Sheesh, where were these guys when we were in school, huh? A number of (admittedly admirable) French authorities have okayed a plan to dish out 175,000 USB drives to Parisian high-school students at the beginning of the next term, and each stick will pack a bevy of open source software aimed at "further reducing the digital divide." The USB drives will likely contain Mozilla's own Firefox and Thunderbird applications, OpenOffice, an instant messaging client, and of course, an unnamed media player to play back tunes and videos. The exact mix of software will be determined by whichever firm ends up winning the bid to provide said thumb drives, but the council plans to spend a whopping €2.6 million ($3.4 million) on the devices alone, leaving us to wonder if these won't be crafted out of precious metals or something. Nevertheless, it looks like just the 15 and 16-year olds will be getting the gifts this time around, but if the implementation "proves successful," it could very well be renewed (and expanded) the following year.

[Via SmartMobs]

iPhone and Mac mini: cake editions