[Edu-sig] Several Small changes

Conrad Koziol arkamir at softhome.net
Tue Nov 4 19:38:35 EST 2003

Hey thanks a lot for all the tips. I tried to include most of the
changes, though I really hope I dont overwhelm the teacher or the
students :). She's already had bad experiences with open-source, I
caught her complaining about Abiword (Windows port), so she might be
biased. :(.
I have to make a presentation in front of the class on Friday or Monday,
and have to make a powerpoint presentation. I think I gain the students
attention by using all the great logos such as GNU one or Tux, espeially
the Quake tux. I was wondering if it would be wise to include some of
the parodies of Windows(all apropriete.). Whoever mentioned Knoppix
thanks for reminding me I was going to bring a version to school, but I
think there so rooted in there Microsoft ways they might go as far a
suspend me or give me  good talking too. They problay think its a
security issue and that I will try to destroy there network. They're
real anal about doing anything out of the ordinary. I will though ask my
teacher if I can bring a version of Knoppix to include in my

	The GNU/Linux system should be used as the primary software by
everyone. GNU was started in 1983 Richard Stallman when he started a
project to develop free applications and an O.S. In 1991 a Finnish
student created a basis for an O.S. called a “kernel” due to the lack of
a free one. The name Linux is derived from his name, Linus Torvalds.
Soon hundreds and then thousands of people added and contributed to the
kernel. Today it is used by approxatimely 18 million people.

Being released under the GPL and several other free licsences, Linux has
the advanteges of being an Open Source product. This means that anyone
can look at the source code and so anything with it. This is different
from what Microsoft labels as 'open source' which is properly called
free since you dont have acces to the code, an example would be Internet
Explorer. Windows itself is proprietary software, or software you must
pay for. There are many open-source licsences such as BSD, and Lesser
GPL, each with different constraints or freedoms of what you can do to
the software. Such as the terms of the GPL which states that you must
report the changes of the code you made back to the author and if you
choose to distribute it or any program using it you must provide the
source code for free. These licsences ensure the author is given due
credit and that the authors wishes are carried out. This also ensures
that no one tries to sell the product without providing the source code
for free. This makes it possible for authors who wish to distribute the
program for free ensure it stays free. Most programs for Linux are
licsenced this way. This is important because you have the freedom to do
whatever you want with the code, and that everyone who wants can have
acces to the knowledge behind the programs. It also means that even when
software and hardware changes, you can still ensure that you will not be
locked into some proprietary format of your data.

Linux can be run on any computer from a lowly 300 MGH pentuim 1 to a 11
teraflop 1000 + node supercomputer. On any system Linux easily
outmatches Windows in everything and can go toe to toe with a higher end
system Windows machine. This is due to the contributions of hundreds of
thousands people's code, which is constantly being reviewed and
improved. Linux can also be customized for you exact system by building
from source. It's philosophy of one computer, multiple users, makes it
ideal for networking. It's windowing system is run at the user level so
you can have hundreds of users remotely log in to a computer and access
all the drives on it without overly taxing it since all the windowing
and GUI(graphical user interface) is handled on the computer you are on.
This also allows for text-only mode if you only need to use that.

Linux is more powerful and flexible than Windows because of it's build.
In linux you have complete control of everything due to it's licsencing.
You can control what applications start when you log in or when the
computer starts, you can make your own firewall or modify the current
one, decide what the screen shows when you turn on the computer, or make
it sing a song when you log in. It's up to you. Though there is a GUI
for a lot of things, it is restricted by it's lack of useability and
total control, so the optimal way to do things is the command
prompt(called shell, DOS in windows). There is a learning curve for all
of this, but it is not overwhelming. To help you there are several
websites and books, as well as tons of friendly users on IRC or mailing

In using Open-Source software, you have an abundance of choices to
choose from. There are several distros(versions, distrubutions) of
Linux. Each distro uses the exactly same kernal(core or backbone of the
linux O.S.), what seperates them is the services and goals behind them.
For example, Redhat Linux specializes in stability, Mandrake promotes
ease of use, and Gentoo offers supreme customizibility and performance.
Usually there are several products for Linux which do the same thing but
add there own bells and whistles, such as web browsers. Currently there
are 4-5 different browsers offered for Linux , each of them is compliant
with the standards, the thing that seperates them is the principles they
hold when the develop them such as speed or ease of use. Each product is
also compatible with each other since they use open formats to save
everything. It is up to you too decide which one is best for you, though
any will do unless your looking for something specialized. You can find
anything you need for linux on the web through sites like SourceForge,
Freshmeat, and through individual developers. SourceForge and Freshmeat
are sites that provide a place for developers to meet and organize
projects, and then gives them hostingand a place to offer there
programs. Having lots of options develops diversity and forces
programmers to think of more ways to seperate there program from the
rest of the crowd. This results in better code and programs. It is
important to note that even if you do not wish to switch to GNU/Linux
you can still install most Open-Source programs as most of them have
Windows(and Mac) ports which allow you to install them on Windows(and
Mac). Installing programs is a breeze by using you distro's version of
rpms. If you want complete customibilty right from the start you can use
Source Code which can is compatible with all distros of linux.

Linux is the perfect operating system that prometes user control. Though
there is a learning cureve it easily makes itself up it the money you
save, and the thought that you can do anything with your computer. It
has already been used in several high schools , and the educational
benifet offered surpasses anything Windows can offer especially students
studying computer science. Linux brings bac k the fun in computing.

More information about the Edu-sig mailing list