[Fsfe-ie] Free Software for Schools - Urgent

Aidan Delaney adelaney at cs.may.ie
Tue Apr 20 10:14:14 CEST 2004

Hey all,
	I've written a first draft of an article that I was going to put with
another article on "What is Free Software".  In the "What is Free
Software" I was simply going to state the four freedoms, mention RMS and
the origins of the GNU project.  Here's the other article I've written,
comments are welcome.  The ~\cite{sphe} it the LaTeX way of writing a
citation, in this case to the SPHE curriculum for primary schools.  As
you can read, I've concentrated on the practical side of things.

[IFSO logo] ``Promoting and defending Free Software in Ireland''

Free Software: Enabling technology, empowering students
by Aidan Delaney

When we speak of Free Software we speak of freedom or liberty not cost. 
We speak of a community of people dedicated to helping each other use
and understand computers.  This community currently develops the
software on which the Apple Macintosh is based, the software that runs
the internet and software to eliminate the digital divide.  Our
community is founded on the principle of sharing.  The same principle
can be described as ``learning and understanding how to work and play
together in a group, taking turns''~\cite{sphe}.

The practical side of our sharing is the development of software systems
that are easy to use and are free of cost.  One such system is the
popular GNU/Linux system.  Below are several of the practacal benifits
associated with GNU/Linux:
\item[Compatibility:] GNU/Linux will run on old and new computers.  This
allows all computers in a computer room to run the same software. 
Running the same software allows all students to concentrate on the ICT
curriculum instead of being distracted by the differences between their
computer and their neighbours.
\item[Quality:] GNU/Linux offers quality software, proven in industry
and supported by companies such as Sun Microsystems and I.B.M.
\item[Upgrading:] Our community provides schools with a stable
technological future.  All software updates are available to every
school ensuring that no school is without modern technology.
\item[Language support:] T\'a GNU/Linux l\'e f\'ail as Gaeilge agus as
Bearla.  GNU/Linux is available in Irish and in English.
\item[Ease of integration:] Free Software can be easily integrated
alongside current software.  Free Software office suites such as
OpenOffice or web browsers such as Firefox can be used on your current
\item[Special needs support:] Free Software does not discriminate.  We
provide technology that meets U.S. legislative requirements (and
proposed E.U. requirements) for students with special needs.
\item[Control:] ICT teachers can monitor their students ``on-line''
behaviour without interfering with the students learning environment.  A
pre-viewed, censored ``internet'' can be provided within the classroom.
\item[Homogeneity:] Students are provided with a consistent environment
over which they alone are masters.  Because the environment is
consistent they tend to pick up the principles of computing without
\item[ICT curriculum:] A project is currently ongoing (finishing in July
2004) to provide a set of teacher and student guides for the ECDL on

Free Software empowers students to learn, it encourages the principles
of sharing and communication.  The Irish Free Software Organisation
encourages the ACCS to adopt Free Software as a method of empowering all
students of all schools to gain the most from their ICT education.

What is Free Software [Side Panel]
FS is blah blah

Screen shot of OpenOffice on Gnome 2.6.

Aidan Delaney 	email: adelaney at cs.may.ie
		web:   http://www.cs.may.ie/~adelaney
		gpg:   http://www.cs.may.ie/~adelaney/public_key.asc
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