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[school-discuss] Two Interviews on Free and Open Source Software in Education

Below are the links and notes on two interviews I did last week--the
first one with Ragavan Srinivasan from HP, and the second with Richard
Stallman, the founder of the Free Software Movement.



"Ragavan Srinivasan from HP Gives a Primer on Open Source Licenses"

An extremely well-prepared Ragavan Srinivasan of HP gives an overview
of Free and Open Source Software (FLOSS) and the Free and Open Source
Licenses. He provided a PowerPoint presentation to go along with the
interview, which I have converted both to flash and Open Documents
formats. Click on those links and you can follow along with him. Some
other links from the interview are here.

For me, one of the real high points of the discussion was his
description of the two different ways in which FLOSS is used in
schools: "FLOSS in Education," and "FLOSS as Education." "FLOSS in
Education" is the use of FLOSS for regular computing tasks, whereas
"FLOSS as Education" is the teaching of programming--and collaborative
programming--by using FLOSS. Thank you, Ragavan, for giving me a
better vocabulary for something I end up talking about a lot..

Another sigificant aspect of the interview was Ragavan's descriptions
of where HP as a company has seen significant value in the use of
FLOSS internally. HP and IBM are both visibly posturing to show the
world their support for Linux and FLOSS, but to hear how HP is
actually benefiting from FLOSS itself is pretty compelling evidence of
the real-world impact of FLOSS.



"Richard Stallman on Free Software in Education"

Richard Stallman and I emailed back and forth several times before he
agree to an interview with me on Free Software in Education. Not that
Richard is not passionate about Free Software in Education, but he has
some strict requirements about the presentation of his material. As
the founder of the Free Software Movement, he is both passionate and
principled, and doesn't want to dilute his message.

When I called him last Saturday to start the interview (and yes, the
date I give in the recording is wrong...), he asked if I remembered
his two conditions for the interview. I said that I did, but he
repeated them for me: to avoid common errors, I needed first to use
the term "Free Software" only and not "Open Source," so as not to
associate his work with that label; and second, to not confuse GNU and
Linux. As you will hear in the interview, Richard cares very much
about being exact with language. And, I think, for good reason.

In the interview, Richard defines the use of the word "free" in the
context of software. He also defines the four essential freedoms that
are behind the Free Software Movement, and the four reasons that he
believes that schools should use exclusively Free Software (see also
his essay on this topic). And lots more--including the fact that he
likes Wikipedia, which makes A TON OF SENSE since all text at
Wikipedia is available under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation
License--which Richard wrote! That might help to explain why Eric
Raymond was so vocal about not liking it in his interview with me...

I think you will find this interview interesting listening.

Steve Hargadon
916-899-1400 direct

www.SteveHargadon.com - (Blog on Educational Technology)
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