December 2008

Education is enhanced by good information. Self exploration may be fine for some adventuresome types, but a good guide can make skill development faster and easier.

Fortunately, plenty of good information is out there, and a blog called Daily Artisan has done all the work for us by creating a linked list of  free on line books about open source in general and Linux in particular. Topics range from the introductory steps to advanced system administration skills.

From their about page:

Daily Artisan is here to create an environment which is not only educational about science, technology, and self help, but also very passionate with things that affect our lives on a daily basis.

Thanks to the folks at Daily Artisan for their effort to collect the list and make it available to all of us.

Do you know of other online training resources we should talk about?

Leave a comment.

What do you do with your free time?

According to Clay Shirky, author of Here Comes Everybody, an astounding amount of free time (“cognitive surplus”)  is invested in generating open content.

He has a Web site associated with the book which is essentially a blog. This MOSSSIG entry relates to a posting there.

According to calculations he did related to Wikipedia.

So if you take Wikipedia as a kind of unit, all of Wikipedia, the whole project–every page, every edit, every talk page, every line of code, in every language that Wikipedia exists in–that represents something like the cumulation of 100 million hours of human thought. I worked this out with Martin Wattenberg at IBM; it’s a back-of-the-envelope calculation, but it’s the right order of magnitude, about 100 million hours of thought.

Some people use their “social surplus” time to watch television. Some knit, some do woodworking, gardening, and so forth. Recently, I have been contributing to this MOSSSIG thing and a few other open content projects. I am retired, my children are grown, and my woodworking is mediocre, so I have an excuse for wanting something productive to do.

After you read Shirky’s post, comment here to answer the question, “What do you do with your free time?”

A recent blog entry was brought to my attention, and we need to be proactive in dealing with the issue it raises.

First, the blog post clearly indicates that we need to help spread the open source word. The teacher described in the blog didn’t know the facts about GNU/Linux or open source software and reacted too soon when she sent the email quoted in the post.

Second, we need to help others get the picture that some of us who teach ARE informed about open source. Don’t let the ignorance get worse instead of better. Don’t let teacher bashers take stories like this one as reason to say nasty things about educators in general. Some who left comments were very uncomplementary, even harsh.

Third, let us who support mosssig take the opportunity to spread the word. If you would like a presentation of GNU/Linux/open source for your school or district, leave a comment here. We’ll set something up.