Thursday, January 31, 2008

Control for the Money, Freedom for the Show

I have read quite an interesting article by Michael Tiemann on the Open Source movement: Software Industry vs. Software Society: Who Wins in 2020? While reading it, I realized how an Open Source is a natural outcome for any serious business; at least, for a business whose goal is not to sell the program. Basically, an Open Source is a free program that anyone can have access to and edit the information at any given time.

Businesses like Microsoft spend much time working on controlling who has access to their software, which, in fact, is quite normal. Indeed, the best way to sell a product is certainly not to put it free on the Internet. However, the amount of time they spend on security negatively affects the quality of the product itself. As a matter of fact, "85% of all quantum innovation is user-driven," which, in other words, mean that a company like Microsoft offers one-sixth of the quality Open Source software may offer.

The questions that should be asked are relatively simple: who initiates such a software, and why doing so. Not surprisingly, the answers to both questions are closely related; companies usually initiate those software. Indeed, as seen in the article by Tiemann, these very same usually lose billions of dollars due to quality problems. Therefore, improving quality is certainly not a bad investment, which is why they create along with other businesses software that will correspond to their needs while being bug free and up to date. These quality standards are very realist and easy to attain since anyone will immediately fix a bug as it comes up.

This new movement will certainly shift the competitive market of money for a market of real needs, which in turn will improve both businesses and users satisfaction. In the end, the only losers will be businesses like Microsoft whose goal is not to reach quality standards but to make money.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

A technology that helps?

Technology can obviously help improving the quality of education. As future teachers, it is quite important to know how to use it in a correct fashion. Indeed, as a student, I often like to go on my teachers' website to get the information on homework or research projects. Moreover, when I have a question, I like it when they know how to use their email address.

However, I am very sceptical considering Video #2 that is posted on Mark's blog. Briefly, it claims that teachers should use technology as often as possible. For example, they could send quizzes on their students' cell phone. This is ri-di-cu-lous. Does anybody have a sense of equal opportunity in there? The authors of this video seem to assume that students are all rich while it is clearly not the case. Some people work very hard in order to send their children to school. If they have to buy them a cell phone on top of this, they should quickly sell their soul to Satan because they will need money.

As I said before, I like it when my teachers use technology to leverage education. However, there are some limits to it. This limit is very obvious to me: 1 - supportive technologies must not bring any additional cost to tuition fees and 2 - such technologies must be available at school such that it is not necessary to buy it. If these two conditions are not met, technology widens the separation between rich and poor people.