Kyle R. Burton on Fri, 11 Jul 2003 10:14:08 -0400

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Re: [PLUG] Community Service Project (Devil's advocate)

> > I don't think that by supplying linux PC's will help
> > much in finding a job for these kids, vs leaving the
> > windows OS in place, and instead trying to get a low
> > cost Star Office in place. Not that gnome isn't a
> > windows environment and that there isn't software
> > available. The majority of the jobs outthere that these
> > kids will be trying to get in their near future will
> > most likely be running a windows environment.
> I had this same argument with my wife.

If it doesn't cost the installers any more to do 98 vs Linux, why not poll 
the kids and their families and let them choose?  List what each one
comes with, the beneifts that we feel relate to each offering and
allow them to choose their own destiny (perhaps with an offer to re-install
their system if they change their minds later?).

  Pre-installed with:
    - web browser (value $0)
    - text editor (value $0)
    - full office suite (if we offer them windows, we should install
      open office for them regardless) (value $300?)
    - games: solitare, minesweeper (value $0)
    - easy to use (I won't argue this, but it's common beleif)
    - most commonly used end-user operating system - most likely to
      encoutner in a business setting (i.e. at a Job)
    - widest variety of commercially available applications
    - cost?
    - limited amount of free software

  Pre-installed with:
    - web browser (value $0)
    - full office suite(s) (value $300?)
    - programming languages (value $500?)
    - web page editor(s) (value $79.95?)
    - image/graphics software (Gimp) (value $200?)
    - educational software and games - dictionary software, fractal viewers,
      math, chemistry and physicis software - CAD
    - [what other applications are importiant to these Kids?]
    - how much you want to learn is entirely up to _you_
    - once you reach the competency level, you can download thasounds
      of different open source software applications from the internet 
      for no cost, without breaking the law
    - community ethic
    - people (PLUG volunteers) willing to lend support and mentoring

I'm sure other PLUGers can expand on this list -- what is importiant to 
these kids?

Regardless of which OS you decide on, the computers should probably include 
software and data such as:

  - Open Office (learning how to do Word Processing & use a Spreadsheet
    program translates to office type job skills - even if it's not
    MS Office, Open Office is close enough).
  - local copies of:
    - Guttenberg texts
    - the DICT database & software (are there open-source packages for
      learning foreign languages? - what about english as a non-primary
    - some open encyclopedia (I beleive wikipedia and nupedia are 
      available for downloading - I just googled and also found
  - Some Programming languages/Environments:
    - Sun or IBM's JDK (provides a cross-platform programming language,
      and the run-time environment for that matter)
    - Perl, Python, Scheme (Dr. Scheme) - local copies of the books SICP 
      (structure and interpretation of computer programs), and HTDP (how 
      to design programs)
  - Database Software (Postgres and MySQL both run under Windows)

These offerings will make the computers far more valueable than the 
difference between 98 and Linux.  As someone who is about to become
a parent, I'm seeing large value in the Guttenberg texts and the 
encyclopedias.  I would rather see my child using those resources from
Windows than not using them at all.

> One of my main reasons for putting Linux on these machines is that the
> families are very economically challenged.  If we keep win98 on these
> machines, it's already outdated.  At some point Microsoft will stop
> supporting win98, programs will stop being written for it and then where
> will they be?
> As someone pointed out it's not so much Windows as it is Office, which
> they definitely can't afford.  If we're talking about using Star Office,
> then there is no reason not to use Linux.
> As for the job market, these kids are in elementary school.  I have only
> been messing around with Linux for about four years, but in that time I
> have seen it grow by leaps and bounds and I believe that it will continue
> to grow exponentially.  By the time the kids reach high school I think
> that their skill set in using Linux will be in high demand.
> Another key reason in using Linux for this project is the social awareness
> it will bring these kids, as it has done for me.  They will learn that the
> free exchange of ideas and information really does benefit themselves and
> their society.  They'll learn to collaborate with others and be apart of a
> team and when they win the teams wins.  Along these lines Paul's idea for
> PLUG, Jr. is just stellar!
> I think the kids could be taught so many valuable lessons using Linux on
> both the technical and social front it would be a shame not to use it.

As long as this ulterior motive is out in the open and the recipients are
aware of it I think it's ok.  Not informing them of this would be a 

I think putting Linux on these boxes is a bit of an expirement, but I'm
all for it.

Jon - tahnks for taking the initiative on this.  I think it's a noble
thing you're doing.  I wish you the best of luck and hope to be able
to help.



Wisdom and Compassion are inseparable.
        -- Christmas Humphreys                  
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