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Re: [fsf-community-team] Free software in schools

From: Edward Cherlin
Subject: Re: [fsf-community-team] Free software in schools
Date: Fri, 2 Apr 2010 15:08:01 -0400

An excellent start. We can add a lot to this.

I am discussing contract possibilities for replacing printed textbooks
with Free Software and Creative Commons content with a school
district. There are other such initiatives, most notably in

California Free Digital Textbook Initiative

There are 16 math and science titles currently available, together
with other documents about the program and about curriculum coverage
of these titles. There is even one on calculus with infinitesimals in
the manner of Abraham Robinson at Yale: Elementary Calculus, An
Infinitesimal Approach. (My brother got his Ph.D. in Model Theory with

When we have a suite of materials covering most of the curriculum for
any grade, that class can be equipped with netbook computers running
Free Software at much lower cost than the books they replace. This
makes the conversion inevitable, although there will always be kicking
and screaming Luddites trying to hold things up.

On global community: There are a million and a half OLPC XOs in use in
schools worldwide, with all Free Software. We encourage schools
everywhere to make contact with them for friendship, and to learn
geography, languages, and much more. (RMS at one time used an XO as
his main computer, since it has Open Firmware rather than a
proprietary BIOS, and so on. However, there are still chips inside
running proprietary software internally. We are assured by the
chipmakers, notably Marvell, that future models will not have these
problems. There is also an unfounded rumor that future XOs will run
Windows. They could, but no country has ordered any with Windows.)

On Tue, Mar 30, 2010 at 23:10, Peter Rock <address@hidden> wrote:
> Hello, I wrote the following points on how Free software supports schools:
> http://gnuosphere.wordpress.com/2010/01/29/how-free-software-supports-schools/
> Any feedback would be appreciated. Could anything be added to this
> list? Are there any errors? Also, my blog gets minimal traffic so it
> might be useful to put this somewhere else on the web. But if so,
> where?
> I would also like to write a FAQ related to Free software in schools.

We could start by creating a place to collect questions.

> I've been asked many questions over the years but haven't compiled
> these along with appropriate responses. For example, I'm often asked
> if teaching Free software in schools puts students at a disadvantage
> since the "real world" uses Microsoft products. Perhaps a
> comprehensive document/webpage outlining reasons and addressing common
> questions (which are often based on misconceptions) could serve
> useful. If anyone knows of a FAQ-like document on the web, I'd
> appreciate the URL.
> Thanks,
> Peter Rock.
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Edward Mokurai (默雷/धर्ममेघशब्दगर्ज/دھرممیگھشبدگر ج) Cherlin
Silent Thunder is my name, and Children are my nation.
The Cosmos is my dwelling place, the Truth my destination.

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