[Edu-sig] some analysis from OSCON (part 1 of 3)

kirby urner kirby.urner at gmail.com
Mon Aug 1 21:35:49 CEST 2011

Lots of talk of a "code of conduct" going in,
as I pieced it together later, with dribs and
drabs on the organizer's list, which I've been
on.  We had some last minute plea for some
small print boilerplate, like a EULA, that no
one reads, until getting a Knock on the Door
from Microsoft...

Of relevance to education is my Hillsboro
police story again.  Here was this bunch of
cops, in the age of Napster, being pushed
by the IP lawyers to play "the bad ass
enforcer" in the local public schools.  They
were to come in and scare the bejeezus
out of kids telling them about the anti-piracy
laws, possible jail sentences.

Yet here this was, land of the free home of
the brave, with parents who'd risked everything
to come here for a better life for their kids,
and here were these cops not telling them
anything about free, legally free, and open
software, not letting them in on the "dirty
secret" (from the IP lawyers' view) that a
lot of this so-called IP was relatively worthless,
next to the joys of ownership of one's own
free pile of code, which one could even help
write and build community through doing
(just like the lawyers did).

So the police rebelled and created their
own Linux lab to teach open source, hiring
me 'n Collord to serve as instructors.  The
upshot:  teens do not care to venture into a
police station for just about any reason,
especially not recent emigres with relatives
already in trouble with the law.  So the classes
had problems with outreach.  Really, this was
something the teachers should have been
doing as a part of their professional duties,
but we all know America's teachers tend to
be cringing and cowardly, not likely to
champion civil rights or anything noble
(e.g GNU).

Or have times changed when we weren't looking?

I guess they may have, as Saturday Academy
was plenty bold enough, in screening parts of
'Revolution OS' and all the rest of it.  Stallman
keeps coming back to Portland (Hillsboro is our
neighbor, an Intel HQS).  OSCON is here for a
reason.  We know how to share and build
community, while those IP lawyers gain a
reputation around the world for being ugly and
litigious, anything but a pleasure doing business

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