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Re: [Fsuk-manchester] Manchester school students and software freedom

From: Tim Dobson
Subject: Re: [Fsuk-manchester] Manchester school students and software freedom
Date: Tue, 6 May 2008 11:06:31 +0100

2008/5/5 Fred Phillips <address@hidden>:
> This brings me nicely to a point I made in the gnu.misc.discuss list
> and Ben's blog, where is an acceptable place to use proprietary
> software? My school <http://queenelizabeth.cumbria.sch.uk> (not
> Manchester, I know) provides proprietary software for their OCR
> physics course (Advancing Physics from the IOP), with no free
> alternative. I have a choice of running Microsoft Windows in a virtual
> machine (the software does not function in WINE) or getting all of my
> work done whilst at school. Either way I will have to give up my
> freedom in one way or another.

I, fortunately, am not *required* to use MS Windows (or OS X). I have
used GNU/Linux on my laptop in lessons.
However, my college ( www.camsfc.ac.uk - nasty IE only website) only
has Windows XP work stations (and are considering moving to Vista next
year :( ).
Dreamweaver, Word, Excel, Publisher, Visio, Access & flash are used
throughout the curriculum, especially my ICT Applied AS.

Considering the teacher have no clue - they assume binaries for
windows will run fine on gnu/linux, then the way forward is somewhat

When working at home, I can get round some problems - Hand coding HTML
is more efficient anyway and OO.o handles a few bits of the office
stuff, however there has been no Free Software clones that can read
files from publisher or access and in terms of visio and exporting as
svg, editing in inkscape can get somewhat tricky as it wasn't really
designed from diagrams per se.

I don't really wish to run anything in WINE, at the moment my computer
is free of non-free software and running Visio etc. in WINE would
defeat the point.

Open Standards and Free File Formats are crucial here, but also binary
file format reverse engineering. We have the clones for
publisher/visio/access - now let's implement the reverse engineered
file formats. Or at least try and get ISO standardisation for the
native formats of thses programs.

I think I am likely to complain, sometime in the future, however I
want to make sure i choose the right time and aim for the right person
- not market a proposal to someone who asks me how to find youtube -
my ICT tutor.

anyway, enough of this education malarkey...


If each of us have one object, and we exchange them, then each of us
still has one object.
If each of us have one idea, and we exchange them, then each of us now
has two ideas. - George Bernard Shaw

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