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Re: Introducing My (Future) High School into Free Software

From: andrew
Subject: Re: Introducing My (Future) High School into Free Software
Date: Mon, 16 May 2022 08:48:48 +0800

On 22/05/15 11:50AM, Kaio Duarte Costa wrote:
> Hey Andrew Yu,
> First, I would like to say that I am very happy to see another high
> school student, caring about spreading the free software philosophy.
> Because I am also, and have been through it, I will suggest based on
> this.

Hi!  I've actually did this to Junior Middle School, but because of a
difference in how the schools work, that didn't really work and probably
won't work.

> 1. In the article, make clear the importance of free software in
> education; If they are a very reputable school, they possibly care about
> fulfilling the main educational and social values, and free software
> fulfills all of them. You can learn more about this at:
> and

Yeah, that's the entry point I want to bring to them.

> 2. Collect opinions and comments about the current proprietary software
> already used by other students in this institution; If other students,
> have complaints about the proprietary software already in use, collect
> them, and present them when handing in the article to the person
> responsible for this (principal, supervisor or teacher). You can use
> them as a basis for your paper as well, or mention them.

I generally know what nonfree software people use here, but some parts
of it would be harder to change, because ... I'd say they're more
"integrated" into daily live of people here, like WeChat.  But since I'm
generally not a "normal 'netizen'", I don't know the specifics in how
they use them, which is one of the things I need to quest about.

> 3. In the article, cite example software that meets the school's demands
> and point them out as replacements for proprietary software; it will be
> easier to replace the current proprietary software if there is free
> software compatible with everyone's demands, without losing any function
> in it. For example, you can present LibreOffice Writer as a replacement
> for Microsoft Word or Tux Paint as an alternative to Paintbrush.

Yup, I think I have a few more specific software use-cases and some general
suggestions regarding handing-in of homework:

- Online classes and online meetings, if we have to be online due to
  COVID (Well, this is Shanghai, what do you expect...): BigBlueButton
  or Jitsi Meet would work well.  In fact, it is preferred that the
  school could self-host it.  Since students live in the general area of
  the school, hosting their own server would make things much faster and
  more stable.  BigBlueButton is also specifically designed for schools
  as it has nice features like direct presentations (instead of silly
  screen shares), some fun whiteboard features, shared notes, better
  polling and more.

  While in terms of the technology itself, I dislike using Web brwosers
  for things like meetings; WebRTC is exceptionally bloated and I would
  vastly prefer a Mumble-like protocol.  However at this point I
  prioritize free software and "usability to normies" to my own
  technical sanity.

- From a technical side, I dislike word processors altogether, whether
  nonfree or free, though of course I'd dislike the nonfree with greater
  reason.  What-you-see-is-what-you-get of word processors mess up
  everything because it is often hard to directly determine the
  formatting difference of formatted text to find inconsistencies by the
  visual eye.  They also promote using physical instead of logical
  markup (many word processors have logical markup which makes things
  better but currently they seem really buggy).  As far as I know,
  almost all document formatting programs and word processors are able
  to in some way output or have its output be converted to Portable
  Document Format.  For most documents which don't really have to be
  mutable, this sounds like the best touch on this issue.  It doesn't
  lock people into using specific types of free software, too.

> 4. If available, cite success stories from your region in your article;
> often, educational institutions rely on the example of others before
> making any sudden changes to something. You can cite cases from
> companies, schools (preferably), government agencies, and others in your
> article. This shows that these changes have already been made somewhere,
> and they worked!

I'm afraid that the case we're talking about here is the first case in
our region at least in education.

Most governments are switching to a government-made distribution of
GNU/Linux, but those internal government decisions that aren't really
national or city policy and thus doesn't affect people too much aren't
really transparent (which is a danger of its own, but meh).

> 5. Be careful how you approach the subject in your article; not everyone
> knows the free software philosophy, so any "aggressive writing" can make
> them misunderstand you. Instead of writing "You must change this", "Stop
> taking away our freedom" or any means to impose or pressure a change
> abruptly, it needs to be replaced with a more calm and friendly way of
> approaching free software, so you can do this process in a more calm and
> friendly way.

Yup, I do that a lot!

> I hope that I've helped a little with this, and I hope that you can do
> this. If you have any questions or other suggestions, you can contact me
> about that too!
> Kindly,
> -- 
> Kaio Duarte Costa (Kaiod)

Yeah, thanks :D

Let's bring this over together :D

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