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ERIC Number: EJ774619
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2007-May
Pages: 6
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 15
ISSN: ISSN-8756-3894
It's Time to Consider Open Source Software
Pfaffman, Jay
TechTrends: Linking Research and Practice to Improve Learning, v51 n3 p38-43 May 2007
In 1985 Richard Stallman, a computer programmer, released "The GNU Manifesto" in which he proclaimed a golden rule: One must share computer programs. Software vendors required him to agree to license agreements that forbade sharing programs with others, but he refused to "break solidarity" with other computer users whom he assumed also wanted to use free software. Many people are surprised to hear that Stallman's free software dream has been realized. This paper makes the case that using only free software has considerable economic, technical, political, pedagogical, and moral advantages--and surprisingly few frustrations. If one is a teacher, and especially if one trains teachers, he should be aware that there are Free/Open Source Software (F/OSS) applications for common classroom uses. F/OSS is the foundation of the Internet. The BIND name server that maps domain names to Internet Protocol (IP) numbers, the Apache web server that serves most web sites, the Linux kernel that drives Google and Amazon, and the MediaWiki software that powers Wikipedia are all free for anyone to use, change, and redistribute. These examples demonstrate that F/OSS tools can be the best solution in certain situations, but for those working in K-12 classrooms these server-based examples are easily dismissed as esoteric or unimportant. In recent years, however, open source software developers have released a wide range of end-user applications that can replace most of the applications currently used in K-12 classrooms. (Contains 1 table.)
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Elementary Secondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A