Thursday, October 13, 2005

free / open source CD

The free / open source / legal cd we distribute through the Resource Centre at my school contains the following software:

acrobatReaderv6 (reads pdf files)
audacity (sound editing)
cmap (concept map)
copernic (desktop search)
filzip (unzip files)
firefox (great browser)
GameMaker (Game making)
gimp2 (image manipulation (powerful))
irfanview (image manipulation (simple))
nvu (HTML editor)
openoffice2 (word processing, spreadsheet, presentation, drawing, database)
QuickTime_iTunes (music, podcasting)
Python (programming language)

You can do a lot with open source without going all the way and changing the OS. I haven't got around to doing Linux due to lack of time but it is on my list of things to do.

It provides the opportunity for students to acquire software without breaking copyright law. Some of our students don't have internet connection at home and I wouldn't like to download some of it by dialup.

It sends a message to students and staff that this free software does exists, that it is good and opens the door for anyone who wants to take it a step further in their classes.

I use a lot of these packages in my classes along with proprietary packages

Arising from a recent discussion initiated by wara I think it's time for me to have another go at open office as well, by all accounts version 2 is better

I can't think of any reason why schools shouldn't make available such a CD to their students. It seems to me to be an important equity issue as well as an opportunity to introduce students to a highly successful and collaborative way of doing things, the open source development model.

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