When the current Australian government came to power in November last year, one of its main election promises was the provision of a computer for each secondary school student. That promise has been somewhat difficult to implement anywhere so far, due to the fact that some costs apparently have not been factored in - both software (read Microsoft tax) and running costs.
A group of advocates is pushing for the adoption of FOSS in schools and recently sent a letter to the deputy prime minister, trying press their case. For people like them, Nic Baxter has some simple advice: petitions sent to government ministers will not help to bear fruit. "It has to be bottom up. Start at the schools with local evangelists helping make teachers lives easier."
Baxter is eminently qualified to speak. He is not a pundit, with a string of letters after his name and airy-fairy schemes in his head. But until recently, he worked at a state secondary college where he acted as a catalyst - all on his own time - to get some open source software introduced.
And he wasn't even the IT teacher at Kyneton Secondary College - he was teaching chemistry, science and mathematics.
Baxter, who lives about 80 kilometres from Melbourne, told iTwire: "The driving force (for introducing FOSS in the school) was the IT technician (Nathan Hansen) who was trying to prepare the school for the Ultranet." The Ultranet is a network which the state is trying to introduce for online learning in Victorian schools; the first lot of those who tendered for setting it up have not been considered and a second call for tenders is being made.