Before I was aware of the free and open source software alternatives, I would have probably accepted this request as fair enough. But when I learned how good Open Office was for example, and saw what OpenOffice.org had to say on their website, "You can install this software on every computer in the school and on every pupil's and every teacher's computer at home without paying any license fees. Please encourage others to do so..." I had to ask these questions:
Why are public education departments buying software at such an expense, and insisting that their staff and students use the same, when the equivalent alternatives in software are not only free, open and more flexible, but are more equitable, accessible, usable and reliable for the students and teachers?
And while we are considering that question I'd like to put forward another:
Why are those same public departments investing so much in a culture and practice of copyright, intellectual property and user pays business models when technology such as the Internet, free and open source software, and concepts like open courseware make it economically viable to at last offer a free and open education equally to all?