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

From: Andrés Muñiz Piniella
Subject: Re: [libreplanet-discuss] Suggestions for a coding club that is just starting?
Date: Sun, 20 Sep 2015 01:27:49 +0100
User-agent: K-9 Mail for Android

Hi Pen-Yuan Hsing,

As mention here I also did some coder dojo. I discussed my practical thoughts 
here [1] special mention is how little you really need to know about coding to 
help out. Now, a coding club sounds like something more frequent. (Bi weekly?)
fsfe has some info look into 'further information'  section  here [2]

Long version:

On one coder dojo session I was given the chance to talk about freesoftware. 
This was near the end. I commented on how they could look up one anothers code 
and help each other out. And how that even though they all had windows or Mac 
running the same software (python3 idle) there was a 3rd option Gnu/Linux  that 
did the same but worked under the same concept of 'sharing is caring'. (I 
loaned my laptop with trisquel-mini to a kid that did not bring his laptop and 
he did not know or care it.was not windows or mac but when I told him what it 
was she (or.he?) was interested) I talked and explained the 4 freedoms as best 
I could and let them have as many stickers they wanted from the fsf and fsfe 
promos [3] [4] great to personalize their computers. I think I told them that 
by default their code was theirs in such a way that it did not allow their 
friends to share without permission. That it was best to state that they are 
'general public licenced or similar' in the heading as a comment.
That way everybody knew it was safe to share without of fear of legal action. 
Note that I tried to avoid using acronyms and the word free by it's self. I 
used free as in freedom or freedom software.  I also stuck around to take 
questions. Most of them where about 'is hacking is legal?' or 'what is this 
Sony boicott about'. About hacking I said that sadly the term was miss used and 
that for example depending on the context the word 'cell' could mean prison or 
a biological part of us. I think (or I hope) this hit home with some of them.

Sadly I do not have time to continue going every session (a Saturday once a 
month). And while most if not all agree with me in the free software front the 
'cool kids' are more on the OSS front. They bring in raspberry pi with 
minecraft on them. And do some mods. And they just want to get on and do cool 
things. I would love to install a freemine server and have them play and modify 
their world for example. I had discussions with some and still don't get what 
the fuzz is about.  What I mean to say: make sure you bring in volunteers that 
do understand it. Make sure they are the first ones.

In your case, if I could, I would offer as a volunteer.  Gnu/Linux 
installations are good but for start use live USB (isn't cool.that you can run 
it on a computer and leave no trace behind?). Or/and start by using free 
programs on their proprietary os that are also available in gnulinux (geany 
rather than notepad++ as an intermittent step towards Emacs and eclipse?). I 
feel they are better off learning by themselves what is best for themselves 
instead of imposing but avoid lockdown to an OS. To The teacher as an organizer 
I would give her/him a version with your own words about software freedom from 
the great web pages that have been shared here. But do not rely on external 
links(I feel they will not be read You can imagine that happening on this 
mailing list as well)

I do not know your situation but I can say what my dream would be: I would say 
that the best thing is to offer the children to choose a project (as others 
have said) that they want to work on. But with some help to frame it (too much 
choice is difficult to handle). maybe an activity do you want to build a game? 
Maybe something to help the local community? A chat only for school kids? It 
has to be something that they all agree with the idea that they will be 
scratching their own itch (vote with absolute.mayority). I would then hunt down 
(duckduckgo  it with them) an existing free software that does something 
similar (Wikipedia normally has lists that you can filter by licence and ensure 
they run in at least Gnu/Linux) and start learning with them the basics of the 
language or langages. Contribute to documentation and translation of  it (even 
the art!) File bug, fix bugs,... Discussing plans with lead developers even if 
it means a fork or derivative or an addon or a skin. Joining
mailinglists irc channels. Encountering proprietary software and finding all 
the strings that are attached to it. deliberately Avoiding it because it is the 
right thing to do. Or maybe comprimise by using a rasberry pi for example  but 
make them aware that it is a comprimise or a bug that needs to be deleted. 

For.the teacher: For example build a public bus countdown system for the 
school: give links to wikis and to code so that other children can do the same 
for their homes. Or an irrigation system using arduinos and some nails . Or 
music generated from the school newspaper words or poems, citizen science,... 
publicise it in socialmedia to see if they get others outside the classroom to 
contribute (maybe the art class? Tell them.about creative commons) maybe kids 
can even make a startup with it or sell kits with all documentation (don't 
forget to include the gpl! ) instead of selling cupcakes, biscuits and lemonade 
for sponsoring school trips. Selling is impossible/impractible to do with 
proprietary software(strings attached).

But it is all about the travel not the destination. The means, not the end.

As said in some of the many other emails. It is not about just typing in code 
to make something yours it is about building something that is shared with the 
world (and giving you credit for it!). Helping others in a global scale, doing 
the right thing.  And if you want to give a practical spin to it: in a company 
you rarely code solo and by showing your contributions online you already have 
a porfolio and that you document your code for easy maintaince to show future 
employers or you can use gimp? Does that mean I do not have to spend money 
'renting saas'?  

I would not be too critical about them having windows and mac.  As said in this 
and other similar mailing lists... do you also have a free wifirouter? Is your 
ISP free? Who serves that server? At some point you have to start from a line 
in the sand and cross that line to find there are more lines ahead just make 
sure you are not locked in. If they want to be really cool and not mainstream 
as cocacola/pepsi they will join the other cola drinks (Gnu/Linux, Bsd, hurt) 
and all the variants within them. Always talk in positive terms about how good 
free software is not about how bad proprietary is. When they ask you are you 
windows or are you Mac you can raise your head with pride and say I use 

Sorry it was longer than I thought!

Good luck! Stay free! 

[3] and

El 17 de septiembre de 2015 23:50:33 GMT+01:00, Pen-Yuan Hsing <address@hidden> 
>Thank you Brendan and Thomas for your replies.
>I see that (1) to start it is nice to think about something you could
>benefit from coding, and (2) CoderDojo is a nice organisation to join.
>Both sound good! I'll past this information along, and I hope the lead
>teacher can involve their students in CoderDojo events.
>With that said, I think I might need to re-phrase my original post a
>bit: How do you broach the subject of Free Software to someone for the
>first time? Specifically, what about in the case of a new coding club
>for secondary school students? Are there examples of successful coding
>clubs that started with an emphasise on Free Software? Are there
>people with experience in communicating to these groups that "remember
>to release your software under a Free license", "make the source code
>available", etc.? Thanks!
>On 17/09/2015, address@hidden <address@hidden>
>> I strongly recommend that you start a CoderDojo
>> its ethos is opensource (all the docs, samples, code, etc are all
>> it's all driven by volunteers (free) and there's a worldwide network
>> people willing to help (also free). I have been involved for the past
>> years and the kids learn a lot!
>> On Thu, 17 Sep 2015 at 19:18 Thomas HARDING <address@hidden>
>> wrote:
>>> Le 17/09/2015 17:10, Pen-Yuan Hsing a écrit :
>>> > Hello,
>>> >
>>> > First of all, thanks everyone for your help several weeks ago on
>>> > Freeing of a scientific software I mentioned here. I have a couple
>>> > follow up questions which I plan to post in another message, but
>>> > now there is another issue.
>>> >
>>> > I learned that a teacher in a secondary school in my town is
>>> > a coding club for their students (probably teenagers), and they're
>>> > looking for information or other direct support regarding how to
>>> > it. Since this coding club is just starting, I think this is a
>>> > opportunity to include in their agenda the concept of Free
>>> >
>>> > I am not an active coder myself, but care a lot about Free
>>> > and I want to do what I can to make sure this club goes in the
>>> > direction". However, I have zero experience doing this. Do folks
>>> > have ideas, or better yet links to existing
>>> > websites/information/teaching plans that are appropriate for this?
>>> > plan to email the lead teacher soon about the important of Free
>>> > Software in their club, and would appreciate anything you can
>>> > provide!! I think the more we can give the teacher the better.
>>> >
>>> [having only little skills in English, please point any impairing
>>> mistake (I'm French)]
>>> Fortunately, coding is one of the most outstanding features given by
>>> Free Software, not only by design but by lang::fr::nature :)
>>> That said, first question is not "what do you want to code" but
>"what do
>>> you need needing coding": first step to learn for coding is to
>>> simple which *you want to exists but can't find*, or, at option,
>>> do not already exists, or, more, already exists but do not fit
>>> *perfectly* *your* needs.
>>> My opinion is: some tools always exists but never fit perfectly your
>>> needs.
>>> Just take the ways to rotate a screen and the way and conditions
>>> think* a screen should rotate. You have a project, scalable from a
>>> alias to a C project (Ada would work too if you want for contracts),
>>> with any kind of programming model and typed level.
>>> You'll also want the screen rotates from a web interface,
>>> and with no [fakes?] to a complete classroom if your goal is to say
>>> "now, we start to read text displayed vertically as a book, please
>>> rotate your screen counerclockwise... No Allan, *counter*clockwise,
>>> goal is not to read head top-bottom").
>>> While you can do almost anything with free software with excerpt for
>>> time) quantic crypto break and low cost blu-ray tray scrambled video
>>> reading, anyone in the crew needs only whiches :-)

Richmond Makerlabs
Ham United Group

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