Posts Tagged ‘free software’

You can’t fight dumb with more dumb

Wednesday, December 10th, 2008

I’m something of a Linux advocate.  I use Linux in my everyday work as an educator, and the only machine in my house that runs a Microsoft OS is the Xbox 360.  So I found this mess linked by both Slashdot and Linux Today somewhat interesting.

If the linked blog post is accurate, a Texas middle school teacher confiscated a boy’s Linux discs because she believed that distributing the discs was illegal.  That’s definitely ignorance on the teacher’s part.  A typical Linux distribution can be freely distributed, and distribution maintainers typically encourage this sort of thing.  That a Texas middle school teacher is not aware of this isn’t really surprising.  And the teacher’s response to Linux distributions is quite silly:

No software is free and spreading that misconception is harmful. […] I along with many others tried Linux during college and I assure you, the claims you make are grossly over-stated and hinge on falsehoods.

After all, all that’s missing from here is “…I didn’t inhale.”***  Clearly, this teacher is in need of some education on what free software is.  She’s clueless.  But the response by the blogger who’s causing all the fuss is just as dumb.

Then again, being a good NEA member, you would spout the Union line. Microsoft has pumped tens of millions of dollars into your union. Of course you are going to “recommend” Microsoft Windows”. To do otherwise would probably get you reprimanded at the least and fired at the worst.

Keep in mind that this is happening in Texas, where teachers are prohibited by law from collective bargaining (or striking).  Texas just isn’t a union shop, and it’s entirely possible that this middle school teacher doesn’t even belong to a union.  And if she did, it’s unlikely to be one that could get her “reprimanded or fired” for using Linux.

Sheesh.  You can’t fight dumb with more dumb.

*** The “I tried Linux in college” quote is the reason I still think the whole thing is satire, and should be posted on The Onion.