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Re: OS for schools (was Re: Practicality of GNU project and libre moveme

From: Paul Sutton
Subject: Re: OS for schools (was Re: Practicality of GNU project and libre movement)
Date: Wed, 29 Jul 2020 08:30:51 +0100

On 28/07/2020 19:45, LM wrote:
> Adonay Felipe Nogueira wrote:
>> If the goal is to get a user-friendly system distribution for use by
>> non-advanced users, then there's no need start anew, since Trisquel
>> ([1]) is still active and accepting contributors. It even has a Sugar
>> environment/flavor.
> A primary goal is to be able to build the entire operating system from
> source code (similar to Linux from Scratch).  This gives the students
> a chance to find out more about how an operating system works, what it
> takes to put one together and how to customize their systems however
> they choose.  The second goal is to be able to supply lightweight
> educational programs, games, utilities, hobby software, accessibility
> tools, ebook readers and CC/public domain reading materials and
> recordings.  That way, if a user has an older machine and/or poor or
> no Internet access, etc., he/she can still perform educational
> activities with the computer.

I can't see many schools allowing students to install something other
than what is on the current system,  they may not have access to old
computers or components to build computers,  you may be able to build a
system from older processors e.g 8502 or z80 and combine with say a
arduino. Someone has to maintain the computer labs and these have to be
used by other groups too.

> I'm finding less and less people who actually know how to program and
> more and more people just using what someone else did.  Just had a
> conversation with someone today about measuring if a program would
> work well on an older computer and the other person's definition had
> nothing to do with the actual source code itself or how complex it was
> or what the dependencies were.  Being able to have the source code so
> that you can modify it is one of the goals of the FSF.  The aim is to
> encourage hobbyists/students to learn how to understand, modify,
> customize, improve and share code rather than just using whatever
> software they're given.

I agree,  You may find children and young people do,but I have found it
is much harder to reach out to them.

The only thing I would suggest on this would be some sort of activity
club,  but given covid 19 this would end up being virtual and a lot
harder due to the complex nature of recompiling software for beginners.

If you can get for example 10 computers, ideally the same spec, maybe
approach a summer camp as an activity leader with a solid plan, usually
some are specialist.

You may have a good range of ages,  so start with the youngest, teach
scratch and maybe python,  and move them on to more complex stuff.  It
depends on what they already know too.


Paul Sutton

CertCont Sci (Open)

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