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Gates and Others Offer $150k For Open Source School Software

timothy posted about 2 years ago | from the what's-the-noodling-to-useful-ratio? dept.

Education 151

WebMink writes "With an impending deadline for America's schools to satisfy new federal reporting requirements on academic achievement, a new alliance of state educators is creating a system of open source software to help schools gather and submit the data that the rules require. To get the whole thing started, the Gates Foundation and Carnegie are funding two $75,000 awards for the open source developers who create the in-school software. The winners could also become the linchpins of a new industry in academic software."

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Gongrats to Gates and others (0, Troll)

O3993 (2736913) | about 2 years ago | (#41426667)

We need more millionaires like you! Gongrats Bill Gates!

What software ?? (1)

Taco Cowboy (5327) | about 2 years ago | (#41426689)

Took a glimpse at TFA looking for details about the 2 application packages ...

Package #1 seems to be an administrative type of software - Student Data Aggregation Calculator

If I am not wrong, I think that has already been produced.

Back in the 1990's there was an open-sourced school program movement and they produced a lot of software, for students as well as for the teachers / school administrators.

I am still trying to recall the name ...

As for the second application ... they haven't even decided yet.

And the worse part of the whole thing is --- the whole thing sounded like they want the software to run on Microsoft Windows.

Please correct me if I am wrong. Thank you !

Re:What software ?? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41426713)

Not read it, but the Windows part makes sense even ignoring Gate's connection to the company. Linux may be a serious contender for servers, but it's still a niche player in desktop, and very nearly every school in the world runs Windows desktops. The only way this would work as a linux program would be if it was a web-app, or something that could be turned into a convenient server appliance.

Re:What software ?? (2)

Taco Cowboy (5327) | about 2 years ago | (#41426735)

The open-source school software movement that I mentioned on the above runs on Linux, though ...

They did set up a distro (I think it's based on slackware, it my memory didn't fail me)

I'm still trying to recall the name ... dammit !! ... brain just gone blank ....

Re:What software ?? (5, Informative)

politkal (2521668) | about 2 years ago | (#41426849)

http://skolelinux.org/ [skolelinux.org] skole linux ?

Re:What software ?? (4, Informative)

houghi (78078) | about 2 years ago | (#41426855)

There are several Linux distributions directed at education/schools. Most (All?) based on existing distributions with different packages installed.

http://en.opensuse.org/Portal:Education [opensuse.org] is just one of them. Using SUSE studio makes it easy to make your own.

Before SUSE Studio, there was Lincat for Catalunia. http://linkat.xtec.cat/portal/index.php [xtec.cat] . They have moved to openSUSE edu.

Re:What software ?? (3, Informative)

Penguinisto (415985) | about 2 years ago | (#41426947)

SEUL [seul.org] ?

I remember they had a huge push to put Linux in schools back in 2000 or so. They also run/host Schoolforge [schoolforge.net] .

Re:What software ?? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41426765)

java?

Re:What software ?? (0)

hvm2hvm (1208954) | about 2 years ago | (#41426815)

No.

Re:What software ?? (1, Insightful)

polyp2000 (444682) | about 2 years ago | (#41426809)

You say this - but I have the following issues with this

1) whats the point in developing Open Source software for use in education if the framework/operating system on which it runs is not also open source.
2) taxpayers money - open source seems like a great way to save money and avoid costly licence / subscriptions - but if
        apps are tied to a Windows licence - thats hardly the optimal situation
3) what apps are required to devlop the software and are they free and open source or will they be tied to closed source API's that will tie them to a specific platform?
4) Is it appropriate for a charity to tie students or schools into a specific environment that could benefit a non-charity organisation in the future , kind of like a drug dealer where the first hit is free but once you are hooked you are stuck in an endless, expensive cycle thats hard to break ?

N...

Re:What software ?? (1, Interesting)

Rockoon (1252108) | about 2 years ago | (#41426833)

1) whats the point in developing Open Source software for use in education if the framework/operating system on which it runs is not also open source.

Because one precludes the other. The schools already have a suite of closed source programs that run on windows. If you replace windows with linux or bsd, then you have to replace every other application that they currently depend on as well.

Whats the point of developing OSS for use in education if the OS requirement precludes any chance of its adoption?

2) taxpayers money - open source seems like a great way to save money and avoid costly licence / subscriptions

..and Obamacare seemed like a great way to reduce the cost of healthcare..

4) Is it appropriate for a charity to tie students or schools into a specific environment that could benefit a non-charity organisation in the future

Yes,

Re:What software ?? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41429647)

This is software for administrators to enter results into. One, maybe two machines per school, in an office. Not for all the kids to use, in classrooms.

Dumbass libertard.

Re:What software ?? (4, Insightful)

TheRaven64 (641858) | about 2 years ago | (#41427135)

1) whats the point in developing Open Source software for use in education if the framework/operating system on which it runs is not also open source.

The thing that Stallman and his followers usually miss the importance of: incremental deployment. If you replace all of your proprietary Windows applications with open source ones, then it's usually relatively easy to then replace Windows with a free operating system. Windows and Linux/*BSD/Whatever then all run all of the applications you want, but Windows is more expensive, so the choice is easy.

Re:What software ?? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41427269)

Stallman and his followers* would never suggest you replace anything with open source.

http://www.gnu.org/philosophy/open-source-misses-the-point.html [gnu.org]

*Yours truly firmly included

Re:What software ?? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41427677)

There is no reason a properly deployed Linux Terminal Server Project type system could not be placed in every public, tax-payer-funded school. There is no reason to use Microsoft Windows in an academic environment unless it is for job-training. While the origins of public education was to produce a workforce capable of following instructions and to train the students to follow a schedule. These days public education should be producing enlightened students instead of factory workers. But I digress. With centralised servers running GNU/Linux and thin-clients the cost savings would be enough to fund software development projects targeted to the education marketplace.

Re:What software ?? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41428721)

What's the point in open frameworks and open operating systems if the hardware it runs on is not also open source?

Let me tell you the point. We're not all idealistic retarded hippies. Sometimes some of us want to do actual work. And since in this case it matters fuckall whether the framework is open source or not since the students will still learn a shit ton anyway, then that means you assume that they are complete idiots who cannot function in the real world and learn that open source software exists some other way.

I think you're being cynical and stupid.

Re:What software ?? (4, Interesting)

Gadget_Guy (627405) | about 2 years ago | (#41426757)

Where did you find it on the website where they said it had to run on Windows? All I found was that it had to use the SLC API, which uses the Java SDK. In theory it should run on any platform.

I could be wrong though. I am current browsing on my iPhone, and it a pain to navigate the site in on the mobile.

Re:What software ?? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41426889)

All I found was that it had to use the SLC API

So Gates is funding awards for Java based work?

Irony much? What might have been but for Microsoft NIHism.

Re:What software ?? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41427703)

All I found was that it had to use the SLC API

So Gates is funding awards for Java based work?

Irony much? What might have been but for Microsoft NIHism.

Java is the worst possible choice for software development with the exception of anything Microsoft-specific which is absolute garbage.

Re:What software ?? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41427799)

Just in case anyone decides to read that comment as true, also take into account that it depends on certain factors: what you are building, how long you have to do it, how you want it to integrate into existing systems, your budget for building it, how many people are involved in the development process, and whether anyone making decisions on which tools to use are making those decisions based on religious (read feelings and trust without factual basis) platforms.

Re:What software ?? (1)

jimmyfrank (1106681) | about 2 years ago | (#41427871)

I didn't read anything about it running on windows. Besides I'd think you'd want it to run in a browser. Also, I thought the reqs for both apps was pretty clear.

Re:Gongrats to Gates and others (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41426777)

No we don't. That is a piddly amount of money compared to what Gates made while stifling innovation through unfair business practices. And now he's not even paying someone to write the software. He's paying for an award - in other words, a competition, where many people will put in much work and in the end only one or two get paid. Can you imagine asking ten people to build a house to your specifications and then buying only the one you like best? No? Then why is it acceptable to have production software developed that way?

Re:Gongrats to Gates and others (0)

O3993 (2736913) | about 2 years ago | (#41426813)

What unfair business practices? Putting IE on Windows? I'm sure the OS would had been much better without any browser, yeah right.

Re:Gongrats to Gates and others (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41426829)

As it pertains to Microsoft on Slashdot, "unfair business practice" is any form of action or inaction on behalf of the company that does not have the singular purpose of promoting its competitors.

An important corollary: if something can be construed to have any utility to the company whatsoever, it shall be considered that way, and therefore its purpose shall be considered selfish and therefore unfair. For example: donating any amount of code to any open source project should be treated as the attempt to introduce some submarine patent to that project for later use.

Re:Gongrats to Gates and others (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41426873)

I was unsure if you're just naive or a shill. I am no longer unsure.

Educators know that Gates is bad for education (5, Informative)

Zero__Kelvin (151819) | about 2 years ago | (#41427093)

You are showing your ignorance quite strongly here Mr. 2736913. You clearly don't know the history at all, and the corruption is far too detailed and pervasive to cover in a Slashdot post. It is especially showing that you cannot even get the details of the one morsel of the behavior of which you have heard. The one thing you can be 100% certain of is that if Gates is involved, there is something in it for him. Here is one of the ways the effort should not be seen as philanthropic [slashdot.org] , from this blog [wordpress.com] ...

"However, just having the source code and standards for the technology won’t get you too far. The real work (and the real money) is in the process of making sure the system can connect to all the state’s various data sources, and is customized to meet the particular requirements of each state, a process known as integration. This part will not be done for free. On top of that, the deployment of the SLC system will generate consulting fees, training, ongoing customization, add-on features, and other needs known as professional services. Wireless Generation’s $8 million data-coaching contract with Delaware is just a small example."

Wouldn't a guy with a net worth of 66 Billion dollars offer more than $150,000 to help this effort if he was serious about philanthropy? Wouldn't he also guarantee that the cost of deployment of the system would be covered, rather than picked up by the taxpayers.

This is all standard Gates tactics, as old as the hills. The reason why he has 66 billion is because he has made a history of drug dealer tactics involving tricking people into thinking they are getting something great for free and then keeping them hooked on his garbage. And make no mistake about it, what was produced under his watch was quite intentionally, garbage.

Re:Educators know that Gates is bad for education (1)

recoiledsnake (879048) | about 2 years ago | (#41427855)

>The reason why he has 66 billion is because he has made a history of drug dealer tactics involving tricking people into thinking they are getting something great for free and then keeping them hooked on his garbage. And make no mistake about it, what was produced under his watch was quite intentionally, garbage.

Stop with the lame revisionist crap. Windows 95 was way better than the competition at the, so was Office.

Re:Educators know that Gates is bad for education (0)

Zero__Kelvin (151819) | about 2 years ago | (#41428015)

"Windows 95 was way better than the competition"

No. You stop the revisionist crap. What competition? There was no competition, due to anti-compete behavior on Gates' part. Go ahead. Name the competition. I can't wait .... (and don't be a moron and say Apple, which is, and was especially at the time, a hardware company)

Re:Educators know that Gates is bad for education (1)

recoiledsnake (879048) | about 2 years ago | (#41428925)

How does Apple being a hardware company negate it? People go to Best Buy or Amazon to buy a laptop, not to pick up a shrink wrapped OS disc, and that's where the real sales numbers are at. You're the moron here.

Also for just one more example, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Common_Desktop_Environment [wikipedia.org]

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z2CprTGEIS8 [youtube.com]

Though I am sure you'll find some nonsense revisionist reason to blame MS for CDE sucking, instead of blaming the actual companies and people who developed it.

MS did have market forces working for it, but you totally ignore the missteps, bumbling and stumbling by the competition while MS executed well, across DOS, Windows, Office etc.

Take Netscape for example, it was good the first few versions and then later IE 4-5 was actually objectively better.
http://www.joelonsoftware.com/articles/fog0000000069.html [joelonsoftware.com]

For the latest example of such a thing, see Sony stumbling with the PS3, while the XBox overtook it in sales.

Re:Educators know that Gates is bad for education (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41429381)

How often do you have to go sit on the toilet to shit out bill gates' semen? I'd guess daily at least.

Re:Educators know that Gates is bad for education (1)

Rutulian (171771) | about 2 years ago | (#41429601)

There was no competition

Actually, there was. OS/2 Warp, by many accounts, was superior to Win95 in every technical way. It even ran Windows software reasonably well. The major problem: it was never sold by OEMs bundled with PCs. You could buy it on the shelf and install it yourself, but most people wouldn't do that. And then later, the compatibility started to suffer as well, as the popular software (Office, IE) started using APIs that weren't implemented by OS/2. What OS/2 really needed was it's own software ecosystem (very similar to the challenges linux has today), but that never emerged.

Re:Educators know that Gates is bad for education (1)

sgtrock (191182) | about 2 years ago | (#41428537)

Excuse me? Windows 95 was demonstrably WORSE than even Windows NT, fer chrissake! The fact that Microsoft kept actively working on NT for the business market while producing that POS for the home market makes it obvious that he knew it was crap of the worst kind. And NT, don't forget, was deliberately kept hidden from their business partner (IBM) at the time until it was at least semi-ready to replace their joint project (OS/2).

If BG really wanted to produce something for the home market that wasn't crap, all he needed to do was put a little polish on NT and kick it out the door. The fact that he didn't speaks volumes.

Re:Educators know that Gates is bad for education (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41428789)

The reason he has 66 billions is because he doesn't spend 20 of them every time some chucklefuck like you wants everything in the world done for him. Stop being jealous, get off your ass and help them.

Re:Educators know that Gates is bad for education (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41429097)

Corruption? Dude, it's just a software company. Get your priorities straight.

Re:Educators know that Gates is bad for education (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41429753)

Yes, corruption. Software companies can do evil shit just like anyone else can. Or are you one of those "it could be worse, so it's not bad" people?

I have PJ from Groklaw on line 3 for you (1)

RobertLTux (260313) | about 2 years ago | (#41429427)

http://www.groklaw.net/staticpages/index.php?page=2005010107100653 [groklaw.net]

not going to go into details here but MS basically did a buncha stuff to lock out NOTMS from the browser market up to and including delaying Key info from Computer OEMs if they preloaded a NONMS web browser.

you want details and Cites follow the link

Re:Gongrats to Gates and others (2)

Bogtha (906264) | about 2 years ago | (#41428431)

That is a piddly amount of money compared to what Gates made while stifling innovation through unfair business practices

In case anybody thinks that this is a case of sour grapes and that the charity is the important bit, you can think of this as a variation on the broken window fallacy. Sure, Gates is donating to charity, but to obtain the money to do so, he used business practices which set the industry back several years. Overall, it's a net loss to society.

lol parent poster is a retard (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41427071)

um we all know Americans are shit at math 32nd in world right, but i thought you would know the difference between a MILLION 1,000,000 and a BILLION 1,000,000,000 there are tons of millionaires and few billionaires....

This message brought to you form canada HOME of we can count.....

Re:lol parent poster is a retard (1)

LinuxIsGarbage (1658307) | about 2 years ago | (#41427475)

This message brought to you form canada HOME of we can count.....

. . . But not spell

Re:lol parent poster is a retard (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41427745)

This message brought to you form canada HOME of we can count.....

. . . But not spell

Forgive the AC for he has not finished his morning allotment of Moosehead beer. ;) Now back to my igloo.

Re:lol parent poster is a retard (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41429755)

s/we can count/retarded run on sentences with no punctuation, eh/

ReactOS (1)

unixisc (2429386) | about 2 years ago | (#41427113)

I'd like the school to teach how to produce open source software in Visual Studio, Visual basic & others. Also, at the higher grades, teach them about OSs and work on developing and fine tuning ReactOS (w/ a target spec of Windows 7, not beyond). That way, at the end of the day, schools would ideally be able to write and maintain not just their own software, but own OS as well, fine tuning it to whatever computers they have, while being able to use all the Windows software already out there.

Yeah. That's your money he's speding, though. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41428847)

What we need are FEWER millionaires.

Which would allow us to have FAR FAR fewer starving and destitute.

Meanwhle in India (1)

symbolset (646467) | about 2 years ago | (#41426671)

They squeeze an entire K-12 curriculum into 4GB storage, because they must.

Re:Meanwhle in India (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41426685)

India isn't a monolith.

Re:Meanwhle in India (1)

jockm (233372) | about 2 years ago | (#41428265)

Citation Needed. Also I would be shocked if the entire curriculum of my K-12 education, including music, movies and videos*, didn't fit in 4G — with a lot of room to spare. When you are talking primarily formatted text, a gig goes a long way.

*: Assuming all videos and movies are 640x480 or lower, there was no HD and they weren't dealing with the best film stock and projectors.

Mr. "depopulation" and Monsatan(GMOs) (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41426683)

If u want "depopulation" u can start with yourself. Supports GMOs but won't eat it himself.

Re:Mr. "depopulation" and Monsatan(GMOs) (0)

feedayeen (1322473) | about 2 years ago | (#41426695)

If u want "depopulation" u can start with yourself. Supports GMOs but won't eat it himself.

How are GMO's related to depopulation? GMO's are designed to increase the effective food output of our land, which is a requirement for continued population growth. Maybe you're thinking about the sterility gene that Monsanto patented, but this is designed to be used by the plants and you've never inherited a gene from food so their attempts at patent protection don't impact you're ability to compete with the Dougars.

Re:Mr. "depopulation" and Monsatan(GMOs) (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41426707)

GMOs are linked to diseases and cancer. Google France GMO recent news. Best way to kill people(depopulation) is through the food, water, vaccines, and pharmaceutical drugs. I don't want the kool-aid Jim Jones.

Re:Mr. "depopulation" and Monsatan(GMOs) (2)

feedayeen (1322473) | about 2 years ago | (#41426763)

GMOs are linked to diseases and cancer. Google France GMO recent news. Best way to kill people(depopulation) is through the food, water, vaccines, and pharmaceutical drugs. I don't want the kool-aid Jim Jones.

Oh, I get it... All those technologies invented over the last century. Vaccines, genetically modified crops, artificial fertilizer, fluorine, and medical drugs... these have all been apart of science's greatest failure of reducing the world's population.

Maybe this is why we keep that last bit of smallpox, so that we can refine it's lethality and finally scientists will kill off humanity.

It's good thing you're AC, otherwise the government might be able to track you down.

Re:Mr. "depopulation" and Monsatan(GMOs) (1)

shutdown -p now (807394) | about 2 years ago | (#41426835)

Not to mention that GMO crops contain extremely high levels of dihydrogen monoxide!

Re:Mr. "depopulation" and Monsatan(GMOs) (1)

Dunbal (464142) | about 2 years ago | (#41427069)

[citation needed]

Re:Mr. "depopulation" and Monsatan(GMOs) (1)

alexgieg (948359) | about 2 years ago | (#41427153)

GMOs are linked to diseases and cancer.

Your logic is sound. You only fail to mention the intermediary step of, oh, I don't know, not dying of starvation? Thus managing to get to old age and then developing diseases and cancer?

Here's another nice statistic for you: 100% of assassinations and murders are linked to human beings. Let's stop the madness! Cease breeding!

Google France GMO recent news. Best way to kill people(depopulation) is through the food, water, vaccines, and pharmaceutical drugs. I don't want the kool-aid Jim Jones.

True. Which is why every day there are fewer humans on Earth! ... Wait...

Re:Mr. "depopulation" and Monsatan(GMOs) (0)

Zumbs (1241138) | about 2 years ago | (#41426791)

GMO's are designed to increase the effective food output of our land

No they are not. GMOs are designed to make money to the corporation selling them. If it happens that a GMO crop has higher yields, it's just a nice side benefit. One common trait of GMO crops are that they are immune to certain poisons (herbicides and insecticide) sold by the same corporation. Thus, the farmers can use more poison on their fields without killing their crops. This may increase crop yields, but it also has a nasty side effect. Even though the corporation claims that the poison will never be able to find its way into the ground water, most eventually do find their way.

Re:Mr. "depopulation" and Monsatan(GMOs) (1)

feedayeen (1322473) | about 2 years ago | (#41426881)

GMO's are designed to increase the effective food output of our land

No they are not. GMOs are designed to make money to the corporation selling them. If it happens that a GMO crop has higher yields, it's just a nice side benefit. One common trait of GMO crops are that they are immune to certain poisons (herbicides and insecticide) sold by the same corporation. Thus, the farmers can use more poison on their fields without killing their crops. This may increase crop yields, but it also has a nasty side effect. Even though the corporation claims that the poison will never be able to find its way into the ground water, most eventually do find their way.

Yes, they're designed to make money, we live in a Capitalistic society, everything that companies do is designed to maximize profit. Now, how do farmers make money? I think they sell stuff. I wonder what they sell and where it comes from.... oh, right, food, made in the land.

GMO crops cost more to the farmers due to R&D and them not legally being able to reuse many of the seeds, and not only that, but their value is about half of that for the organics at stores. You'd think that there is some way that farmers recuperate these additional losses, like maybe they can sell more stuff.

Re:Mr. "depopulation" and Monsatan(GMOs) (1, Offtopic)

drinkypoo (153816) | about 2 years ago | (#41427543)

are GMO's related to depopulation? GMO's are designed to increase the effective food output of our land

They don't do that, though. They may have done it over a very short time, but in the long run they actually decrease food output. Issue the first, superbugs. Insects are already becoming resistant to BT. This happened slower before, when plants produced less of it. Issue the second, destruction of topsoil. When you use synthetic fertilizers, pesticides, etc. you kill biologicals in the soil without which you cannot have healthy plant development, because those organisms which make nutrients available to the plants do not exist. Plants don't just take it out of the soil in any form they find it, it has to be "bio-available" and this is made happen by beneficial biologicals which can make up over 50% of the mass of healthy topsoil. There are two main Monsanto gene-hacks. One is BT production, which has already been proven to be not only harmful to humans (due to the increased quantities found in their tampered food) but also totally pointless over even the medium term, let alone the long term. The other is roundup resistance, whose purpose is to permit the spraying of more glyphosphate. Glyphosphate has been proven to contaminate water, has significant human health risks, and is generally present in our water nationwide. It also, as mentioned above, destroys soil diversity.

The simple truth is that whatever Monsanto might think they are doing, they have already been proven to be decreasing our ability to produce food, not to be improving it.

Maybe you're thinking about the sterility gene that Monsanto patented, but this is designed to be used by the plants

The "Terminator Gene" is the best thing Monsanto ever did, and the cleverest trick the devil ever pulled was convincing the people that it was a bad thing. By definition the gene cannot spread to all life on earth, because any organism to which it might be passed on will not produce viable seed. We should have demanded that it be used in any case of gene manipulation of plants which would have solved any number of problems. It would have mitigtated the problem of genetic contamination, and no farmers would be losing their farms for doing what they do every year — saving seed from their crops to plant again next year. It shoudn't matter if a farmer found and deliberately harvested seed from roundup-ready crops, because that is how farming is done. Monsanto should have been required to solve this problem technically, not by stealing land (and this is really stealing, it's not just some bullshit infringement.)

Monsanto is pure evil, and must be destroyed. You know their latest gene-fixes are for aluminum and for agent orange? Aluminum has been discussed broadly as the ideal thing to use for weather manipulation, but it causes serious problems for living things. Agent orange we should already all know about.

Re:Mr. "depopulation" and Monsatan(GMOs) (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41426737)

>u

Anyone who is this lazy can be fully ignored as a moron.

Open Source != GPL (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41426715)

Just a reminder.

Re:Open Source != GPL (1)

Gadget_Guy (627405) | about 2 years ago | (#41426789)

The software that they release is under the Apache licence. It was you who brought up GPL. No one else had even mentioned it.

License = f(development costs) (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41426885)

Open Source != GPL

I agree with you in that there are many libre software licenses, and that the GPL is (albeit very popular) only one of them, just like ASL.

However, I think the real question regarding the license is: If you were to develop any of the applications which qualify for the bounty from scratch, and **you were expected to transfer the copyright to the client**... Would you charge 75K?

If you consider the bounty "a fair price" for such situation, then (although I dislike ASL in general) I think the license choice would be acceptable, as they would be the client as in any other casa.

On the contrary, if the bounty is lower than your expected price, I would consider that choosing ASL (a license that allows to transform the resulting code to non-libre) over a license that guarantees that the application will always be libre while allowing related work to be developed under other licenses (like LGPL or GPL+classpath exception) makes this a clear case of cheap labor and deception.

So, experienced developers... Would you consider 75K a good price in such a situation?

I win, can I have the prize now please? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41426729)

http://www.schooltool.org/

Re:I win, can I have the prize now please? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41426787)

sure here it is http://pastebin.com/Rekh6jYD

What about open source school books? (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41426785)

What about open source school books? That's much more needed, at least in Spain which is where I live and parents have to pay a lot for books that change every two years that treat about basic information which hasn't really changed in decades. It would be much better that teachers themselves organized and wrote open source books that they can either cheaply print or put in ebooks. Signed: edulix.

Re:What about open source school books? (1)

Rockoon (1252108) | about 2 years ago | (#41426845)

What about open source school books?

Books are not programs.

Did you mean some sort of open collaboration on the authoring of textbooks for all to enjoy?

Then you will get the Pro-Life fork, the Big Oil fork, the Socialist fork, the Pro-Israel fork, the Keynesian fork, ...

...which to choose?

Free Text Books (3, Insightful)

unixisc (2429386) | about 2 years ago | (#41427129)

He does bring up a good point, though. Since education is (usually) a government mandated requirement, why not have certain material that's in curricula available freely online in form of e-books, which is basic & common to all K-12 levels? Maybe hosted & driven by UNESCO? That way, kids regardless of where they are can access them, so long as they have tablets, and the OLPC can become an OTPC instead, which would be a lot more achievable. Since these books could be in, amongst other things, a pdf format, any tablet should be able to read them. So make this standard, and remove a lot of the costs in education, and transfer them towards training teachers worldwide to use those as tools to enhance understanding of the students.

Re:What about open source school books? (1)

fermion (181285) | about 2 years ago | (#41428079)

There are many open source textbooks. There are two problems with open source textbooks. First, these are not sold, so there are no sales people to push them, to show the quality of the content, and no reason to customize the content to meet the prejudices of the administrators and teachers using them. Second, as books are printed in smaller runs, the cost is going to go up. For a thousand page book at 5 cents a page for printing and binding, that is $50. Not expensive but not cheap.We see this in language subjects where many of the books are out of copyright, and the commentary is slight, but the books are still very expensive. Some books obviously cannot be 100% open source because the content is necessarily copyrighted, which means some other way to publish is going to be necessary. In a generation we will have a new e-book that will solve many of these problems.

As far as the current issue, what they are paying for is a report generator. Presumably the difficulty of this report generator is that there are many for profit data systems out there that can be complex to use. A report generator that can produce the proper output can be useful. What I would argue, however, is that this one of the functions of the department of education. At the very least there should be standards for educational data collection and analysis software that requires a common data storage format, so that third party reporting tools can be easily written, and minimal functional standards of required operations. What would be ideal is a reference implementation available to school that do not wish to buy commercial tools. These are not highly complex tasks. Much of the issue is data security of the students. We have much more complex CMS out there that are open source. Of course the commercial vendors can create and sell superior systems, but right now the local tax payer is being fleeced because we are not leveraging our federal resources. The US is mostly, as a country, paying for the same thing several times because of the radical dedication to local control.

Undermining? (0)

sociocapitalist (2471722) | about 2 years ago | (#41426883)

Why would Gates support anything that undermines Microsoft...or am I missing some angle here where M$ wins anyway?

Re:Undermining? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41426977)

Why would Gates support anything that undermines Microsoft...

Because despite the Linux loser nerdrage here on Slashdot, Bill Gates is one of the better specimens of humanity.

Re:Undermining? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41428005)

You should probably read a little more about Bill Gates.

Re:Undermining? (1)

MacTO (1161105) | about 2 years ago | (#41427001)

You are missing an angle here.

These angles don't bring open source into direct competition with Microsoft, so it doesn't undermine them. (FLOSS operating systems and office suites do compete with Microsoft, so that stuff would never receive a bounty from Gates.)

On the other hand, Gates seems to have a genuine concern for education. A huge problem in education is acquiring modern tools and delivering modern tools. Education providers are a bunch of leeches, providing sub-par products at prices that would make you cringe. (Prices are often in the range of Adobe's or Microsoft's professional offerings, yet the products are barely consumer grade.)

So, no conflict of interest. Get a warm-fuzzy feeling. Why not support it?

Re:Undermining? (2)

Zero__Kelvin (151819) | about 2 years ago | (#41427161)

"Education providers are a bunch of leeches, providing sub-par products at prices that would make you cringe."

So Gates has significant experience to bring to the table.

Re:Undermining? (1, Insightful)

Dunbal (464142) | about 2 years ago | (#41427073)

Step 1, embrace... My how we forget.

Re:Undermining? (1)

Zero__Kelvin (151819) | about 2 years ago | (#41427157)

"Why would Gates support anything that undermines Microsoft...or am I missing some angle here where M$ wins anyway?"

Yes. You are missing a lot here. First of all, Open Source doesn't mean "doesn't run on Windows". In fact it could mean, and almost certainly will mean, only works on Windows. The implementation could be an Access database application, for example. Also, the days when Microsoft has to win for Gates to win are long gone. There are many other ways for Gates to wave the right hand and do something behind the scenes with his left.

Gates Stunt (0)

Faisal Rehman (2424374) | about 2 years ago | (#41426917)

this is just showoff - why dont gates make ms opensource and merge to gnu

Re:Gates Stunt (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41427897)

I love the open sores fanbois. I really do. They all talk about leaving Windows for greener lands but tons of them stand from a peak across the valley and shout "open sores teh M$ Windoze." If Windows sucks so bad and you've been living the high life for the last 15 years without it, why do you care about it being closed?

150k? Isn't that like a buck fifty to the guy? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41426927)

Whooopdiiiiidoooodah!

Re:150k? Isn't that like a buck fifty to the guy? (3, Insightful)

Zero__Kelvin (151819) | about 2 years ago | (#41427169)

"150k? Isn't that like a buck fifty to the guy? "

No. It is like breaking up a penny into very small parts and giving away one of the pieces.

Re:150k? Isn't that like a buck fifty to the guy? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41427189)

Intriguing #151819. Do show your work for full credit. Be seeing you!

What a clusterfuck of documentation (4, Insightful)

tibit (1762298) | about 2 years ago | (#41426943)

The below is a rant. You've been warned.

The SLC developer "documentation" was written by bozos who have absolutely no perspective outside of their enterprise clusterfuck swamp. Here's a representative example:

resource - Under the industry standard representational state transfer (REST) software architecture, this is any meaningful concept around which a user interaction can occur.

So, yeah, I get it, a resource may be, um, an argument. Yeah, a verbal argument. I mean come on, try and argue that it's not a "meaningful concept" around which "user interaction" can occur. I mean I'm a user and I can have verbal arguments, duh. Another one:

standard field - A field that is a part of a resource representation, as determined by the schema of the resource.

Dude, a standard field is a field that's defined in the schema of the resource. That's it. Stop with the wordleaks.

The documentation is from someone who can't say what they fucking mean, someone who should have had their fingers slapped with a wooden ruler in their high school writing classes until they fucking got the message. I don't care that they are enterprise geeks who have to deal with various abominations and progress meetings day in, day out. Learn how to write or shut the fuck up.

Sorry, it's this kind of bullshit contentless drivel that drives me nuts, that equally drove Feynman nuts BTW, and for a good reason. RJF hated elaborate abstract frameworks built up around trivial ideas, used for nothing else but aggrandizing the trivial ideas. It's mental masturbation, it's done by people who don't realize (or pretend so) that there are clever folk out there who see that the king is naked, that all those abstractions are built around a single piece of poo in the loo.

Say it like it is. Use common language where such works. Don't wrap things up in abstractions for the sake of abstractions. Sure, I do understand that an API is an abstraction, but you don't have to use a yet another layer of abstraction when describing stuff for crying out loud! And don't fucking make a concept-explaining document something that's split up in a thousand html pages with a couple paragraphs on each! If I'm new to that stuff, I'll want to print it out, spread it out, and work with it. How the fuck do you work with a thousand html files? Do they think they are so fucking important that anyone who wants to touch their heavenly documentation is supposed to write fucking scripts just to collate their driver into a useful form? The only thing missing in their docs is ads. It's make it just as useless as, say, eHow.

It seems like the projects aren't particularly complex, but the barrier to entry is high because documentation sucks and unless you have first hand knowledge with enterprise mental masturbation, you'll spend tons of time figuring out the trivialities that could be spelled out in a 5 page pdf (vs. their idiotic bazillion page HTML thing only available in pieces that pretty much only lack ads to make a complete serving of typical internet barf).

Never mind that their dev website [slcedu.org] is a typical contentless bullshit "socially driven" page where you can't figure what the fuck the whole thing is about. I mean, they have a freaking twitter feed there. Who the heck needs a twitter feed and pics from, apparently, Times Square, on a dev page is beyond me, but hey, when you lack real content you're free to put up junk space fill, of course.

Re:What a clusterfuck of documentation (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41427065)

+1. A homepage without a single paragraph stating what the project is is such a FAIL!

Re:What a clusterfuck of documentation (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41427173)

humanists + technology = ???????

Re:What a clusterfuck of documentation (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41427379)

TL;DR

Re:What a clusterfuck of documentation (2)

tburkhol (121842) | about 2 years ago | (#41427395)

Sorry, it's this kind of bullshit contentless drivel that drives me nuts, that equally drove Feynman nuts BTW, and for a good reason. RJF hated elaborate abstract frameworks built up around trivial ideas, used for nothing else but aggrandizing the trivial ideas.

Maybe we should just return to the good old days when people used to put their ideas in Latin to make them sound important. I mean, how much smarter does "e pluribus, unum" sound than "we're all together?" Now imagine a whole spec written out in Latin, with dative on every line. Gregorian monks could chant the windows API for years.

Re:What a clusterfuck of documentation (1)

tibit (1762298) | about 2 years ago | (#41428971)

signum norma - Pars subsidium Signum imagine determinatae de schematis m.
standard field - A field that is a part of a resource representation, as determined by the schema of the resource.

Disclaimer: I demonstrably have no clue about Latin, I have pieced it together from google translations. It actually sounds better in broken Latin. Perhaps their documentation is translated from Latin?!

Re:What a clusterfuck of documentation (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | about 2 years ago | (#41427491)

It seems like the projects aren't particularly complex, but the barrier to entry is high because documentation sucks and unless you have first hand knowledge with enterprise mental masturbation, you'll spend tons of time figuring out the trivialities that could be spelled out in a 5 page pdf

When the government does this, it is because they have already chosen a vendor, and they have designed the requirements to favor the vendor. First they write out the basic unobfuscated points, which they share with the vendor in a closed meeting. Then they write the obfuscated document and distribute it. Then they "select" their pre-chosen vendor on the basis that they are best-equipped to meet the bullshit requirements.

Re:What a clusterfuck of documentation (1)

jimmyfrank (1106681) | about 2 years ago | (#41427925)

I thought the page was laid out pretty well and made sense, maybe I should enter.

Re:What a clusterfuck of documentation (1)

tibit (1762298) | about 2 years ago | (#41428569)

I have dealt enough with enterprisey bullshit that their whole approach is entirely transparent to me after spending maybe 15 minutes gritting my teeth while reading the site, but it drives me nuts. There's nothing to it, pretty much. What is more important, though, is that the barrier to entry is high. I wasn't the most incompetent developer say 10-15 years ago, yet I'd have never managed to go through their "documentation" and figure out what the heck. They are actively discouraging people from participating. If you want reasonable documentation in a user-modifiable form that's still comprehensible and reasonably organized, look no further than macports. That's just one example. You want something even better, look for paper manuals for a stand-alone database system like dBase from 2 decades ago. You could take a couple pounds of paper and a luggable with you, go to an island resort with not as much as a phone connection, and be productive in a couple of days. The content on slcedu is much less than a full set of manuals for a database or a development system from 2 years ago, yet it's virtually useless without having internet and a lot of other resources at hand -- simply because they didn't feel like doing their fine homework and hiring a professional to write documentation. Just as you wouldn't trust your redneck beer buddy to do open heart surgery, you don't want a java enterprise "developer" to document anything. They always fail, it's beyond their wildest dreams that productive developers outside of the field might not operate out of an abstract facade that can be explained away in an afternoon.

As far as I can tell, the project's infrastructure has been designed by entrenched java goons who couldn't explain what is it that takes them so long at work every day if their life depended on it. They built a nice abstraction layer on top of zero functionality, and they expect that someone will pick this pile of nothing for 2 x $75k and actually make it, like, do something useful. They have a nice and clean architecture for nothing. If anyone were to actually develop a system that does something useful in this area of application, they are just as well off starting from another endpoint.

Re:What a clusterfuck of documentation (1)

tibit (1762298) | about 2 years ago | (#41428827)

s/2 years ago/20 years ago/.

Re:What a clusterfuck of documentation (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41428071)

You say this like you expect the Gates foundation to do something good. Like you do not understand that seemingly good deeds are the best cover of bad ones.

Re:What a clusterfuck of documentation (1)

mounthood (993037) | about 2 years ago | (#41428583)

The Course resource [slcedu.org] looks like an amateur listing everything they could think of, and they still got it wrong. Look at "minimumAvailableCredit" and "maximumAvailableCredit". First, this is just bad data design: either lookup the min/max on the data tables, or if these are proscriptive then there's no way to deal with changes in regulations over time. Second, academic credits vary by many factors (like classroom hours, enrollment types like auditing, etc...) and it'll be meaningless to say the minimum is zero for every course. Third, "academic" credits are not the only type of credits that schools deal with (think lab credits, on-the-job credits, etc...).

This looks like they're trying to build a Cathedral [catb.org]

Re:What a clusterfuck of documentation (1)

tibit (1762298) | about 2 years ago | (#41428813)

s/RJF/RPF/ Sorry Dick :(

Re:What a clusterfuck of documentation (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41428977)

I went to read it as well. Looked at the intro for a few of the documents... I have no idea what the project is supposed to do/accomplish, but I was told what an API is in great detail. That's just great. As an experienced developer, I have never seen or used an "API" before.

maybe all just another checklist item (1)

Locutus (9039) | about 2 years ago | (#41429091)

The Gates Foundation checklist:

We support open source software in education. CHECK

LoB

I did this in canada at my high school (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41427009)

I did it for marks and i passed and .....well i am president of something aren't I?
NOT even a novel idea ...gates own people at windows will steal your idea so make sure you place it under a gpl lisence NOT BSD

Education (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41427485)

Linux Education software is already established for schools collages.
In Spain, Hundreds of Thousand of Students Get Ubuntu Access.
Used by 600,000 students and 75,000 teachers, the Ubuntu-based operating system, Guadalinex EDU, is now an accepted standard in schools throughout the region. By the end of 2012, 4,000 schools, around 1.5 million students and nearly 200,000 teachers will be using Guadalinex every day.
http://Edubuntu.org
http://en.opensuse.org/openSUSE:Education-Li-f-e
Zorin education
http://zorin-os.com
Fedora have an education project

It will never work. (1)

Shavano (2541114) | about 2 years ago | (#41427579)

I've read Feynman on how school book selection really works. I'm sure it's the same mindless stupidity on software.

Hire someone (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41427655)

Use the money to hire/contract someone.

75k is derisively small, though (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41428677)

Let's see.. that's about 4 work months for a senior developer. WHat, exactly, of usefulness are you going to get for 3-4 months work? Are you going to get usable documentation and user manuals?

Or, are you just going to leverage the volunteer efforts of others?

Or, are you just funding a study to go figure out what you should build and put some real money (many millions) behind.

Prejudiced? (1)

watice (1347709) | about 2 years ago | (#41428745)

Wouldn't be surprised if his buddy Sal Khan mysteriously won this award.

Good Ole' Waterfall (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41428909)

Good Ole' Waterfall model. Never steered a software project wrong.

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