmaster, José Eduardo Lemos, whose school, the Secondary Jane Austen, in Póvoa de Varzim has 300 computers, of which “only 20 to 30 are prior to 2009.”
Cash strapped Portugal has to cut its budgets somewhere, and we guess paying Microsoft for licences on ancient machines which probably are not working is as good a method as any.