[Gllug] open source centric ICT in Schools from Sept 2012 ?

Alain Williams addw at phcomp.co.uk
Fri Jan 13 11:01:09 UTC 2012

On Fri, Jan 13, 2012 at 10:39:33AM +0000, Bernard Peek wrote:

> There's an emotional/philosophical argument for software free as in
> speech. That's something that should be part of the curriculum. It also
> needs to be explained to the people selecting the tools that will be
> used by students. That's going to be a hard argument to make. It will
> take a long time, possibly until the first generation of students
> exposed to open source reach the point where they make the decisions.
> The key problem is that for the current generation of decision-makers
> 'open source' is a feature with no perceived benefits.
> There's a rational/economic argument for software free as in beer. That
> is a tool for limiting the degree that Microsoft can dominate the market.

I have always believed that open standards are much more important than
open source[**]. If you have open standards (ie documentation good enough to
allow independent implementation) that is freely available then you have
the potential to stop one company (or cartel) from dominating.

Free standards do not guarantee multiple implementations - there has got
to be a big enough 'market' to make it worth while.

I am quite happy with multiple proprietary implementations that cost people
to buy/use. I am unhappy if the use of a format/protocol requires payment
(think: MPEG-4) through the use of patents or otherwise.

Unfortunately: the concepts of Open Standards are harder to explain than
Open Source/Free Software.

> Both arguments need to be made at the right time and place.

[**] Open Standards drove the 1980's Open Systems success - until marketing
men sought short term advantage by breaking it - hence the Unix wars that
the Linux distros have, so far, tried to avoid.

Alain Williams
Linux/GNU Consultant - Mail systems, Web sites, Networking, Programmer, IT Lecturer.
+44 (0) 787 668 0256  http://www.phcomp.co.uk/
Parliament Hill Computers Ltd. Registration Information: http://www.phcomp.co.uk/contact.php
#include <std_disclaimer.h>
Gllug mailing list  -  Gllug at gllug.org.uk

More information about the GLLUG mailing list