Link roundup to December 12

  • Linux - Stop holding our kids back
    The teacher in this case has the tone of someone who tried religion once at college and now is an ardent atheist. Sadly, the campaigner has a tone that rather supports her prejudice. Breaking the self-amplifying lock-in loops that the schools are sustaining is probably the hardest challenge for the technology industry.
  • FixMyStreet iPhone
    Another eDemocracy innovation from the MySociety team. We're so privileged to have this lot working on our behalf.
  • Berkeley lab director likely next energy chief
    Getting subject matter experts onto the cabinet seems a brilliant move, as long as they are supported by the right team of civil servants and political advisors. I'm impressed by the brains trust Obama is building.
  • Chrysler's Hidden Coffers - Forbes.com
    Seems that the company that owns Chrysler really doesn't need any money from the US government and is instead opportunistically glomming on the GM's woes simply to cushion its own investments. And guess what - the CEO is a Bush guy. The more of these I see, the more I learn to look for the disaster capitalists in every situation.
  • Boarding - Where are you boarding today?
    I won't be able to try this until January, but I will.
  • Freezing cold, no internet, boring: it's a French web 2.0 conference!
    Looks like I was lucky to miss LeWeb.
  • Who Owns Christmas?
    Reading this it becomes clear just how far copyright (and indeed trademark) law has drifted away from the social contract on which it was based and become a vehicle for an abuse of monopoly. It so, so needs to be revised for the connected age.
  • Looking under what rises to the top: personal information in online searches
    "we never protect ourselves fully because we can never predict what our viewers will think, especially future viewers. And if we keep a tight rein on everything we post, we’ll lose the potential that communications media offer to help us grow." -- Essential reading on privacy for young people & those who care about them.
Comments:

"The teacher in this case has the tone of someone who tried religion once at college and now is an ardent atheist."

I'm trying, but I just don't see the connection. Are you saying that her aversion to Linux is like the tone of someone not having belief in a supernatural being?

Posted by Nobbin Sunar on December 11, 2008 at 08:54 PM PST #

Regarding the "Chrysler's Hidden Coffers" item, in which you say, "And guess what - the CEO is a Bush guy." My continuing impression from news reports is that the Bush administration has been extremely reluctant to provide bailout funds for the automobile industry and that the Democratic leaders of Congress are pushing hardest for this and are complaining continually that the administration is not getting with the program. I realize that many people regard George Bush as the cause or exacerbater of almost every ill in the world, but I encourage you to check your facts before launching your missiles.

Posted by Eric Sisson on December 11, 2008 at 09:59 PM PST #

@Nobbin: No, I am saying that someone is working from an old prejudice based on a vaguely-remembered experience that may not have been an appropriate basis for such an important future choice. You and I clearly have different college experiences.

@Eric: Are you saying that the CEO of Cerberus was not a member of the Bush administration? That's the link I'm drawing.

Always fascinating to see people reading between the lines of these telegraph-style comments :-)

Posted by Simon Phipps on December 11, 2008 at 10:17 PM PST #

Simon, Helios talked to the teacher and had a good conversation about Linux and open source. He has apologized for his vitriolic post here: http://linuxlock.blogspot.com/

All in all it does serve to shed light on the ignorance about open source.

Posted by Ken on December 12, 2008 at 10:25 AM PST #

@Simon: I am not saying that the CEO of Cerberus was not a member of the Bush administration; clearly, he was. I grant that the link exists. I am saying that the link seems to provide Cerberus little or no traction with the administration, so the link seems insignificant.

Posted by Eric Sisson on December 12, 2008 at 11:10 AM PST #

@Ken: Thanks for the pointer - I'd encourage others to take a look at the specific posting[1].

The challenge we face in schools is still huge though, and occirs at all levels as non-specialists just try to do their job and end up gamed by Microsoft and its ecosystem. The lock-in in British schools comes largely from the fact that IT services for the kids are outsourced, and the companies that do the work are 100% Microsoft shops.

As a school governor at a local school I introduced OpenOffice.org, which proved very satisfactory. It was removed, however, when to meet local IT security guidelines the school had to outsource IT support and was told it had no choice but to waste money on Office licenses and remove OO.o from all the computers ("we'll charge you extra if that stays as we'd have to hire people to support it").

Until this cycle is broken, the IT market will come with a built-in tendency away from Free software and towards supporting the monopolist out of overwork, fear and ignorance.

[1] http://linuxlock.blogspot.com/2008/12/character-assasinations-aint-us.html

Posted by Simon Phipps on December 12, 2008 at 09:36 PM PST #

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