Linux and Open Source

About Linux and Open Source

Okay so recent events in a single post...

Having returned from Brisbane (Photos on Facebook for those who can see them) i've been working like a bit of a maniac on several different projects at work... between that and other bits and pieces i've been very, very busy.

Other bits and pieces include having been 'officially confirmed' as a member of the NZOSS Council at their AGM last week. This after having been either a 'defacto' or 'coopted' member of the council since pretty much the inception of NZOSS.... somehow it's now more 'real' - and it feels good, to be honest. I do have to be careful not to overcommitt myself - but the Society seem to be happy with what I manage to contribute and i'm more than happy to continue supporting freedom of choice in the software world.

With that in mind I attended the Open Government Barcamp yesterday. Very interesting to get ~160 interested, enthusiastic and clooful people together to identify real issues that can be addressed - or at the very least, raised to the attention of people who can. Todays hackfest was the practical side - unfortunately due to personal committments (like actually needing to see my family! heh) I had to skip it. Still, the Barcamp was very useful. Of particular interest was NZGOAL - Government Open Access and Licensing initiative which is looking to greatly simplify the gotchas around making government information accessible and usable by the populace. A video helped paint a picture. Suprisingly I havnt found the video itself on Youtube yet...

... I think i'm really glad of it.

If you havn't read Animal Farm, you really should.

The New Zealand Herald reports..

Of course, Albany Senior High are probably an exception to the rule - being a 'clean slate' of recent times and a good advocate of a sane, holistic approach to their IT environment - and curriculum. Other schools have thousands of dollars in legacy systems that they need to retain value for - which is fine.

However all educators need to pay attention to some of the key facts beginning to surface:

- Schools should be teaching fundamentals, not by-rote ways of achieving an outcome using specific tools;
- Open Standards allow for portability, and prevent vendor lock-in;
- Open Source provides for transparency; for community collaboration on the 'whole solution' and for an opportunity to expose students to real world examples of software development;
- Cost is a factor, but should not be the whole reason.

"Total cost of Ownership" is a key phrase, and closed source vendors tend to argue that despite lower initial investment, the TCO of F/OSS is often higher in the context of training, and of obtaining support when things go awry. This is a subjective viewpoint (they have obvious bias... they're the competition!) and educators need to be taking an open and objective viewpoint as much as possible.

The truth is that Linux has never been better prepared for the end-user environment; current desktop solutions are mature, flexible and easily deployed, and there's plenty of F/OSS packages, tools and utilities to help them along their way.

So as your kids school approaches their next ICT refresh; what direction are they heading?

NZOSS has now published a Blog Aggregator so that people can see what NZOSS members and enthusiasts are up to in the way of FLOSS blogging.

My own 'Linux and Open Source' category is also reflecting there.

Good stuff to Francois and and Andrew for their work on this.

"You're Gay!" Accusation gets a students entire computer suite + IPod and Cellphone confiscated by Police.... because in part, he runs Linux.

Except they can't define Linux... they simply make reference to a 'non standard OS'.

They're trying to trace a person who anonymously sent an email to a mailing list accusing someone of being Gay.

O.M.G. world is ending!!! Talk about over-reaction and over-reaching...?!?

NBR (Among others) is reporting that Section 92A is to be dropped.

However the 'Replacement' will be of concern; one can only hope Government gets input from all relevant areas... not just a small group of biased rights-holders and their representatives.. !

However big kudos to all involved in petitioning the Government on this issue... it likely made all the difference.

[edit: Stuff.co.nz demonstrating Geek FAIL. Clap. Clap. Clap.]

[more edit: NZOSS Press Release which I agree with also.]

Auckland District Law Society are urging caution as regards Section 92A.

Google are against..

United Video are at first glance, for the change. However if you read between the lines:


"I trust this submission helps shed some light on the rental industry in New
Zealand and the far reaching effects this legislation could have in either
supporting us if passed, or destroying us if it is quashed. The need
therefore for a code which is acceptable to all parties is imperative and hope
the ongoing dialogue between Rights Holders and ISP’s produces such a
Code."

So... whilst there's some definate application of the law that's of benefit to say, a Video rental outfit, they're actually looking for a code which is 'acceptable to all parties'. Perhaps United Video havn't noticed the objections by such a large number of parties... ?
Their message would appear to be quite confused in that stake. Or doesn't 'all parties' include artists and innocent members of the public clobbered by poorly written legislation?

Even more amusing was their earlier paragraph, describing themselves as "the gatekeepers of entertainment technology as it reaches the rental marketplace" and they "as being a real link between the producers ofthe product and the end consumer." (which makes me laugh/choke/cry).

Brendas Tally is quite telling in itself.

http://creativefreedom.org.nz/whataboutus.html is worth a look - especially the videos.

Currently pondering whether I can justify making one myself. ;-)

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