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Re: [libreplanet-discuss] Suggestions for a coding club that is just sta

From: J.B. Nicholson-Owens
Subject: Re: [libreplanet-discuss] Suggestions for a coding club that is just starting?
Date: Fri, 18 Sep 2015 21:11:02 -0500
User-agent: Mozilla/5.0 (X11; Linux x86_64; rv:31.0) Gecko/20100101 Icedove/31.8.0

address@hidden wrote:
Thanks Mark, yes - we try to get them to look at alternatives to Windoze,
but there's no pressure. While J.B.'s comments are great from a purist
point of view, the OSS goal is orthogonal to the goal of teaching coding.

Given your other response in this thread I doubt you'd encourage the students to look at anything but what's convenient to you or beneficial to the proprietors to whom you apparently defer.

Calling my previous response "great from a purist point of view" is glib praise, useless to help anyone understand what's going on and what the goals of teaching programming should be, but utterly consistent with the disrespect you've already shown the original poster.

It's also worth noting where the question is being asked: The questioner asked on libreplanet-discuss, a mailing list to discuss issues relevant to LibrePlanet, a free software project and (since 2009) annual conference run by the Free Software Foundation (FSF). Your initial response strikes me as remarkably disrespectful given that the original poster said "I think this is a great opportunity to include in their agenda the concept of Free Software", a right and proper focus particularly for this mailing list.

This same FSF has endorsed laptops running free software systems and free OSes which are perfectly suitable for learning computing & doing real work. The open source movement is not what the FSF is about, in fact the free software movement predates the open source movement by over a decade, and the FSF has published essays about how the open source movement's goals lead to radically different outcomes which are antithetical to software freedom. Your own posts are a perfect example of this, as you have already said you'd accept whatever nonfree stuff a student brings with them.

It is not prescriptive, so there is no way on earth we would criticize any
kid for their choices.

Then you'll make a poor teacher. It's prescriptive in a direction you don't like and can't articulate other than to claim it would be inconvenient to you. Proper teaching comes with a point of view and honest education acknowledges and justifies that point of view. Accepting whatever a student comes in with, whether their views on the subject matter, or the devices they use, is bad teaching. Correction, critique, and advice are all proper corrective measures any good teacher employs.

No matter what one specifies one teaches values. So as always it remains a question of what values should be taught. You've made it quite clear that you defer to proprietors and convenience. I hope the questioner's students find teachers who have the necessary backbone to stand up for what's humane, ethical, and a practical means of addressing real-world problems that have been headline news for the past few years (thanks to Edward Snowden's brave choices!).

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