GCompris, the best suite of free educational software for children

GCompris is amazing, its fun and kids love it. Over the years I’ve distributed a lot of educational freedom respecting software and GCompris is popular. Lets look at some info from the GCompris Wikipedia article:

It is available for Linux, Mac OS X and other systems. Binaries compiled for Microsoft Windows version are distributed as crippleware with a restricted number of activities; it is possible to access all the activities in Windows for a fee.

GCompris has more than 100 activities related to:

* Computer discovery: keyboard, mouse, different mouse gestures
* Algebra: table memory, enumeration, double entry table, mirror images
* Science: the canal lock, the water cycle, the submarine, electric simulations
* Geography: place the country on the map
* Games: chess, memory, connect 4, oware, sudoku
* Reading: reading practice
* Other: learn to tell time, puzzle of famous paintings, vector drawing, cartoon making

The name GCompris is a French pun impossible to translate. It comes from the French “J’ai compris” [?e kompri], which is French for “I have understood”, and is pronounced the same way as the name of the program would be by a French speaker.

Another interesting thing is that it is translated in more than 40 languages, perhaps that should be added to the Wikipedia article.

Here’s a short video on youtube that gives us a brief look at it. “Online Tutorial: GCompris Educational Software“.

I have fond memories of using GCompris with adults and children so make sure you check it out.

“The most essential resource of any society is not a physical resource, it’s a psycho-social resource. It’s the spirit of good will; the spirit of helping your neighbour.” — Richard Stallman

OpenOffice.org 3.0


Exciting stuff, OpenOffice.org 3.0 release candidate 1 is available to download from the website. It is not recommended for production deployment at this stage but it is suitable for use for anyone who wants to help with initial bug reporting, issues or errors.

Anyone wanting to download OpenOffice.org 2 can do so here, it is a great software package and it is totally free of any licence fees, and free to distribute.

Happy Birthday to GNU

Happy birthday GNU 🙂 Thank you to all the GNU hackers that write free software, thank you for giving me so much freedom when I use my computer and thanks from my friends who I share it with 😀

Check out GNU and FSF audio and video repository to learn more.

September 2, 2008 by Bradley M. Kuhn – SFLC

Twenty-five years ago this month, I had just gotten my first computer, a Commodore 64, and was learning the very basics (quite literally) of programming. Unfortunately for my education, it would be a full eight years before I’d be permitted to see any source code to a computer program that I didn’t write myself. I often look back at those eight years and consider that my most formative years of programming learning were wasted, since I was not permitted to study the programs written by the greatest minds…Read more

Mike Linksvayer, September 2nd, 2008 – Creative Commons Weblog

One of the movements and projects directly inspired by GNU is Creative Commons. We’re still learning from the free software movement. On a practical level, all servers run by Creative Commons are powered by GNU/Linux and all of the software we develop is free software.

So please join us in wishing the GNU project a happy 25th birthday by spreading a happy birthday video from comedian Stephen Fry. The video, Freedom Fry, is released under a CC Attribution-NoDerivatives license…Read more

BadVista campaign

In January the Green Party and Greenpeace issued warnings about the tremendous threat posed to the environment by the disposable computer mentality promoted in Microsoft’s $500-million Windows Vista marketing campaign. Vista has steep hardware requirements which in turn means that to use it, most people will have to throw their current computer into a landfill and buy a new one.

Vista is essentially designed to monitor what people do, and in particular to limit what they can do with digital media files. These limits obstruct common and legally protected uses like sharing news story clips and copying text from government documents. Vista has been engineered from the ground up as a DRM and Treacherous Computing platform.

Vista has also been designed for easy updating from a central authority, so that new restrictions can always be imposed, disabling certain features or programs.

Fortunately, people do not have to accept these restrictions on their freedom. Instead, they can reject Microsoft Windows Vista in favour of a free software distribution of GNU/Linux.

The FSF has a petition for anyone who wishes to join them in speaking out against these restrictions, as organizations or individuals.

ACTA threatens free software

ACTA, the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement, is a proposed enforcement treaty between United States, the European Community, Switzerland, Japan, Australia, the Republic of Korea, Mexico and New Zealand, with Canada set to join in the near future.

Although the proposed treaty’s title suggests that the agreement deals only with counterfeit physical goods (such as medicines), what little information has been made available publicly by negotiating governments about the content of the treaty makes it clear that it will have a far broader scope, and in particular, will deal with new tools targeting “Internet distribution and information technology”. www.fsf.org/campaigns/acta

This agreement makes it more difficult to distribute free software. Without file sharing and P2P technologies like BitTorrent, distributing large amounts of free software becomes much harder, and more expensive. BitTorrent is a grassroots protocol that allows everyone to contribute to legally distributing free software.

It will make it harder for users of free operating systems to play media. Consumers will no longer be able to buy media without DRM — and DRMed media cannot be played with free software.

To date, disturbingly little information has been released about the actual content of the agreement. However, despite that, it is clearly on a fast track; treaty proponents want it completed by the end of 2008.

Many civil rights groups like the Electronic Frontier Foundation oppose ACTA, calling for more public spotlight on the proposed treaty. A British study found that iPods owned by persons 14-24 today contain an average of more than 840 tracks downloaded on file-sharing networks, nearly fifty percent of all music possessed by this segment. The same study also found that 95% of individuals falling under this category have copied music in some way. Some critics argue that the ACTA directly incriminates the ordinary consumer activity.

I found an excellent article on the Knowledge Ecology Studies website written by Aaron Shaw. Its all about ACTA and what we can do about it.

ACTA would create unduly harsh legal standards that do not reflect contemporary principles of democratic government, free market exchange, or civil liberties. Even though the precise terms of ACTA remain undecided, the negotiants’ preliminary documents reveal many troubling aspects of the proposed agreement. For example, ACTA advocates intend to further criminalize non-commercial copyright and trademark infringements. They also aim to reinforce so-called “Digital Rights Management” (DRM) technologies that currently prevent the personal, legal reproduction of optical discs like DVDs and trample on “fair use” rights. In addition, rights owner lobby groups want the agreement to undermine legal safeguards that protect Internet Service Providers (ISPs) from liability for the actions of their subscribers. It would also facilitate privacy violations by trademark and copyright holders against private citizens suspected of infringement activities without any sort of legal due process.

All of these provisions threaten to reach far beyond existing U.S. and E.U. legal norms without any mandate from the appropriate, elected legislative bodies that govern them. As such, the trade officials involved in ACTA negotiations demonstrate a surprising disregard for their own countries’ democratic political processes and public welfare. They also threaten to overturn the existing balance of rights and regulations established through global governance institutions.

disc drm copyrightlock

Creative Commons Australia Mayer and Bettle Sequel

I’ve been looking at free software for hosting your own site similar to youtube. Im leaning towards Plumi and have also thought about using phpmotion. I spend way to much time looking at the sites using the software and watching lots of videos about all kinds of interesting things. I thought this one was pretty cool.

From the page “Creative Commons Australia Mayer and Bettle Sequel

Full description

The kooky CC duo Mayer and Bettle are back! This film they are exploring what’s been happening in Creative Commons over the last two years. Like the previous animation, this sequel was commissioned to inform young people (mainly targeted at upper high school) about the Creative Commons licences, placing their use within a context that young people could understand. This film was animated by Pete Foley, with sound and music by Chris Perren. The project was co-ordinated by Elliott Bledsoe, from Creative Commons Australia. The animation was commissioned for the QUT Smart Train, which was launched in Brisbane on last Friday, and is now on its 5 week journey around Queensland.

Also checkout the http://www.engagemedia.org site.

I also randomly ended up watching this video of a talk about open access for governments.

Worlds best paint software for kids

Watch the Tux Paint video on Youtube
. Or download high resolution(810×630) Tux Paint video in Ogg, Avi and Flash format.

Tux paint is Free software. Visit the Tux Paint home page and download your free copy today.

Bill Kendrick has lots of awesome software. Check out New Breed Software – Games and stuff for Linux, Windows, Mac, Dreamcast, Zaurus and more.

Hands down Tux Paint is the best drawing program for children ages 3 to 12.

For more info check out the Tux Paint article on Wikipedia.

Open source tools in Secondlife – Builders Buddy

I’ve been thinking about what other useful tools I can introduce to educators in secondlife. Builders Buddy is useful for people interested in building. I put together a small package with a tutorial, you can get a copy of builders buddy in sl. Watch the Builders Buddy video on youtube to see what it is. Probably one of the cool things I didn’t mention was wearing it as an attachment and using it to rez a few seats that would follow you around. Maybe I’ll make a part 2 video that also looks at the configuration options at the top of the main script. People used to proprietary products in sl would probably know of something like this that’s usually called a rez box.