Past board member and current operations officer (a.k.a. “server architect” ) James Howard presented before Oakland Unified School District board in support of esteemed public school teacher Robert Litt. A long time Free Software in education advocate, Robert has built and administered two successful GNU/Linux teaching labs in Oakland schools. Robert spoke of his labs before the school board:
At ASCEND I built a lab from computers, donated to us, by running them on a Linux operating system that is free and open source… I was able to repair or replace computers, through the use of a free open source operating system… I turned Prescott around, using the model I used at ASCEND. … Prescott now has 65 fast working computers.
Supporting Robert in his efforts to sustain his lab, a school parent advocated for Robert’s lab, and James Howard of Partimus — which has long supported Robert in his Linux labs with hardware donations, hardware troubleshooting, and deployment of a custom build automated imaging process — also addressed the board on the topic of the robustness of Linux and the spirit of the Free Software movement:
I come to you today from the open source software community. Open
source software, also known as free software, is a gift from a global community of
technologists to the world.
Linux is a powerful, stable, and secure computer operating system. Though Linux has been
designed to be conversant with all other major operating systems, it was recently chosen
to replace those technologies for use on the International Space Station. The reason:
because it was more stable.
More significantly, Linux represents a collaboration between business and the community.
Contributions to Linux and open source projects come from people of all ages and
backgrounds, from people working in the public and private sector, from students and
volunteers, the world over. Before being shared, these contributions must adhere to both
strict government standards but are also carefully reviewed by community
based watchdogs and the most inquisitive techno-citizens. It is from its
transparency and openness that Linux draws its true value.
At the heart of Linux and open source software is the free exchange of ideas. This
value is one in which our country was founded — a value we instill in our children –
and is why Linux belongs in our public schools.
Robert was granted the autonomy to continue to operate his Partimus’ supported lab. Partimus engineers have now been tasked with developing and building a standalone custom lubuntu install CD for “Alternative Operating Systems” at Oakland Unified. Stay tuned for its release later this quarter. For James, it was a real thrill to enjoy the success of community collaboration.