Starting this Friday, Aug. 1, the more than 300,000 students who registered for the Linux Foundation's free Introduction to Linux course on edX will be able to log in and start learning Linux. It is the first Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) on Linux, opening training access to anyone around the world with an Internet connection. It's also part of a larger revolution in education being led by edX, the online learning platform founded by Harvard and MIT.
They say you never forget your first computer. For some of us, it was a Commodore 64 or an Apple IIe. For others, it was a Pentium 233 running Windows 95. Regardless of the hardware, the fond memories of wonder and excitement are universal. For me, I'll never forget the night my father brought home our first computer, a Tandy 1000. Nor will I forget the curious excitement I felt toward the mysterious beige box that took up a large portion of the guest bedroom. This happened at a time when simply having a computer at home gave a school-age child an advantage. I have no doubt my experiences from that time positively influenced my path in life.
In the decades that have passed since the beginning of the personal computer revolution, computers have gone from being a rare and expensive luxury to a mandatory educational tool. Today, a child without access to a computer (and the Internet) at home is at a disadvantage before he or she ever sets foot in a classroom. The unfortunate reality is that in an age where computer skills are no longer optional, far too many families don't possess the resources to have a computer at home.
GUADEC 2014 is almost upon us, and we are talking to the three keynote speakers who are lined up for this year’s conference. Nathan Wills – LWN editor, typeface designer and author – is one of these keynote speakers. His talk, titled Should We Teach The Robot To Kill, addresses issues relating to Free Software and the automative industry. We caught up with him to find out a bit more about this fascinating subject, as well as his views on Free Software conferences.
Karen Sandler is a veteran of the free and open source software world. Having completed an engineering degree, she has worked as a lawyer for the Software Freedom Law Center, was Executive Director of the GNOME Foundation, and recently accepted a position as Executive Director of the Software Freedom Conservancy. I interviewed Karen via email to ask her about her background and insight into various issues in the free and open source world.