Netherlands Education Abjectly Submits to M$

In 1944/1945 my father risked his life to liberate The Netherlands from tyranny and now the Ministry of Education has submitted the school system to another tyranny, M$’s lock-in, without a fight. The Netherlands has been very friendly to FLOSS. Why this turnabout? Has EDGI been at work?

Here’s the problem on the front lines:
” When a school deploys Magister students are required to go online and use Magister via their browser. For them the tool is web-based. Till 2008 there where no issues, but in 2008 Schoolmaster, the company behind Magister, partnered with Microsoft and Siverlight was chosen as the tool of choice. Since Magister 5.x problems have been mounting for students using other browsers than Internet Explorer or another operating system than Windows. Microsoft and Schoolmaster state that Magister is truly multiplatform because Silverlight is available for Windows, Mac OS X and Linux. Well, as most Linux fans and users know, there is an open source implementation for Silverlight. It’s called Moonlight and to call it a crappy implementation would be giving it too much credit. Students using Moonlight can’t get Silverlight to work.”

Let’s hope the politicians get a good kick in their rear ends and change the status quo. The Netherlands does not owe M$ a living and should not submit its students to indoctrination by M$ through the back door of a service provider. We have seen this tactic before. Some higher-up negotiates lock-in with some supplier, pays huge amounts of taxpayers’ money and the service is provided to schools for $0. Essentially government is subsidizing M$ and non-free software. They should make Free Software the default, save the taxpayers’ money and invest in something productive for society.

About Robert Pogson

I am a retired teacher in Canada. I taught in the subject areas where I have worked for almost forty years: maths, physics, chemistry and computers. I love hunting, fishing, picking berries and mushrooms, too.
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34 Responses to Netherlands Education Abjectly Submits to M$

  1. John McRae says:

    It’s an analogy, twit, not an equation.

    A horrible one, you lunatic. One that is tantamount to pissing on the graves of everryone who has faught, or lived through a real war and faced real tyranny, including your father.

    History AIX it did not start on power. In started on ROMP.

    Irrelevent. AIX still runs primarily on Power. FYI, it was originally released for the 6150 RISC workstation.

    Next was IBM Personal System/2 that was x86 then evaluationally to start of the power chips.

    a) PS/2 was a proprietary architecture, and b) it was never the primary platform for AIX (the first Power release was the same time as the first PS/2 release).

    If nothing else, the 6150 was the evolutionary start of the Power architecture.

    Primarily platform for AIX at one time was x86 That ended with Linux.

    Given that the PS/2 was neither AIX’s primary platform, nor x86, that’s a whole load of irrelevence. Not to mention that the last release of AIX on PS/2 was in 1992, when Linux was in its infancy and barely usable.

    AIX these days only runs on Power

    I’m glad that despite your HERPADERP I know everything attitude you agree that AIX runs primarily on Power.

    Not primarily it is only every other CPU it has supported is discontinued.

    PowerPC isn’t discontinued. I’d hate to break it to you, but Apple was not only not the only ones using PPC, but they were IBM’s smallest PPC customer.

    Mainly because there is an advantage on power the rest you are better off running Linux. Linux will perform better than AIX.

    You’re going to have to provide citations for that, unless this is one of your OnlyOhiohamKnows(tm) moments.

    There is no upsell. IBM makes no more selling you a server with AIX as it does selling you a server with Linux.

    They upsell from x86 systems to Power system, you twat. All this is still irrelevent ot the fact that AIX runs primarily on Power.

    If Linux ever gets the means to run great on power AIX inside a few months will completely disappear.

    So two sentences after saying that Linux runs better on Power than AIX, you’re saying that it doesn’t. How very typical of you, dolding.

    So IBM cannot just upsell AIX for everything because that will not work

    A special purpose OS on a special purpose architecture doesn’t outperform a general purpose OS at general purpose workloads, OMFG what a revelation!

    Basically waving AIX around as IBM not support Linux is really stupid.

    I love how you go on this completely irrelevent rant based solely on my entirely factual statement that AIX runs primarily on Power. Nice strawman, asshat.

    Ie killed x86 because AIX cannot out perform Linux on x86.

    LOL. Yes, IBM killed on AIX and PS/2 in 1993 because Linux, in 1993 outperformed it. Nice revisionist history there, jackass.

    Nevermind that the architecture was killed off 4 years after it was introduced due to howit was an entirely proprietary architecture that was too expensive to produce, and too expensive for the customers who prefered 286 Wintel clones that would extend their existing PCs, rather than replace them with something new.

    It was, of course, all about Linux, which didn;t even see its 1.0 release until a year after PS/2 was discontinued. And let’s of course, forget that OS\2 ever existed, and pretend like IBM never tried to push that on the x86 platform.

  2. oiaohm says:

    Phenom I hope have got the memo about MS ending support for Silverlight as well.

    So java Linux and flash solution still on going.

    Even after adobe leaves flash open source will still have functional flash engines.

  3. oiaohm says:

    “Yes there are critical reasons for keeping AIX around with powerpc.”
    John McRae
    “AIX runs primarily on POWER, you idiot.”

    History AIX it did not start on power. In started on ROMP.

    Next was IBM Personal System/2 that was x86 then evaluationally to start of the power chips.

    Primarily platform for AIX at one time was x86. That ended with Linux.

    AIX these days only runs on Power. Not primarily it is only every other CPU it has supported is discontinued. Mainly because there is an advantage on power the rest you are better off running Linux. Linux will perform better than AIX.

    Note it optional if you get a power server with AIX. You can just as simple choose Linux. Price difference is nothing. IBM gives AIX basically away for free with the hardware. There is no upsell. IBM makes no more selling you a server with AIX as it does selling you a server with Linux.

    If Linux ever gets the means to run great on power AIX inside a few months will completely disappear. There is just a performance difference between the two.

    For particular work loads AIX on power is slower than Linux on power. So IBM cannot just upsell AIX for everything because that will not work.

    Directory layout of AIX directly follows what redhat looks like. Nothing about AIX configuration is that unique an more. Its a dieing OS. Even IBM at times admits this John McRae like when they discontinued AIX conferences.

    Basically waving AIX around as IBM not support Linux is really stupid. Thinking Linux is the reason why IBM states over and over again for killing off particular cpu support from AIX. Ie killed x86 because AIX cannot out perform Linux on x86.

  4. I am proud of my father’s contribution to the liberation of The Netherlands. It was the best and worst of times for him. I remember he had nightmares about it a decade after the war ended. Clearly, M$ is not killing people wholesale as the bad guys in that war did but they do the commercial equivalent. Hitler took parts of Europe by extortion just as M$ takes over OEMs and retailers. Who knows how many small businesses with great ideas have been killed by the monopoly?

    It’s an analogy, twit, not an equation.

    I was not first to describe the OS wars as war. See M$.
    Evangelism is War
    Our mission is to establish Microsoft’s platforms as the de facto standards throughout the computer industry. Our enemis are the vendors of platforms that compete with ours: Netscape, Sun, IBM, Oracle, Lotus, etc. The field of battle is the software industry. … Our weapons are psychological, economic, and political – not military. … Working behind the scenes to orchestrate “independent” praise of our technology, and damnation of the enemy’s, is a key evangelism function during the Slog. “Independent” analyst’s report should be issued, praising your technology and damning the competitors (or ignoring them). “Independent” consultants should write columns and articles, give conference presentations and moderate stacked panels, all on our behalf (and setting them up as experts in the new technology, available for just $200/hour). “Independent” academic sources should be cultivated and quoted (and research money granted). “Independent” courseware providers should start profiting from their early involvement in our technology. Every possible source of leverage should be sought and turned to our advantage.

  5. John McRae says:

    Yes there are critical reasons for keeping AIX around with powerpc.

    AIX runs primarily on POWER, you idiot.

  6. John McRae says:

    I stopped reading by the end of the first paragraph.

    To compare Microsoft software to the nazi occupation of Holland, and to liken FOSS to the liberation is not only an inult to the people who lived through the Nazi occupation of Holland, and the the soldiers who gave their lives to liberate them, but to everyone who’s ever lived through or fought in a war, everyone who’s lived real tyranny.

    Poor, sheltered, spoiled little Canadian, isolated in your vantage point, far away from the nastiness of the world. How I envy anyone who lives a life so sheltered they equate source code availability to tyranny.

    And this, on the eve of Rememberance Day, you picked a great time to take a steaming dump on not only your father’s grave, but the graves of everyone who gave their lives to fight real tyranny.

    You should be ashamed of yourself.

    In Flanders fields the poppies blow
    Between the crosses, row on row,
    That mark our place; and in the sky
    The larks, still bravely singing, fly
    Scarce heard amid the guns below.

    We are the Dead. Short days ago
    We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
    Loved and were loved, and now we lie,
    In Flanders fields.

    Take up our quarrel with the foe:
    To you from failing hands we throw
    The torch; be yours to hold it high.
    If ye break faith with us who die
    We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
    In Flanders fields.

    Think about that, will you.

  7. oiaohm says:

    Phenom AIX is kept around for powerpc hardware. IBM has stopped AIX for all x86 and non powerpc hardware.

    Of course Phenom would not have been noticing the AIX systems userspace slowly being replaced by more and more GNU parts. So AIX is slowly one cut at a time ceasing containing less closed source.

    This slow rot out is common in most Unix’s in existence.

    Yes there are critical reasons for keeping AIX around with powerpc. Powerpc has a few tricks that can generate greater performance that Linux kernel is not designed at this stage to take advantage of.

    One of these Powerpc tricks that is also an arm trick is changing cpu Endian mode on fly that the Linux kernel is not designed to take advantage of but AIX is. So providing more optimised processing of different processing problems.

    Implementing for Linux is not going to be simple thinking gcc complier is not built to cope with the event of Endian changing on fly.

  8. oldman says:

    “And IBM keeps developing their AIX. Linux for the cheap, AIX for the rich and demanding.”

    Actually the interesting thing is how cheap in ibm z114 Mainframe with The IFL (Integrated facility for Linux) really is. for someware up to $300K one can get a server that can support literally a thousand virtual machines under ibm zVM. Those servers can run either REd Hat or SUSE or zLinux. One can even attach commodity storage to these beasts.


  9. Phenom says:

    Right-leaning (thanks for the expression, new to me) would gladly use something free as long as they can monetarize it. Typically rightish. And IBM keeps developing their AIX. Linux for the cheap, AIX for the rich and demanding.

  10. You mean like IBM? The French police? Peugeot? Wow, who’d have thought they would be left-leaning?

  11. oiaohm says:

    Mark something to save you some licenses there are web developer virtual machine images to run IE 7 IE 8 from MS that you don’t require a Windows license to use.

    Yes the Magister case is a classic reason why it pays to have access to the source code and the data storage format of what you depend on. Current Magister is complete crap compared to the other options.

    Yes this kinda shows how desperate it getting to have web developers support IE they give away virtual machine images to test with.

    I have had the luck of only one or two places with Magister. Mark but all those able to migrate off to something open source and way saner.

  12. Phenom says:

    Pogson, right-thinking people are the least likely ones to support your notion. F(L)OSS support is purely a left-thinking notion.

    Of course, I mean the left and right in the context of views on economy.

  13. At least citizens can vote the fools who brought this in out of office… Here in Canada our government was locked into the firearms registry until we merged parties to gain a majority of representatives to chuck the firearms registry. Presumably a coalition of right-thinking people could also correct this problem in The Netherlands.

  14. oiaohm says:

    Phenom you are wrong on thin client bit and electronic testing devices. usb over ip on thin-client machines I have driven devices like that. Scary enough even firmware flashed that way. I have also driving software oscilloscopes this way using the sound input on the on the thin client.

    What ever you can do with a standard desktop application you can pretty much do at a thin client unless it has 3d graphics(Linux developers are working on this problem virtual screen outputs on GPU that then can be sent over network) or something needing milli seconds response times. Only areas in teaching that I have found that requires this is music and games. Most electronic data capture devices buffer provides more lag than the network.

    You most likely forgot the thinclient usb interface for flash drives and other devices. Yes it is other devices. Printers scanners electronics testing devices… all work.

    I have seen a HTML5 oscilloscopes using html5 device interface to access sound card. I have also used flash and java historically in the past todo the same thing. Yes ericsson is determined to add this feature for some reason to html5.

    Raw hardware access from web browser really should not be possible even with Silverlight just as it should not with HTML5.

    Exactly how is the device interfacing Phenom.

    I somehow think you have gone the wrong way Phenom.

    I am really looking forward to raspberrypi for people doing electronics classes. If you blow up a 25 to 35 dollar device because student did something wrong is not the end of world. They will make quite decent thin clients when they are not being risked in electronic experiments as software made test equipment.

    When you are in a lab doing a hands on experiment I normally do avoid thin clients and web interfaces. You have enough items to go wrong without adding extras.

    Most likely Phenom you never assessed the cross platform options. So now you have a lab experiment that cannot be done on basically disposable hardware.

    Yes the blackboard is gone. But there are wise ways todo things. Silverlight is more often the idiots way out and leads to expensive hardware being ruined without valid cause.

    Of course I guess it never crossed you mind that thinclients can be throw away stand alone devices. Lot are reconfigured by changing the inserted sd card so changing the local software from one that connect to a remote server as a thin client to being an oscilloscope or other testing devices running locally.

    You damage a PC in a class doing an electronic experiment it is a issue. Blow up a 100 dollar or less thin client in a error this mostly will go unnoticed unless you are doing a lot in.

    I always find it funny how many people are not aware a that the thin client they have can run all by it self. Of course this is not all thinclients some can some cannot. Of course the ones than can run stand alone are simpler to debug and reconfigure.

  15. Mark says:

    I’m from The Netherlands and, in contrary to many of the posters above, I’m *personally* encountering the the result of this shameless tactics of the producer of that other OS.

    My children go to the secondary school, and because Magister as a market share of about 80%, they are required to use Magister to see their school results.

    The *only* way of doing this in a free software situation (Linux/Ubuntu) is to setup a virtual session of Windows. To make things worse: this is the *only* reason why I they are required to use Windows and why I have to spend my precious time in doing something I don’t want to do.

    Everything in the article of the Free Software Foundation is true:
    – Moonlight (the excuse for MS to state that Silverlight is cross-platform) does NOT work (I’ve tried that!), and it is deliberately done so by linking to libraries specific to Windows.
    – Magister *did* work until version 5, somewhere around 2008 after they had made a strategic partnership with MS; so, again, this it is no coincidence

    And the most ridiculous part: why use a graphical framework for an administrative program (which Magister is)? If you use Magister (which I do), you can use all kind of useless animations which are functionally not required and even distracting.

    To sum up:
    – Silverlight is functionally not needed for Magister
    – Schoolmaster (the maker of Magister) is guided my MS under false pretense to use Silverlight
    – before that ‘strategic partnership’, Magister was indeed cross-platform and cross-browser
    – Moonlight does not work
    – Magister only works on Windows

    How bad this my be, the good thing is that people start to wake up and see the problem: Magister does only work on Windows, Apple users also have this probem. And people also recognise that the source of the problem is indeed MS.

  16. Phenom says:

    Pogson, you simply cannot use thin clients for many types of exercises. Example: an engineering lab with an electronic testing device, where students supply current to different connectors and test a circuit. One set per student, a group of 50. Students operate on it, and the simulation is carried out by the software. Saves huge money on hardware equipment. You can do this in Silverlight, you can do it in a stardart desktop application, but you can’t do it in HTML5, or in any thin client.

    Please try to see beyond video. I hinted many possible forms of e-learning, but you are too slow to get any notion than your old habits. But education is moving forward from the old blackboard, no matter if you like it or not.

  17. twitter says:

    Silverlight has all the relevance and following of Zune. Remember how Microsoft was supposed to remake their whole web site based on it? What a bad joke. Google hangouts are more interesting than Microsoft’s wrong headed and poorly performing attempt to replace Flash and lock everyone out of the Olympic games.

    The GNU/Linux world, of course, is filled with excellent video and game software. Where do Windows users get their ideas about free software? It must be that they are too busy to do proper research because they are downloading and upgrading Videolan and the 20 or so other free software programs that make Windows useful.

  18. oiaohm says:

    Phenom “adaptive streaming, enhanced playback control” LOL red5 and addons.

    Please look up ulteo, red5 and moodle.

    “Online video conferencing, virtual classrooms with e-blackboard, virtual labs, hands-on labs, self-assessment, e-testing?”

    Done the lot three open source parts can be expanded on with other open source parts for more compatibility. Yes they can be all integrated into 1 final solution. In fact the first 2 can be used with lots of other solutions.

    “The only viable alternative to SL is Flash, which is kinda proprietary, too. A well-known fact that our dear forum-polluter Ohio failed to observe.”

    Really no. Shock horror red5 client works with open source implementation of flash without issue. I can deliver everything you are talking about without requiring problems.

    Also shock horror is with red 5 client does not have flash, jwplayer can also be provide as a fall back on html5 as well as other live stream options. They are able to at min watch without requiring anything more than html5 on there machine. Ok I can live with students only able to send me text messages and stills of what they are doing as long as they are getting my stream.

    Note at this point I have not coded anything new all the parts I am using are off the shelf solutions. That all have premade glue code blocks.

    All bar binding ulteo in there is a premade Zero dollar solution. Of course this does bind in others.

    There is also openmeetings that is an option to bolt into moodle instead of raw red5 providing more features.

    I know we are talking education but I am going to state something clear. Most porn live video feed sites are based on red5 as well. So yes html5 interface will come for the devil. It highly well maintained so why would you mess around with second rate silverlight stuff.

    And of course I have not got the best bit yet.

    I am using red5. I have clients with Silverlight and no flash is this a problem. Nop. yes there is a Silverlight interface to flash streaming video protocols.

    So yes html5 clients, flash clients, Silverlight clients all can get access to a red5 server since its a flash streaming protocols. Silverlight video streaming protocol are you nuts. Serous-ally are you nuts.

    RTMP, RTMPT, RTMPS for video is what you use because it universally supported by everything thing to some extent.

    Serous point is Magister is crap. Silverlight brings no benefits to e-learning except in the minds of idiots.

    Reason because e-learning only can happen if students machines can view the content. Red5,ulteo and Moodle provides access to the most student machines possible.

    Phenom get this point I don’t just use FOSS. My prime goals most of the time is the best solutions from the point of view of the most people who can access it.

    Of course video from webcams lacking adaptive feeds is a issue. But html5 does a good sip phone. and others. So you can still talk to the student.

    Phenom serous-ally what is the point of providing something electronically if users/students/customers cannot access it.

    Tell me what is wrong with the combination of parts I am using Phenom. I can tell you what is wrong with the silver-light solution you are locking people out. Non productive action.

    The free stuff is feature packed. Its more not being kid in a candy store are setting up more than you can manage.

  19. Someone says:

    People actually use Silverlight?

    I’ve never once come across a video that wasn’t either in Flash or HTML5.

  20. Those all depend on video and are far from essential. A smartboard costs $thousands and does little more than a projector and screen for ~$500. Consider price/performance and video falls down the shopping list. If I really needed video a lot, I would use thin clients that can do gigabit/s before I would ever go back to thick clients. If I had a whole lab doing diverse videos at the same time, thick clients would be the thing but not otherwise. There is no way a school should spend thousands more on a lab for a feature only occasionally used. I remember a school division that had expensive video conferencing equipment in dozens of schools. I had been teaching there for months before someone came along to show me how to use it and certainly no teacher in the school of 500 students had been using it without my knowledge. It was a huge waste of capital. On the other hand thin clients will be used for hours every day on every seat. They are well worth the money.

  21. Phenom says:

    Pogson, is it possible that you leave video alone for a minute, and focus on other possible applications? Online video conferencing, virtual classrooms with e-blackboard, virtual labs, hands-on labs, self-assessment, e-testing?

  22. One can do a Hell of a lot of educating without using any video at all. Flash and Silverlight have not been a major component of anything I have done in classrooms, ever. I once worked in a school that had a streaming video subscription and another school had a pretty good library of VHS tapes but they did not even bother to catalogue it until I came along. I had to put into MySQL and sort and print it to make it useful. I have worked in a lot of schools.

  23. Phenom says:

    Pogson, you keep focusing on video, and ignore all other benefits that SL can bring to e-learning. I don’t know for you, Pogson, but I have taken part in some serious projects related to authoring and presentation of e-learning content. I can tell you that e-learning does not end with making a PowerPoint or Impress presentation. Interactive content, hands-on labs, self-assessment, e-testing… Some of these are possible in HTML5, but some are definitely not.

    The only viable alternative to SL is Flash, which is kinda proprietary, too. A well-known fact that our dear forum-polluter Ohio failed to observe.

  24. oldman says:

    “What having a hard time getting around the fact a person could be as broad skilled as me. This is why I hit from so many angles. It depends what I was doing for what angle my mind is currently.”

    I believe they call that a jack of all trades a master of none, Mr. Ohio Ham.

    Get over yourself.

  25. I am using a thin client and I can do video, just not full-screen. Video is not that important. If I do need it I have other machines that can do full-screen video. It’s not hard. Just use your imagination. In a school or other organization there can be a mix of PCs. 80-90% of them can be thin clients running GNU/Linux with no effect on productivity except positively. In schools, I recommend the teacher’s PC be an LTSP server so it can show full-screen video with a projector or large monitor.

  26. Phenom says:

    So, is video YouDon’tNeedThat, Pogson? Let us, just for a minute, accept that students might not need video content. Then what about access to hardware resources for engineering labs? You know, many engineering classes involve usage of external equipment, connected either via USB, or via an old-fashioned COM port. Only SL can handle these at the time being. Further, what about microphone and camera for live video / audio conferences?

    Pogson, not only you fall back to the good old YouDon’tNeedThat, but you are also not careful at all. It doesn’t matter whether Linux has a problem with video. Sure it doesn’t. The important fact is that HTML5 does have problems with video – adaptive streaming, enhanced playback control.

    Now, if you want to abandon HTML5, then you go back to thick clients. According to your own ideology, that would be a regression.

  27. Ivan says:

    “I guess it’s a new generation having forgotten the past.”

    If you really believe that there are similarities between the National Socialists and Microsoft, you should probably take advantage of your Universal Health Care System and seek counseling.

  28. oiaohm says:

    oldman designing systems and deployments with customers is knowing what can and cannot be asked of web developers so you don’t promise the impossible. So just in sales side I had to know that Phenom is telling miss truths.

    My web development is normally limited to solution debugging. I am able skilled high enough todo more but I don’t enjoy the process of web development. Because truthfully my sense of colour combinations is bad.

    My list of what I do is long oldman. If I was required to chip in with web development in php or java or flash doing some html5 and javascript I can. Just I would not enjoy it. I have done some as well.

    To be correct if you go back one of the first things I mentioned here was web development oldman. Just you have forgotten.

    What having a hard time getting around the fact a person could be as broad skilled as me. This is why I hit from so many angles. It depends what I was doing for what angle my mind is currently.

  29. My point that The Netherlands has really experienced tyranny but yet some still walk into M$’s trap with their eyes open. I guess it’s a new generation having forgotten the past. M$’s every bit a tyrant. They just don’t kill people but they do enslave people, extorting money or free labour from hundreds of millions of people.

  30. Moxy says:

    my father risked his life to liberate The Netherlands from tyranny –

    And I’ll bet he’d slap your empty head for making any sort of comparison between fighting Nazis and a software company.

  31. oldman says:

    “Quit before I rip you part for stupidity.”

    Are you now a web developer as well, Mr. techno Janitor?

  32. oiaohm says:

    Phenom where have you been. Don’t you know about the html5 device element

    There is also red5 using flash.

    “No access to hardware resources. Good-bye, virtual labs.”?? You do know there is a html5 vnc and rdp client yes use rdp or vnc server side to what ever with screen been streamed to client by html5 so yes virtual labs are do able on Linux without using silverlight. This is a good example. Windows or Linux lab on line can be done by this. Interesting part since the connection to windows or Linux is rdp you can thin client lab and students can access there virtual machine images without needing to go threw web browser.

    Full video-playing capabilities with adaptive quality. What is youtube? There are many ways of doing adaptive quality. Yes html5 can be got to do it. Again adaptive quality is more a backend feature than a frontend one. Little bit of front end code to request the right stuff.

    html5 is rendering not backend language for hardware interfacing. Java and other things do the backend bit.

    Simple fact here Phenom you did not have one valid limitation going html5 would have provided.

    I can tell you now those features you did list are not dependable under moonlight. Also due to not being html5 and flash combination devices students can use has been limited. For webcam and mic until until html5 device becomes common flash gives you the best device coverage for that feature.

    Student has a ipad guess what. No silverlight or moonlight either. Android tablet again nop. Basically silverlight does not fly if you want to give students the most access to the resources.

    Phenom you have attended too many Microsoft training so know crap about what you can do in web development. Quit before I rip you part for stupidity.

    Yes sad but true silverlight so call features are really nothing. The limitations are the bigger issue with it.

  33. Video is not a problem for GNU/Linux. What makes you think it is? Silverlight has very little benefit for education. M$ designed it to lock in users.

    Video is interesting to students but not particularly educational. In the hierarchy of effectiveness:

    1. hands-on doing stuff in the real world
    2. demonstrations of real stuff in the real world
    3. conversations with educators and students
    4. text
    5. images in black and white
    6. images in colour
    7. video

    Video has lots of negatives for education:
    – some students cannot follow
    – less interaction means less learning
    – colours are dazzling but if they are not part of the solution they are part of the problem (distraction from the educational task)
    – passivity kills education
    – much time is wasted watching a second time or reviewing the matter because students cannot remember all the important details (worse the longer the video)

    No. Silverlight is not God’s gift to education. It is one of the most expensive and least effective tools of schools.

    In case you are addicted to television and cannot see the problem it is this: the bandwidth of humans through vision is terribly small compared to the bandwidth of video, that is the rate of information transfer. That means the human learner must concentrate on some part of the information and skip the rest (like -framedrop). The result is few in the class will get the whole picture at one viewing which lasts 10 minutes. Whereas a teacher can make a list on the chalkboard, do Q&A with students (Socratic method), and do the job perfectly in 5 minutes. The big difference is that the teacher can see the light in students’ eyes and light the group on fire whereas a projector or screen just keeps spewing bits. Even better is throwing students into a situation where they have to solve a problem to survive (games, experiments, constructions, problem solving). Silverlight is the last thing I would put any effort into to get an effective and efficient school system.

    I am a teacher.

    If you still don’t see that Silverlight is low on priorities, consider this demonstration:
    That wildman at the podium, Pogson, starts every class with some challenge to engage students. Today, he interrupts the lecture to throw flaming paper airplanes at students. They duck and run, but the paper airplane vanishes magically a few feet past the Bunsen burner. What has happened? Inquiring minds want to know! It turns out that through the magic of chemistry an oxidizer has been built in to the molecules of the paper and the rate of combustion is accelerated. This connects to all kinds of ideas already in the students’ minds: fire, oxygen, combustion, rates of reaction, properties of acids and so on. This focusses the minds of students on the topic of the lecture and instead of sleeping through it are alert and responsive. Education happens with very little impact to the taxpayer.

  34. Phenom says:

    Pogson, please enlighten me. What is the FLOSS alternative to Silverlight? The only viable alternative to Silverlight I can think of is proprietary, too.

    No, HTML5 is not the answer. Lacking features, even not planned, include:
    * Support for microphone and camera. Good-bye, virtual classrooms.
    * No access to hardware resources. Good-bye, virtual labs.
    * Full video-playing capabilities with adaptive quality.

    You want to cripple education, just to stay away from MS. And you call yourself a “teacher”. You must be ashamed, Pogson.

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