November 2011

Tablets are popular. Just look at the iPad. Though I don’t need one, I’m always looking at the specs and the ads.

What will Microsoft do to compete?

What does this mean for tablet versions of LibreOffice, and the upcoming Calligra suite?

Do they, priced as open source stuff typically is, have a real opportunity to catch peoples’ interest? And, could that tablet experience lead back to the desktop?

Sometimes I feel like I’m ahead.

Sometimes I’m certain that I’m way behind.

Have you watched this RSA Animate video? As of this Thanksgiving morning, the Youtube video has been watched 6,070,127 times.

The video was made from a speech given by Sir Ken Robinson in 2008. That’s three years ago. I think today was my first time watching it. In “Internet years“, I am somewhere between 21 and 30 years late watching the video. Behind!

By contrast, I’ve been involved with free software since the 1980s. Back then, it was called public domain or freeware (mixed in with shareware). Some of it wasn’t really as open as we see today. The GNU General Public License (GPL) has formalized and supported a movement to make software a core element of an open society. (Note the geek-friendly numbering.)

  • Freedom 0: The freedom to run the program for any purpose.
  • Freedom 1: The freedom to study how the program works, and change it to make it do what you wish.
  • Freedom 2: The freedom to redistribute copies so you can help your neighbor.
  • Freedom 3: The freedom to improve the program, and release your improvements (and modified versions in general) to the public, so that the whole community benefits.

Our view of education needs to be informed by GPL freedoms, OER and the open channels of the Internet. It will also help if our view of education embraces the four freedoms of the GPL.

  • The freedom to use the knowledge of our world for our own purposes
  • The freedom to examine the sources of our education and to make improvements which suit us as learners
  • The freedom to pass our learning to others, perhaps as teachers who make it a life’s work
  • The freedom to engage our communities with the educational changes we think are important and to be unfettered by top-down, one way or the highway thinking making a goal of steady improvement a goal which trumps someone else’s (too often arbitrary) standards

We might also want to ensure the four freedoms from Franklin Delano Roosevelt.

  1. Freedom of speech and expression
  2. Freedom of worship
  3. Freedom from want
  4. Freedom from fear

Just as Thanksgiving in the United States is a day of gratitude, let us be thankful we can use free software and the open channels of the Internet to express our opinions and to share our excitement and to make contributions to the common wealth.

Kids are creative. Just watch them when they’re given the freedom to do so.

Help give a group of kids the chance to become more than consumers on their technology.

KDE is participating in the Google Code-In this year from November 21, 2011 to January 16, 2012. Kids from 13 to 18 can participate as coders, videographers, documentation writers and more.

Please pass the word along to teachers who might care and, of course, parents and the kids themselves.

Get more information starting here:

KDE is a group of enthusiastic free software (free as in freedom) people. This is an opportunity for kids to get a mentored experience being a creative contributor to a real software project.

Will a kid you know be contributing to the next generation of software, or will you just encourage them to consume the next game that comes out?