Innovation Born From Tragedy
A Company Creates A Breakthrough Formula That Removes Radioactive
Contamination From The Human Body, To Help The People In Japan
The earthquake and tsunami in Japan has been devastating; and while the region is trying to recover there is hope that this dark cloud can indeed produce a silver lining.
To read this article, click here.
A Silver Lining for Women's Health
by Sherrill Sellman, N.D.
Being a woman isn't easy. The world of feminine hygiene is fraught with a plethora of discomforts and health challenges. The health statistics say it all: 80 percent of women will be exposed to human papillomavirus (HPV); nearly 75 percent of all adult women will have at least one genital yeast infection; bacterial vaginosis (BV), the most common vaginal infection
Click here for more.
It is indeed a strange world when educators need to be convinced that
sharing information, as opposed to concealing information, is a good
thing. The advances in all of the arts and sciences, indeed the sum
total of human knowledge, is the result of the open sharing of ideas,
theories, studies and research. Yet throughout many school systems,
the software in use on computers is closed and locked, making
educators partners in the censorship of the foundational information
of this new age. This software not only seeks to obscure how it
works, but it also entraps the users' data within closed, proprietary
formats which change on the whim of the vendor and which are
protected by the bludgeon of the End User License Agreement. This
entrapment of data is a strong, punitive incentive to purchase the
latest version of the software, regardless of whether it suits the
educational purposes better, thereby siphoning more of the school's
limited resources away from the school's primary purpose. The use of
such closed software in education may be justified only where no
suitable open source solution exists.
Educators have been called upon throughout history to combat
censorship imposed by various powers over the flow of information.
The censorship being applied today comes in the form of licenses that
lock away the tools to build the information age and laws that limit
fair use in ways that are unprecedented in the modern era. The powers
imposing this censorship attempt to create an artificial scarcity of
information and the tools to work with that information to feed their
greed. Where would education be today if, for example, the mechanism
and idea of the Gutenberg press were not only hidden, but protected
by threat of dire punishment under the law if anyone dared to attempt
to "reverse engineer" it?
We are well into the beginnings of the Information Age. It stands to
affect the people of the world at least as profoundly as the
Industrial Age. It is time for the opening of the tools that will be
needed to build this new age. Teaching our children to be passive
purchasers of closed, proprietary solutions to problems is not
enough. Constraining students to move the mouse within the confines
of the instruction set of a few closed, proprietary programs merely
cages those students and constrains our future.
Students should, at least, be given the opportunity to see how
their new tools work. They should be given the opportunity to
examine the inner workings of software. They should be given
the opportunity to extend the functions of their tools, where they
see or imagine possibilities. They should not be held back by
locking the toolbox of the Information Age and told they must
not peer inside, must not try to discover how it works,
must not share their tools with others, must not use
their tools without paying proper tribute to the software overlords,
under penalty and punishment of law.
Conversations with high school students who complain of broken
networks, unrepaired computers, too few computers, too few choices
in programming languages, overworked and (so far as computers are
concerned) undertrained teachers are the inspiration leading to this
document. The main intent is to provide the following links so that
those who wish to bring open source to their schools will have some
'ammunition' with which to persuade those in charge. Perhaps some
money can be diverted from its current outflow to be used inside
Documents supporting the case for open source software usage
Links are provided for easy navigation and to facilitate referencing
individual items within sections.
[ Resources ]
[ News / implementations ]
[ Research / studies ]
[ General open source information ]
"Linux For Young Human Beings"
Edubuntu is a complete Linux-based operating system, freely
available with community based support.
The team behind Edubuntu makes the following public commitment to
Edubuntu will always be free of charge, and there is no extra
fee for the "enterprise edition", we make our very best work
available to everyone on the same Free terms.
Edubuntu includes the very best in translations and
accessibility infrastructure that the Free Software community
has to offer, to make Edubuntu usable by as many people as
Edubuntu is released regularly and predictably; a new release
is made every six months. You can use the current stable
release or the current development release. Each release is
supported with security updates for at least 18 months.
Edubuntu is entirely committed to the principles of free and
open source software development; we encourage people to use
free and open source software, improve it and pass it on.
Welcome to the K-12Linux Project!
Linux is free in terms of cost and in terms of development
because it's based on Open Source software. We are free to adapt
the work of others for use in our schools. This kind of freedom
produces better software and makes Linux the right choice for
schools and agencies concerned with the ethical use of public
The K-12 Linux site is really 3 web sites each with a different
EmacSpeak -- Complete Audio Desktop
By seamlessly blending all aspects of the Internet such as
Web-surfing and messaging, Emacspeak speech-enables local and
remote information via a consistent and well-integrated user
interface. Available free of cost on the Internet, Emacspeak has
dramatically changed how the author and hundreds of blind and
visually impaired users around the world interact with the
personal computer and the Internet.
OpenOffice.org is both an open-source application and project. It
is free. The product is a multi-platform office productivity suite
compatible with all major file formats.
To create, as a community, the leading international office suite
that will run on all major platforms and provide access to all
functionality and data through open-component based APIs and an
XML-based file format.
Simple End User Linux
The end goal of SEUL is to have a comprehensive suite of
high-quality applications (productivity applications as well as
leisure/programming applications) available under the GPL for the
Linux platform, as well as a broader base of educated users around
the world who understand why free software is better. SEUL is a
volunteer project currently focusing on Linux in education, Linux
in science, advocacy documents, managing and coordinating
communications between projects, and hosting related development
Linux For Schools Project
The goals of this project are to help schools do the following on
their internal networks:
- Manage Linux user accounts in bulk
- Set up PHP and MySQL enabled personal webspace
- Encourage pupils to write their own home pages
- Help pupils learn the multi-user Linux environment.
"Live CD-ROM of free software for schools"
[thanks to Bruno Coudoin for this link]
Until now - and probably for a while in most heads - the GNU/Linux
system at school has been perceived as a good replacement of other
proprietary servers. However the server is probably the least
important things in term of freedom in a school network. It
doesn't allow a teacher to share a workstation software with
students. Supporting GNU/Linux in the workstation side can grant
higher freedom and liberty between users in a school.. Therefore,
OFSET has setup Freeduc, a tool to help to list, to evaluate and
to package only free - non GPL exclusive - edu soft.
[ ... ]
We have build a live Freeduc system on CD-ROM which doesn't need
any installation to be used. From the user point of view the
system use XFCE and the applications are available from various
The idea of the live Freeduc system on CD-ROM is to let the end
user - mainly teacher - to easily access the free education
News items submitted by schoolforge members
[thanks to Karl Pinc for this link]
Working together to unleash the power of open source tools
"Schoolforge's mission is to unify independent organizations that
advocate, use, and develop open resources for primary and secondary
"The Linux for School project"
Developing a custom distribution based on Debian for Norwegian, Danish
and Swedish schools.
[Thanks to Edward Welbourne for this link]
Eduforge is an open access environment designed for the sharing of
ideas, research outcomes, open content and open source software for
"ITeachnet.org is a community of those working or interested
News / implementations:
Research / studies:
"Being Fluent With Information Technology: Executive Summary"
A report by The Committee On Information Technology Literacy,
Computer Science and Telecommunications Board, Commission on Physical
Sciences, Mathematics, and Applications, and the National Research Council.
Generally, "computer literacy" has acquired a "skills"
connotation, implying competency with a few of today's computer
applications, such as word processing and e-mail. Literacy is too
modest a goal in the presence of rapid change, because it lacks
the necessary "staying power." As the technology changes by leaps
and bounds, existing skills become antiquated and there is no
migration path to new skills. A better solution is for the
individual to plan to adapt to changes in the technology. This
involves learning sufficient foundational material to enable one
to acquire new skills independently after one's formal education
[Too often, a "computer course" in school involves no more than
learning basic usage of one or more software products from a
single software vendor. I have spoken with far too many students
who complain that the only courses offered which are related to
computers depend, and focus, entirely on the use of Microsoft
products. Even something as simple as the creation of a basic web
page is taught as a series of mouse clicks on menus within a
Microsoft product, with little or no instruction concerning
standards, the platform agnostic goal of the World Wide Web, or
the underlying, simple HTML text tags which define a web page.]
"The Case for Linux in Universities by Dan Kegel
Businesses and universities are hiring people with Linux skills,
deploying Linux on servers to save money, and even evaluating
Linux on the desktop. Microsoft's pricing and security policies
have made Linux an attractive alternative. Linux's open source
nature makes it an excellent tool for teaching. Linux now comes
with free alternatives to Internet Explorer and Microsoft Office
which work well enough for the average user. University IT
departments should start planning to support Linux on the desktop
in recognition of its increased importance.
Why Open Source Software / Free Software (OSS/FS)?
Look at the Numbers! by David A. Wheeler
This paper provides quantitative data that, in many cases, using
open source software / free software is a reasonable or even
superior approach to using their proprietary competition according
to various measures. This paper's goal is to show that you should
consider using OSS/FS when acquiring software. This paper examines
market share, reliability, performance, scalability, security, and
total cost of ownership. It also has sections on non-quantitative
issues, unnecessary fears, OSS/FS on the desktop, usage reports,
other sites providing related information, and ends with some
conclusions. An appendix gives more background information about
"Linux TCO: Less Than Half The Cost of Windows"
By Dan Orzech
The cost of running Linux is roughly 40% that of Microsoft
Windows, and only 14% that of Sun Microsystem's Solaris, according
to a new study which examined the actual costs of running various
operating systems over three years.
General Information About Open Source
OpenSource - "The Business Case for Open Source"
Gerald P. Weinberg once famously observed that, "If builders built
houses the way programmers built programs, the first woodpecker to
come along would destroy civilization." He was right. Up to now,
the reliability of most software has been atrociously bad.
The foundation of the business case for open-source is high
reliability. Open-source software is peer-reviewed software; it is
more reliable than closed, proprietary software. Mature
open-source code is as bulletproof as software ever gets.
- and from the document above,
NetAction - "Information Wants to be Valuable"
"...a grim scenario of a world without free software ..."
[You may be surprised at just _how_ grim it would be!]
the Stone Soupercomputer, $0, Linux
By Forrest Hoffman
"IT Managers Become More 'Open'-Minded"
By Alan Radding
IT departments are gradually opening the door to open-source
software. Companies are finding that open-source alternatives can
be easier to use and more reliable than proprietary products-and
major vendors are starting to get the message.
BBC News -- Happy Birthday Linux
Linux is starting to find a place in many businesses who are tired
of endless price hikes, upgrades, bug fixes and managing the many
problems that Microsoft's software can bring.
[ ... ]
The use of Linux is likely to spread because many universities use
it to teach computer programming largely as the source code of it
is readily available for them to play with. As those students get
jobs, they will take that familiarity with them.
InfoWorld: Open source takes hold
By Tom Yager
So it's no surprise that the majority of the CTOs we surveyed cite
cost as the primary reason they're turning to open-source
software. Linux, BSD, Apache, and Perl are solidly entrenched
solutions in their categories; purveyors of commercial wares -- or
software services, you might say -- are forced to sell against
them. With these technologies addressed by a plethora of
well-written books and a common part of most university curricula,
selling against the open-source leaders is an increasingly
difficult task. IT workers are now tuned in to open source before
they even hit the job market, a fact that our survey respondents
There appears to be a disturbing trend among former news sites on the
internet. Many sites either discard non-current articles or place
them into pay-per-view archives.
As Edward Welbourne put it,
Yes. Truly perverse. They're *news* sites - their stock-in-trade is
*news*, so it's funny they haven't yet noticed the logical business
model; have a nice stable archive accessible to everyone (the
loss-leader that gets public respect and encourages folk to link
into your site), have each article's page include a forward-in-time
links section that leads readers to follow-ups (a service readers
really do want) and make the most recent week's news
subscription-only. Maybe make the most recent day's news available
only to "gold" subscribers. Then subscribers (who will rapidly lose
track of the fact that they had to pay for access) will send their
friends links to articles they can't read, or won't be able to read
until a week later, hence bringing new site-visitors onto the above
http://lwn.net seems to understand --
open archives and subscriber news.
Others rearrange their websites, breaking the original links, then
provide search tools which send a barrage of "sponsored links" that
requires superhuman persistance to wade past to find the real news
archives. This feels like the selling of history to the highest
bidder, to me. Perhaps it is just an extreme reaction to the
so-called "dot-bomb" bubble, when so many online business ventures
collapsed. Regardless of their reasons for pushing "sponsored links"
as news, I will try to remove links to such sites from this page.
Copyright 2001-2007 Terry Vessels. Verbatim copying of this article
is permitted in any medium, provided this notice is preserved.
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