Free and Open on the Web Today


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Exploring educational issues of "free" software on the web today.

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  • Goal is clarification of words “free” and “open” and to draw your attention to some of the issues surrounding the use of these words online todayNot a technical lesson, not a how-to, I think it’s something much more important: philosophical, theoretical, historical, socialStart by going around the room and asking: what’s your name, licensure, and favorite/most used free program or web service
  • As you look at these explanations of “free,” which ones were you working from when you were talking with your partners?
  • Which of these do you use often or could you possibly use in your classroom?
  • Freedom and sharing are seen as an end or are at least means to an altruistic end (e.g. improving the world)Which of these might you use in your classroom?You will all use PHP, Apache, MySQL, Linux, and Ruby; most of you will use Mediawiki and Firefox; many will use Wordpress and others
  • Free as in open typically leads to free as in no/cost (at least initially)
  • Most open source software companies make their money by giving you a puppy and then having you pay them to take care of it for you. You can play with it, but they do the dirty work.
  • Typically make their money differently than merely support of their services, because they control the code and all the dataMay be wolves in sheeps’ clothing; recognize the appeal of “no cost to the user,” but their end goal is not your well-being (typically to make money), and so “freedom” and “sharing” are means to an end for them of making money
  • Idea of open source goes far beyond just being able to see code, there is an ideological rift between “open source” and “proprietary” software in how they see you as the user and what rights you as the user should have
  • Freedom to share
  • Freedom to share
  • Freedom to share
  • Safeguarding authorship/creator rights
  • Two issues: things are “freer” than they actually are.Underutilizing things that are truly “free,” merely because they aren’t marketed to us effectively.
  • Ning: prime example of educators misunderstanding what “free” means and paying the price for it
  • Google“the Cloud is a trap”; Google as perpetual Beta (changing privacy)Applies to Microsoft Live as wellWhat’s to stop Google, MS, or Facebook from charging a $1 membership fee tomorrow? $2, $3, etc.?
  • Apple and textbook publishers being sued by US government for price collusion; may give “free” apps or incentives to use e-books, but you give up freedoms, which allows them to have more control over you, which allows them to make more money off of you, your schools, and your students
  • Free and open source may be more cost effective (or less, depending on the situation), but educators need to be aware of options, because vendors only market products that generate revenue (that revenue may come by you giving them money or signing over freedoms)FOSS in the classroomExamples of underutilization: Linux – false dichotomy of Mac vs. PC; like false dichotomy of Safari vs. Internet Explorer; consider how long it has taken Firefox to catch on
  • Linux and FOSS generally are heavily utilized in information technology for the reasons of “freedom;” why not in education? Vendor-driven
  • Facebook
  • Freedom, privacy, and control go hand in hand; we (as institutions and individuals) are willingly giving up freedoms without realizing it for the purpose of gaining access to “free” softwareIt’s not free, maybe no monetary cost, but we’re using our freedom and rights to our personal information as currency, and we’re teaching (and often requiring) our students and others we influence to do the sameThe main product being sold on the social web (Web 2.0) is your informationThough we give up freedom every day to gain things of value (e.g. abiding by an academic code to attend a university, abiding by a professional code to become a teacher, etc.), we don’t realize that we’re giving anything upComplex issue; we’ve convoluted words (e.g. “open,” “free,” etc.) and have taken technical terms and used them in a variety of non-sensical waysWe’re not thinking about these issues, and as educators, we should be
  • Free and Open on the Web Today

    1. 1. When we talk about web softwareand services, what do we mean by “Free?”
    2. 2. Describing software and services as “free” is ambiguous. Why?
    3. 3. 1. Ambiguous meaning of “free” in Englishlanguage2. Intentional ambiguity on the part ofsoftware creators3. Lack of understanding of historical andtechnical issues
    4. 4. “Free” as in “No Cost / Gratis” vs. “Free” as in “Open” vs. “Free” as in “Freedom”
    5. 5. What are some “no cost / gratis” software applications and services that you use?
    6. 6. What is “Open Source” or “open” software?
    7. 7. How is “Open Source” software “Free?”
    8. 8.
    9. 9.
    10. 10.,1000& 2F2010%2F11%2Frichard_stallman_free_software.jpg
    11. 11. What do we mean by “Freedom?”
    12. 12.
    13. 13.
    14. 14.
    15. 15. Open Source != No Cost / Gratis != Freedom Apples != Bathtubs != Hand Grenades
    16. 16. So what?Why does any of this matter to educators?
    17. 17.*fxn62GasyeVJ8wlNQWlgTcKgK1jming0L7rmEj3jSzV6gT2gH-ZMGnIt13Nd-l0- qgxdsGFnqcRVsPuybQCAGLCG*kQQQVy/ning_horizontal_logo.jpg
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    24. 24. Questions?
    25. 25. Thank you! Royce Kimmons royce@kimmonsdesign.com