Open Source Software

Week One


  • All HCC machines running OpenDisc (CD's given to participants who have brought their own laptop) so people can see and try out.
  • Operator of projected machine running Windows with all Open Disc installed.


(5 min)

  • All tutors introduced by lead-tutor (all wearing LOGIN name tags)
  • Arrange people close to a computer and able to see big screen.
  • Say “Try to follow along as we go through the talk. There will be time for questions at the end of each section”
  • Invite people to bring their laptops
  • Quick introduction to LOGIN (open source users)

a. Introduction to Free and Open Source Software


Software Freedom can affect almost every aspect of our lives. Software Freedom enables governmental transparency and openness; for example, voting machines and government records can be examined and available to a degree that is impossible when proprietary secrecy stands in the way of public scrutiny.

Software Freedom empowers non-profit organizations (such as libraries, schools, and religious organizations) and businesses (especially in developing countries) to compute with state-of-the-art software without the undue restrictions and costs imposed by proprietary software licensing.

Software Freedom can provide a higher degree of security than is possible with proprietary software, because the artificial barrier of proprietary secrecy is not in place to keep security experts from contributing ideas, and it's in those experts' best interest to make sure the software is secure.

Software Freedom has massive legal and economic benefits, and it ultimately empowers people on a local level to exercise enlightened self-interest concerning any area of life that involves software.


The English word “free” is ambiguous. Here's how Richard Stallman disambiguates the term:

“Free software” is a matter of liberty, not price. To understand the concept, you should think of “free” as in “free speech,” not as in “free beer.”

This now-famous distinction addresses the two most fundamental categories of benefits of Software Freedom: ideological and practical.


Ideological proponents of Software Freedom are most centrally concerned with freedoms such as in speech, association, privacy, and education. The word “proprietary” refers to ownership and private control, and while ownership and private control are very beneficial to society in many areas, they are directly opposed to the public good when they are applied to software, which consists of expressions of ideas (and these expressions happen to be understandable by computers).


Pragmatic proponents of Software Freedom are most centrally concerned with economic, governmental (see above), and educational benefits. Free Software is not produced without cost, and there is no guarantee that it will be available to you without cost. But in practice, almost all Free Software is free from licensing fees, and the licensed publication of Free Software source code guarantees that no private interests have the power to revoke this public economic benefit.

Software Freedom benefits society educationally in two primary senses:

  1. schools have access to a greater amount of high-quality software because licensing fees are not a limiting factor, and
  2. students of computer science are free to begin working directly with state-of-the-art software.

It is only fitting that the ideals and practical benefits of this academically-inspired movement are now turning full-circle and benefiting schools of all levels, around the world. Visionaries who wanted to improve their own educations have laid down a legacy that will improve the educations of billions of others.

b. Overview of OpenDisc with very short demonstrations

(30 min)

(Do one you know) 5 minutes each area:

  • Design - Blender, Dia, GIMP, Inkscape, Nvu, Tux Paint
  • Games - Battle for Wesnoth, Enigma, Neverball, Sokoban YASC,
  • Internet - Azureus, FileZilla, Firefox, HTTrack, Pidgin, RSSOwl, SeaMonkey, ThunderBird, Tight VNC,Win SCP
  • Multimedia: Audacity, Celestia, Really Slick Screensavers, Stellarium, Sumatra PDF, VLC
  • Productivity: GnuCash, MoinMoin, Notepad2,,
  • Utilities: 7-Zip, Abakt, ClamWin, GTK+, HealthMonitor, TrueCrypt, Workrave.

c. Distribute the OpenDiscs

(10 min)

d. Ask participants:

(20 min) Ask:

  1. What particular programs, or sort of program, do you want to learn about in the following weeks?
  2. What do you usually do with your computer?

(Projected machine operator types up as we go)

e. Show how to install a program.

(10 min)

Plan for next 3 weeks

Weeks 2-4 - programs suggested in 1d. or else:

  • Week 2 - Productivity and Internet
  • Week 3 - Multimedia and Games
  • Week 4 - Design and Utilities and half an hour to invite to LOGIN and to form a FOSS group.
open_source_course_outline.txt · Last modified: 2009/07/26 23:21 by
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