[Linux-aus] Young Aussies say pirated software is OK

Gregory Orange gregory.orange at metoceanengineers.com
Tue Feb 17 13:44:36 EST 2009

David Newall wrote:
> Paul Wayper wrote:
>> Harry WWC wrote:
>> | we are *required* to teach the main tools used in commercial businesses.
>> | People come to us to learn the tools used in business.
>> Would an electrician be expected to train their apprentices in using only
>> Clipsal fittings, or Makita drills, because that's the "main tool" used?
> Reductio ad absurdum, should all electricians be expected to train their
> apprentices in use of Auslec fittings if they've only got 3% share of
> the market?  (Clipsal is different, right?)  If one has to get students
> to actually use software to teach it, then perhaps it would be churlish
> to criticise the schools for teaching the brand with the 90% share.

I see a chicken and egg situation. In office situations, I've come 
across "the grads know Matlab, so we have to use Matlab. Buy Matlab 
licences", same for receptionists and Microsoft Word, etc. On the other 
hand in school "they're using MS Excel in 'the industry', we have to 
teach that". Round and round it goes.

There might be reasons to opt for one software package in a given 
situation, be it school, office or elsewhere. When "they're using x 
elsewhere" is the only reason, I think it needs to be challenged[1] 
because the software options are not _that_ different. I read somewhere 
recently about teachers yearning to teach concepts rather than rote 
learning. Same thing applies (maybe more so) to IT. Lower high school 
assignment: use three different word processors to create the same 
document, bonus points for ${fancyFeature}.

I think there's a big difference between education and training. If 
someone wants to be trained to use tool x, then that's what you teach. 
If someone wants to learn how to write a letter on a computer, then the 
options are much broader. My Dad teaches computing stuff at a senior 
citizens' centre, and IIRC they introduce them to email via GMail but 
then tell them to go create an account on some other service if they wish.

[1] Note I said challenged, not stomped on. Sometimes it's required to 
have a very high level of compatibility with a format that's not really 
knowable, e.g. Microsoft's .doc


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