[Fsfe-ie] RE: Fsfe-ie Digest, Vol 7, Issue 19

Daire Kelly daire.kelly4 at mail.dcu.ie
Thu Dec 11 18:56:49 CET 2003

With regards to free software in schools, I thought I'd post this, maybe
you guys might be interested.
2 People I know have been involved in administrating 2 secondary school
networks, based on free software, for some time. The biggest obstacle to
wider adoption of free software in irish schools is a lack of training and
resources for maintaining such a network.

With this in mind they have put together a project to simplify the administration
of such networks.

Check out the Functional Spec here:

>Date: Thu, 11 Dec 2003 16:11:37 +0000
>From: John Evans <jevans at eircom.net>
>To: <fsfe-ie at fsfeurope.org>
>Subject: [Fsfe-ie] Free software in schools
>Message-ID: <BBFE47B9.4B35%jevans at eircom.net>
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>I have some contacts on the IT committees of the various post-primary school
>principals' associations. I had the idea of approaching these committees
>see if they were open to receiving a short presentation on the benefits
>schools of using free software.
>In my letter I mention gnu/linux and StarOffice, and go on to outline some
>putative benefits to schools. These benefits are my version of the benefits
>listed by Stallman's article at
>He argues for the *exclusive* use of free software in schools, a feature
>do not mention in my letter, as I do not think it is the most important
>issue at this time.
>Free software can save the schools money. Free software gives schools,
>other users, the freedom to copy and redistribute the software, so the
>school system can make copies for all the computers in all the schools.
>School should teach students ways of life that will benefit society as
>whole. They should promote the use of free software just as they promote
>recycling. If schools teach students free software, then the students will
>use free software after they leave.
>Free software permits students to learn how software works. When students
>reach their teens, some of them want to learn everything there is to know
>about their computer system and its software. That is the age when people
>who will be good programmers should learn it. To learn to write software
>well, students need to read lots of software and write lots of software.
>One of the most fundamental mission of schools is to teach people to be
>citizens and good neighbours--to cooperate with others who need their help.
>In the area of computers, this means teaching them to share software. The
>free software installed by the school could be available for students to
>copy, take home, and redistribute further.
>Teaching the students to use free software, and to participate in the free
>software community, is a hands-on civics lesson. It also teaches students
>the role model of public service. </BENEFITS>
>I think there may be a positive response to such an approach.
>This leads me to suggest that the working group (or whatever) that is
>putting the IFSO together might put forward a panel or panels of individuals
>who would be prepared to take part in presentations to such bodies as I
>mention here, or to take part in meetings with MEPs etc, such as the
>possible meeting with PdeRossa that I mentioned in an earlier mailing on
>(I was a bit surprised that nobody seemed interested in replying to my
>question: how do want to do this? Maybe I didn't make it clear enough that
>wouldn't see myself as being capable of making any kind of authoritative
>statements on EUCD!).
>Best Wishes
>John Evans

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