View Source question

K. K. Subramaniam subbukk at
Mon May 19 04:21:00 EDT 2008

On Monday 19 May 2008 8:59:01 am Yoshiki Ohshima wrote:
>   If we are trying use the OLPC XO as the trojan horse of
> disseminating a better idea of computer including operating system, it
> is unfortunate that we needed to use Linux.  It is the most practical
> system to use in the short term, but basically we are using it because
> it is the de-facto standard...
The documented history is that XO was started because the margins in 
educational computers were so thin that no commercial company wanted to be 
part of it. It was upto a bunch of organizations to pool together their 
resources to put together the hardware, software and the rest. I don't 
recollect reading about any effort to pick a standard - de facto or 
otherwise. Any other interpretation is revisionist history. If there is 
another OS that is smaller, faster, cheaper, better (i.e.serves kids better) 
then we could switch to it in a flash :-).

> (And people are rather thinking it 
> better because it is not Windows.  Strange.  Without real education
> content, neither is good enough.)
+1 for bringing in the issue of content. Creating content that is culturally 
and personally meaningful to children across the world is a huge challenge. 
The need for it to be viewable and adaptable needs to be seen in the context 
of encouraging a child to exercise free will during the learning process. 
Reducing it to a Linux vs. Windows or Squeak vs. Python debate dilutes the 
mission and distracts us from the larger goal.

We must be open to use empirical research to find out what kind of 'source' 
will best meet the needs of a child. This is not always the source code which 
produced an artifact. For instance, Xara LX has a button which gradually 
decomposes a vector graphic into its wireframe: (towards the end)

This reveals more to a child about how complex objects are built out of simple 
components than the precise sequence of SVG instructions or the sequence of 
source code which produced Xara LX itself.

So, what do field experiments with kids reveal about "View Source"?


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