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Does Free Software cost jobs?

ComputerWorld - Last year I generated quite a response when I suggested that the major expense of school ICT, namely the human resources required to keep it all going would be cut and cut again. The model of school ICT that had come to pass required huge amounts of skilled technical support.

Well everything has changed. Schools have stopped spending and the firms that sold to them are making big redundancies as illustrated by the cuts imposed recently by RM plc. My college has frozen all posts and within ICT the only post to be unfrozen is a web developer post. All of our ‘mission critical’ apps are available through the web (which is how I survive using only my Chromebook) so it seems obvious to me that the conventional model of Domains and their technical armies will naturally wither away.

I am feeling a little uneasy. As part of an Open Source company my mantra to education was ‘reduce overheads, reduce support, save money, do more for less’...well the message got through ... right alongside the recession. Trouble is we did not create a single long term job during this crusade. The company I was with has no-one now employed in any aspect of education.

All the developments in education are web-based and mostly leveraging globally available free stuff much of which indeed owes its existence to free, open source software. Virtually none of it represents a single British job.