Software Freedom Curriculum and OLPC

M. Fioretti mfioretti at
Sun Jan 20 18:18:35 GMT 2008

On Fri, Jan 18, 2008 09:27:47 AM -0700, Neal McBurnett
(neal at wrote:

> I wonder if anyone out there in education-land has experience in, or
> is interested in, teaching kids about software freedom?

(general comments first, practical feedback at the bottom)


thanks for your comments and links. I for one are definitely
interested in teaching kids (and parents!) about software freedom,
even if I am not a teacher myself. See for example: (submissions always welcome)

>  I don't believe that you need to be a hacker to understand why
>  software freedom is important. Proof, I think, is the fact that
>  people think that a free press is important even if they don't
>  publish or write very well.

While I, too, am sure one doesn't need to be an hacker to understand
software freedom (most of my recent work is based on this very
concept) I feel that part of the reason why almost no hackers care
about it yet is the fact that... most hackers aren't really interested
in explaining certain issues in the right way for non programmers, see

At the practical level, I think/suggest that software freedom should
be just one (and not the major) part of a comprehensive "Digital
Freedom" curriculum which is badly needed these days.

We FOSS enthusiast tend to put software freedom at the center of
everything, but the intersection of ICT and civil rights in ordinary
life creates a lot of more or less interrelated problems in which the
license of the involved software is almost, if not totally,

Take e-voting, for example: mention it to a FOSS advocate and very
likely he or she will jump up and talk for hours on why the source
code of voting machines should be free and how to write it. Without
stopping for a moment if e-voting as such is a worthwhile or dumb idea
in the first place...

Ditto for Trusted Computing, DRM and friends: they are bad because
they are anti-consumer, not because you cannot run free software on
machines or digital content mutilated in that way.

Feedback is obviously very welcome!
Help *everybody* love Free Standards and Free Software

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