[OSGeo-Discuss] Next 5 years for OSGeo

Agustin Diez Castillo Agustin.Diez at uv.es
Fri Oct 2 10:32:07 PDT 2009

I think is the other way around, Universities should teach only with FOSS. I like to think that at the universities we try to educate citizens no technicians, so 
if we want that our graduates become free citizens we only have a way to do so, teach them with free tools. For years now, I've been wondering how and 
when the Universities allow those Trojan horses (privative software) to populate our labs without any resistance and I can't find any reason, GRASS was 
there before any other GIS packages and maths, logic, programming, geography and any other thing that is behind a particular software package used to 
be taught at Universities for some time before those packages were marketed To me is like if instead of teaching Wittgenstein's philosophy we would teach 
our students Nostradamus' prophecies because they are more appealing and is what our students or big corporations demand. I know university professors 
that prefer what they know, but at Universities we're supposed to be in the avant-garde of knowledge if we want to teach the next leaders of the 
It makes no sense to use privative software when we have free alternatives that are as good them (ie GRASS vs Arcwhatever, R vs SPSS). 
If we want critical thinking at the universities we should promote so avoiding the use of applications that will prone students to use illegal software instead 
of using what it is free. My student's laptops are feed up with tons of illegal software, in fact I think that the only legal pieces are the ones that I suggest 
them. Unfortunately for them, some don't know the difference between free and not free software because for them all is downloadable from some place.
If students want to learn how to use a particular piece of software they can enroll in a myriad of seminars, big corporations have big training branches. An 
you're right we should teach techniques and no software packages but more than that we should educate free citizens. 
Truly, I can not understand why Universities teach closed knowledge when we should knowledge [openness is required to be knowledge]. We should teach 
how to fish instead of give away fishes because this is what our students demand.
To sum up, Universities should be the perfect place for Free Speech and in GIS packages Free Speech is FOSS4G.
Anyhow, High Schools are a good place to start.
> On Fri, Oct 2, 2009 at 10:32 AM, Peter Batty <peter at ebatty.com> wrote:
> > I think that programs to encourage greater use of OSGeo products in
> > universities would be a great idea too - ESRI dominate in this area at the
> > moment, but this would be another way to get the word out to a broader
> > audience.
> Currently universities are locked in a vicious circle with GIS
> software in that the students demand we teach them on ESRI software
> because that's what employers want and employers use ESRI software as
> that is what the universities are teaching the students on.
> The fact that ESRI are giving the software away for free (or nearly
> free) doesn't help. I'd love to teach more (undergraduate) students
> with FOSS but first I have to find technician time to install the
> software on all the lab machines in the university (which is where
> ArcMap is provided) for just one course (and any way why can't I use
> Arc like everyone else will be the question). Of course we're supposed
> to be teaching techniques not software packages but you still spend
> most of your time sorting out the software issues.
> So *I* think that universities are a lost cause and we should focus on
> high schools - but in many states ESRI has got there before us and has
> signed deals with the state to provide arc in schools at no cost to
> the school. When I query teachers as to how the kids will do their
> homework they usually shrug and point out it's too hard for them to do
> on their own or that they can use the school library. May be
> elementary schools are the winnable battlefield?
> Ian
> -- 
> Ian Turton
> These are definitely my views and not Penn States!
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Dr. Agustín Diez Castillo
Departament de Prehistòria i Arqueologia
Phone:   +34 963 86 42 42
Avda. Blasco Ibañez, 28   Fax:      +34 963 86 42 34
València 46010

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