June 2, 2016

Why Schools Should have to Use Free Software

Twenty years ago I started the Free Software promotion in third world under developed countries especially in Pakistan. There are thousands of children who are not able to buy proprietary software. Many schools can reduce total cost of ownership by using Open Source. Pakistan is great country with unlimited natural resources, best brains and above all 70% youth. It is unfortunate that we are lacking of a good, honest leaders. Any way let talk about what free software is.

Free Software is the software that respects the user's freedom and the social solidarity of his community. Non free programs are proprietary software so, they take away the user's freedom keeping them divided and helpless.

Divided because they are forbidden from sharing the program, and helpless because the users don't have the source code of the program. That is, they cannot change it, they cannot find out what the program is really doing deep into kernel level, and if they don't know that proprietary software can do very bad things with the user's computer.

Free Software means that the user has the 4 freedoms:

Run the program for any purpose. Study the all source code of the program and change it according to your needs to make it do what you wish.

Help your neighbor, you have the freedom to make and distribute exact copies of the program whenever wherever you want.

Contribute to your community: This feature make open source free software more attractive, you have the freedom to make and distribute copies of your modified versions of the programs.

With these four freedoms a program is Free Software because the social system for its use and distribution is an ethical system that respects everyone's freedom and the freedom of the community of users, programmers, students and rest of the IT experts.

Software must be Free because we all deserve freedom, we all deserve to be allowed to participate in a free community. Therefore, schools should teach only Free Software. There are four reasons why this is so important.

The most hot reason is to save money. Schools don't have enough money, so they shouldn't waste their money paying for permission to use proprietary software. This is an obvious reason, but some proprietary software companies usually eliminate this reason by donating copies of their proprietary programs to the school at no charge or at a small price. The reason why they do that is to get students addicted. It's a malicious plan. It's a plan to use schools as instruments to impose a permanent dependence on students.

If a school teaches how to use a proprietary program, the student will be dependent on that program and after he graduates he will have to pay to use that program. He will probably work for a company that does not receive copies of the program free of charge.

Therefore, proprietary software developers use schools to impose permanent dependence on the whole society. Schools must refuse to participate in such a malicious plan because schools have a social mission which is to educate the next generation to be good citizens of a capable, strong, independent, cooperating and free society. This can only be achieved by teaching Free Software. Schools must eliminate, delete proprietary software and install Free Software.

But there is a deeper reason: to form good programmers, because in order to learn good programming skills students need to read lots of code and write lots of code. To learn to write good code for big programs students need to write small changes in the code of big programs. All this is possible only with Free Software. Only Free Software allows education in information technology.

Still moor deeper reason: to teach good citizenship, because schools have the mission to teach not only facts and technical skills, but above all the spirit of good will, the habit of helping others.

Therefore, each class should have this rule: If students bring a computer program to the class, they can't keep it for themselves, they must share it with the rest of the class.

The school should practice what it preaches, it should introduce only Free Software in the classroom.

All schools should migrate to Free Software and teach exclusively Free Software because each school should participate in leading society towards freedom and social solidarity.

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