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08.06.20

The Psychology of Developers

Posted in Free/Libre Software at 11:39 pm by Guest Editorial Team

2020 figosdev

Index

Psychology's mental health series
Chapter 5: The Psychology of Developers

Summary: “It turns out, there are ways around a free license — you can make software “less free” or more imposing, without changing the license at all.”

Imagine a person shows up at your door. You offer them a seat, have some conversations with them, get to know a little bit about them. As it turns out, this person is looking for a place to stay. They’re willing to be your personal assistant, and all they ask in return is a desk to sit at, a small cot to sleep on and an Internet connection.

“You run upstairs and move the vase of flowers your assistant put in your bedroom, and find a small microphone.”Things go well initially. Your new assistant is constantly making various aspects of daily life easier. Want to buy something, see a film, go somewhere to eat? Your assistant takes care of everything, except driving. You notice they ask lots of personal questions, but you trust them — you can’t imagine anything would go wrong if you told them more about your life. Technically you have an assistant, but they seem more like a good friend. Besides, your friends don’t do all these things for you.

One day, your assistant is about to take a pile of envelopes to a post box. They drop them on the floor, and as you help to pick them up you notice they’re all addressed to the same corporation. Curious, you ask your assistant what they’re for.

“Oh, I tell them everything I learn about you in long, boring detail” your assistant says. “But that’s not what what I hired you for,” you say. “No,” your assistant replies — “that’s what THEY hired me for.”

“You move other objects your assistant put around the house, and find microphones and cameras. You ask your assistant what the hell is going on, but they tell you to relax.”You run upstairs and move the vase of flowers your assistant put in your bedroom, and find a small microphone. You move other objects your assistant put around the house, and find microphones and cameras. You ask your assistant what the hell is going on, but they tell you to relax.

“Look, they don’t do anything BAD with all this — it just helps me assist you! The more I know about you, the better I can help!”

You get some geeks from a nearby university to help you find and get rid of the rest of the corporate gadgetry in your home, and ask a lawyer how you can sue this person and their company. But when you go over the employment contract for your assistant, it turns out you agreed to all of this — it was simply put in vague terms that you didn’t stop to think about the implications of.

“Not all developers are evil, or narcissists — but with great power comes great responsibility.”Now imagine that the assistant is a robot. You buy it on sale and bring it home, and the rest of the story is more or less the same — they don’t even need the cot to sleep on. You’re told the microphones are voice activated, and work out for yourself that they only listen when you talk to them. Later on you find out this isn’t quite true, but you’re already used to thinking of it as something inert that only becomes active when you want it to.

Maybe you find that whole idea creepy, and wonder why people would actually shell out money for such intrusive technology. Meanwhile, actual companies are turning your phone and your PC into the same thing, and eventually you will have the same “features” in your home whether you go out and buy these robot assistants or not. As time moves forward, your thermostat, toaster oven, refrigerator and vacuum cleaner become just as creepy and presumptuous. Sadly, this sort of thing is no longer fiction.

“On their own, most developers are harmless.”There is a word for the sort of narcissist that cons you into giving them this much power in your life: “Developers”. Not all developers are evil, or narcissists — but with great power comes great responsibility.

If it’s privacy you’re trying to preserve, then the sure way to have it is for developers to not collect your data in the first place. If you want control over your own work on your computer, then you need to be able to put limits on what developers can do without you granting them specific access.

But how did we get to this dystopian reality? Aren’t “developers” the same people who make harmless toys like Pong, Mario and Final Fantasy games? Absolutely.

On their own, most developers are harmless. Its not like they’re a different species, you could even become one if you wanted. Developers sometimes form groups, groups sometimes create development frameworks and toolkits, and eventually if a framework or toolkit becomes powerful and popular enough, some developers get corrupted ethics and start to IMPOSE themselves on users.

“Developers sometimes form groups, groups sometimes create development frameworks and toolkits, and eventually if a framework or toolkit becomes powerful and popular enough, some developers get corrupted ethics and start to IMPOSE themselves on users.”Funnily enough, it’s often the most corrupt developers that expect the most gratitude. A humble developer is a wonderful thing, and if more people learned some coding skills and put a few more projects together, it might erode some of the power complex that has led developers to become spies and sell out users. However, there are reasons it’s not quite that simple.

You might have no interest in technology, and that is very understandable. But you are also surrounded by it — this technology exists in your pocket, your car, in the skies overhead and it is carried around by most people. Technology does have a good side — it can build the largest library that mankind has ever created. It can let you talk to your loved ones practically anywhere on the planet. Either way, technology is here. Much of it is programmable. Will you decide what it does, or will it decide what you do instead?

Knowledge is power, and being able to say “No” to the people that wire your home for eavesdropping and spy on everything you do is power as well. The strongest recommendation that can be given is — if you don’t wish to understand technology at all, avoid it as much as possible.

“As for developers, we can try to set a better example for them. And we can call them out when they stray from creating ethical software.”Henry David Thoreau was a minimalist for several reasons, among them not wanting to support unjust wars. If you do not wish to learn more about technology, or even if you do wish to learn more and want more control over the technology you own, being able to say “No” is one of the most important lessons you can learn. Say “No” to turning everyone’s home into part of a spy network. Say “Yes” to basic human rights.

As for developers, we can try to set a better example for them. And we can call them out when they stray from creating ethical software. But that will require better education for users.

The best place to start that education is with Free software, and coding.

Note if you will, this dichotomy between the idea of “user” and the idea of “developer”. While there are bad things that developers can do that users may not be able to do themselves, per se (a user can use software to do bad things, while a developer can design it to do them) the line between “user” and “developer” is artificial.

“It would still be useful to explore the politics and group behaviour that turn developers into unethical software authors.”A developer is someone who makes software — computers are designed for making and running software. A user is not only a potential developer by definition, but the line between the two used to be a lot smaller. As Chapter 2 explained, people used to buy magazines with programs to type in. If you could write an article for a magazine, you got to call yourself a writer. If you could write a program that other people would enjoy or find useful, you got to call yourself a developer.

It would still be useful to explore the politics and group behaviour that turn developers into unethical software authors. Understanding how that happens might give the rest of us a better idea of how the world can say “No” to software that takes advantage of the user.

“It turns out, there are ways around a free license — you can make software “less free” or more imposing, without changing the license at all.”For many years, Free software made incredible progress along just those lines. The politics have adapted, and now you have users of (allegedly) Free software doing oppressive things that users hate and resent. But don’t you worry, Free software says — the license means you can change it!

So why are things getting worse instead of improving? It turns out, there are ways around a free license — you can make software “less free” or more imposing, without changing the license at all. That too is part of this subject of ethical developers vs. corrupt development groups. And you will barely find the “Free Software Foundation” talking about this — they prefer to sidestep the topic and reframe it in old rhetoric!

If Free software won’t tackle this issue, and no one else will tackle this issue, so-called “free” software will become just as oppressive as “non-free” software. There are already real-life examples of this happening, though so far very few people have stepped forward to say “No” to any of it.

Licence: Creative Commons CC0 1.0 (public domain)

Social Justice is Fine… When It is Not Just a Shallow Marketing Ploy

Posted in Deception, IBM, Marketing, Microsoft at 11:05 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

The corporate media loves extolling the virtues of corporations that own/fund it, irrespective of the full picture

Hot sauce in my bag meme

Summary: Don’t let well-meaning concepts such as “Social Justice” become mere buzzwords or tools of corporate propaganda (greedy people’s objectives disguised as populism)

EVERY SINGLE day I check the IBM blogs, which exploit or at least leverage COVID-19 all the time (for marketing, often shameless promotion of IBM’s proprietary software, hardware, and services). Lately IBM has turned to opportunistic justice causes — which of course it hijacks — to paint itself as some kind of community fighting for equality, justice, tolerance and so on. While on the surface it looks commendable, the truth needs a closer look. Amazon, Microsoft, Apple and Facebook make similar claims. It’s shallow, mindless marketing. Microsoft even tells us that it “loves Linux” while it is in fact attacking Linux.

“They know they’re lying. There’s PR budget for spreading their lies.”Nobody out there is against justice (well, maybe except criminals, including particular national leaders) and nobody is antisocial by choice. But in the age of corporate PR and military-grade propaganda we must be able to discern/distinguish marketing from grassroots efforts. Donald Trump insists he is “the least racist person there is anywhere in the world” (he’s also emboldening racism against Mexicans while pretending to love their food, culture etc.), Microsoft says it is a force for good and that it “loves Linux”, and Facebook claims that it values your privacy. They know they’re lying. There’s PR budget for spreading their lies.

We as a community of honest and awakened people ought not fall for these traps; name a single company that openly says, “yes, we’re racist” or even “no, we don’t have time to bother with all that justice baloney…” (name even one!)

Corporations lie. Corporations are not people. Corporations are instruments designed and refined for one single purpose: increase their clout (or “cloud”) and their profits. That’s it. And unlike actual people, they lack empathy and principles. They’re not ‘wired’ that way. It’s emulated by their PR/marketing/lobbying departments. It’s part of “product lifecycle”.

Site Upgrades Likely Coming Soon

Posted in Site News at 10:00 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

WordPress posts

Summary: After more than 28,000 posts are published it might be time to move from the WordPress x.9.x LTS to something newer (5.5 is about to be released); we explain why it’s not as simple as it might first seem

THE publishing pace has gone up; that’s owing to a number of factors. Among them are the office setup, less social control media, better collaboration, and priority changes. This week we passed the 28,000 posts milestone and we might also break our all-time record for traffic (we’ll know on Sunday). The general impact and reach continue to grow, our cooperation with other groups is rising (and is largely fruitful) and we managed to average at over 10 posts per day in the months of June and July.

“We’d rather not be at the ‘cutting edge’ than lose anything published here in the past.”It is possible but not assured yet that next week we’ll carry out operating system upgrades, at least for the WordPress component of the site. Sooner or later we should be able to add HTTPS, even without downtime in the process. Due to the size of the site it’s not a simple process and it requires testing. Lots and lots of testing. We don’t want to lose anything published in the past. There’s a lot of material here. The earlier days include lots of antitrust material, Novell articles, and in recent years we published a lot of leaks about the European Patent Office (EPO). We want to ensure the integrity of all this data. It is not a trivial task when so much software is changing so much (Linux, PHP, MySQL/MariaDB, CMS) and there’s too much data whose preservation cannot be checked exhaustively, only assumed. We’d rather not be at the ‘cutting edge’ than lose anything published here in the past.

Focus on the Big Issues, Not the Words

Posted in Free/Libre Software, IBM, Red Hat at 9:36 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

No, Virginia, you did not have to suck up to Donald Trump

Cat in pain: Thurston Waffles

Summary: The pattern that is emerging in recent months if not years is that words hurt and therefore contributors to code must shut up about injustices, including corporate misbehaviour

THE main IRC channel was very busy yesterday (probably busiest in years) because of conversations about ethics. Apparently, according to some, pointing out the hypocrisy of corporations (IBM in particular*) which demean the Free software community isn’t wise. We’re supposed to just take it and ignore the hypocrisy. The problem is, the latest wave of shaming tactics seems to revolve around words, not even underlying behaviour. It’s getting shallower and shallower over time. Now we’re barely allowed to even speak (expression diluted and having its meaning/messages watered down). Longtime contributors are being canceled.

“If the Free software movement gives up on its free speech (of course it’s all being disguised as a matter of racism so as to discourage opposition), then we cannot have freedom and we cannot stand up against corporate attacks, which mostly involve takeovers and infiltrations…”Hours ago PCLinuxOS Magazine published its latest edition in which it said: “Sooooooo … where does all of this end? What about all of the curse words that are dispersed throughout the kernel code? Won’t some puritanical sort of person take offense to the appearance of those “offensive” words?

“Gauging by the comments to the article on The Register (and elsewhere across the internet), the changes are not being well received by Linux aficionados. There is, to say the least, a LOT of backlash against the forthcoming changes, and most of it centers around the types of questions I asked in the previous paragraph.”

If the Free software movement gives up on its free speech (of course it’s all being disguised as a matter of racism so as to discourage opposition), then we cannot have freedom and we cannot stand up against corporate attacks, which mostly involve takeovers and infiltrations (see what happened to the Linux Foundation in recent years).
_____
* Perhaps predictably, our recent articles about IBM ‘provoked’ some people who decided to go ad hominem against the messenger (myself), not refuting any of the underlying substance or facts. Red Hat employees are coming to grips with the new boss (the article about layoffs was read nearly 150,000 times this week) and they don’t like it.

Computing vs. Marketing

Posted in Deception, Free/Libre Software, Marketing at 9:01 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

2020 figosdev

Index

17th 1/2 and Market
Chapter 4: Computing vs. Marketing

Summary: “The important lesson here is that Windows is NOT a computer — it is actually a horrible thing that people DO to a computer, and to themselves.”

Imagine you go to a car dealership, and after buying a car, the dealer says “and when you run low on petrol, just bring it to a dealer and they’ll sell you more!”

Fuel may not be the best metaphor for software, but it is worth noting that you buy it from a petrol station, not from the car manufacturer. You decide what brand of fuel to put in your car, and the idea of having to use specific brands for specific cars is more or less ridiculous. Even small planes tend to use the same fuel truck, regardless of who makes them.

“In this fiction created to sell software, you don’t have a computer, you have a Windows computer or an Apple (Mac) computer.”Computers were designed originally for tasks (numeric and data processing) followed by programs with rudimentary instructions, and eventually operating systems were created. While computers can do jobs without operating systems, software has become a consumer industry — the makers of software would rather you think of your computer as being tied to the OS, or better yet think of it as the OS itself.

In this fiction created to sell software, you don’t have a computer, you have a Windows computer or an Apple (Mac) computer. So what are Dell and Lenovo in this imaginary world? Types of Windows computers, also known as a “PC” — and that is a PC? Its a computer that runs Windows!

As mentioned in the previous chapter, Microsoft has reinforced this illusion by making deals with manufacturers that made it difficult for them to offer choices in terms of what OS a computer came with.

Apple has simply tied their OS directly to their own hardware products. It’s possible, though difficult — to run Apple’s operating system on a computer that Apple didn’t sell. Its also possible to run a different OS on a computer that Apple sold. But these companies would prefer to tie your hardware to their software, as if they’re the same thing.

It’s true that your computer won’t do much without an operating system. Since the 1960s, various institutions and companies have worked to create software platforms that allow the computer to handle more than one program — even more than one user — at the same time. While the modest computing power of early 8-bit consumer devices were put to better use running a single program at once, by the time IBM came out with the AT with enough RAM for more tasks, it was possible and increasingly desirable to manage more than one task simultaneously.

“If you detach the two cables going to that box, (or slide it out of the laptop) your computer will be OS-free. It won’t have any files or operating system when you turn it on.”It is helpful to disrupt this illusion of the OS as the computer. If you have a decent quality laptop, and it isn’t one of the almost hermetically sealed aluminum capsules that Apple makes, you may find a panel on the back of your laptop (one some older models its even on the side) that allows you to remove the drive from your computer.

This is mostly a thought experiment, so don’t feel the need to get out your screwdrivers unless you’ve done this before — or have a laptop you don’t care about. The danger to your laptop could be small, but we don’t want to presume anything without other details.

After turning off and unplugging your computer, its possible to remove the drive. I had one very inexpensive laptop without a drive — instead it had a small module that contained the equivalent of a USB stick on it which served as the drive. If you have a desktop, there is usually an entire side of the case you can remove — the drive will probably be larger.

“Oftentimes, installing an operating system is nearly as simple as putting the right USB into the computer, turning it on and hitting enter several times.”Laptops and desktops have a variety of components inside, but in a laptop and especially the desktop, the ones most relevant at the moment are typically in black or silver boxes, ranging from the size of your hand to the size of your palm. The box with the most wires is the power supply — that’s the most dangerous part of the computer, and you can figure out where it is very easily, because on the outside of the case is the power cable that goes to it. Usually its located near the top and towards the back, but sometimes it is placed on the bottom of the case.

Immediately on the other side of where you put DVDs into the computer, you’ll find the optical drive. On desktops they are larger than hard drives, and on laptops they are typically larger than laptop hard drives.

A few models of laptop will make drive access difficult, but most are better than that. You usually don’t need to remove the drive to change the OS — normally you won’t have to open the computer at all. But inside your computer is a little silver and/or black metal box, which holds all your files, software and the OS. Some desktops even have more than one.

If you detach the two cables going to that box, (or slide it out of the laptop) your computer will be OS-free. It won’t have any files or operating system when you turn it on. You can erase everything on that little box and have no operating system (or files) when you put it back, and the computer will still be a computer. What happens then if you turn it on?

“The important lesson here is that Windows is NOT a computer — it is actually a horrible thing that people DO to a computer, and to themselves.”The first thing you’ll notice is that it still puts something on the screen. Typically this will be the OEM logo — Dell if you have a Dell, Lenovo if you have Lenovo, Acer if you have that, etc. This is not part of the OS, rather like the BASIC interpreter that starts when you switch on the C64, this logo is stored on a chip on the computer.

You should also be able to get to the BIOS settings. Technically it isn’t called BIOS anymore, the new term is UEFI — but lots of people still call it BIOS (for one because its only two syllables, and BI-OHS doesn’t sound as stupid as YOOFEE).

The BIOS lets you configure certain hardware settings, including which device to look on first for an operating system. This is something they should teach in computer classes, and they do if you take a repair class. But this isn’t just a repair task, it’s a fairly basic computer skill. At any rate, the rule for BIOS settings is write down anything you change (ESPECIALLY what you changed it FROM — what you change it to is slightly less important) and don’t change BIOS settings you don’t understand. That will help save you an expensive trip to a technician.

To get to these settings, you normally have to press a key on startup. These keys vary from machine to machine, but are usually one of the F1-F10 keys, with F1, F2 and F10 being popular — or Ins or Del. Often it will say on the screen.

“All kinds of things that put Microsoft more in control of your computer than you are, are right there, on that little silver and/or black box inside your machine.”If you press nothing, the computer will most likely proceed to look for an operating system on the hard drive. If you removed it, or erased the drive, now it will say something like “Operating System Not Found” and stop. This also may happen if your bootloader (on the hard drive) is not installed.

Oftentimes, installing an operating system is nearly as simple as putting the right USB into the computer, turning it on and hitting enter several times. Don’t know what a bootloader is? Doesn’t matter, one will be installed by default. Of course that depends on having the right USB stick and BIOS settings (you may well have the right BIOS settings already) and the right bootable USB stick is something you can learn to make yourself.

The important lesson here is that Windows is NOT a computer — it is actually a horrible thing that people DO to a computer, and to themselves.

If you have Windows installed, it is ultimately going to run updates when Microsoft wants it to — it is ultimately going to install what Microsoft wants. It will talk to Microsoft when they want it to. All kinds of things that put Microsoft more in control of your computer than you are, are right there, on that little silver and/or black box inside your machine. Don’t throw that box away though, it can be put to much nicer purposes after it is erased.

Licence: Creative Commons CC0 1.0 (public domain)

Release: Several Police Reports About Searching the Home of Bill Gates’ Engineer (Stockpiles of Child Pornography Found Along With Illegal Firearm)

Posted in Bill Gates at 5:55 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Part 1 Release: Police Report About Arrest of Bill Gates Engineer for Pedophilia (Detained at Residence of Bill Gates)
Part 2 Release: 29 Pages of Internet Access Report About Pedophile Working for Bill Gates at His Home
Part 3 Release: Search Warrant and Reports on Findings When Bill Gates’ Engineer Arrested for Pedophilia

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Extracted from the original, which was redacted somewhat by the police [PDF]

Summary: The final part of the first installment from Seattle PD, this one focusing on people who searched the home to find a lot of underage pornographic material being amassed

Video: Microsoft-Sponsored ‘Copyleft’ Conf (Keynote Sold to Microsoft, a Serial GPL Violator and Primary FUD Source) Features Previous FSF (Co)President and RMS Ouster

Posted in Free/Libre Software, FSF, Videos at 10:09 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: There’s now a video online of the debates in CopyleftConf 2020

A READER has brought to our attention this video uploaded back in April (one among fifteen) to the Internet Archive. Notice the video page’s side bar:

Screenshot of CopyleftConf site

Stay classy, SFC… having multiple Microsoft speakers in an event about something those people are basically attacking (but they pay to pretend the opposite… like “Microsoft loves Linux”).

Mind the part where a question gets asked about hardware that’s Internet-connected and contains back doors (enabling remote control by another party over one’s Free software program). They don’t seem to recognise or accept the threat. It has only been 6 years since Edward Snowden’s NSA leaks.

Miseducation

Posted in Apple, Free/Libre Software, Microsoft at 9:30 am by Guest Editorial Team

2020 figosdev

Index

Who's programming who?
Who’s programming who? Chapter 3: Miseducation

Summary: “…the real crime (OLPC founder Nicholas Negropontes word for it) is that schools aren’t teaching computers at all — they’re doing application training.”

Given that attendance is mandated, you would hope that the school curriculum was harder to turn into a subsidised marketing opportunity for large corporations. The snack machines in the halls when I was in high school tell another story. Don’t get me wrong, kids love junk food and so did I, and I was a customer of those machines. Whether they are closer to a public good or subsidised marketing is another matter entirely.

“Although the library is a great place to promote freedom and so an ideal place to use Free software, training everyone in the use of Microsoft products at school helps Microsoft to maintain a monopoly — to the point where Microsoft is willing to lower prices to encourage school purchases.”Where else can you find schools marketing products of questionable public value? The computer labs and libraries are two examples. Although the library is a great place to promote freedom and so an ideal place to use Free software, training everyone in the use of Microsoft products at school helps Microsoft to maintain a monopoly — to the point where Microsoft is willing to lower prices to encourage school purchases.

There was another well-known situation where Microsoft was willing to lower prices — anti-competitively, to keep OEMs (brand computer companies) from offering a choice of operating systems. If OEMs sold only computers with Microsoft products, Microsoft would keep the OEM licenses at a rate that ensured OEMs wouldn’t consider the threat to their bottom line by giving choices to the customer. Tapping into schools is just another way for customers to gain the impression that Windows and computing are the same thing — unless you have a Mac.

“The iPad is a primarily a device for “consuming” data as a product.”Apple is no saint in this regard either, sweetening deals for iPads when Steve Jobs wouldn’t let his own children have one. He wasn’t being stingy — Jobs simply didn’t want his own children raised with the computing equivalent of crack cocaine; something habit-forming and lower value than a real computer. The iPad is a primarily a device for “consuming” data as a product.

It’s a shame that Apple went in this direction, because in their earlier days, Apple products were better for education. With BASIC on startup, not unlike the C64, and countless other products from Logo to “edutainment” games for school, to HyperTalk, Apple was once a platform almost ideal for schools.

I say this not as a fan — I hated the company for their condescending advertising campaigns — for acting like there was no such thing as a good car with a manual transmission, or the computer equivalent of that. For all their offerings related to education, their branding was based on celebrating and encouraging the cluelessness of the user. Apple was (and still is) an odd company.

“By the time they’re out of school, these companies will have changed the tools nearly as much as if they were different products from different companies, so what schools are really doing is conditioning future customers — doing free marketing for Microsoft and Apple, at a cost to the schools.”The argument for doing all this is that schools are simply training students in the tools they will use outside school. By the time they’re out of school, these companies will have changed the tools nearly as much as if they were different products from different companies, so what schools are really doing is conditioning future customers — doing free marketing for Microsoft and Apple, at a cost to the schools.

Schools would ideally be an opportunity to enhance education, not merely train corporate workers. Many of the applications used in corporate settings will differ from Word and Excel, and the “training workers” argument has the same problems as Pascal’s wager — how are you preparing workers with Microsoft products, if they end up in an Apple workplace?

But the real crime (OLPC founder Nicholas Negropontes word for it) is that schools aren’t teaching computers at all — they’re doing application training. And it’s one thing to teach people how to use tools from the workplace, but quite another to teach people how to be helpless.

“For years, starting with the 1990s, education shifted from teaching about computers to focusing on applications; and this shift is the real way in which schools have sold out their students.”When computer education in schools began, they weren’t merely learning to use applications — they were learning more universal computer skills. For years, starting with the 1990s, education shifted from teaching about computers to focusing on applications; and this shift is the real way in which schools have sold out their students.

Progress is being made, with schools that teach all students about coding instead of merely offering it as an elective. But Microsoft has a history of corralling skills into Windows-only silos, even when it takes years to do so. If you let Microsoft teach coding, they will shift this universal skill into coding for Microsoft. It’s what they do.

People who can code are qualified to work with Free software. Whether their skills are basic or advanced, The biggest problem with using Free software is the fear of breaking something. Computers did not always come with operating systems pre-installed; there were plenty of customers who could install an OS who couldn’t even write code.

“We owe the entire world better than this, but at least let’s not condition children to depend on unethical corporations for their computing. We could be teaching them how to create their own future, instead of preparing them for the one some corporation wants.”While coding won’t necessarily directly help with operating system installation, the skills you learn while coding (including debugging) are skills that can be applied to managing a less familiar software platform — the OS included.

Denying students this opportunity makes them more dependent on proprietary software, and schools that only offer Microsoft or Apple products (while more people have Android on their phones) are shortchanging both the students and the future. This is not an endorsement of Android or Google, both of which are nearly as terrible as the iPad itself. Another way in which it is terrible to subject students to these products is the limitless corporate surveillance it puts in schools.

We owe the entire world better than this, but at least let’s not condition children to depend on unethical corporations for their computing. We could be teaching them how to create their own future, instead of preparing them for the one some corporation wants.

Licence: Creative Commons CC0 1.0 (public domain)

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