US teacher detains student for using Linux

Texas teacher accuses HeliOS of embroiling her pupils in possible “illegal” activity

A teacher in Austin, Texas has lashed out against the open-source Linux operating system, punishing one of her students for demonstrating and handing out copies of the HeliOS Linux distribution and writing an email to the distributor claiming the software may be illegal.

After confiscating the discs and detaining the student, the teacher, known only as Karen, wrote an email to Linux evangelist Ken Starks from HeliOS, most of which he posted on his blog together with his response.

In her email the teacher wrote: “Mr Starks, I am sure you strongly believe in what you are doing but I cannot either support your efforts or allow them to happen in my classroom. 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. 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.”

After lamenting the ignorance displayed by the teacher, Starks vigorously defended the legality of Linux and in particular HeliOS.

“First off, if there was even the slightest chance that I was doing something illegal, it would not have been done,” Starks said. “To think that I would involve my kids in my ‘illegal’ activities is an insult far beyond outrage. You should be ashamed of yourself for putting into print such nonsense.”

The teacher went on to add that she and many others “tried Linux during college” and that Starks’ claims about the operating system were “grossly over-stated and hinge on falsehoods”, adding that this “is a world where Windows runs on virtually every computer and putting on a carnival show for an operating system is not helping these children at all.”

Starks retorted by saying that Linux had seen some major developments in recent years and that the money Microsoft invested in the National Education Association meant that the teacher was “just spouting the union line”.

He went on to say: “The most disturbing part of this resides in the fact that the Austin Independent School District purchases millions of dollars of Microsoft Software – money that could be better spent on educating our children. A dedicated school teacher would recognise that fact and lobby for a switch to Free Open Source Software.”

Fonte: site

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