Linux wins Nigerian school desktops... maybe.

This one has been knocking around for a week or so now but is starting to take on a distinctly fishy smell. It seems that Mandriva won a bid to provide a customised linux installation on 17,000 Intel Classmate PC's to be supplied to Nigerian schools. Mandriva were then told that this deal had been unhooked and that 'Windows' would be installed instead, but Mandriva would still be paid...

This prompted an open letter to Steve Ballmer which was reported in Computerwold UK, The Register and Infoworld .

Then on Friday Computerworld UK, The Register and Infoworld all reported a partial backtrack.

It seems that one Nigerian Government agency who is funding 11,000 of the 17,000 total wants the original Mandriva as agreed. Quite apart from the contractual aspect of the deal and given that Linux is one of the certified Operating Systems for that platform one would think that there wouldn't be any issue. Especially as some of the systems have apparently already been supplied and the recipients are very happy with them.

However it looks like the third party contracted to deliver the systems (a crowd called TSC) are in line for some money... Microsoft Nigeria appear to have written that "Microsoft is still negotiating an agreement that would give TSC US$400,000 (£190,323) for marketing activities around the Classmate PCs when those computers are converted to Windows".

I'm sure that, if true, the money will all be accounted for and used only for those purposes... Just as the 'marketing contributions' promised to Microsofts Swedish Business Partners was... Oh, that's right, it wasn't...