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Free and open source express: Free at School, Linux in Russia, Red Hat, Bitwarden


Image: “Keep calm and use open source” (MedithIT/CC by)

Alternatives to GAFAM in education

“Professors, parents of students and activists are moving to free the school from the grip of Google and Microsoft” (Basta.media). This article shows the reactions against the hegemony of Microsoft in German schools, at the start of the Covid pandemic, in Denmark, where Google was turned on by the Danish equivalent of the Cnil for non-compliance with the RGPD, or even in Spain, where Xnet activists have developed a suite of digital tools for education called DD, for “Democratic Digitization”.

Simona Levi, founder of Xnet, explains that Xnet started from already existing free software to bring them together on the same platform: “We work with Moodle, BigBlueButton, Nextcloud, Etherpad, combined in a single tool. It is an alternative which aims to be as agile as the Gafam tools. Free software has always existed in education, but it’s often more complicated and you have to have different software to accomplish different tasks. The goal of the DD project is to have a single platform, to put the best there is in terms of free solutions, to simplify, and to make it even lighter than the options of big techs.

The article then presents the French case (weight of proprietary software, but excluding GAFAM, Pronote), recalls the recruitment in 2021 at the National Education of Alexis Kauffmann, founder of Framasoft, to develop free projects (see among others those presented at the Free Educational Day), and the platform of free digital tools for National Education professionals, Apps.education.

Russia wants to abandon Windows for GNU/Linux

Side effect of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, Russia wants to switch to Linux (BFMTV, according to the Russian site Kommersant). Microsoft having suspended its sales to Russia in March, and blocking Windows 10 and t11 updates, the Russian administration is struggling to maintain the Redmond OS on its machines. “The change will be made in stages and will require significant financial investments, warn the Russian digital players interviewed by Kommersant. And for the latter, threats of exclusion from public procurement will not suffice as long as there is no real demand in the country for Linux products. To this, it must be added that the developers of the open source system are much less numerous than those of Windows or Oracle on the labor market.

Red Hat lets employees decide when they come to the office

The subsidiary publisher of IBM, which employs 19,000 people, lets its employees decide when they come to the office, and they are even free not to come at all (larevuedudigital.com). “The corporate culture explains this attitude. Red Hat grew out of the Open Source software movement, where a community of developers work remotely and asynchronously. Red Hat’s approach, however, goes against the return to the office movement requested by some giants like Apple. [voir cet article].

“While some of our peers in tech are bringing employees back to the office, we don’t believe our workforce has to be in an office to be successful, we’ve seen the value of offering flexibility,” the company said. HRD Jennifer Dudeck.

$100 million for Bitwarden

The Bitwarden password manager, freemium and under AGPL license, announces a fundraising of 100 million dollars (Developpez.com). “Bitwarden source code is hosted on GitHub, with separate repositories for desktop, server, web, browser, mobile, and command-line projects. It has all the features of commercial personal password manager checklists, including secure cloud synchronization. If the user is not comfortable with storing their passwords in the Bitwarden cloud, they can host the infrastructure on your own server, using Docker.”

The company, based in California, indicates that the main financier of this round is PSG, an investment fund, alongside the shareholder already present Battery Ventures.

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