[sf-lug] "Educating Tux: case studies of Linux deployments in high schools around the world"

Christian Einfeldt einfeldt at gmail.com
Tue Mar 11 14:39:18 PDT 2008


On Mon, Mar 10, 2008 at 11:30 PM, Rick Moen <rick at linuxmafia.com> wrote:

> Quoting Christian Einfeldt (einfeldt at gmail.com):
> > I am already getting more requests for FOSS boxes from the March 1
> > installfest than I can handle, and I would love to get some help
> > getting these boxes out to people.
> As an aside, Christian, I think it's more than odd for you to
> continually refer to these as free / open source software boxes, when
> they include significant amounts of proprietary software -- and when in
> fact you're a vocal proponent of including proprietary code.
> I suspect my own machines are a great deal more close to 100%
> unqualifiedly open source than any boxes you build or advocate

So if your boxes are not 100%, what percent of "purity" have you achieved?
And, hypothetically speaking, if your boxes are, say, 2% more "pure" than
the boxes that those involved with our SF giveaways are donating, how do we
measure the significance of that difference?

Please do recall that Richard Stallman has said repeatedly that he has used
Unix to create the tools to move away from non-Free software.  I see my
efforts in a similar vein.  Of course I would prefer to give out nothing but
gNewSense.  But that is not feasible for me right now.  If you would like to
help us achieve a greater level of purity, we will be having a get-together
this Saturday at 1430 Scott at Geary.  We do have a rather large number of
machines to work on, and there is nothing that would prevent you from
installing the distro of your choice on those boxes.  I have no desire to be
the "lead" or the single point of failure for this school project.  I
welcome anyone else to make whatever contributions they would like, and if
they can get momentum behind this effort, I am perfectly willing to be a
gopher, because nearly everything that I am doing with this work is over my
skill level.

Anyhow, my current point is not to object to your fixation on including
> proprietary software, but rather to point out that your calling the result
> "FOSS boxes" is inappropriate, as they plainly are not that.

What label do you use for boxes that you give out?  Maybe I could adopt that
terminology for the boxes that I give out.  I mainly prefer FOSS or Free
Open Source Software because it is close enough.  For example, I don't give
out Linspire boxes.  But even those boxes are FOSS boxes IMHO.  Again, if
RMS worked on Unix to get us here, then maybe we need to put up with some
non-Free blobs in the short term to get mostly Free Software boxes in front
of people and actually using the major Free Software components.

IMHO, the most important concept is that the Debian pool / RPM pool is going
to replace much of the functionality of third party apps in the Microsoft
Windows world.  If we can get the average simple end user to understand that
there is lots of Free Software that is good enough, then maybe we can break
the logic underlying the cohesiveness of the Microsoft business network.
Rome wasn't built in a day, and it will take a while to get a majority of
end users deploying something like gNewSense.  That ultimately is my
personal goal.  But getting there is tough.  It requires step-by-step work.

For example, when I speak with the teachers at the school about Free
Software, their eyes just glaze over.  They don't care about Richard's four
freedoms.  But they do use the lab, and I do have footage of Richard
Stallman from one year in the lab saying that he thought our lab was a good
thing, because we do attempt to educate the kids about his four freedoms.  I
understand that you might disagree with Richard, but I agree with him on
this point.

> (I notice that Canonical has recently begun referring to proprietary
> software as "commercial software", and not coincidentally has started to
> sell it directly in a big way:
> http://brutalblog.wordpress.com/2008/02/08/canonical-will-sell-proprietary-software-to-ubuntu-users/
> )

Well, you will soon have a chance to confront Mark Shuttleworth with those
points.  Do you think that you will bring it up with him?
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