resisting open source

Submitted by rnojonson on Thu, 10/09/2008 - 16:42.

Slash-Dot, the tech web site ran a story about Stanford Univ. teaching MBA's to fight against open source software. I guess if every business and home user pays license fees for every computer's software, ones like Microsoft can declare themseves a nation and legally ban free software from existance. Well, I am guessing it is all about patents and control of intellectual property and making us all play by the same rules. It comes down to this, if company A invents and patents a technology, then company B will have to pay homage to be able to use it. The problem is that they are trying to make it retro active and also cover things that are in common use in the public domain.

So, while you folks are pondering this here are some liberating links.

Why open source software? Because it's free and once you get it you own it. You don't need permission to use it. You can change it, if you have the skills, to meet your needs. You can install it on as many computers as you want, no seat licenses. If you want to learn how the code works or how to code, you can do it, you have access to the source. This alone is worth the price of admission. Open source software is a boon to teachers and to students. Not only can practical work get done but you can take it apart, learn how it works, built it better.

Then open source as a business model is based on grassroots collaboration and businesses sharing knowledge. I think we should push this model to see what more comes out. I know some realize we have become slaves and sharecroppers in an economic model that pits the haves against the have nots. The management of scarce resources, planned obsolence and the speculative value of money, all play a part in creating a kind of tension that makes it work. Greed, power and corruption gets it all out of wack. Open source is kind of a correction. It's a different currency. Oh, I am being silly! OK, Photoshop is what? $400.00 to $600. Try telling a kid they can't have it. GIMP is free. I rest my case.

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Whose rules?

  "It is all about patents and control of intellectual property and making us all play by the same rules."

...Which is why it is a dangerous place for most of the world :)

FOSS libraries?


Since CPL went to drupal for its website, what's the possibility that it would begin offering FOSS training alongside the apple and microsoft stuff?
It's just a great way to encourage this knowledge.

I suppose you might know that there are certain government websites that require MS Internet Explorer. We learned this the hard way trying in vain to fill out a FAFSA via Mozilla Firefox - can't do it. Also, I tried for weeks to view a video at the GSA website and could not until it occurred to me to dig out and try my rarely used internet explorer browser - bingo worked like a charm.

Good question Susan

  I will ask and annoy some more people :)  Thanks for putting me in touch with my inner FOSS.

CPL uses IE, but has Mozilla Foxfire installed on the staff computers.  BTW, since we are liberally using acronyms here, which will especially annoy MM, may I say to BC...PYODI.  I will leave that acronym up to him to decipher :)

FOSS need not be lossed in the sauce!

The first thing is to invoke the grassroots mantra, "hey, we can do this". Then some folks need to gather together materials and outline  course work. Then present the courses and materials to computer clubs, vocational schools, two year colleges and libraries. The whole sha-bang could be put on CD's with video tutorials and PDF pages. You could do the fee thing or donations. Besides the courses, the General Public License or GPL needs to be explained, especially to library folks. So that they have no quams about FOSS slinging.

We could have a "FOSS fills in the digital divide" civic event. And you got to do the FOSS mousepad and tee shirt thing or it's not cool. A poster contest, using FOSS to promote FOSS or best student video tutorial.

Someone on REALNEO talked about the courage it takes for change. To stand up and stand out for open source software, open file formats, fonts, and web access will take persistant efforts. But it's not impossible. I am open to explore some ideas.

And I wonder why the established computer and software user groups of northeast Ohio, some who talk about the "digital divide", don't promote FOSS, especially to kids and struggling families who have computers.

FOSS is global and local

There is an international open source network I found on the net with a world wide aspect and a local aspect. There are downloads and resources for training and learning FOSS. Click Here


Libraries and FOSS

Laura Solomon deployed Drupal at CPL and she is at OPLIN now.  Leo Klein is another proponent and is active with the American Library Association and Public Library Association.  From my virtual interaction with him, I find him to be very user-friendly, so he would be another good moderator for a FOSS program. The recently launched is also running Drupal.

Recently, CPL installed the open source gaming program Scratch on all of the public terminals.  With open source, downloading to public terminals would be a verboten activity, so "ownership" is somewhat of an issue.  With WiFi, the branches are experiencing an uptick in laptop users.  A lot of patrons report that their PCs at home "crash" on them and they essentially trash the machine. 

I think raising awareness and using free and open software is a good idea and libraries logically should start the initiative, which is why, I suppose the Bill and Melinda Gates foundation donated so much money to libraries afterall... 

FOSS awareness

Here is my first salvo into the fray.....