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<h2>Free Software for Education</h2>

<p>Here are two lists of high-quality free/libre software applications that 
can be used in schools and educational institutions of all levels. The 
first one is a list of free/libre programs along with the popular 
proprietary applications they replace. The second one contains free/libre 
programs that do not necessarily replace a proprietary counterpart but can 
be very useful to students and teachers.</p>

<p>All these programs are released under a license that is granted 
for zero price and does not expire. While we are glad that schools can also 
save money with these programs, avoiding miseducation (teaching dependence 
on nonfree software) is a more important imperative: when we say these 
programs are <a href="/philosophy/free-sw.html">free software</a>, 
<strong>we are talking about freedom, not price</strong>. It means that 
you are free to use them constructively, either alone or in a community, 
while respecting the freedom of others.</p>

<p>Everyone should use free software, because only free software gives
users the freedom to control their own computers. However, there are
<a href="/education/edu-schools.html">specific ethical reasons</a> that 
apply to education.</p>

<p>In addition to the wrong of nonfree software, the use of third-party
network services in schools poses yet another problem: <a 
href="https://www.eff.org/press/releases/google-deceptively-tracks-students-internet-browsing-eff-says-complaint-federal-trade">
the collection of students (and teachers) personal data by companies</a>.</p>

<p>But even if the school never used those services, it could not be sure
that the machines are not sending data. In fact, the source code of
proprietary programs (with a few exceptions) is secret, so users don't 
know what the software is really doing.</p>


<table class="programs">
  <thead>
    <tr>
      <th>Category</th>
      <th>Free/libre program</th>
      <th>Features</th>
      <th>Replacement for (Google)</th>
      <th>Replacement for (Microsoft)</th>
    </tr>
  </thead>

  <tbody>
    <tr>
      <td>Operating systems</td>
      <td><a href="https://trisquel.info/">Trisquel GNU/Linux</a></td>
      <td>Composed exclusively of software that respects your freedom.</td>
      <td>ChromeOS, ChromiumOS</td>
      <td>Windows (any version)</td>
    </tr>

    <tr>
      <td>Web browsers</td>
      <td><a href="http://directory.fsf.org/wiki/Epiphany">Web</a>, 
          <a href="http://directory.fsf.org/wiki/IceCat">GNU IceCat</a></td>
      <td>These browsers do not track users.</td>
      <td>Chrome, Chromium</td>
      <td>Internet Explorer, Microsoft Edge</td>
    </tr>

    <tr>
      <td rowspan="2">Office</td>
      <td><a href="http://directory.fsf.org/wiki/LibreOffice">LibreOffice</a></td>
      <td>Powerful office suite. Documents are not uploaded to third-party 
          servers.</td>
      <td>----</td>
      <td>Microsoft Office, Office 365</td>
    </tr>
    <tr>
      <td><a href="http://directory.fsf.org/wiki/Etherpad">Etherpad</a>, 
          <a href="https://ethercalc.net/">EtherCalc</a></td>
      <td>Real-time collaborative text editor and spreadsheet that run in 
          your browser.</td>
      <td>Google Docs, Sheets</td>
      <td>----</td>
    </tr>

    <tr>
      <td>E-learning platforms</td>
      <td><a href="http://directory.fsf.org/wiki/Moodle">Moodle</a></td>
      <td>Entirely self-hosted. Manage classrooms and courses, give lessons 
          and assignments, create groups, take tests, synchronize data and 
          collaborate in forums, chats and wikis.</td>
      <td>Google Classroom</td>
      <td>----</td>
    </tr>

    <tr>
      <td>File synchronization</td>
      <td><a href="http://directory.fsf.org/wiki/Owncloud">ownCloud</a></td>
      <td>Entirely self-hosted. Allows collaborative document editing and 
          bookmark synchronization as well.</td>
      <td>Google Drive, Calendar, Contacts</td>
      <td>OneDrive, Outlook</td>
    </tr>

    <tr>
      <td>Media sharing</td>
      <td><a href="http://directory.fsf.org/wiki/Mediagoblin">GNU MediaGoblin</a></td>
      <td>Entirely self-hosted. Can share all kinds of media in safety.</td>
      <td>Youtube, Google Photos, Picasa</td>
      <td>----</td>
    </tr>

    <tr>
      <td>Email</td>
      <td><a href="https://docs.kolab.org/">Kolab</a></td>
      <td>Entirely self-hosted. Complete groupware solution which includes 
          email, calendar, address books, file synching and tasks. Clients 
          are based on Roundcube (web interface) by default but any other 
          email client can be used. This way, only the school can read the 
          students' mail, and nobody else.</td>
      <td>Gmail, Google Calendar, Contacts, Google Drive</td>
      <td>Outlook, Live</td>
    </tr>

    <tr>
      <td>Chat (audio,video, text)</td>
      <td><a href="https://jitsi.org/">Jitsi</a>, 
          <a href="https://jitsi.org/Projects/JitsiMeet">Jitsi Meet</a> 
          (browser-based)</td>
      <td>Entirely self-hosted 
          (<a href="http://directory.fsf.org/wiki/Prosody">Prosody</a> 
          is recommended as a XMPP server) and browser-based. Students can 
          chat across many platforms without their faces being scanned by 
          facial recognition algorithms and their voice and text being 
          recorded.</td>
      <td>Google Hangouts</td>
      <td>Skype</td>
    </tr>

    <tr>
      <td>Games</td>
      <td><a href="http://directory.fsf.org/wiki/Minetest">Minetest</a></td>
      <td>Build, explore and play in vast cube worlds, alone or with 
          friends. Create mods which aren't limited by proprietary 
          restrictions.</td>
      <td>----</td>
      <td>Minecraft</td>
    </tr>

  </tbody>
</table>

<p>Here's some additional free software useful for educational purposes:</p>

<table class="programs">
  <thead>
    <tr>
      <th>Category</th>
      <th>Free/libre program</th>
      <th>Description</th>
    </tr>
  </thead>

  <tbody>
    <tr>
      <td rowspan="5">Art, graphics and design</td>
      <td><a href="http://directory.fsf.org/wiki/Blender">Blender</a></td>
      <td>3D suite which includes a video editor and a game engine
          that can be used without programming (via logic blocks.)</td>
    </tr>

    <tr>
      <td><a href="http://directory.fsf.org/wiki/FreeCAD">FreeCAD</a></td>
      <td>High-quality parametric 3D CAD modeler.</td>
    </tr>

    <tr>
      <td><a href="http://directory.fsf.org/wiki/GIMP">GIMP</a></td>
      <td>Graphics editor suitable for image retouching, editing and drawing 
          (<a href="/education/edu-software-gimp.html">case study</a>.)</td>
    </tr>

    <tr>
      <td><a href="http://directory.fsf.org/wiki/Krita">Krita</a></td>
      <td>Fully featured, easy to use digital painting program, suitable for 
          students and professionals alike.</td>
    </tr>

    <tr>
      <td><a href="http://directory.fsf.org/wiki/TuxPaint">Tux Paint</a></td>
      <td>Graphics editor aimed at young children 
          (<a href="/education/edu-software-tuxpaint.html">case study</a>.)</td>
    </tr>

    <tr>
      <td rowspan="1">Games and educational activities</td>
      <td><a href="http://directory.fsf.org/wiki/Gcompris">GCompris</a></td>
      <td>Educational software suite comprising of numerous activities for 
          children aged 2 to 10 
          (<a href="/education/edu-software-gcompris.html">case study</a>.)</td>
    </tr>

    <tr>
      <td rowspan="1">Maths</td>
      <td><a href="http://directory.fsf.org/wiki/Octave">GNU Octave</a></td>
      <td>High-level interpreted language similar to proprietary MATLAB, 
          primarily intended for numerical computations.</td>
    </tr>

    <tr>
      <td rowspan="1">Physics</td>
      <td><a href="http://directory.fsf.org/wiki/Fisicalab">FisicaLab</a></td>
      <td>Solve physics problems creatively. Focus in physics concepts 
          while the program takes care of the mathematical details.</td>
    </tr>

    <tr>
      <td rowspan="3">Music</td>
      <td><a href="http://directory.fsf.org/wiki/Solfege">GNU Solfege</a></td>
      <td>Ear and music training program.</td>
    </tr>

    <tr>
      <td><a href="http://directory.fsf.org/wiki/LMMS">LMMS</a></td>
      <td>Professional-grade (but easy to use) music creation software and 
          digital audio workstation.</td>
    </tr>

    <tr>
      <td><a href="http://directory.fsf.org/wiki/MuseScore">MuseScore</a></td>
      <td>Fully featured scorewriter, with support for MIDI playback.</td>
    </tr>

    <tr>
      <td rowspan="2">Programming</td>
      <td><a href="http://directory.fsf.org/wiki/GDevelop">GDevelop</a></td>
      <td>Codeless game development tool based on drag and drop.
          Ideal to teach students programming concepts while having fun.</td>
    </tr>

    <tr>
      <td><a href="http://directory.fsf.org/wiki/Racket">Racket</a></td>
      <td>Battery-included programming language and environment
          suitable for both students and Lisp/Scheme wizards.
          Despite it being a fully-featured functional programming language,
          it was designed to be educational.</td>
    </tr>

  </tbody>
</table>

<p>The lists above are a selection of free software applications suitable
for the most common educational activities. The Free Software Foundation 
keeps a comprehensive database of educational software at the 
<a href="http://directory.fsf.org/wiki/Category/Education">
Free Software Directory</a>. If you know about a free/libre program suited 
for schools and is not listed there, please contact us at 
<a  href="mailto:education@gnu.org"><education@gnu.org></a> to let us 
know.</p>


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<p class="unprintable">Updated:
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$Date: 2018/03/02 06:35:55 $
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