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Teacher confiscates Linux CDs, claims no software is free

If you're not familiar with it, the HeliOS project is an effort to get computers into the hands of kids who might not otherwise be able to afford them. To date this year, they've distributed over 300 machines. Apparently that's not enough to keep them from making an enemy.

A middle school teacher named Karen observed one of her students demonstrating the abilities of his Linux-powered laptop to his classmates. What a great thing, a student exposing his peers to technology they probably weren't familiar with before....Right?

Wrong. Karen sprang into action, confiscated the CDs the student had brought to share, and unleashed the Spanish Inquisition.

Who is the charlatan who convinced this poor, misguided student that "free software" is something that actually exists?

Who could be so evil as to distribute non-Microsoft software to children? How can that person expect our children to survive in an MS-powered world? Once she had her answer, she sent Ken an email.

In her own words:
At this point, I am not sure what you are doing is legal. No software is free and spreading that misconception is harmful. These children look up to adults for guidance and discipline.

She continues:
I will research this as time allows and I want to assure you, if you are doing anything illegal, I will pursue charges as the law allows.
This is truly sad in so many ways. It's unfortunate that a teacher - who ought to be nurturing and educating children - is willing to crush a student's enthusiasm and devote time and energy to villifying something she clearly doesn't understand. No such thing as free software? Really?

Even Microsoft, who Karen obviously supports, provides numerous free applications. It really is a shame that someone can be so jaded as to think that no one in the world is generous and kind-hearted enough to share something as simple as software.

DS readers know better - you read about great, free software here all the time. What worries me is that we're not the "general public." Are we the minority?

Let's hope not.

[ via Techmeme ]

Update: Justice prevails: (Thanks, Phil!)

Tags: analysis, education, free-software, freeware, ignorance, linux, opensource, penguin