June 18, 2003

The regional government of Extremadura, Spain has put 80,000 computers in schools, loaded with GNOME, Linux and other free software

The regional government of Extremadura, Spain has put 80,000 computers in schools, loaded with GNOME, Linux and other open source software. The ratio is one computer for every two students.

Regional government installs one computer for every two students, all running open source software. Additional initiatives put computers in hands of general population.

DUBLIN, Ireland June 18, 2003 Representatives of the Junta of Extremadura (regional government) announced that a sweeping initiative has put 80,000 computers in schools across that region. The announcement came at the 4th annual GNOME Users and Developers European Conference (GUADEC) in Dublin, Ireland.

The program, which was instituted last year, has just completed installation in schools, with a ratio of one computer for every two students. All of the computers are using a customized version of Linux, called GNU/LinEx, and features the GNOME desktop. Other free software productivity programs are also installed on every computer. The total cost savings exceeded 18 million euros, or nearly one third of the total budget of 67 million euros.

“For us, software libre (open source software) was the only choice,” said Francisco A. Huertas Mendez, technical coordinator of GNU/LinuEx of the Junta de Extremadura. “We were able to stretch our budget very far and provide a powerful and easy-to-use environment with Linux and GNOME. We are also able to give the students all of the productivity programs they need.”

The Junta of Extremadura has also created 33 computing centers for the general population. The centers feature one-on-one computer assistance, so users who are unfamiliar with computers can learn computer and e-mail basics. The centers have drawn citizens of all ages and walks of life. The oldest user of the centers is 99 years old.

“Extremadura has launched a very significant initiative, and we are extremely pleased that they chose to use GNOME as their desktop environment for Linux,” said Miguel de Icaza, CTO of Ximian, Inc. and GNOME Foundation president. “This initiative not only gives computing ability to all of its students, it also has the potential to grow a local IT industry in Extremadura. This is an excellent example of the control and flexibility that Linux and open source give governments and public sector institutions.”

More information on the Junta de Extremadura’s computer initiative can be found at www.linex.org.

About GNOME

GNOME is a free software project that provides a complete, easy to use desktop for a variety of operating systems, including GNU/Linux (more commonly known as Linux), BSD, Solaris ™ Operating Environment, HP-UX, UNIX, BSD and Apple’s Darwin. The GNOME desktop is used by millions of people around the world. More than 700 computer developers, including over 100 full-time, paid developers, contribute their time and effort to the project.

About the GNOME Foundation

Comprised of hundreds of volunteer developers and industry-leading companies, the GNOME Foundation is an organization committed to supporting the advancement of GNOME. The Foundation provides organizational, financial and legal support to the GNOME project and helps determine its vision and roadmap. GNOME is an entirely free user environment for desktops, networked servers and portable Internet devices. The modern architecture and design of GNOME includes a technically advanced application development platform and a powerful end-user desktop environment. Major leading software industry and computer manufacturers support the GNOME development effort, which is led by a worldwide community of volunteers. More information on GNOME is available at www.gnome.org.