Want to build a new generation of free software users? Support projects such as Edubuntu.
My sister-in-law works at an afterschool program for elementary school students. It’s flexible and inexpensive, which is very nice: these kids wouldn’t have many options for safe adult supervision without it.
Of course, that means the program has very little money, especially for luxuries such as a computer.
My brother scrounged up an aging eMachine and installed Edubuntu. All of a sudden, a 400 MHz machine without an Internet connection and with no hope of installing legitimately-purchased educational software had plenty of colorful free software and an interface clear enough for my three year old nephew to find his favorite games. (He likes the colors and shapes game with the train.)
Sure, I always knew that free software provided a lot of value on older hardware, but actually seeing an investment of half an hour turn a discarded computer into a usable tool was amazing.
I can only imagine what it’s like on a thin-client network.
Kudos to everyone who has software in Edubuntu! I think one of my projects for 2007 has just become to write a piece of educational software.