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Re: [K12OSN] Letter to local schools - draft

I'll try to be brief but I think the best way to "convert" people to
opensource is to simply develop excellent software and they will come. Not to
take anything away from particular software packages....but a big reason
things haven't just taken off is because they simply aren't as mature as these
other products (i.e. Accelerated Reader) that schools have grown to trust over
the years. Now when I say "mature" I don't mean that they lack in quality
because there are some excellent educational apps out there. There are several
great educational games as well but the number one drawback we here keep
running into is a lack of accountability on the student side. It's great that
these games are educational.....but how can we tell the good its doing? How
can we grade them and align this with our curriculum? One example, Accelerated
Reader has a points system.

Apache webservers comprise the majority of the web. Perfect example. A great
product that was given time to mature into something reliable, feature rich,
and best of all free. You certainly don't have to beg people to use products
like that. You set out to make a great product....it matures.....and one day
you have this huge following.

I read an article once that discussed the importance of having both retail
software and opensource software (rather than one or the other) in the market.
It was extremely interesting and opened my eyes to the importance of this
balance. They drive each other. Microsoft dominates the market for years
obliterating all competition. Imagine if they had plenty of competition back
then....we're probably 10 years behind on software development now. Open
Source has really stepped in and caught big corporate attention. These
companies have seen the power of opensource and from all the news you can see
that it makes them tremble with fear (you can always sense their fear by the
number of lawyers they hire). At the same time opensource software development
is driven by the retail industry. Openoffice.org is really doing amazing
things and I can betcha while those guys are working on those new filters and
features that every little once in a while you'll hear someone say something
like "Now let's see you do *that* with M$ Office".

Anyway....that's all I have to say for now. I'm going to bed ;-)

Caleb Wagnon MCP A+ CCNA
Technology Coordinator
Fordyce School District
Fordyce, AR 71742

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