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EducationIn Depth → Why Educational Institutions Should Use and Teach Free Software

Why Educational Institutions Should Use and Teach Free Software

"Schools should teach their students to be citizens of a strong, capable, independent and free society."

These are the main reasons why universities and schools of all levels should use exclusively Free Software.


Schools should teach the value of sharing by setting an example. Free software supports education by allowing the sharing of knowledge and tools:

Social Responsibility

Computing has become an essential part of everyday life. Digital technology is transforming society very quickly, and schools have an influence on the future of society. Their mission is to get students ready to participate in a free digital society by teaching them the skills to make it easy for them to take control of their own lives. Software should not be under the power of a software developer who unilaterally makes decisions that nobody else can change. Educational institutions should not allow proprietary software companies to impose their power on the rest of society and its future.


Schools have an ethical responsibility to teach strength, not dependency on a single product or a specific powerful company. Furthermore, by choosing to use Free Software, the school itself gains independence from any commercial interests and it avoids vendor lock-in.


When deciding where they will study, more and more students are considering whether a university teaches computer science and software development using Free Software. Free software means that students are free to study how the programs work and to learn how to adapt them for their own needs. Learning about Free Software also helps in studying software development ethics and professional practice.


This is an obvious advantage that will appeal immediately to many school administrators, but it is a marginal benefit. The main point of this aspect is that by being authorized to distribute copies of the programs at little or no cost, schools can actually aid families facing financial issues, thus promoting fairness and equal opportunities of learning among students.


Stable, secure and easily installed Free Software solutions are available for education already. In any case, excellence of performance is a secondary benefit; the ultimate goal is freedom for computer users.


 [FSF logo] “Our mission is to preserve, protect and promote the freedom to use, study, copy, modify, and redistribute computer software, and to defend the rights of Free Software users.”

The Free Software Foundation is the principal organizational sponsor of the GNU Operating System. Support GNU and the FSF by buying manuals and gear, joining the FSF as an associate member, or making a donation, either directly to the FSF or via Flattr.