1. The school teaches the UK curriculum; when I was last speaking with the person at the UK school who established the link with the Ugandan school, she'd said they'd had some new computers with Ubuntu installed on them shipped out but they didn't have the software expected by the board that set the curriculum they were teaching. Maybe that's the curriculum's fault, maybe it was a misunderstanding, either way, it doesn't solve the issue, even if it's a problem of perception and knowledge.
2. Related to the above, some people have the attitude "Everywhere else in the world runs Windows, surely teaching something else is a disadvantage?"
3. Few people knew how to use computers, and people usually have experience in Windows when you do find someone that's used computers. Finding someone to help with a computer is hard, finding someone who can help with Linux may be harder (though I guess the converse may be true where Linus is prevalent and Windows is not).
4. Lack of networks to search for help when things go wrong. We made an effort to take learning materials out with us, both for the kids and for the teacher to learn more (and not just about Linux), but it's difficult to provide enough documentation to cover every eventuality. Arguably Windows has the same issue but I don't think it has it to the same degree.
I was walking a fine line - on the one hand, I didn't want to treat the learning of the kids at the school as some sort of social/computing experiment to the degradation of their education, but on the other hand, I think open source could be a great thing in those sorts of situations.
I'll also add that for the time I spent there, I only saw a tiny part of Africa, so hopefully other people have more enlightening experiences to share!
"We need to move in the direction of what are known as 'open standards'- in effect, creating a common language for government IT. This technical change is crucial because it allows different types of software and systems to work side by side in government."
So I wonder if words have been mangled, because open source software and open standards are not one and the same.
I can see why the focus of the discussion here focusses on the software side, but I think open* standards are perhaps more important than the openess of the software. At government level, I really don't think saying "We're only using software of a certain software licence type" (closed or open) is feasible.
If everybody is using the same standards, it means it's the quality of the software that counts; it becomes a choice of "This software is better" rather than "This software is worse but it means I have access to my old data". From there, more use of open source software can, and hopefully will, follow.
*I do mean "open" in the sense that the
An inclined plane is a slope up. -- Willard Espy, "An Almanac of Words at Play"