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Re: Debian for kids (long)

On Fri, 11 Feb 2000, Andreas Tille wrote:
> > > In the last few years I wrote E-Mails to some companies to think about
> > > porting their software to linux.
> > Hm, discouraging results.  But not surprising.
> Why that?  Not at all!
> 33% Success and 66% showed at least so much interest even if they did not
> started porting immediately.  May be you include a hint to the
> VA Linux IPO or such stuff and you are slightly more convincing.

OK, that's two lapses of attention this morning.  I knew I should have
relaxed a bit more and had *two* coffees this morning instead of just
grabbing half a cup and running for the bus. ;)

For #1, I apparently saw the "i didn't get an answer" and missed the "but
they answered with a Linux version" bit.  Bravo.

As for 2 & 3.  Good to see some interest, even though it seems the market
isn't quite there yet for companies to throw money at it.  As I have
mentioned in other posts, I hope once there is a critical mass of free
kids software for Linux, the vendors will see Linux as a viable platform
to develop for.

> Moreover there is an idealistic approach which is not unimportant
> for children.  Telling my son the difference between the "marketing"
> strategies of Windows and Linux he was easily able to find the
> "right" desicion.  You know that children are idealist.

Yup.  We rehearse that with the kids regularly.  Having no TV in the house
is an important step, but we are not so naive as to assume that
"sheltering" our kids is the only (or the best) approach to take. 
Constant interpretation of the advertising images that are presented to
them through magazines, poster ads in malls, radio advertisements, radio
shows, and so forth is necessary to give the children some perspective on
what those voices out there in the world are trying to tell them and why. 
They're beginning to get it.  They still do not perfectly discern what is
fact from what is fiction in advertising (half-truths are difficult for
the young ones to evaluate) but I'm seeing a healthy skepticism develop in
their little psyches.  My 8yo and I recently discussed frankly about the
Pokemon craze, and she observed on her own that as much as she was
interested she "wouldn't spend a lot of money on it" and recalled
spontaneously the Furby fad and how quickly it seems to have faded from
the memory of her peers in the light of this new craze.  I was very proud
of her for her insights.

> This is also a general fact.  Currently there is a discussion in
> the church of Germany whether not to use Win 2000 because of the
> defragmentation program which was written by a company which seems
> to be ruled by Scienotlogy.  I don't know if this is also a topic
> in other countries but it would be a case of precedence.

I'm not sure where you are leading with this.  Unless they are promoting
their Scientologist views through the software itself, I think that
technical merit (or lack thereof) should be the *primary* reason to reject
Win 2000, and that this issue would be very secondary, especially since it
is connected with a single utility and not the product as a whole.  (Would
the same group be aghast at using Debian because we ship Quake, which has
associations with demonology and the "undead"?)  Taken one logical step
further, I'd stop buying all sorts of things because they are made by
companies whose leadership have values that are contradictory to my own.
OK, I agree there is a place for the consumer to vote with their wallet by
buying "socially conscious" products like coffee beans grown by growers
who treat their employees properly and so forth ...  But with large
mega-corporations, its nearly impossible to find one that isn't "tainted" 
by association with some organization, product, or practice that goes
against your values.  As a consumer, you have every right to make those
choices on a case by case basis, but I'm leery of institutions making
those decisions for me.

But this is getting further and further from the topic at hand (Debian for
kids).  And perhaps if it bears further discussion, should spawn a
separately titled thread.

    nSLUG       http://www.nslug.ns.ca      synrg@sanctuary.nslug.ns.ca
    Debian      http://www.debian.org       synrg@debian.org
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