Finally My Province, Manitoba, Gets FLOSS

“Open textbooks are textbooks licensed under open copyright licenses and made available online for students, teachers and members of the public. Through the new initiative, faculty members will be able to provide content in the highest-enrolled academic subject areas.”
 
See New Program Will Make Free Online Textbooks Available to Manitoba Post-Secondary Students
Well, FLOSS as textbooks anyway. Instead of post-secondary students paying >$100 per copy of a textbook they may only use for a year, they will be able to use on-line texts for the cost of access to the Internet. Indeed, Manitoba will forgo interest on students’ loans.

Now, if only they figured out that taxpayers’ money could be saved by using FLOSS (Free/Libre Open Source Software) in IT… They have opened their eyes to see a bigger picture in education; perhaps IT will follow.

The federal government is another matter. I just spent two months on a wild goose chase where department A told me to ask department B for some data but department C is now in charge. C told me they were created in 2000 and B had not given them the pre-2000 data. A closer look at B’s website told me they didn’t even have a phone number to talk to citizens about general inquiries. Finding no way to request the information, I lied and told them I wanted information about ###### and, on the third level of the menu, got to wait 20 minutes for a real human being. He was decent, but informed me his department did not have the data A required. Now, back to A… Apparently the information I require is to prove I have actually lived in Canada a minimum of 40 years… I’m 65 and can do the maths… Can they? They want to know the precise date I returned to Canada from Saudi Arabia back in the 1980s… I’ve lived in Canada at least 62 years and have documents to prove that but they won’t even look at them… They’ve given me 30 days to make them prove to themselves that that is the case… I’ve also talked with the Feds about FLOSS and they can hardly pronounce the term, they are so locked in.

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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7 Responses to Finally My Province, Manitoba, Gets FLOSS

  1. Mac Taylor says:

    “As for the cost of education rising, it’s still one of the best investments a society can make at any price. Typically, the cost of education is teachers’ salaries + stuff.”

    No argument there from me. I think teachers should be among the highest paid industries, they’re the ‘key’ to future generations.

  2. DrLoser wrote, “I’d welcome your opinion on the Ashley Madison site security leaks.”

    From what I’ve seen and read, the folks who run that operation had little integrity, certainly not enough to run a trustworthy server. At least every bit of personal information should have been encrypted. At least they should have made “dumping” impossible to do from the web. A good firewall on the database could have done some good.

    Another clue that the operators lacked integrity and certainly gave little consideration to users/suckers/victims was that many of the entries in the database marked “female” were actually fabricated in house or were duplicates, many leading to the same e-mail addresses. While not protecting users from intruders they were also preying upon their own users. I can’t see much chance of any other outcome but bankruptcy and/or prison for a bunch of the crew. Indeed, a jury might have a hard time convicting the hackers who exposed the crimes at A-M. Just consider the potential number of lawsuits and the poor chance A-M has of winning any of them… It could be a decade or more before all the dust settles. How many more such huge intrusions are necessary before folks take security more seriously?

    Security certainly is easier with FLOSS because you can easily limit the code to what is necessary to do the job and you can install as many layers of security as appropriate. They were using GNU/Linux from the beginning, so they have no excuse that the code was hidden or that problems were not fixable.

  3. oiaohm says:

    http://www.computerworld.com/article/2982959/cybercrime-hacking/ashley-madison-coding-blunder-made-11m-passwords-easy-to-crack.html

    The reality is Ashley Madison is something that could happen on any OS. Internal developers did not have good operating processes. Due to their code being closed it was not open to outside inspection. The lack of good internal processes means Ashley Madison hack is being more damaging.

    FOSS the code based might have helped with good management.

    How many Ashley Madison users were not obeying the security rule of a Unique password per site. The fall out from the hack is not complete yet.

    http://www.theregister.co.uk/2015/08/26/ashley_maddison_rival_hack_allegation/

    Something people over look. It is suggested that Ashley Maddison had been undertaking cyber crime against their competitors. Yes someone using cyber crime to gain market share is more likely to be targeted for cyber crime against them.

    Going FOSS is not a magic cure all. Going FOSS gives you access lower cost code base auditing groups. Of course is your project management if you use those effectively or not.

  4. dougman says:

    EASY, even if the database is hosted on a Linux box, the dogfood being routinely used is continuously abused and hacked.

    Links in emails + Windows OS = MAJOR PROBLEM

    It’s not entirely hard to fathom as to how this happened is it?

  5. DrLoser says:

    No obvious place to put this, Robert … but I’d welcome your opinion on the Ashley Madison site security leaks.
    I, of course, have my own opinions. But I’m not going to anchor you with them
    So, what was it? Could FLOSS have helped?

  6. Mac Taylor wrote, “Lotteries and horse track betting used to be organized crime action, now it’s a state backed activity. Makes you wonder; Who are the criminals now?”

    Crime? Not if governments make the rules. Since most folks buying lottery tickets can’t do maths and are poor this is just a tax on the poor. Solution? Be smart. Don’t buy lottery tickets. As for the cost of education rising, it’s still one of the best investments a society can make at any price. Typically, the cost of education is teachers’ salaries + stuff. I was a teacher. Up North, we didn’t get an increase in pay for a decade. It got so bad the federal government was issuing top-up amounts to help keep teachers in the game. Meanwhile, in the south, unionized teachers got regular pay increases. We allow businesses to incorporate. We should allow teachers to unionize. It’s all about competition in the market.

  7. Mac Taylor says:

    Locked-in may be just a small part of government work. Governments started with a list of goals but have lost or abandoned items within that list along the way thru hidden agendas here-and-there.

    For example, look at New York state in USA; The lotteries and OTB (Off-Track betting) was legalized a while back to lower school and other taxes. Well, there are billions of dollars taken in but school and property taxes have increased obscenely to the point where many households have moved from NY to other states.

    Lotteries and horse track betting used to be organized crime action, now it’s a state backed activity. Makes you wonder; Who are the criminals now?

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