Many schools in Romania today are using proprietary software like Microsoft Windows and Microsoft Office — most of which are either unlicenced copies or old unsupported versions, for which the schools may face legal issues, according to the Education Ministry of Romania. To tackle this problem, the Ministry recommends the schools to either purchase newer, licenced copies of these software, or switch to open source solutions like GNU/Linux, particularly Ubuntu and Edubuntu.
The Ministry has also released a tentative list of applications recommended to be used along with GNU/Linux. It includes some of the most commonly used GNU/Linux software like LibreOffice, Firefox, Inkscape and the GIMP, but also some education specific tools like GNU Octave, FreeCAD, Geany and Lazarus.
Until we can provide national support for this product, including localization in Romanian and national minority languages, the decision to use this distribution is up to each school.
As of now, the list is only “an experiment” according to the Ministry, the reason being that currently, the national support and localization for these applications is not complete. Once this is achieved, the Ministry might make it fully official.
In spite of being tentative, this news has been welcomed by the Romanian supporters of Free and Open Source Software, and marks one more milestone in the globalization of FOSS.