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Re: Mission Statement

Marshal Anderson wrote:
> So, under what circumstances would you see people as /having/ to move to
> Linux. The only one I can really see is if there are activities available
> there that are not available elsewhere. OTOH, people might /want/ to because
> the OS is more stable and thus more accessable by the computer-warey.

Right now I don't think we're to the point of people _having_ to move to
Linux.  We're trying to make it _possible_ to move to Linux by ensuring
that all the capabilities they use on other OSs are available here. 
Once we're on a par with the others we can pull ahead.

> > Another issue is whether it's the Linux way, so to speak.  Many
> > people (mostly Slashdot trollers and journalists with a desire to
> > spread FUD)
> Wow! some words new to me :)
FUD is an acronym for Fear, Uncertainty, and Doubt.  It was a standard
marketing tool of IBM back in the 70's when they destroyed most other
mainframe computer companies, and Microsoft wields it with great vigor. 
It's commonly used when a product can't (or the owner is afraid it
can't) hold up in head-to-head competition with alternatives.
>   Real tools that real people use is what computers are for
> > and there's no reason children can't use them too (perhaps with a
> > little work).
> I agree about the real tools - though attempts to shoe-horn spreadsheets
> into the curriculum have been a bit painfull :) However - if all Linux will
> do is provide a more stable environment for basic tools I don't really see
> where we go from here.
Ian and I have talked about this in the past a bit.  We think that it's
a better idea to have user interfaces to standard programs that are
adjustable as to the amount of complexity and flexibility that is
evident to the user.  For example, an image manipulation program might
be capable of being "dialed down" so that 6 year old children can use it
in a manner similar to Kid Pix (substitute whatever good drawing program
you like), or gradually opened up so that older children, then teachers,
and finally graphic artists can use it to their full ability.
> >
> > I'd be interested in some of your more concrete opinions on
> > educational software.
> Closed software bad (well, not actually bad, just a rather uninspiring use
> of the technology) Open software good (when it's good open software).
We're generally for open source software, but I think we need to realize
that there are quite viable places for commercial, closed software. 
Those places are generally in specialized niches where the programs,
once acquired, don't require frequent updates or support.  This might be
the case for many types of pedagogical software.  On the other hand,
software designed to be presentation vehicles for varying content
probably ought to be open sourced, with the income coming from
developing that content.  That way, all the content providers can help
to fix and extend the presentation vehicle to their mutual benefit.
Doug Loss                 The difference between the right word and
Data Network Coordinator  the almost right word is the difference
Bloomsburg University     between lightning and a lightning bug.
dloss@bloomu.edu                Mark Twain