Rich Kulawiec writes in to point to the rather amusing story of a teacher in Austin, Texas who supposed sent a threatening letter
to the HeliOS Project
, which builds and provides Linux computers to disadvantaged or "exceptionally promising" students. The letter complains that in distributing free software, the teacher believes it's likely that something illegal is happening, and everyone should be using Windows. To be honest, the letter is so over-the-top that it almost makes me wonder if it's real. It feels a bit like a put on of the drug wars (especially the whole "I along with many others tried Linux during college..."). However, if it's real...
....observed one of my students with a group of other children gathered around his laptop. Upon looking at his computer, I saw he was giving a demonstration of some sort. The student was showing the ability of the laptop and handing out Linux disks. After confiscating the disks I called a confrence with the student and that is how I came to discover you and your organization.
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. Mr. Starks, I along with many others tried Linux during college and I assure you, the claims you make are grossly over-stated and hinge on falsehoods. I admire your attempts in getting computers in the hands of disadvantaged people but putting linux on these machines is holding our kids back.
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. I am sure if you contacted Microsoft, they would be more than happy to supply you with copies of an older verison of Windows and that way, your computers would actually be of service to those receiving them..."
The guy's response to the letter is equally over-the-top. But, if the letter is true, he's right that supporters of free software still have quite a long ways to go in their education campaign. Perhaps they should start suing. After all, the RIAA and MPAA have been telling us that lawsuits=education campaign for years now...