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Re: Major interview

   Date: Fri, 3 Sep 1999 16:02:52 -0400 (EDT)
   From: Doug Loss <dloss@csrlink.net>
   Sender: owner-seul-edu@seul.org
   Reply-To: seul-edu@seul.org
   X-To-Get-Off-This-List: mail majordomo@seul.org, body unsubscribe seul-edu

   >From reading through this thread I think I see some themes
   >developing.  I'll
   tell you how it looks to me, and you folks can correct me where I'm



   For use on the student desktop Linux needs some work.  There
   currently are few pedagogical or exploration programs available for
   Linux that would be useful at this level.  While there are open
   source projects (which we support and encourage more of) currently
   to address this lack, it seems likely that the lack of these
   programs will slow Linux's adoption in schools.  We encourage
   commercial educational software companies to port their existing
   programs to Linux, and will be happy to discuss with them ways of
   making a profit with commercial educational software in the Linux
   world.  We are generally supporters of open source software, but we
   recognize that that may not be the most appropriate development
   model for all niches of software.  Roman is the best one for this

Well, we may also say that the actual development model of edu soft
companies is not adpated to the GNU/Linux system. Ten years ago people
might says the same about developping a free kernel like Linux : it's
not economicly viable! But it's there and runs 30% of the internet.

Instead, why don't you say why free project will be good for
education. Here some ideas I drop :

internationalization : if one free application is developped in
engish, it's no problem to turn it in Croatian. In the other hand, an
edusoft companies will probably never release Croataion version
because of non profit. The side effect will be to divide the market
what is bad for GNU development model.  As an exemple : in some
eastern Europe countries - sorry I don't remember which one - KDE is
avalaible in national language but not Win95. Finaly microsoft fill
the gap but Win98. Microsoft can sell soft with profit but edusoft
companies can't.

As a french math teacher, I'm not interested by proprietary soft
developped in english : it's useless for my school.

Until now the GNU system was used by people who speak english. New
users come to GNU/Linux - kids - and we have to watch out this problem
of language. Fortunatly the GNU system adress this problem quite well
with locale. It's ok developping proprietary application using the GNU
Gettext system (to internationalized an application) but I'm affraid
edusoft company will not do so as they will lose market control.

   We think that much of the software available, both for Linux and
   for other OSs, is more difficult to use than is necessary and that
   this is keeping many from trying Linux.  That's one of the reasons
   we want to see high-quality programs designed for children on
   Linux--because a user interface simple and obvious enough for
   children should also be very good for other end users and would
   help advance SEUL's goals.  On the other hand, we think that such
   UIs could and probably should be adopted as alternatives for
   standard Linux programs such as the GIMP.  We'd like to see kids
   using the GIMP through an interface similar to Kid Pix, which could
   be gradually enriched till they were using the full power of the
   program.  The same goes for word processors, databases,
   spreadsheets, etc.  This is a theme we can all hit.

Yes, list more specific ideas about what application we want.

Hilaire Fernandes 
Home page http://cran.mit.edu/~hilaire
Dr Geo project http://www.drgeo.seul.org