The most talented youth choose open source tools

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Freer than free, opener than open: The fight for the learning management systems

At my public library job, all day long I help people use the library's public access computers. At the end of a long day's work, I enjoy kicking back and listening to some YouTube music videos. One way I do this is to search YouTube for new Bob Dylan cover songs. I search YouTube for: Bob Dylan cover, this week.

Imagine my happy surprise to come across this fabulous multitrack video of Knockin on Heaven's Door. But wait a second, is that a Tux penguin poster hanging on the wall behind this musician? Indeed it is. Hmmm, was that poster placed there intentionally, or was it just an accident?

I just had to find out, so I asked by sending a message to the musician, Emily Fox. Emily replied that she is a devoted fan of open source software and used the OpenShot video editor to create this music video. Warms my heart to see some of the most talented of the younger generation choosing open source creative tools. This story doesn't end there, though.

Last week Emily Fox uploaded her latest music video, an original called, Please, Mr. Snowman, with its own simple, but delightful, animated graphics created in GIMP. If you had any doubts about the depth of her musical and creative talents before, those doubts are completely erased in this video. The vocals are rich and deep. The layered instruments, clean and well-balanced. I cannot wait to see what Emily Fox makes next.

Meanwhile, this started me wondering about the youth I encounter in my public library work. Some of the most talented of these youth are closely attached to using open source software. One middle school youth I rely on for help tells me he won't touch any electronics device that uses DRM (digital rights management). I, myself, am more of a moderate on this issue, but I can appreciate his point of view.

Is there a wave of open source enthusiasts rising up through our school system? I'd say yes, there is a wave. It's not a large wave, but it's a wave that brings a lot of hope to the open source movement. In ten years some of these youth will be founders of new companies and artists of worldwide renown. In twenty years, some of these youth will be our elected representatives. For that to continue happening, we need to do lots of small things to continue promoting the open source way.

What small things will you be doing this week to promote the open source way?

Smiling librarian standing in front of bookcase
Phil Shapiro has been an educator, teaching students from pre-school to graduate school for the past 35 years. He currently works at a public library in the Washington, DC area, helping youth and adults use their public Linux stations.


I'll keep doing my podcast, using only Free Software tools on a Free Software OS, published on a Free Software Web server, and slipping in a plug for Free Software here and there in the podcast. It dovetails perfectly into what we discuss.

- T

The movement teaches kids code and places a strong emphasis on Open Source Solutions. We're trying to bring the movement to the Washington, D.C. area with, where we will make donated laptops revived with Edubuntu available to kids unable to bring their own machines.

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