[Edu-sig] RE: Concentric hierarchy / hypertoon (was pygame etc.)

Kirby Urner urnerk at qwest.net
Sun Mar 20 20:16:29 CET 2005

> The problem though, in my view, is that it is on fourms like
> edu-sig ( and debian edu list) that the exploration of these kinds
> of "polemics" are both most relevant and least welcome.
> Which says something in-and-of-itself.

Let's just put it this way:  I'm a technologist immersed in IT and I don't
consider myself a formidable obstacle to progress.  Nor do I feel that my
innovative programming is encountering any effective resistance.  Nor do I
feel that I'm operating alone or in a vacuum.  

On top of this, I see a million ways to link up design science (Fuller's
name for a disciplined approach to making headway) with open source
projects.  Of these million ways, I've so far exploited only about 4.5% of
them (bogus stat).  In other words, I'm loaded with "ammo" (weapons of mass
instruction) but have only lightly tapped what's in inventory.

> The Free Software movement being a particular kind of "threat", in that
> the tendency to provoke overconsumption is only enhanced by
> an offering that is free.
Mathematics is free too.  But to appreciate it to the level required to
contribute patches takes work.  The Free Software movement represents a
promise of interesting hard work.  The tools are free, but developing the
skills to use them takes time.  Making the tools free just means you have
more time to practice, versus scrounging in a day job to earn the $10,000
AT&T or SCO would have liked to charge any geek wanting entry level access
to an OS.  Microsoft was never the real enemy.  It never marketed a
proprietary UNIX.  It only pushed a less attractive substitute that serious
geeks didn't want or feel threatened by not having.

> Though - (god I hope I got this right) - the folks leading the debian
> education distribution effort did somewhat belatedly reveal that they
> are working from a business model based on support of the
> distribution in school systems.

>From my point of view, not a whole lot hinges on Debian's competence here,
though if it proves highly competent, that'll be a big plus.  But
penetration of free and open source within the schools is already happening
at some exponential rate, and Red Hat, Mandrake and others all have a piece
of the action.  I taught Adventures in Open Source to teenagers last summer
for Saturday Academy with Jerritt Collord of linuxfund.org (brilliant guy).
Our workstations were all Red Hat 9 boxes.  Our language was Python (mixed
with a lot of other stuff).  Our venue was West Precinct, Hillsboro Police

> > More some other time I hope.
> Starting now ;)
> Art

All the more reason I wish we had more time to talk at Pycon.

Last point:  free and open source does not mean "not Windows" of course.
It's all a matter of layers.  You've got a stack, like a sandwich piled high
with stuff, and each layer may have different rules, about what's open
versus what's proprietary and so on.  Tons of highly proprietary stuff runs
on top of open source (ever hear of IBM?).  Per recent OSCONs, the trend is
towards super apps that are online, that leverage user input (Google and
Amazon both examples).  Lots of open source tools gets used, but the overall
app is pretty much an inhouse asset i.e. closed to the general public.
However, here too I suspect open source will have an impact -- I've already
suggested some large scale open source apps myself, related to the fleet of
cybervans I intend to unleash from Global Data's garages (or Google's, or


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