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Comment Re:But will it work? (Score 1) 188

Said article also says "Join us in digging through the 700,000 documents of MPs' expenses". The 91996 is just what they've uploaded so far - that number crept up yesterday as more pages were uploaded. 700,000 documents means at least 700,000 pages. By that thinking they've only got 1/7th of the total so far...

Comment My experience... (Score 2, Interesting) 172

I helped out in a school in Uganda that has ties with a school here in the UK, and they offer a Computing courses to their students. There are a number of problems open source faces that I could see:

1. The school teaches the UK curriculum; when I was last speaking with the person at the UK school who established the link with the Ugandan school, she'd said they'd had some new computers with Ubuntu installed on them shipped out but they didn't have the software expected by the board that set the curriculum they were teaching. Maybe that's the curriculum's fault, maybe it was a misunderstanding, either way, it doesn't solve the issue, even if it's a problem of perception and knowledge.

2. Related to the above, some people have the attitude "Everywhere else in the world runs Windows, surely teaching something else is a disadvantage?"

3. Few people knew how to use computers, and people usually have experience in Windows when you do find someone that's used computers. Finding someone to help with a computer is hard, finding someone who can help with Linux may be harder (though I guess the converse may be true where Linus is prevalent and Windows is not).

4. Lack of networks to search for help when things go wrong. We made an effort to take learning materials out with us, both for the kids and for the teacher to learn more (and not just about Linux), but it's difficult to provide enough documentation to cover every eventuality. Arguably Windows has the same issue but I don't think it has it to the same degree.

I was walking a fine line - on the one hand, I didn't want to treat the learning of the kids at the school as some sort of social/computing experiment to the degradation of their education, but on the other hand, I think open source could be a great thing in those sorts of situations.

I'll also add that for the time I spent there, I only saw a tiny part of Africa, so hopefully other people have more enlightening experiences to share!

Comment Open source is not the same as open standards (Score 1) 281

TFA quotes George Osborne as saying:

"We need to move in the direction of what are known as 'open standards'- in effect, creating a common language for government IT. This technical change is crucial because it allows different types of software and systems to work side by side in government."

So I wonder if words have been mangled, because open source software and open standards are not one and the same.

I can see why the focus of the discussion here focusses on the software side, but I think open* standards are perhaps more important than the openess of the software. At government level, I really don't think saying "We're only using software of a certain software licence type" (closed or open) is feasible.

If everybody is using the same standards, it means it's the quality of the software that counts; it becomes a choice of "This software is better" rather than "This software is worse but it means I have access to my old data". From there, more use of open source software can, and hopefully will, follow.

*I do mean "open" in the sense that the /. crowd would use the word, not, for example, how MS would use it...


Submission + - Lawsuit filed over bundling of channels

smooth wombat writes: As if in response to FCC Chairman Kevin Martin's recent comments, a lawsuit has been filed in the federal district court in Los Angeles against cable and satellite tv providers.The lawsuit challenges industry-wide agreements and practices that effectively mandate that consumers must purchase prepackaged tiers of bundled cable channels and cannot purchase channels or programming on an "a la carte" basis. The lawsuit alleges that the agreements and practices are unlawful restraints of trade in violation of the federal antitrust laws.

The cable TV industry has argued that such an a la carte system would lead to higher prices, less programming diversity and fewer channels in part because advertising revenue would fall. Such a system also would require more customer service representatives and raise the costs of billing and marketing, the industry has said.

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