from the article
so true! MS should be in fear for what linux will someday become.I don't know when you attended college Karen but the Linux of even two years ago pales in feature and ability to what there is available now...and that in turn will pale in a year's time.
TO me though, Linux forging ahead forces the entire computer industry to get better.
Sad. To subject the kids to that thinking.In an age where Windows and OS X reign supreme, it's no wonder that a local AISD middle school teacher became enraged after discovering one of her students distributing what she believed to be bootlegged copies of an operating system in class.
While teacher "Karen" was clearly operating under the assumption that she'd scored a minor victory for the Microsofts and other downtrodden software giants of the world, the particular operating system that she ended up disciplining her student for was a freely distributable version of Linux.
To wit, the following is part of an email that the teacher sent to the person who originally provided said Linux to the student (bolding added by us for emphasis):
...observed one of my students with a group of other children gathered around his laptop. Upon looking at his computer, I saw he was giving a demonstration of some sort. The student was showing the ability of the laptop and handing out Linux disks. After confiscating the disks I called a confrence [sic] with the student and that is how I came to discover you and your organization.
Mr. Starks, I am sure you strongly believe in what you are doing but I cannot either support your efforts or allow them to happen in my classroom. At this point, I am not sure what you are doing is legal. No software is free and spreading that misconception is harmful.
These children look up to adults for guidance and discipline. I will research this as time allows and I want to assure you, if you are doing anything illegal, I will pursue charges as the law allows. Mr. Starks, I along with many others tried Linux during college and I assure you, the claims you make are grossly over-stated and hinge on falsehoods. I admire your attempts in getting computers in the hands of disadvantaged people but putting linux on these machines is holding our kids back.
This is a world where Windows runs on virtually every computer, and putting on a carnival show for an operating system is not helping these children at all.
What makes the story especially poignant, besides the teacher's disparagingly defeatist attitude, is that the copy of Linux was originally provided to this student courtesy of the Austin-based HeliOS Project, which builds and provides Linux computers to disadvantaged or "exceptionally promising" students. It seems that this kid was merely showing his friends, in an albeit super-nerdy fashion, that there existed an alternative to bloated and overpriced operating systems.
Starks responded on the HeliOS blog, saying:
And please...investigate to your heart's content. You are about to have your eyes opened, that is if you actually investigate anything at all. Linux is a free as-in-cost and free as-in-license operating system. It was designed specifically for those purposes. Linux is used to free people from Microsoft. The fact that you seem to believe that Microsoft is the end all and be-all is actually funny in a sad sort of way. Then again, being a good NEA member, you would spout the Union line. Microsoft has pumped tens of millions of dollars into your union. Of course you are going to "recommend" Microsoft Windows". To do otherwise would probably get you reprimanded at the least and fired at the worst. You are only doing what you've been instructed to do.You've been trained well.
His full response, plus the ensuing comments storm, makes for prime reading. We're hoping that Miss Karen decides to abandon her quixotic quest to "pursue charges as the law allows," because doing otherwise will only subject this state's already-abysmal education system to further ridicule.
The teacher could have instead use that as an opportunity to teach the kids to not give in to the "shiny" and "neat" marketing rather than taking them away from the kids and teaching them that they mean nothing!
It's been a hot topic on these boards recently.
Quote "At this point, I am not sure what you are doing is legal. No software is free and spreading that misconception is harmful. These children look up to adults for guidance and discipline. I will research this as time allows and I want to assure you, if you are doing anything illegal, I will pursue charges as the law allows."
This one statement alone from the teacher sets the entire precedence of Ken's blog:
I have met Ken Starks and he is a nice guy. Committed and passionate about his cause, all while not being aggressive to others. He simply teaches those whom wish to learn.
Karen on the other hand, without hesitation, threatened Ken with the possibility of having charges filed against him for encouraging Aaron to follow the F/OSS philosophy, which is not, nor ever has been, illegal.
As far as defending her actions or reasons, no way.
She should have first contacted Ken in a much more congenial manner and inquired about Linux, its license and other things that may concern her but she has no right to attack him in the manner which she did without first properly investigating the issue she has.
Secondly whether or not she thought she was keeping kids from destroying their home computers (which I doubt she was even thinking about that) does not change the fact that nothing illegal was happening. Court precedence already exists that makes her even confiscating those CDs illegal. Aaron as a student of that school has every right to show off and distribute Linux to his friends. As long as he is not creating dissent among the other students that would cause a riot (somehow I just can't see giving away Linux System CD's doing that) then she has absolutely no right to stop him from doing so.
I am hoping that when Ken meets with her and the District Superintendent in January that she is forced to give a very public apology to Aaron for humiliating and chastising him without reason.
This surely is a comedic device intended to distract during the holiday season. Can't be true....can it ?
She sounds like some corporate robot--you'd think she was on MS payroll. Why the extreme reaction and legal threats? Maybe bad hair day...
she obviously is completely ignorant of servers, and the many public institions in Europe and elsewhere that have switched to linux. Nor has she apparently heard anything about the OLPC project.This is a world where Windows runs on virtually every computer, and putting on a carnival show for an operating system is not helping these children at all
One piece in her defense.
Isn't it common practice for drug dealers to offer things for FREE just to get kids hooked?
If this is something prevalent in her area (or in her history such as while growing up even if she didn't partake) then seeing something going like this would be an instinctual "get it the hell away" and could explain some of her reaction.
Depending on her experiences I can see it override "logical" thinking.