24 Learning: Do we place little value on software

24 Learning

Friday, July 27, 2007

Do we place little value on software

Reading Wesley Fryers blog today and he had a posting about free software. I posted a response with some suggestions but was halted by Gary Stagers reply.

" Why is software so devalued that a growing number of people believe it should be free?

Balls and playground equipment are not free. Hardware is not free. Spelling books and standardized tests are not free.
Why not have free teachers? You could all work voluntarily.
Is the quest for free software rooted in the low self-image of educators? Why should teachers depend on charity?
It all seems sad and symptomatic of powerlessness to me."

I actually had to agree with Gary on this one. What are your thoughts on this? Are we too preoccupied with free software?

Speaking of free software this is a cool looking alternative to garageband. Not as easy to use but hey! Free.


Blogger Wesley Fryer said...

Paul: I think quite the opposite, rather than being too focused on open source and free software options in education, we are not oriented ENOUGH toward these solutions. I added some comments on the same blog post after you and Gary chimed in, and I won't repeat everything I said here. Gary is extrapolating the benefit of open source and free software into different contexts, in sort of a straw man attack. I didn't say and I don't hear anyone saying we should have free teachers. (That is the straw man attack.) Excellent quality, open source and free software programs ARE available, however, and they should be used in many cases where schools are wasting thousands of dollars for commercial programs which provide the same functionality. There is plenty of room for commercial software innovation, and plenty of room for people to make money. I think Gary is not understanding the FOSS vision and philosophy entirely... No one I am hearing is taking those ideas and extending them to say things like "let's all work volunarily and not pay teachers." That argument really distracts from the real issues in the FOSS discussion.

8:04 am  
Blogger Paul Wilkinson said...

Oh Goodness! Now I can see how the bit I clipped and my brief comment could be easily misunderstood. If anyone is interested go back to Wesley's original post and read the discussion. I am certainly not bagging the FOSS vision. I'm a complete junkie for free software and will try out anything. I completely agree with Wesley when he says we are wasting money unnecessarily on software when an alternative is freely available. See the rest of my comments on Wesley's blog for a more full explanation.

Thanks Wesley for taking the time to respond.

11:48 am  
Blogger Paul Wilkinson said...

Oh! and BTW

I am not volunteering to work for free but when I see my pay slip I sometimes think I'm close :)

11:50 am  

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