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[OS:N:] Re: Linux in Schools (cont'd)

Rightly or wrongly I sense hostility in some posts. One fellow put me on his
"kill list". I'm not sure what that is, but it doesn't sound friendly. I
guess in all this time, I haven't made myself clear.

1. I favor Linux and open source. The implications of open source are
cooperative, not competitive, but we don't have to get into that. M$ must be
overcome and Linux is the way to do it.

2. Going to the mainstream by way of schools strikes me as a good move. As I
have said, I believe Linux will eventually triumph. The question is whether
we can speed up the process. We agree on the goal (end) we disagree on the
means to that end.

Jeremy mentioned people who tweak their cars by reprogramming the computer
chips that control the engine. Read an article yesterday about a fellow who
gets 500 horsepower from a 4 cylinder Honda Civic engine. Goes from zero to
60 in 3 seconds. Impressive, but Jeremy does not take his apt anology far
enough. My wife drives a Civic and neither of us has the slightest desire to
mess with its computer chips. I do not think Honda automobiles would be as
popular as they are if there were a Debian Honda, Red Hat Honda, SuS Honda,
Mandrake Honda-you get the idea. I haven't taken a survey, but I suspect
more than 90% of the people who buy Hondas want to turn the key and drive
off the lot. This does not in any way limit those few who want to add a
speed chip. The Linux we try to take mainstream should be the best and
easiest Linux we (everyone-not only Red Hat) can produce and there should be
just be one of it.

Getting Linux into schools has other problems exemplified by the high school
junior who cannot persuade his teachers to let him install Linux. Linux is
egalitarian which doesn't sit well in hierarchical school set ups. We need
to add functions and services to make it irresistible. I have some ideas on
the subject, but it puts the cart before the horse.

Often we avoid facing issues directly. For example, the discussion a short
while ago about the diversity that comes with affirmative action isn't about
diversity at all. It's about scarcity. No one objects to the diversity which
would result if there were enough educational positions to accomodate every
applicant, but there aren't. We have the lawsuit because when one gets
accepted, the other gets rejected. That has nothing to do with diversity.

As for car models in utopia, there might be more than one, but not many
more. Utopia implies equality. Car models often are status symbols, a means
to demonstrate inequality. There is such a demand for Hummers they can't
make them fast enough. Trouble with a Hummer as status symbol is that you
have to drive it. Living to impress others is tough work. Being rich isn't
all skittles and beer.

Ed Kunin

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