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My son is being forced to use M$
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Mark_Lester
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 27, 2011 11:39 pm    Post subject: My son is being forced to use M$ Reply with quote

I'm an engineer, we do cool stuff in this house. My son, who is seriously above average ability but also has high end ASD issues, refuses point blank to even install Windows or use microsoft products of any kind.
The ICT teacher hates him. Every time the teacher's narcoleptic laptop slips into a coma my boy tells him he should be running Ubuntu and that forcing students to submit homework only in Microsoft proprietary formats is verging on the illegal. If the teacher is feeling particularly defensive my boy gets told to leave the room.

I cant find the "how to fight your schools ICT policy" page anywhere. Frankly, I dont even want him in the ICT lessons full stop. if they want to do some stuff about databases then he can muck about with MySQL with dad instead of some dumb-ass project using Access.

We're in the UK fyi, my son attends one of the country's best grammar schools which has got a Microsoft sticker on the front door. It's nothing short of criminal.
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mgroenescheij
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PostPosted: Thu Jul 28, 2011 5:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi,

Imagine when everybody decide to stick to their own language in a multicultural society like the UK.
Of course everybody is free to speak in their mother tong at home, but they should be able to communicate in English at school.

Cheers,
Martin
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keme
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PostPosted: Thu Jul 28, 2011 6:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

If the course subject is "using ms software", then your son should perhaps learn to function in a group where he doesn't agree on the way things are done. It is a useful lesson.

If it is a course teaching "general ict principles", then I'm all with you. Still, this may not be the best time to take that fight. If the teacher is what you indicate, your son's grades may suffer, and it's about his future. . .
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Mark_Lester
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PostPosted: Thu Jul 28, 2011 10:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for your input,
Needless to say, a child who already runs his own server system and has the tenacity required to dig through and assimilate very detailed documentation , and is at the top of his class in maths, all sciences, is fluent and literate in russian and is also top of his german class, and has profound abilities in music, wont be wasting his time getting a worthless gcse in ict.
we've got another year of this, there isnt a boy in the whole school who isnt bored senseless with it. personally i think it's outrageous. if this is the state we are at then MS should be forced to opensource the stuff so we can at least fix it and folks less financially fortunate than ourselves arent forced to stump up.
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floris_v
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PostPosted: Thu Jul 28, 2011 11:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Your son isn't alone, if that's any comfort. Your post reminds me of an article about a Dutch world class ICT specialist who was hired by an American corporation to do whatever research he liked - no limits - they were confident that some of his results would be very worthwhile for them. Being the kind of man who doesn't use software if there's no mathematical correctness proof for it, he had also refused to work with Windows and software running on it, but they forced a Windows computer down his throat so they could communicate with him.
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Mark_Lester
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PostPosted: Thu Jul 28, 2011 11:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

working out how to please this ict teacher is a skill my son is just going to have to get his head round.
what i find amazing though is that, as ms products are so omnipresent, familiarity with them is considered an essential "life skill" and no one, in particular the rest of the IT industry, seems to be putting up a fight over this.

as I presume most people in here are aware, just about the entire internet, once you've left the back of your PC, runs on software that has absolutely nothing to do with microsoft.
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floris_v
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PostPosted: Tue Aug 02, 2011 2:19 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
what i find amazing though is that, as ms products are so omnipresent, familiarity with them is considered an essential "life skill" and no one, in particular the rest of the IT industry, seems to be putting up a fight over this.


Yes, I remember that several years ago several software companies did complain about MS's monopoly position, one of them Symantec, and the crazy thing was that while they complained about MS, they also made the UI of Norton Antivirus heavily dependent on IE - in fact you had to install much more of IE than a cautious user would like to just to run the ActiveX elements in the Nortun UI.
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Last edited by floris_v on Sun Aug 07, 2011 11:56 am; edited 1 time in total
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peterroots
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PostPosted: Sun Aug 07, 2011 11:55 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

http://opensourceschools.org.uk/ofsted-and-open-source.html

this shows some hope but a long way to go
http://www.osor.eu/news/open-source-on-the-rise-in-uk-schools

interesting but I seem to recall becta may have gone belly up (not sure though)
http://www.itpro.co.uk/603639/becta-open-source-and-education-too-little-too-late
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Mark_Lester
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PostPosted: Sun Aug 07, 2011 11:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

thanks peter.
the oss-watch blog makes excellent reading
http://osswatch.jiscinvolve.org/wp/2011/08/02/recipe-for-rip-offs/

may be, once we've come to terms with the level of institutionalized corruption in government, press and police that is now coming to light, and with public offices forking out over 3 grand for volume purchases of bog standard PCs, not to mention endless billions on software that rarely meets even the vaguest of specifications or deadlines, we might get somewhere.

I've learned that the French police have gone totally open source, which from a security point of view alone is a no brainer imho. For the benefit of anyone reading this from Windows world, "we" over here dont need to run layers of virus checking software to avoid having worms and viruses turning up as a matter of course, and yet still have to watch our systems degrade to a standstill over time. Security gaffes are nailed by the community at large and fixed, for free, and for the benefit of all. Once you've left the back of your computer, very little of what goes on out there has anything at all to do with Microsoft, and security is one of the main reasons for that. In a world where computers just arent much use anymore if they dont have the Internet plugged in, Windows simply isn't fit for purpose, and never will be.
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OptiRick
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PostPosted: Tue Aug 09, 2011 8:50 am    Post subject: Re: My son is being forced to use M$ Reply with quote

Mark_Lester wrote:

We're in the UK fyi, my son attends one of the country's best grammar schools which has got a Microsoft sticker on the front door. It's nothing short of criminal.


It's ridiculous isn't it?

I have Microsoft on some of the computers I use but I don't have a full or current version of Office.

My son comes home from school and tells me he has some homework to do and he has to submit it in Powerpoint.
So what's going on here, MS giving away the software to schools so the rest of us have to buy it.

Not a million miles away from handing crack out at the school gates IMO.
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Mark_Lester
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PostPosted: Tue Aug 09, 2011 9:20 am    Post subject: Re: My son is being forced to use M$ Reply with quote

OptiRick wrote:

My son comes home from school and tells me he has some homework to do and he has to submit it in Powerpoint.

As far as I am aware, they aren't even giving it away, though the crack analogy, within a software context, is totally valid.

What I find so pathetic is that it's not like we're some kind of niche here, as though we're UFO spotters or something. Everyone in the production end of software, and certainly on the Net, knows what's going on, there must be tens of thousands of us who are now in the parenting business, and yet we put up with this crap in the same way that our parents put up with us lot being told that the Crusades were a good thing.

If computing, and in turn the Net, are the biggest thing to happen since some bloke worked out how to get reusable type to work, then this whole issue has to be one of the most serious issues facing society. I know that sounds a bit heavy but seriously, we're holding the whole world back by not tackling this.
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keme
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PostPosted: Tue Aug 09, 2011 10:48 pm    Post subject: Re: My son is being forced to use M$ Reply with quote

Mark_Lester wrote:
[ ... ]
I know that sounds a bit heavy but seriously, we're holding the whole world back by not tackling this.
There are people - in considerable numbers - trying to "tackle this" behind the scenes, as it were. As long as there is no coordination, the short term effect of this work is possibly negligible. My own effort is very small I suppose, but it is there, and with all efforts accumulated it may amount to something. Perhaps there is some "tactics forum" or the like, for exchanging ideas and otherwise collaborating, I do not know (though I would like to know if there were).

What I know is that I would be very careful about putting the younger generation in the battlezone (even though in this case they are already on the frontline).
Note that I'm not accusing anyone. I just intended this as a word of caution to others reading the discussion. From your description it seems clear that your son is into this every bit as much as yourself, and in that situation it's a valuable learning experience as much as anything. While grades may suffer, that should be possible to rectify, and he will surely benefit from the experience in the long run.

Keep up the good work!
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Mark_Lester
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PostPosted: Tue Aug 09, 2011 11:47 pm    Post subject: Re: My son is being forced to use M$ Reply with quote

keme wrote:

What I know is that I would be very careful about putting the younger generation in the battlezone (even though in this case they are already on the frontline).

Agreed. Indeed I think many parents in the industry feel, quite justifiably, this way about microsoft anyway, that resistance is futile. Many of us thought 20 years ago when usable, free, Unix distributions became available, that the writing was on the wall. Well they (MS) are still here and if anything are in an even better position to, quite legally it seems, nobble anything and anyone in their path. That whole anti-trust case was a disaster. They should have been told that it's Excel or Windows, but you cant have both.

My lad, as I think I've made clear, is not only well above average academically, he also has clear ASD issues, which he is aware of. One of the biggest problems he faces is when, such as in music for instance where he is seriously gifted, he finds himself knowing a lot more than his teacher. Things can get seriously out of control at that point.
This scenario is obviously much the same, and to a large extent I'm not helping much even though I do impress on him to just keep his head down and stop winding up the teacher.

What I will say about what I can see about ICT, is that if your child shows any ability whatsoever with computer technology, and the majority of children do, then the national curriculum on ICT, combined with the skill level of staff that the maintained, and indeed even the independent sectors can attract, means that it's nothing more than a filler subject. Something your child can take if they are having problems finding 8 or so traditional subjects that they dont despise so much that taking them would mean near certain failure.
My advice is to drop it immediately in year 10, and if you are concerned about their communication skills then "encourage" them to take a language and make more effort in humanities. Most, in fact almost all subjects, involve development of IT presentation skills anyway,
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danni789
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 17, 2011 11:48 pm    Post subject: ms rip off Reply with quote

what if we could organise a petition like they mentioned on the bbc, if we get enough signatures the politicians would be compelled to take it up.
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keme
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PostPosted: Fri Aug 19, 2011 12:05 am    Post subject: Re: ms rip off Reply with quote

danni789 wrote:
what if we could organise a petition like they mentioned on the bbc, if we get enough signatures the politicians would be compelled to take it up.
You might try, but there are some obstacles:

I doubt that you can grab the attention from a sufficient number of people.
You need a catchy slogan, and somehow, "Freedom of choice for student software" or "Open storage formats in schools" do not have the same impact as e.g. "Healthy school lunches" or "Quality in teaching".

This kind of "freedom imposing" legislation might also be conceived as the opposite for teachers. They could then be required to handle output from diverse (and sometimes obscure) software packages, instead of being free to select a common platform (which is an advantage in some teaching situations). The fact that OOo is the only full Office suite available on all platforms is a valid point, but sadly it's only interesting to the marginal section of the public that does not use MS Windows or Apple OS-X and the even more marginal section who care about open standards.

Interestingly, the BSI group (official british standards administration, AFAIK) provides quite a bit of info on OOXML on their website, but I am yet to locate any mention of ODF...

If you decide to put forth a petition, I wish you the best of luck. Be sure to keep us posted!
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