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Re: Major interview

A comment on the issue of "edsoft costs a lot of money to produce
because of the royalty fees paid for the included content." The point is
well taken. let's flip it on its head.

Dumb idea:
- there are millions of video cameras and portable audio recording
devices in the world today, even in less-developed countries
- a significant number of kids in schools worldwide have access to such
- video and audio encoding equipment (composite video to digital format,
audio to MP3) is getting cheaper by the day
- the Internet allows for instant, worldwide collaborative projects

So, how difficult would it be to set-up an OpenSource-centered project
where students worldwide create audio and video content (of their own
city, museums, significant historical places, musical traditions,
typical dances, etc.) and contribute such _royalty-free_ content to a
central database? Then, edsoft authors can take such "free" (think free
speech here) content, add their intellectual talent (historical
background, pedagogical expertise, etc.) and create OpenSource edsoft
materials? At a much lower cost than traditional software development

Is that too crazy an idea, folks?


malonowa wrote:
> ----- Original Message -----
> From: Hilaire Fernandes <hilaire@seul.org>
> To: <seul-edu@seul.org>
> Cc: <seul-edu@seul.org>
> Sent: samedi 4 septembre 1999 02:42
> Subject: Re: Major interview
> >    From: Michael Williams <michael@haywood.k12.nc.us>
> >
> >    > Ray Olszewski wrote:
> >    >
> >    >> The general question is the relative merits of encouraging
> >    >> EdSoft developers
> >    >>
> >    >> to port their (proprietary, fee based) applications to Linux,
> >    >> versus relying
> >    >>
> >    >> on the Open Source/free software community to create the needed
> >    >> apps and distribute them at no charge.
> >    >
> >    In our district, 'free' opened the door to linux as an NOS. It will
> >    take 'free' to get it on the desktop, but once it's there, I expect
> >    that the proprietary software applications will follow as soon as
> >    they realize the potential for profit.
> >
> > Yes, you are totaly right. Edusoft companies doesn't need us to take
> > the decision to port applications. We can advocate as hard as we can,
> > they will do so only if there is profit to be done, not because we ask
> > them. We should spend more energy asking developper to start free
> > project education oriented.
> >
> This is not true for everyone. Whilst I appreciate your passionately held
> views you mustn't fall into the trap of making such sweeping generalisations
> with regards to the "Edusoft companies". They don't all follow the same
> business model. Take Topologika for example, as far as I can see they would
> port software simply because "we asked them to". I will port software
> because "you ask me to". There are people out there who will do things
> simply because they believe it's right to do it and if they can avoid going
> bankrupt in the process then that's a good thing. Please don't de-humanize
> all companies, there are people behind these companies who have genuine
> beliefs and share much of the good will and intention for young people as
> you do - but they do need to earn a living in the process. I've known the
> guy who owns topologika for about 8 years now and I can definitely tell you
> that this is a good man and not at all the sort of person you'd like to
> believe he his.
> As for starting "free" projects, these companies are much too small to take
> such risks. They could quite easily go bankrupt very quickly with just one
> mistake here. It's just not viable. And remember that NOT ALL software can
> be developed for free. If we insist on an entirely free development model
> then all the software that requires licensing, royalties etc. just wouldn't
> exist - and that's a lot of resources that we're all accustomed to that
> would suddenly become unavailable.
> There's a tendancy to believe that the free software model can do anything.
> Is this really realistic? Take a really good piece of multimedia software
> that contains lots of video footage etc. Could you pay several hundred
> thousand dollars to licence it and then give it away? The free software
> authors certainly couldn't raise the money to develop the product in the
> first place.
> You mentioned in a previous e-mail that too much commercial software would
> limit freedom. This simply isn't so. Whilst this may be true if the
> operating system isn't free, I fail to see how a piece of edsoft. could
> effect the community's freedom. I'm all for co-existance with all
> philosophies in life. Remember that wars have been started simply because
> people didn't share the same philosophy or religion. If we go to far with
> either model then we risk destroying our own arguments - we cannot argue for
> freedom if we wish to eliminate the others, that would inevitably lead to
> the removal of choice for those who don't agree with us and therefore
> defeats the purpose of it all.
> Remember that to be able to develop any and every product free would require
> a fundamental change in society as a whole - it's not just about
> programming, the implications are far wider than that. To expect this to
> happen overnight and not in a progressive manner is quite unrealistic. We
> should all try to be patient and do what we can when we can.
> Those who preach too hard are often not heard.
> Roman.

Jose C. Lacal, Chief Vision Officer


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