2 Software, copyright and the learning environment
Research shows that several public sector schools in different countries seek to achieve such
pedagogical effects by provision of laptops and software to individual students, includin g
compulsory schools (broadly ages 7-16) and upper secondary schools ( broadly ages 16-19) in
There is previous research addressing use of Free and Open Source Software (FOSS3) at
university4 and high school levels,5 and some research on provision of software under different
licences in school contexts. For example, González-Martínez et al.6 presents a review of the use of
cloud computing (‘Software as a service’ or ‘SaaS’) in schools. However, there is a lack of
research on legal conditions for provision of FOSS to students in schools. With provision of FOSS
in such a scenario, students, schools and municipalities are exposed to a number of regulations and
rules related to the use of software and services and it is common t hat students and guardians are
required to comply with conditions in contracts presented by the school. Many of these conditions
are difficult to interpret.7
Exposure to and involvement in FOSS culture may make a significant contribution to skills
development both in educational contexts but also more broadly. For example, previous research8
which involved data collection from “Swedish practitioners within companies known to be active
users” of FOSS stressed active involvement in FOSS projects as a promoter of change with
significant opportunities for learning. In fact, the study9 identified “skills development as an
important outcome of participating”, and several practitioners “also elaborated their experiences of
being able to influence and expressed a sense of fun.”
In a broader stud y aimed to establish the state of practice concerning IT usage in Swedish public
sector schools with students of school age in Sweden (which starts in the year they turn 7 and ends
projects: A systematic narrative research review, Educational Research Review, Vol. 7, pp. 107-122.
http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.edurev.2011.11.004; de Macedo Guimarães, L. B., Duarte Ribeiro, J. L., Echeveste, M. E.
and de Jacques, J. J. (2013) A study of the use of the laptop XO in Brazilian pilot schools, Computers & Education,
Vol. 69, pp. 263-273.; IES (2010) Teachers’ Use of Educational technology in U.S. Public Schools: 2009, National
Center for Education Statistics, NCES 2010-040, U.S. Department of Education, Washington, May.; Livingstone, S.
(2012) Critical reflections on the benefits of ICT in education, Oxford Review of Education, Vol. 38(1), pp. 9-24.
http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/03054985.2011.577938; Öman, A. and Svensson, L. (2015) Similar products different
processes: Exploring the orchestration of digital resources in a primary school project, Computers & Education, Vol.
81, pp. 247-258. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.compedu.2014.10.011
2 Hatakka, M., Andersson, A. and Gronlund, Å. (2013) Students’ use of one to one laptops: a capability approach
analysis, Information Technology & People, Vol. 26(1), pp. 94-112. http://dx.doi.org/10.1108/09593841311307169
3 See section 4 for more information about what constitutes ‘FOSS’.
4 German, D. (2005) Experiences teaching a graduate course in Open Source Software Engineering, In Scotto, M. and
Succi, G. (Eds.) Proceedings of the First International Conference on Open Source Systems, Genova, Italy, 11-15 Jul.,
pp. 326-328.; Kilamo, T. (2010) The Community Game: Learning Open Source Development Through Participatory
Exercise, In Proceedings of the 14th International Academic MindTrek Conference: Envisioning Future Media
Environments (MindTrek’10), Tampere, Finland, October 2010, ACM Press, pp. 55-60.
http://dx.doi.org/10.1145/1930488.1930500; Lundell, B., Persson, A. and Lings, B. (2007) Learning Through Practical
Involvement in the OSS Ecosystem: Experiences from a Masters Assignment. In Feller, J. et al. (Eds.), Open Source
Development, Adoption and Innovation, Springer, Berlin, ISBN 978-0-387-72485-0, pp. 289-294.
5 Lin, Y.-W. and Zini, E. (2008) Free/libre open source software implementations in schools: Evidence from the field and
implications for the future, Computers & Education, Vol. 50(3), 1092-1102.
6 González-Martínez, J. A., Bote-Lorenzo, M. L., Gómez-Sánchez, E. and Cano-Parra, R. (2015) Cloud computing and
education: A state-of-the-art survey, Computers & Education, Vol. 80, pp. 132-151.
7 Under Swedish law, the students, if they are under the age of 18, cannot be legally bound to the agreements. Breach of
them is likely to be regarded as a breach of school rules rather than a legal matter. This does have some impact on
'further restrictions' which are outlawed by GPLv2 and GPLv3 licences – see below. In some cases, parents or
guardians are required to sign, in which case, the contracts would be legally binding on those parents or guardians
(assuming they themselves are adults).
8 Lundell, B., Lings, B. and Lindqvist, E. (2010) Open source in Swedish companies: where are we?, Information
Systems Journal, Vol. 20(6), pp. 519-535. http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1365-2575.2010.00348.x
9 Lundell et al. (2010) ibid., at page 529.
International Free and Open Source Software Law Review Vol. 8, Issue 1