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To a previous post Kylie replies:
>In addition to what Ken has added...I'd like to think that computerbank type
things >touch in this educational area too. Eg: a public school in melbourne
was donated >computers from the CSIRO (i think), they have maybe 15 complete
systems there >all collecting dust in the library.
Curious, can these computers be networked, namely do they have network cards?
Also does the school have wiring and funds for internet access? Also which
grades (K-12) are involved.
>It would be good to convince (and moves were made in this direction) the
principal >that GNU/Linux would make these systems come to life and
furthermore could help >in the future learning of the children. Getting kids
involved in the setup of the >system would be ideal - this way they feel like
they really own it - and they want to >help it grow...they will want to learn.
Most people want to play it safe and not try something new. The best approach
is to have examples where others have accomplished great things. We should put
together a set of examples. One that comes to mind is at
(http://www.seul.org/archives/seul/edu/Nov-1998/msg00205.html) or you could
respond to (http://www.edos.org/cgi-bin/webbbs/edos/edos.pl?read=7) and
explain what you're doing and ask if he would be willing to provide some
details. We run a small business out of our home. We have also written and
marketed software. When one starts a business (think of computerbank as a
business), it is hard getting the first customers (again think of the school
as a customer). As one gets satisfied customers, getting more gets easier and
easier because one can point to the customers one has. Try the Melbourne
school again using this approach. We just learned about what Mark Harvey did
(and others have done) and thought you might be interested. We would be happy
to set everything up for you. Once you have the first school, go back to the
businesses and say, "Here's what we did for this school and if you could give
us some old computers or money, we could do it for more schools". Then go back
to the businesses and say, "The kids don't have computers at home could you
help". Get something started. Then build on it.
>Education (not just for children at school) and access to information (as
well as >the ability to learn from the information) is key. Everyone can
benefit. There will >be some who want to learn GNU/Linux to a programming
level, but some may >not...they may just want to use. (GNOME, and projects
like SEUL is taking the >user interface to new heights).
>In using they may want to educate themselves about a particular thing that is
>important to them ( eg: i have an interest in finding out as much as i can
about >lupus - an auto immune disorder) someone similarly may have an interest
in >talking to other single mothers to discuss raising children alone etc, and
someone >might like to know how to cook a dish from another country everyone
is >different...the unemployed could use the internet as an educative tool
also. >(especially if they want jobs in IT and GNU/Linux sys admin ect)...
>So what I guess i am saying is that GNU/Linux is important for everybody
really. >But especially in schools, and especially for those that are
disadvantaged. So I >can see that the computerbank thing would be useful to
apply here. Schools (as in >the above eg) often get donations from people etc,
so advocating for the >installation GNU/Linux is very important.
>Tools and Projects that complement this activity (eg: SEUL) are essential.
>(training, user support, user involvement, development of more projects,
>advocacy, etc, etc)
There is an organization (http://www.freehive.org) run out of Mexico city
which among other things is working on an open knowledge project. Since the
archives for the project have not yet been placed in the archive, I am
including a post as an attachment for your perusal.
1999 The Year Of Linux
Make It Happen
Subj: RFC on this "manifesto" :)
Date: 12/3/98 11:36:35 AM EST
From: Thunda@downunder.net.au (Jacques Chester)
To: firstname.lastname@example.org (Free Encyclopaedia List)
I gave the whole Opentext idea a few more passes,
and it came out looking kinda better. I've
attached a draft "manifesto" below, and I'm
inviting all your comments.
Thanks in advance.
| ICQ: | 6474858 |
| PGP 'print | 3A0E 6722 3664 2EC0 EFC9 7468 0550 9208 BB5E F6E9 |
THE OPEN KNOWLEDGE MANIFESTO.
1. The Invisible Dragons.
Invisible Dragons rest in each of us. One of those dragons is
Ignorance is not about who you are. It's about what you know - or,
more importantly - what you don't know. If you don't know about
something, you are much more likely to draw incorrect conclusions
from the scraps around the hole in your knowledge. This is how
superstition is born. It is also at the root of misunderstanding,
animosity, and war.
To slay this dragon, then, is a virtuous act.
And so it is that I call upon those of you who can to help slay the
dragons in the hearts of people all over the world. This call will
sound grandiose, it will sound mad, and may even sound impossible. It
pales in insignifcance, however, compared to what ought to be done.
2. This Document as a Manifesto.
Due to its synthesis of idealism and practical items, this document
is neither philosophical tract nor outline or overview - it is more
accurately that odd mutant child of history: the manifesto. More
specifically, it is the manifesto for the tentatively named "Open
3. The Open Knowledge Project: Idealism.
It is the over-arching goal of the OKP to slay ignorance. This is our
idealistic aspect. The basic premise of the OKP is to propagate
systems of knowledge of the highest possible quantity.
It is the greatest truth of this document that knowledge - what
Aristotle called 'eternity' - is the highest of all things that
It must be immediately noticed that knowledge is never valuable in
isolation. Information needs context. Information is only useful in
interaction with other information. Theories are only useful together
with what they describe, and knowledge is only useful with reality.
Therefore, it must be open - meaning that it must be easily available
at negligible or nil cost, with the option of extension, annotation
and contribution. Hackers - whose philosophy heavily influences this
work - are often attributed as saying "Information wants to be free".
This anthropomorphism gives a useful rule of thumb as to the morality
of closed knowledge versus open knowledge.
As a philosophy this 'Openism' is based on the idea that the benefits
of open knowledge far exceeds any costs. It argues, in subthemes,
that a wide base of knowledge is as valuable, or more valuable, than
specialised knowledge when dealing with the infinite complexity of
Imagine this as a pyramid of enlightenment. At the peak of the
pyramid is enlightenment itself; a state of understanding, insight
and wisdom. The pyramid itself is built on sciences, humanities, arts
Science is a philosophy in itself, the categorisation and description
of physical reality and how it operates. Humanities are the tools
which describe human society and provide tools for working with it.
Arts provide insight into both private and communal mindsets.
Philosophy challenges thinking on the grounds of thought.
The broader the base of the pyramid, the higher the enlightenment.
The OKP can be seen as a group which aspires to provide an open base
for that pyramid. The rest remains for those who benefit from our
labour to enjoy.
So how do we achieve these lofty goals?
We take our knowledge - hard-fought for, hard-won, well-earnt - and
we give it freely to all who want it. We take all our learning, and
we distill it into an open repository of organised knowledge. Thus,
those who wish to know more can access it. The OKP will provide
whatever means it practicably can to allow access to this knowledge
in the most useful forms.
The OKP exists to further the propagation of knowledge as far as
possible. It shall not discriminate in its propagation on any grounds
- most especially by person (by class, race, gender or any other
measure: we are all Humans) or by purpose (to discriminate is to
invite moral judgement upon knowledge: to do so is to invite the
closing of knowledge).
4. The Open Knowledge Project: Pragmata.
The intial medium to long term project of the OKP shall be the
establishment of the Library of Open Knowledge (LOOK). LOOK will be
framed as a large collection of 'knowledge modules'. The intial goal
will be for it to be possible to create a set of textbooks from these
Knowledge modules are individual 'molecules' of knowledge. A good
example of such a module is Newton's Universal Law of Gravitation.
This particular knowledge object can be framed in a number of ways: I
can access the knowledge in terms of Physics, Cosmology, or even
Science History. The Knowledge Module itself contains the law and
the information associated to it.
Each knowledge module, in turn, is made up out of knowledge objects.
There is a distinct knowledge object for the law in terms of Physics,
another for Cosmology, and so on. An object, then, is a specific
particle of knowledge, as examined from within a certain system of
knowledge. History objects are structured differently from Physics
objects, for example.
These objects and modules all contain sets of metadata. This metadata
is carefully and extensively indexed, allowing one to access any
object, module or group of these as desired. In this fashion, a
Physics teacher can literally generate an online textbook for his or
her class, tailored to their exact needs.
Perhaps the most important metadata in a knowledge object is
contextual data. Every single knowledge object sets its context by
hyperlinking to other objects. Like any true hyperlink, these links
can provide a number of relationships between objects. These links
may be self-descriptive as relating the previous or following
concepts of lineal knowledge object arrays, as well as 'web' links,
where there is related information that is not connected in a linear
Obviously, any system developed for LOOK would itself be openly
available. LOOK itself may grow from advanced documentation systems
being discussed and developed by the Freehive group.
5. The Next Few Steps: Establishment and Problem Solving.
The ideas outlined above fail to express the amount of work that
needs to be done before the very first knowledge object is uploaded
to the look archive. A great deal of work needs to be done. Here's
some important waypoints on the way to a busy LOOK system:
+ Knowledge Objects and Modules need to be designed
There needs to be a comprehensive set of object designs for all
the four branches of knowledge. Each branch is quite different,
and each sub-branch, and sub-sub-branch, different again.
+ The designs need implementation
XML? SQL? How does it work? How does LOOK - as a central
computerised archive of knowledge objects - deal with these
objects? How are they stored? How are they indexed or retrieved?
Who will create these mechanisms? Who will maintain and manage
+ The OKP needs presence
It needs a website. Thankfully, the OKP will be relying on the
fantastic pool of talent provided by the Freehive group.
+ Knowledge Objects and Modules need to be created
We need writers and artists to work together to create good,
self-contained knowledge objects. We also need reviewers to check
these objects and editors to enforce object cohesion and style.
To go any further, the Open Knowledge Project needs to be heard
about. It needs to be mentioned and talked about, visited and
6. The Open Knowledge Project: Getting Involved.
At the moment, the OKP is but a very small handful of people. And
that's not enough: we need your help. We need people to help flesh
out some of the complex pot-pourri of ideas in this manifesto. We
need people to help design knowledge objects, the LOOK software,
writers, artists, editors, reviewers, evangelisers, general
supporters. Anyone who can help, in any way possible - we need your
Since there is no website yet, I'm asking anyone who would like to
volunteer to email me directly: I'm contactable at
Thunda@downunder.net.au . Please include "OKP" somewhere in your
heading, to help me easily sort your emails. Tell me how you'd like
to help, what you think you can do, and any fantastic ideas I'm sure
Thanks in advance.
7. Dragons at the window.
It's half-past midnight. Outside, there is a storm looming. Thunder
rumbles, rain threatens to begin its self-congratulatory applause on
the roof again.
Is it dragons? Do dragons roar? Is that awesome, house-shaking
rumbling rolling overhead truly the fury of fearful dragons? I do not
know. And even if it *were* dragons at my window: I no longer need to
fear them. I trust in the capacity of human to do good unto fellow
human. We can slay you, dragon. Your days are numbered.
8. Every Manifesto has its Quirk.
TAKE YE UP THE LANTERN
The Ages' wisdom is a heavy thing
a burden that is not light
my universe lays cloaked in dark
all not yet within my sight
so take ye up the lantern
and take ye up your blade
stride forth to slay dark dragons
of this stuff are legends made
these dragons, they are invisible
and you might not know they're there
but they live in every one of us
and in our frailties make their lairs
Ignorance, that is one dragon
Narrow-Minded is another
Credulity takes control of many
Self-Centered wipes up the others
Take ye up the lantern
and cast light upon your world
take ye up your sharpest blade
and drive back the darkness hurled
Strike boldly out into the dark
for that lightened remains still lit
and strive to slay the dragons
hit, by hit, by hit
by this the Ages' wisdom
may in your soul invest
may choose to open your tight-shut eyes
and on your shoulders rest
Ah! It is raining, at last! The dragon flees ...
9. The End
And in the end, there lies the beginning.
Thankyou, and be well.
- Jacques Chester, 4/dec/98, 12:31AM auCST.