On Friday 29. November 2019 23.02.39 Nico Rikken wrote: > > Privacy: schools migrating their infrastructure to cloud SaaS > companies, with questionable licenses.
I managed to see this more closely again at a former, then current, now former employer: employees and students get the opportunity to sign up for various cloud services, agreeing to the terms at their own peril. Naturally, if someone signs up for a Microsoft cloud service and then publishes, say, an event where the sign-up link is via that service, the consequence is that other people are then forced to use that service and to have a relationship with Microsoft. Alongside privacy, this also has a cost for the institution in terms of needing to integrate such services with identity management systems and other institutional services. Arguably, such expenditure would be better directed towards Free Software solutions. > Independence: what good is it learning skills if you learn them on > proprietary software. Sure it might an industry standard (e.g. Adobe > Creative suite), but your skills now depend partly on the policy of the > software vendor. Back in the 1990s when I was still using proprietary platforms, one of which being significant in the UK primary and secondary education sectors, there was always much made of "industry standard" products which also happened to be proprietary, with it being said that children/students shouldn't waste their time on products that aimed at the educational market (either explicitly as educational products or being more generally useful products that happened to be written for platforms popular in education). Children/students were apparently supposed to learn what was used in "business". The observations that people made rather often in response were that skills should be independent of products and that "education is not training". Naturally, the latter observation applies less to vocational institutions, but I think that even courses that seek to train individuals should have a breadth of more than a single product so that those individuals acquire a degree of versatility in their vocation. It also did not help advocates of "industry standard software" that in some areas DOS/Windows programs lagged behind various competing products in the early 1990s and would have given little benefit to those learning them upon finally completing their education and meeting the "real world" or "industry". Indeed, with product evolution being dictated by vendors and with a continual need for training being cultivated by vendors, there is a strong argument for a broad exposure to concepts, techniques and for students to be confident and adaptable. > Reuse: educational institutions should help education. And having > material that can be shared freely, advances education as a whole. > > Improvement: students can actively contribute to learning materials, to > improve it for next generations of students. I obviously agree with these points, in contrast to the depressing trend of educational institutions being cultivated as "innovation" machines seeking to minimise sharing so that they may monetise their activities. Of course, there is a broader matter involved here: that of being forced to use specific and proprietary products to conduct activities that are a natural part of functioning as a private individual. Why should people need to have a Google account to access materials within an institution? Why should they need to download an "app" to interact with public agencies or services (or private entities providing what are effectively public services)? Indeed, why should anyone even need to sign up for an "app" store, operated by a corporation funnelling data and money offshore, to interact with a private business if that person and that business reside in the same location? One might have thought that a business requiring an individual to enter into a non-transient relationship with another business in order to complete a transaction would actually be illegal under competition law. Maybe such issues would be a good subject for a campaign, even if it might be too substantial a topic for the FSFE by itself. Paul _______________________________________________ Discussion mailing list Discussion@lists.fsfe.org https://lists.fsfe.org/mailman/listinfo/discussion This mailing list is covered by the FSFE's Code of Conduct. All participants are kindly asked to be excellent to each other: https://fsfe.org/about/codeofconduct