[CS-FSLUG] Microsoft Technology Mandated in GA Colleges?

Tim Young Tim.Young at LightSys.org
Mon Jan 7 16:52:01 CST 2013

One of the problems with email is I cannot read body language as well 
to know how far to take a conversation.  For me, I always enjoy 
talking about this subject even though we (I, or the people I talk to 
about it) rarely change our opinions.  There is often a lot that I 
can learn.  I try to keep in mind that the "great commandment" was to 
love the Lord and then to love our neighbor as ourselves, not to 
"defend our opinions."  So as such, I am not going to pursue a 
"defense of my opinions" much deeper.  I have seen some of these 
discussions (Linux vs Microsoft) drive people off of email lists (and 
actually cause more damage than that; I know a few relationships that 
were shattered by some vocal discussions on this topic), so I would 
much rather stop, what is to me, an interesting discussion, before it 
gets too close to being painful.  If it has gotten painful for you 
already, I do apologize.  I suspect you and I could have swapped a 
few more emails before things got too heated between us, but we are, 
after all, on an email list, and I also do not want to give other 
folks who are reading along any heartache.

I will say, lest you worry about me personally, that I joined this 
list because I do like Linux, and I do like how the use of Linux can 
help the body of Christ.  There are a few areas in our discussion 
where my opinion does not mesh with yours, but I am fine with that. I 
would much rather keep the community together than to knock heads.

I have enjoyed this set of emails; I hope you have too.

     - Tim Young

On 1/7/2013 1:22 PM, Yama Ploskonka wrote:
> Tim,
> I want to honor the time and effort you put in your thoughtful 
> answer, but will be brief.
> I will respectfully disagree that it makes any sense, anywhere, to 
> have computers that are merely browser terminals run Windows.
> It simply is bad use of resources, and, in itself, speaks tomes 
> about management of the given institution (be it based on donations 
> or taxes) versus whatever platitudes are recited in the classroom 
> or the pew.
> One of the main reasons why it is "necessary" to teach Microsoft, 
> and Photoshop, and such in missionary land is that access to 
> pirated software is so easy. There is no "reason" to go Linux. I 
> know of no church in Bolivia that would care about the issue as 
> being immoral or whatever. Which in a certain way I am happy to 
> stay out of, but still feels odd.
> I cannot imagine a single scenario where it would make any sense in 
> the US for a church or school to pay for software either, sorry.
> Except Tradition. Tradition based in the ignorance of the flock 
> trumps principles pretty much any time.
> Also, paying for buggy software that then you have to "protect", 
> well, let's not be surprised that "education" cannot seem to help 
> people stay out of debt and away from ludicrous life choices.
> As to the disservice thing...
> It all boils down to what is the goal of "Christian" education. In 
> the world or of the world?
> Is making someone employable the primary goal of Christian education?
> I agree it should be "a" goal.
> Which of Linux or Proprio ecosystems is closer to walking the Way?
> Believe it or not, there is an answer, and it's not just the 
> software (we use Linux in many appliances without noticing. What 
> matters is the attitude)
> Again, it's a walk the talk thing, all over.
> Oh yes, it takes a LOT of guts for a school (or church) to walk 
> away from bowing to Tradition.
> Which should be a model, shouldn't it?
> Or are we saving ourselves to make a stand for the REAL clash of 
> cultures? :-)
> If Linux (not just the software, but the whole community thing) is 
> too much of an "inconvenience", then, ahem...
> It's a start to have students think. It's good when they take 
> action that makes sense.
> You can call success when your students make good choices. Software 
> may be a small one, but then, it's a one.
> My comments regarding employers is what I see around me.
> We all know the education in Universities is a shame nowadays, yet, 
> we all know that degrees are worth a lot.
> Why?
> Not because of what was "learned" in class, but because of the 
> "molding" of the person toward something that is circumstantially 
> valuable, in entry-level positions.
> On 01/07/2013 01:45 PM, Tim Young wrote:
>> On 1/7/2013 10:39 AM, Yama Ploskonka wrote:
>>> Thank you, Tim.
>>> As with anything Christian, there's the talk ("teaching") and 
>>> then there's the walk, "use", for real life, all over.
>> I do not know of any universities that teach that there is "one 
>> way, and only one way, and that is Linux."  I do know that some of 
>> the issues pertaining to OS choice have been worked through in the 
>> "computer ethics" class at Taylor University, and that a goodly 
>> percentage of the CS students leave with a good desire to use 
>> Linux at home.  BUT, I believe it is actually a dis-service for 
>> schools NOT to teach MS products, at least in part.  The plan is 
>> that people who leave a university are employable.  Most places 
>> you go to get a job will already have their technology in place, 
>> and the majority of businesses use Windows desktops. Sorry, but 
>> that is just the way of it.  I do agree that it is great for 
>> people to do Linux at home, and if you are able to set up your own 
>> business using Linux, that is awesome.  But it is good to get 
>> experience in multiple OSes as a user, if you wish to be employable.
>> When I set up cyber-cafes overseas and techno training facilities, 
>> we usually try to teach a mix of technologies.  Both Open Office, 
>> and MS office, both Windows and Linux.  (Macs are very rarely used 
>> in Africa due to the cost of purchasing and maintaining them). If 
>> you are trying to give someone a skill that they can use, you need 
>> to give them the skills the employers will be looking for, but 
>> also the understanding for how to use things.  For example, the 
>> people who only knew what icon to click on to wrap text were 
>> totally floored when MS switched to their "ribbon" interface (Word 
>> 2007). If you knew the concepts behind it, it is easier to adjust 
>> to a different interface.  Teaching people how to think, not just 
>> rote memorization, is paramount for equipping them to function 
>> well in the world.  )
>>> Austin Community College, where I did some Wind Energy past Fall, 
>>> also "teaches" Linux, as an option among the usual junk.
>>> Most of the administrative tasks are web-based - that is, 
>>> administrative employees and students interacting with 
>>> administrative matters do so using a browser. You would think 
>>> then that the OS could be any - just put a browser on top. Nope, 
>>> it's some Redmont spawn, with antivirus, etc., the works.
>>> We know that universities are often the farthest away places from 
>>> real world issues - their main duty is to certify that a given 
>>> person will spend enormous effort in obeying nonsense.
>> Heh heh.  I *worked* at Taylor University, and the philosophy of 
>> their faculty is nowhere near what you are stating.  Maybe that is 
>> why the Taylor University computer people are in such high demand. 
>> Taylor goes through a lot of pain making sure students think. What 
>> I, personally, get from someone who has a degree is that the 
>> student has learned how to learn and hopefully has a broad 
>> understanding of the basics.  My job is to teach missionary 
>> computer people, and they usually have a great desire to learn but 
>> have not faced the broad spectrum of computer basics that I have 
>> had.  I certainly can see the difference in people who have had a 
>> good, broad set of computer teaching from those who have not.  If 
>> you are programming a multiplayer game, it helps to know about 
>> basic networking.  If you are choosing which technology to use for 
>> streaming teaching media to students, you should be aware of how 
>> the different options are affected by home networks and IPv6. 
>> People who do not have a broad spectrum of knowledge often make 
>> poorer decisions when looking at some of these things.  For me, 
>> that is what these colleges are for, forcing you to have a broader 
>> scope of knowledge than you might have chosen if you just learned 
>> on your own, as well as making sure you have learned how to learn.
>> But I will be the first to say that I am biased by my in-depth 
>> knowledge of the Taylor University staff and their teaching 
>> priorities.  Not all universities may do it the same way.
>>> That is the actual meaning of a degree: as an employer, I have in 
>>> front of me someone obedient, compliant, and reasonably devoid of 
>>> initiative. Of course I complain that my managers are no good, 
>>> but at least they are "safe".
>> Maybe for you, but I know many people do not see it that way, as I 
>> stated above.  I have taken on many interns (college students who 
>> are still taking classes, most of who get college credit for their 
>> time with us), and it has not been my perspective to look at their 
>> education as you are saying it.  I look at the actual classes they 
>> have taken so I know what knowledge they have, I look at their 
>> grades and recommendation by faculty to know how "self driven" 
>> they are and how sharp they are.  And I look at their choice of 
>> major to determine somewhat where their interests lie.  But again, 
>> that is me.   That is how I think. How I think has somewhat been 
>> shaped by my time at Taylor, but also by my 15+ years working in 
>> missions tech.
>>     - Tim Young
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