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Re: [school-discuss] Ah . . . sorry . . . I did not mean that Drupal is the killer app

Les R wrote:
Actually, Moodle is probably the killer app in this context, but really I am
talking about a need that only Open Source Software and Open Content can fill -
bringing affordable classes to kids.

I'm not so sure that this goal is best brought about by seeking to define a "killer app" anymore. The software world is so competitive and complex that it's hard to think that any single application would be compelling enough to make people change their operating systems and, indeed, their overall approach to computing.

To me, open source is a mindset as much as it is any particular piece of software. It's about demonstrating to teachers that they can collaborate on textbook creation without the need for book publishers to sell their ideas back to them. It's about using truly open standards so that your software vendor does not have control over what you produce. It's about getting through to people that sharing ideas is not the scary pseudo-Marxism that decades of FUD have sought to instil, and that the concept of "intellectual property" needs explicit and narrow limits to keep from stagnating society.

In my own travels I approach open source as an ecosystem more than any particular lump of code. The software have been of high quality for quite some time, but other hurdles exist. These obstacles are in the completion of the ecosystem and bridging the (sometimes deep) gaps between developer and end-user; training, user interfaces, support infrastructures, reduced wheel re-invention. Even the "M" word that most developers both detest and misunderstand -- marketing -- is important to get right, and most open source projects couldn't tell the difference between marketing and advocacy if tortured.

This trend is changing, but at a pace that's downright glacial compared to the technical progress of the software itself.

1) Who is our target audience?  Teachers or Kids? I assume Teachers.
Teachers primarily, but also secondarily the administrators and politicians who will be ultimately asked to fund / encourage / tolerate some significant change in the philosophy of education development and delivery.

2) What is a short list of applications that should have teaching
materials developed, in whatever form, for them.

What are the top 5? Top 3?

For me, the top 2 would be:
1) Open Offfice
2) Gimp

How about:

- The Mozilla suite of Firefox / Thunderbird / Lightning. Email and browsing efficiently is not instinctive, especially in dealing with issues such as cookies, spam and phishing.

- "Open source models and concepts" that explains the foundation, licenses, as well as models of development, distribution and business.

- One or both of the common open source desktops. While I prefer KDE, neither it nor GNOME is quite as intuitive as their developers would like to believe.

- Perhaps a section on "security and privacy", highlighting tools such as GPG, ClamAV, firewall and network monitoring tools, as well as the need to have such tools around in the first place.

- Evan