Question: Why should open source software be used in schools?
Student E-mail Posting
This article discusses the injustice that school systems are doing to
their students by using purchased software rather than open source software in
the learning environment. The two main points of injustice are wasting school
resources and limiting the students opportunities to understand the inner
workings of technology. The author basically says that a school should only
purchase software if there are no open source software alternatives available
for the cause at hand and that aside from that circumstance, purchasing
software is just a waste of school resources. Purchased softwares use of
proprietary data formats is criticized as a way to simply force users into
purchasing the next version of that software, thereby continuing the cycle of
wasting school resources. The author is also very critical of the way
purchased software intentionally hides the inner workings of its code and
technology, and claims that requiring a software license is actually a form of
censorship. The idea behind the accused censorship is that the technology
tools that people need to know and use to contribute to the Information age are
being withheld from them. The author feels that students deserve the
opportunity to learn the inner workings of software, so they can take that
knowledge and combine it with their imaginations to utilize the tools in new
ways. That opportunity lies in open source software.
The author of this article definitely has a strong opinion about why open
source software should be used in schools. I agree that open source software
would add value to a schools technology curriculum, but I do not necessarily
feel that purchased software in the classroom is quite the root of evil
described above. I do think open source software gives students an opportunity
and maybe even some inspiration to get more technical. I have never thought of
software licenses as a form of censorship. Instead I viewed them more like
protection for the software industry.
Vessels, T. (2001). Why should open source software be used in schools?
Retrieved January 30, 2003, from http://edge-op.org/grouch/schools.html