[Sugar-devel] [IAEP] Ask! Please! (Re: how to ask a question)

Tim McNamara paperless at timmcnamara.co.nz
Sat Oct 9 19:30:48 EDT 2010

On 9 October 2010 11:33, <forster at ozonline.com.au> wrote:

> Quoting Edward Cherlin <echerlin at gmail.com>:
>> I have a partial draft of a "textbook" on the subject at
>> http://www.booki.cc/discovering-discovery/ It encourages XO owners to
>> explore on their own and find out what questions they have before we
>> give them answers.
> I like the idea. It encourages users to jump in and take risks, experiment,
> not worry if they have incomplete understanding.

Me too, and have added some feedback to NZ educators on why open source can
aid education in ways that closed source can't[1].

>From [1]:

Here is one way that I can think that that open source benefits
learners, based only on my own experience however. What I've witnessed
from many computer uses is a sense of frustration and helplessness
when something doesn't work as they think it should. People who buy
software are trained to wait for automatic updates, or worse they are
forced onto purchasing the next version. Processes inside
organisations say, "If you're having problems, call the helpdesk."*
The feedback loop might be an automated report that is generated and
sent to an anonymous server.

I would like to think that open source software would enable a sense
of critical analysis, exploration and problem solving. For me, when I
have a problem with a piece of software that I use, I tend to go
through a process of reflection:

  "Is this issue something other people might be having?"
  "Can I reproduce the problem?"
  "Why is the system built like this, there must be a reason? It must
be useful for something."
  "Is the hassle of the computer problem larger than the hassle of my
time to send feedback?"
  "How can I word a report to developers that explains what's going

In short, I have the impression that users of paid software feel like
they don't have the skills to contribute. They don't see themselves as
a participant in a computer system. By computer system, I mean a
system that includes software, hardware and the user to generate some
useful output.
Open source software has helped me by creating a sense of empowerment
and discovery. I use the software that I want to run. When there's a
problem, my involvement forms part of the solution.

(scroll to bottom)
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