Schools should exclusively use free, open source and in general libre software, here's why

2021-10-25 00:07:31 EEST | back | home | git

Today I met a student who is forced to use lockdown browser, which made me kinda angry how schools are so dependant on closed source spyware. When y'all sign up for university or school y'all are not giving your basic right to security and privacy to them, but they're still basically giving your data to every proprietary garbage companies that are money hungry.

I know this blog won't change schools from using proprietary software and all, but I hope that this at least makes little change and students could finally stop their data being mined unconsciously through the software and operating systems school use.

This post might seem a bit ranty... because it kinda is a rant, so enjoy :).

FOSS software is free, thus saving money

Schools don't have an unlimited budget so using fully open source, libre software would save them thousands on stupid office and microsoft windows licenses. Even though FOSS software might take a bit to get used to for current students, if FOSS gets accepted in schools the next generation will be long used to FOSS tools, software and operating systems.

FOSS operating systems can restore old hardware

Linux (and other FOSS operating systems) are usually lighter than microsoft windows or apple's macOS, so it can bring old school's systems back to life by giving them another chance to work better. Linux being the more popular FOSS operating system will probably work better on school computers because of the better hardware, driver and software support than something like OpenBSD or serenity OS.

FOSS software and operating systems are more private

Administration at school managing your data are probably using microsoft windows and excel or word to manage your grades, phone numbers, addresses, names, etc. - for short personal data, but you probably did not consent to your schools basically giving away your personal data to microsoft for free, actually in any way, but in general - you did not consent for your data being exposed to a company. Schools should use FOSS software because of that alone, but also anything else that is happening at your school is being basically being given away to companies and if you for example have some mental issues, health problems, etc. you probably don't want companies having that data and then targeting you and as time passes knowing more about you than you know about yourself.

A lot more choice

Windows and macOS limits you to one option, but on linux for example you can let users pick their own desktop session, them to have their files isolated, better permissions, safer logins, etc. nobody could tinker or laugh at students because of their work or could mess it up or anything similar. They can also pick a distro depending of what they want, though they should remember that not all linux distros are FOSS, maintained and/or libre.

Better administration, security and permissions

The school cannot allow students to do anything they want, like removing the root system or in general getting root access, but for that linux has good permissions and in general good system management, you could even disable root access and only be able to access root with an SSH key or something. You can restrict people a lot from messing up anything, which is a good thing, sometimes. Also with linux you get a package manager, which means school computers will not get as infected with nasty malware.

Teaches students more about IT

You know how IT lessons now are close to useless and all students do in them is make microsoft word documents, paint images and excel spreadsheets? With linux students could learn system administration and management, server hosting, scripting and automation and programming, even though some IT lessons in schools are them learning programming, linux still is better supported in the programming world and with linux you get much more access to programming tools and programming languages.

Easy modification

If schools need a certain feature in the software they use, FOSS software is fully and easily modifiable, so schools can add the feature themselves or hire someone to do it for them and a good thing about FOSS software is that they cannot implant any spyware or spooky features without being noticed as FOSS software is usually released under the GPLv3 or at least under the GPLv2.1 license which says that people who modufy the software have to release it under the same FOSS license.


Schools are usually restricted to what they teach just because they're using software that limits what to show and teach students. Schools could introduce what they're missing themselves and customise everything just how they like it and fully FOSS and libre from the desktop environment, the window manager to the kernel (see: linux-libre which keep in mind can also be hardened.)

Doesn't change much

Linux, BSD, etc; their distributions distributions, DEs and WMs don't change as much as windows or macOS so schools can be assured that they will get a constant and reliable experience, by that I mean the visuals don't change that much, but linux and stuff themselves get security updates and optimisation changes semi-often.


Even though updating is good, sometimes teachers after booting their computer will have a windows update for like 20 minutes and then they're not as able to teach students, with for example linux you pick when to update. The administration could teach teachers how to update their systems or just set up a cronjob and linux updates usually don't require an instant reboot, it can be easily upgraded in the background and you could easily just boot into the new kernel on the next boot.

Good documentation

Linux including other FOSS OSes are documented to great extents so if you face an issue you can easily figure out what's wrong and fix it, unlike on windows with its meaningless blue screens, so the administration could easily just fix the computers school has.

Linux and other FOSS OSes support a lot of devices

As linux (and FreeBSD, NetBSD, etc.) support a lot of devices and architectures schools could use phones, tablets and computers without needing to really change the software they use and so staying consistent and not ruining nor the teacher's nor the student's workflow, and they can run on other enterprise devices so sysadmins will also have a stable and consistent experience.

Anyway, I know this was quite ranty, but sometimes I would love to make schools use FOSS and libre software, but I can't do anything beyond this heh, but anyway, have a nice day :).