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Re: [school-discuss] Korea brings homegrown open source to schools

Alec Couros wrote:
Steve Hargadon wrote:

On 6/23/05, Daniel Howard <daniel@xxxxxxxxxxx> wrote:

Great article Doug, I forwarded this to another parent who doesn't like the
idea of his child's elementary school moving to Linux because "Microsoft
Office is what they'll be using when they grow up". Along with the
article, I noted that when I was in elementary school, we watched TV on
US-made TVs and listened to vinyl records on US-made record players,
neither of which exist anymore...

I love this argument! It's the same one I hear: won't the children
be confused if they use Linux at school and Windows at home? How many
of our children already are using Macs in schools, and nobody seems to
complain about that! And the kids do just fine...

My only concern about instituting Linux into all these schools is that you are mandating now what teachers are expected to use. I think it's great that South Korea has gone ahead and discovered the economic and technical benefits of Linux, and I think this will be really interesting to see local support economies benefit from this as well. Still, when technologies are mandated or institutionalized, innovation and flexibility can be be hindered. What happens when the alternative becomes the mandated, dominant force and the ONLY choice?

If free and open source software becomes mandated and institutionalized I fail to see the downside. Free and open source allows for greater flexibility and easier innovation. Business wise free and open source assures free market competition based on the quality of the software and it's customer support, so a mandate is a big win for the customer and good programmers. Closed source software attempts to stifle competition, control innovation and reduce flexibility and interoperability to achieve vendor lock in and greater vendor profits. The best interests of the customer are not part of the closed source equation. Further, in a learning environment black box closed source software is contrary to the basic educational mission.

- cameron