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[OS:N:] Know thine enemy...



Hey all -
 
We need to examine our perspective here a little bit.  Open source does not guarantee Linux, and Linux does not guarantee open source.  The two ideas are not mutually inclusive. 
 
Examples:  there is a wonderful graphics manipulation program you all may have heard of, called the GIMP?  How about StarOffice/OpenOffice?  Yes, these applications do run on Linux.  They also have versions available for Microsoft operating systems.  They also have versions for Solaris and BSD.  Solaris and BSD are not GNU open sourced, and we don't get rabid and foam at the mouth when we hear them mentioned... On the contrary, we consider them allies.  Why is Sun our ally?  Granted, they developed Java and gave it to everyone in a quasi- GNU manner, but they still do not give you access to the Solaris 8 source code, or their numerous network management suites.
 
Conversely, maybe you have heard of Adobe, or Corel?  Acrobat reader is available for Linux.  Yes, it's free, but it certainly isn't open source.  XPDF sucks in comparison.  Open a piece of sheet music in pdf form and compare between Acrobat reader and XPDF.  You'll see.  Corel makes an office suite for Linux that competes with StarOffice, Koffice, and Gnome's new office project.  It's not open source.
 
What is my point?  Here it comes.
 
If you want schools to embrace open source, then you need to get them hooked on great software first.  They will switch OS's when they become satisfied with new open source software packages.  Quit complaining about Microsoft.  I don't own stock in them, and I am not a friend of Bill Gates.  I think their manipulation of the industry is deplorable.
 
Look at the name of this mailing list.  Open Source Now.  Not "Pimp RedHat on Schools," not "M$ $ux," nor any other derivative.  Scour Tucows and Sourceforge for educational open source software that has ports for Linux and MS.  Teachers on this list that have programming classes, have your students develop software under GNU that you first develop for MS, then port to Linux.  Or vice versa.  Once you undermine MS Office with the Windows port of OpenOffice, your job is 3/4 done.
 
Think of this project (Open Source migration) much like trimming a tree.  You have a shape you want in your head.  You might even want to change the direction the entire trunk and roots of the tree grow.  You start by trimming leaves and smaller branches, though, rather than chopping the entire tree down and starting over.  Or perhaps you're a northwest lumberjack in Redmond.  You see a great big tree, but it's so big you can't chop it all down at once.  So you sling your way up the tree and start chopping pieces at a time.
 
On a very important side note, how do you folks deal with the Macintosh Gestapo Nazis?

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