[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index]

Re: Logo

Scott Raney wrote:

> > Well said here I think. It's good for exploring many aspects of control
> > technology as well. Something Metacard can't do unless you programmed it to.
> > But then you'd be writing something like logo anyway. :)
> I'm not sure I understand the term "control technology".  I don't
> think there's much difference between xTalk and Logo as far as the
> fundamentals go.  Sure, the syntax is different, but you can draw a
> line in MetaTalk just as easily as with a turtle in Logo.

Marshal could probably describe this better than I but here goes anyway. All
students from 5yrs must be able to enter a series of commands and realise that
those commands yield some effect. This then progresses to developing systems of
commands, how they are optimized etc. and what this all implies. To some extent I
can see that xTalk covers some of this but the emphasis tends to be on maths and
robotics which Logo lends itself to very well.

> > > It's not object-oriented, and I don't really think it should be.  That
> > > might be a good paradigm, but the various attempt to paste OO
> > > onto Lisp languages that I've seen is rather unsightly, even though
> > > it can be effective.
> > >
> > > Logo has a significant history to it, with many books and
> > > curriculums.
> >
> > Every school in England uses logo - that makes 32000+ installed base.
> Wow.  That's a *lot* different in the US, where the vast majority of
> elementary and middle schools offer no programming whatsoever (if you
> call them and ask them about programming, though, many will say "we
> teach HTML".  Argh.)  What percentage of the students actually have
> any exposure to Logo?  And in what grade levels?

All students MUST cover control technology so I would say that all students have
used logo in some form or other. If they don't cover it they don't pass the
national curriculum targets. It goes from 5-16yrs.

> > I don't know of any of them using Metacard and I doubt very much
> > that any of them will.
> There are some already, but it's a pretty small number (remember, we
> don't market to that group at all).  But HyperCard's installed base in
> schools is significant in every country.  As would I guess is that of
> HyperStudio.

I remember working with an education authority in England which used Hypercard a
lot but the teachers didn't. The IT advisors would develop these stacks that
teachers would say thank you for and leave them in a desk draw somewhere. There
were a range of specific solutions for this sort of thing Magpie, Genesis etc. But
remember that until recent years, schools in England were mostly using Acorn Risc
Machines. Mac's were almost non-existent. And PC's were used mostly in high
schools for business studies. This is changing now. I don't remember anyone ever
saying they used HyperStudio - I've never heard of it until it was mentioned here.

IT policy in schools in England is much more strict and organised on a national
level. Whereas in the US you don't seem to have a national curriculum. Different
states and schools have different policies. So you have more variation in the
products used. In England each authority still has to follow the national
curriculum with teams of advisors to tell the schools what they should buy.

> > > > There is only one justification that I can see for including Logo in a
> > > > Linux-for-K12 project, and that is if 100% compatibility with
> > > > HyperStudio is a goal.  But this is probably not an achievable goal,
> > > > and indeed is probably not even desirable.
> > >
> > > I don't think we are even considering such a thing.  *Maybe* we'll
> > > have something that looks and acts somewhat like HyperStudio, at
> > > least on the level that a regular student uses it.
> >
> > I should think I'm interested in writing a logo because I'd like to. Isn't
> > that the point. Scratching an itch and all that.
> I guess.  Certainly individual motivation is the driving force behind
> the open source movement.  But others may not be so infatuated with
> Logo, and it would be good to offer them an alternative.

Just because I'd like to develop a good logo that does not in any way imply that I
wouldn't also like to develop anything else. I see logo as a nice programming
language. Something like Metacard is very different. Developing a logo does not
remove choice from anyone to select alternatives.

> > My concern with a product such as Metacard is that it cannot be used in an
> > Open source model. Not that I think everything should be open source but I
> > believe that development tools should be. I wouldn't want to persuade the
> > Metacard people to open their product. My problem there is that if I develop
> > something with Metacard then should anyone wish to improve it for the good
> > of everyone, they'd be forced to pay a licence for Metacard and if they were
> > just your average developer that licence could well cost them nearly $1000.
> > So my software couldn't benefit from the bazaar. I won't be using it.
> See my comments above about commercial implemenations of Logo.  As for
> xTalk, it has multiple implementations, just like Logo, so you're not
> locked into one vendor (unless I guess if you need a Linux version
> ;-)   If MetaCard is too expensive, get HyperTalk, or SuperTalk, or
> Serf.  There is even a group forming who is developing an open source
> xTalk package.  Having an "open source or nothing" philosophy is all
> well and good, but not if it comes at the expense of providing tools
> the kids need and doing it in a timely manner.

I don't have an "open source or nothing" philosophy. I certainly don't object to
you selling metacard for whatever price you choose. I'm only saying that isolated
hacker 'h' isn't going to be able to afford to develop or help in the development
of metacard applications.

> > What maybe I'd rather see is a slightly different licence whereby free
> > software developers could buy the product at the K-12 price but if they
> > wanted to commercially exploit their stacks they'd pay the higher price. I
> > think that may be a slightly more practical pricing model and a one that I'd
> > go for. For example, I could develop some free software here and after using
> > it in a real application like that may decide to use it for one of my
> > clients. Should that occur then I could justify spending the extra money on
> > it.
> We've considered a licensing policy like this, but so far have decided
> that it's not worth the risk.  The other products we know of that have
> tried this haven't fared very well.

Borland's development products usually come in various flavours. A student
edition, personal edition and professional edition. If I was going to assess a
development product for my use I'd buy the personal edition, try to write a decent
program with it. And if all went well I'd buy the professional edition and the
much higher price. The fact is that if you don't have a cheaper licence for
non-commercial development your not gonna sell anything to these people anyway so
how can you lose? I can't imagine any home users or isolated free software hackers
paying almost $1000 for a licence but the professional users who are your current
market would have to since they're using it commercially. Surely you'd only be
increasing sales this way. Note that I'm not suggesting you give it away here -
only make it more accessible.

> > That said, I would never want to tell anyone not to buy it. I'm sure it
> > would be a very useful addition to any school's software library.
> It is now, but again, this isn't the point.  The issue is whether a
> free or low-cost package for Linux with a HyperStudio-like interface
> would be useful.  I think it would.  And I think such a package could
> be developed relatively easily if a few motivated individuals can be
> organized to take it on.

I've never seen hyperstudio and I don't have metacard so I coudn't help you there.
I do agree with you though. Or maybe a free package with a metacard interface. If
there's already xTalk projects out there I'm sure it'll be only a matter of