04.12.10

How the Gates Foundation Blocks GNU/Linux and Free Software in National Libraries, Then Inherits Education

Posted in Bill Gates, GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Vista 7, Windows at 7:40 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Windows in 1984

Summary: This week’s analysis of the Gates Foundation and in particular its contribution to education, which has strings attached

THIS post presents new evidence of an issue that we’ve covered here many times before. We wish to begin by stating that those who did not view previous evidence can do so by visiting the index on the subject.

Last month there was a huge media blitz following some libraries ‘studies’ which were funded by and published by the Gates Foundation. These studies were self serving and the Gates Foundation was quick to step in and capitalise on the hype it had created.

As we showed some weeks ago, there seems to be a Huffington Post-Bill Gates financial tie following some meetings [1, 2, 3]. The Huffington Post added a section on philanthropy and the funding source of this section seems to be chained to Gates (although we lack certainty about that). Anyway, last week we saw more blind praise in the Huffington Post (worshiping Gates) and the latest libraries ‘study’ from Gates is pushed by the Huffington Post in this new article.

Yet, according to a recent study, commissioned by the Information School at the University of Washington, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the Institute of Museum and Library Services, a much larger number of people were likely using computers at their local library last Saturday morning.

As we showed before, it seems like praise of Gates is often funded by Gates (here is another new example from the Huffington Post). They seem to be promoting the whole “libraries” party line, wherein the principal idea is that more (Windows) computers are needed in libraries.

A recent survey funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the Institute of Museum and Library Services reported that last year, nearly one-third of Americans age 14 or older (roughly 77 million people) used a public library computer or wireless network to access the internet.

As we showed one month ago, some libraries are moving to GNU/Linux, so Microsoft and Gates are pushing Windows into libraries under the “donation” disguise. Here is someone who complains about it:

Since the program was part of a project by the Gates Foundation, ostensibly with primary usage aimed at these libraries, it makes one wonder what the folks at Microsoft are thinking.

My first opinion, and one I believe I’ll stick with, is that there is absolutely no need to update to Windows 7, for as the saying goes “if it isn’t broken, don’t fix it”. Though the talking heads at Microsoft would have you believe that Windows 7 is worlds better than Windows XP, that is far from true. If there are any small differences in security, they can be fully mitigated with a simple change of browser, firewall, and antivirus/antimalware programs.

[...]

SteadyState is descended from the Public Access Computer security software developed in the early 2000s by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. It was part of the foundation’s ongoing drive to put computers into schools and libraries.

In 2005, Microsoft picked up the torch with the release of the Shared Computer Toolkit and then followed with SteadyState in 2007 for Windows XP.

Ironically, news of Microsoft’s decision not to support SteadyState in Windows 7 arrived in the same month as a Gates Foundation–funded, University of Washington study, which reported that some 77 million Americans used a library computer or Wi-Fi network to access the Internet last year.

[...]

Not only is the Gates Foundation supposed to be sensitive to this, Microsoft, working in its own best interest, should see the immediate need to do something, or else, some enterprising person will come along and show many libraries the benefits of a little jewel called Linux.

Let’s face it, for what people do on computers at the library, Linux, specifically Ubuntu or OpenSuSE would work very well, and be very easily administered by the right person. SO each library district may have to pay for that right person, in the long run it saves thousands, if not millions of dollars in bypassing the Microsoft trough, and forced cash removals every 3-4 years.

This new post is explicitly mentioning the blocking of GNU/Linux using those “donations”. At the Gates Foundation, they only concentrate on Windows machines. To give some of the past week’s examples:

1. Championing the local libraries

A nationwide study in 2007 showed that libraries are critical to a community’s quality of life. Yes, they are places where you can borrow books and movies. But the Making Cities Stronger report, funded in part by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, showed that they impact early literacy, workforce readiness and the success of small businesses.

2. Cornelius library adds computers

The Cornelius Library continues to add new equipment. This month, library staff will unveil two new computers, which will bring the total number of machines to 10. The new units come courtesy a $2,600 grant from the Gates Foundation and another $2,600 from the Friends of Cornelius Library.

3. Library Introduces New Computers

The computers were purchased with money from two grants; one from the Bill and Melinda Gates fund, and another from the Knight Foundation.

4. Library receives grants for new computers

With a special ribbon cutting ceremony, the main branch of the library unveiled new computers and software they received through grants from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the Knight Foundation.

These computers come with Windows. How about buying those libraries some chairs, shelves, and books?

From Libraries to Schools

Gates’ people are commissioning their own ‘studies’ about teachers and taking a leading role with Nintendo games and other such material.

Gates wishes to serve as a de facto minister of education [1, 2, 3, 4] and here he is meeting the president of El Paso Community College.

El Paso Community College president Richard Rhodes recently met with Microsoft chairman Bill Gates at the headquarters of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation in Seattle.

Rhodes said the success of programs here in El Paso designed to help more students test into college is what peaked Gates’ interest. The programs are supported by grants from the foundation.

As we’ve shown before and we’ll show again in a moment, there are usually strings attached.

Gates is also making visits to other colleges this month, including MIT [1, 2] (home of GNU and the FSF, which Microsoft somehow managed to move to Exchange not so long ago, as it is not based on merit because there is none), UC Berkeley [1, 2], Stanford, and Harvard.

That Microsoft gazillionaire Bill Gates is coming to Harvard later this month as part of his three-day tour of universities across the nation designed to inspire students to get involved. Gates, co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, will speak at Sanders Theatre at 3 p.m. on April 21.

It’s like Gates’ latest lobbying tour. There is also private intervention in Florida schools [1, 2, 3, 4] (explained in greater depth in previous weeks), which requires careful attention to finer details, such as:

Ms. Clements, who is president of the Hillsborough teachers’ union, fully supports those reforms. So does the union. Palm Beach County’s union supported similar reforms when the district applied for a Gates grant that it did not receive. The key to teacher acceptance? Districts must be sure that evaluations are valid before putting them into general use. Such union support is possible statewide if legislators drop their arrogance and work with teachers.

Standards good enough for the Gates Foundation ought to be good enough for the Legislature. In fact, a truly “bold” Legislature would provide the money for Palm Beach County to carry out Gates-style reforms in parallel with Hillsborough.

They need to “carry out Gates-style reforms”, i.e. change their agenda hoping for a grant. Others may try to imitate them. So again, strings are being attached, as usual. We previously gave more compelling examples of this. Also see:

1. Tenure tempest

2. SB6 would require school districts to cover cost

If Senate Bill 6 becomes law, the Hillsborough school district would be exempt. Hillsborough is developing a similar program to improve teacher quality under a 7 year long, $100 million grant from the Gates Foundation.

3. PHOTOS: Florida House moves on education reform; locals debate ‘What makes a good teacher?’

The purpose of the survey was to keep teachers’ voices in the debate over education reform, said Vicki L. Phillips, director of the Gates Foundation’s K-12 education program.

Public schools are being privatised and their curriculum changed. The previous post may serve as a lesson here.

It is also worth paying attention to what Gates’ people are doing in Memphis and in Denver. They are intervening in the states’ school systems and they are commissioning their own ‘studies’ to influence the country’s direction (buying political influence).

It happens outside the US too, at least sometimes.

The scholarship programme, set up in 2000 and funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, enables postgraduates with a strong interest in social leadership and responsibility to study at the University of Cambridge.

The strings commonly attached to these postgraduate paths is that they cover issue affecting the Gates Foundation and promote its interests. It’s similar to the funding of academics by many companies such as pharmaceutical giants, which eventually receive some results that they can use.

Another example of Gates’ role in education:

Among the donors were the Gates Foundation, $250,000; the Bush Foundation, $50,000; and the Minneapolis Foundation, $100,000. The company also received taxpayer money. The state Department of Education chipped in $100,000 of federal stimulus funds.

A call to McKinsey’s Minneapolis office was forwarded to the company’s public relations office in New York. A spokesperson there referred MPR News to the Gates Foundation.

Should they not speak to the Department of Education? Since when is the Gates Foundation the new patron of US education? More ‘studies’ on education are coming:

The Gates Foundation also is giving DPS $10 million to develop a teacher evaluation system that will use data from the effectiveness study.

As we have shown in previous posts, these studies are flawed. They are usually set up in a way that ensures their outcome aligns with Gates’ preconditions/interests.

Finally, watch this:

I participated in a conference call with Melinda Gates of the Gates Foundation and Melanne Verveer – the first U.S. ambassador-at-large for global women’s issues.

She is being called the “first U.S. ambassador-at-large for global women’s issues”. How come? In the next post we will show how the Gates family increases its wealth and power while portraying itself as a giver. To be fair, other dynasties that accumulated power through criminal activities (which are long forgotten) adhere to the same principles of philanthro-capitalism.

“Gates’ gimmick of becoming a philantropist repeats the Rockefeller scam almost one to one a century later.”

Dark cloud over good works of Gates Foundation

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This post is also available in Gemini over at:

gemini://gemini.techrights.org/2010/04/12/strings-attached-to-education/

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