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Re: [vox-outreach] Letter to local schools - draft
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Re: [vox-outreach] Letter to local schools - draft

Bill Kendrick wrote:
On Fri, Oct 17, 2003 at 08:29:46AM -0700, Jonathan Stickel wrote:

Rod caught all the little things I noticed. My general impression, though, is that the letter is a little too long and heavy on the philosophy.

Any specific rewrites you could think of? :)

Pasted below. I mainly abbreviated your bullet points. I also touched up some of the text here and there... Sorry, I wasn't sure how to conveniently highlight the changes, so you'll have to read the whole thing.

--begin paste--

My name is Bill Kendrick, and I'm with the Linux Users' Group of
Davis, a non-profit dedicated to the Linux computer operating system,
and to 'Open Source' software in general. I'd like to bring to your
attention a variety of software which you might find useful at your
school. Best of all, it's free.

What's commonly known as the 'Open Source' movement began over 20
years ago, and was simply a formalization of the tradition of sharing
information that computer programmers had been doing since the 1960s.
Software that is released under an Open Source license is available
freely to everyone. The human-readable "source code" behind the program
is available, and this accessibility allows people to fix bugs, add
features, and even create completely new software based on the
existing code.

Open Source provides people with the ability to share ideas and work
together freely. Open sharing of ideas and results which works well
for physicists, doctors, and researchers. It's ideal for software
creation too!

In fact, Open Source software is being embraced by schools,
governments[1], corporations[2], and individuals all over the world.
The Internet itself has always been built on such open software, but
today more Open Source software is being created for 'the average
person,' including teachers and children.

Along with cost, the Open Source model has a number of other
advantages over commercial software:

* Extensibility
Authors of Open Source software are often amazed at the kinds of
uses other people come up with for their work.

* Security
Because the source is available for peer review, bugs and errors are
found more easily.

* Interoperability
Open Source software does not just mean programs for Linux!
Countless Open Source programs are available for Windows, Mac, Unix,
and other operating systems you've probably never heard of!

* Control
Open Source software such as Linux can't be controlled by a single
company. Your school is freed from the obligation of tracking
license certificates, and freed from the risk of audits for
improperly licensed software.

I'd be happy to tell you more, if you are interested. Feel free to
contact me via e-mail at: bill@newbreedsoftware.com, or call me at
home: (XXX) YYY-ZZZZ. In addition, I'll be holding a hands-on
demonstration of an Open Source children's program at the Davis Food
Coop later this month (Sunday, October 26th from 11am to 3pm). I'd be
more than happy to answer any questions then as well.

For now, I'll leave you with a small list of some useful Open Source
software that you can download today and begin using on your computers
tomorrow! If downloading software is troublesome for you, many of
these programs can be purchused for a nominal fee, or local advocates
will gladly provide the software and help with installation.

Celestia http://www.shatters.net/celestia/
"Celestia is a free real-time space simulation that lets you
experience our universe in three dimensions. Unlike most planetarium
software, Celestia doesn't confine you to the surface of the Earth.
You can travel throughout the solar system, to any of over 100,000
stars, or even beyond the galaxy. All travel in Celestia is seamless;
the exponential zoom feature lets you explore space across a huge
range of scales, from galaxy clusters down to spacecraft only a few
meters across. A 'point-and-goto' interface makes it simple to
navigate through the universe to the object you want to visit."

OpenOffice.org http://www.openoffice.org/
"OpenOffice.org 1.1 gives you everything you'd expect in office
software. You can create dynamic documents, analyze data, design
eye-catching presentations, produce dramatic illustrations, and open
up your databases. You can publish your work in Adobe Portable
Document Format (.pdf), and release your graphics in Macromedia Flash
(.swf) format - without needing any additional software." (Also see

Tux Paint http://www.newbreedsoftware.com/tuxpaint/
"Tux Paint is a free drawing program designed for young children
(kids ages 3 and up). It has a simple, easy-to-use interface, fun
sound effects, and a cartoon mascot who helps you along." (Also see

Tux Typing http://tuxtype.sourceforge.net/
"Tux Typing is an educational typing tutor for children. It features
several different types of gamelay, at a variety of difficulty

Wikipedia http://www.wikipedia.org/
"Wikipedia is a free online encyclopedia that is being written
collaboratively by the readers. It contains over 165,000 articles.
Every day hundreds of contributors from around the world make
thousands of edits and create lots of new articles. All of the site's
content is covered by the GNU Free Documentation License, a form of
'Open Source' for texts."

Thank you for your time,

William Kendrick

[1] England, Russia, China, Japan, Korea, India, Brazil, Israel, and the
state of Massachusetts, to name a few.

[2] IBM, Oracle, HP, Sharp, DreamWorks, Intel, AMD, Apple, Amazon, and
Google all use the Linux Operating System, for example.

--end paste--


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