I've been too busy at home, but finally I found time to wrap up another interview with the people behind Debian Edu and Skolelinux. This time we get to know José Luis Redrejo Rodríguez, one of our great helpers from Spain. His effort was the reason we added support for several desktop types (KDE, Gnome and most recently LXDE) in Debian Edu, and have all of these available in the recently published Debian Edu Squeeze version.
Who are you, and how do you spend your days?
I'm a father, teacher and engineer who is working for the Education ministry of the Region of Extremadura (Spain) in the implementation of ICT in schools
How did you get in contact with the Skolelinux/Debian Edu project?
At 2006, I verified that both, we in Extremadura and Skolelinux project, had been working in parallel for some years, doing very similar things, using very similar tools and with similar targets, so I decided it was time to join forces as much as possible.
What do you see as the advantages of Skolelinux/Debian Edu?
A community of highly skilled experts working together, with a really open schema of collaboration and work. I really love the concepts of Do-ocracy and Merit-ocracy and the way these concepts are been used everyday inside Debian Edu.
What do you see as the disadvantages of Skolelinux/Debian Edu?
Sometimes the differences in the implementations, laws or economical and technical resources in the different countries don't allow us to agree in the same solution for all of us, and several approaches are needed, what is a waste of effort. Also, there is a lack of more man power to be able to follow the fast evolution of the technologies in school.
Which free software do you use daily?
Which strategy do you believe is the right one to use to get schools to use free software?
I think there is not a single strategy because there are very different scenarios: schools with mixed proprietary and free environments, schools using only workstations, other schools using laptops, netbooks, tablets, interactive white-boards, etc.
Also the range of ages of the students is very broad and you can not use the same solutions for primary schools and secondary or even universities. So different strategies are needed.
But, looking at these differences, and looking back to the things we've done and implemented, and the places were we have spent most of our forces, I think we should focus as much as possible in free multi-platform environments, using only standards tools, and moving more and more to Internet or network solutions that could be deployed using wireless. I think we'll see more and more personal devices in the schools, devices the students and teachers will take home with them, so the solutions must be able to be taken at home and continue working there.