April 2014
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Free Software in Education News – March

Here’s what we collected in March. If you come accross anything that might be worth mentioning in this series, please drop me a note, dump it in this pad or drop it on the edu-eu mailinglist!

FSFE Edu-Team activities

We are still working on our edu pages

Former FSFE vice preseident Henrik Sandklef on Education in general

I already covered it in the last edu post, but as it happened in March, I feel happy to mention Kevin’s blog post about the NLEdu campaign again.


Nice post by Luis Ibanez on “Testing and tinkering with the Arduino Starter Pack

A crowd-sourced article by Greg Hislop about a workshop exploring FOSS in universities

The “Gymnasium Leoninum” in Handrup, Germany describes why they use Free Software (in German)


Free Software opening educational doors in Appalachia. Unfortunately, license cost were the main reason to use Kdenlive and Blender…

edu software

Germán Arias started a campaign to support GNU FisicaLab. GNU FisicaLab is an educational application for solving physics problems. This allows students focus in physics concepts when solving problems, leaving aside the mathematical details. FisicaLab has an extensive documentation, with a lot of examples, to help the student to familiarize quickly with the application.

distro news

OLPC/olpc dead or alive: Survey on the status of olpc

future events

  • April 11-13: EduCamp Frankfurt (M), Germany
  • April 12-13: Sugar Camp #3 in Carrefour Numérique – Cité des Sciences, Paris. Hosted by Bastien Guerry (via Walter Bender)
  • April 22-24: The TechKids e.V. organizes a three day basecamp in Bonn, Germany
  • May 15: Youth Future Project invites you to write an article for their booklet about the youth movement on sustainability in Europe. It’s called: “TAKING RESPONSIBILITY FOR OUR FUTURE”. Call for Papers ends on May 15th
  • August 9-15: KDE edu Randa meeting (please register!)
  • August 23-24: This year’s FrOSCon will have the [[][Froglabs again], a two day workshop for kids with Freedroidz, PyGame, Blender and much more Free Software!

Thanks to all contributors!

Dieses Jahr geht es endlich nach Chemnitz!

Seit Jahren höre ich von allen Seiten, dass ich unbedingt mal die Chemnitzer Linuxtage besuchen sollte und ich habe es immer noch nicht geschafft. Dieses Jahr soll es dann endlich so weit sein.

Ich werde in regelmäßigen Abständen beim Stand der FSFE zu finden sein und habe folgende Vorträge in die engere Auswahl genommen:

Samstag 15. März

10:00 Grüner verschlüsseln
11:00 LaTeX oder ownCloud
12:00 remote access Möglichkeiten
15:00 X2Go Remote Desktop
16:00 WLAN-Meshing
17:00Vortag vom Edu-Team Mitglied Wolf-Dieter Zimmermann oder OpenVPN oder über Debian-LAN von Andreas Mundt mit dem ich im Zusammenhang mit dem Bildungsteam bereits Kontakt hatte, aber noch nicht persönlich getroffen habe.

Dazu kommt noch die Key-Signing-Party, die für Samstag nachmittag angesetzt ist aber noch keine genaue Uhrzeit hat.

Sonntag 16. März

10:00 Matthias’ Vortrag über die Universalmaschine habe ich auch noch nie gesehen.
12:00 Kurt Gramlich über Klimaschutz mit Freier Software
13:00 Teambildung oder vielleicht boot via WLAN
14:00 Kinder community
17:00 geotagging photos oder OTRS

Mal sehen zu welchen Vorträgen ich es dann tatsächlich schaffe, da mir persönliche Gespräche auf solchen Veranstaltungen wichtiger sind als Vorträge besuchen, die man oft auch nachsehen kann.

Falls mich jemand sucht, meine XMPP-Kennung sollte bekannt sein :) Ich hoffe, man sieht sich!

Report of latest Fellowship meeting in Frankfurt

Last Wednesday, we  met again in Frankfurt. As on the meetings in Mainz and Friedberg , the “Deutsche Bahn” obstructed this meeting as well as no ICs and ICEs were stopping at the main rail station…

As the first round is done, we decided to continue with this procedure but wanted to visit different cities this time.

So this is what we came up with for the remainder of the year:

  • April 2nd: again in Frankfurt
  • May 7th: Wiesbaden
  • June 4th: Frankfurt
  • July 2nd: Bad Homburg. Thomas may organize a nice location for us!
  • August 6th: Frankfurt
  • September 3rd: we’ll go east, but haven’t decided on the city yet. Options are Hanau, Seligenstadt and maybe Aschaffenburg again? You can cast your vote at a Dudle page although the descision will be made on the  mailinglist.
  • Oktober 1st: Frankfurt
  • November 5th: (remember, remember,…)  Mannheim
  • Dezember 3rd: Frankfurt

I’ll try to gather the missing info, exact location, etc until the next meeting in April so we can advertise them a little bit.

Speaking of advertising, Thomas and I would like to work on Ticket #451 and probably combine the efforts to publish the events on the page of the UserGroups Rhein/Main.

As none of us will be able to spend the necessary time for a successfull event, we’ll have to cancel our planned participation of this years Document Freedom Day :(

We will show up at the upcomming Cryptoparty in Frankfurt on March 22nd though.

There were of course other different topics we discussed. Unfortunately, I was rather lazy with my notes so I can only refer to and mutt-kz.

Well, see you again on the next Cryptoparty or on April 2nd the latest! :)

Bericht vom Fellowship-Treffen in Frankfurt (5. März)

Am Mittwoch war wieder Fellowship-Treffen in Frankfurt. Wir trafen uns im Café Albatros in Bockenheim. Wie schon in Mainz und in Friedberg behinderte die Deutsche Bahn unser treffen: Es fuhren keine ICs und ICEs zum Hauptbahnhof…

Nach der abgeschlossenen Testrunde (Englisch) mit wechselnden Städten entschlossen wir uns dazu dieses Konzept fortzuführen, wollen aber in der zweiten Runde andere Städte aussuchen. Variatio delectat.

Außerdem wird es einen kleinen Schluck-auf in unserem Frankfurt-auswärts-Frankfurt-auswärts-Turnus geben, da wir entschieden haben uns im April erneut in Frankfurt zu treffen. Somit werden die Treffen künftig in geraden Monaten in Frankfurt stattfinden und in ungeraden auswärts.

Folgende Treffen stehen also dieses Jahr noch an:

  • wie gesagt: 2. April wieder im Café Albatros in Frankfurt
  • Am 7. Mai geht es dann nach Wiesbaden, ins Café Klatsch.
  • 4. Juni: Frankfurt
  • Am 2. Juli ist Bad Homburg dran. Thomas wird vermutlich eine geeignete Lokation auftreiben.
  • 6. August: Frankfurt
  • Am 3. September geht es ostwärts: zur Auswahl stehen Hanau, Seligenstadt und vieleicht doch wieder Aschaffenburg? Ein Stimmungsbild wird im Dudle gesammelt. Die  Entscheidung wird auf der Mailingliste fallen.
  • 1. Oktober: Frankfurt
  • Am 5. November (remember, remember,…) soll es dann nach Mannheim gehen.
  • 3. Dezember: Frankfurt

Ich werde versuchen die nötigen Details für die Lokation bis zum nächsten Treffen am 2. April zusammenzubringen, damit sie entsprechend beworben werden können.

Zum Bewerben wollen Thomas und ich gucken ob wir nicht bald mal das Ticket #451 schließen können und damit gleich eine Möglichkeit unsere Treffen automatisch auf  der Seite der UserGroups Rhein/Main zu platzieren.

Da niemand von uns in den nächsten Wochen die nötige Zeit für die Organisation aufbringen werden kann, müssen wir unsere geplante Teilname am diesjährigen Document Freedom Day leider absagen. :(

Auf der kommenden Cryptoparty in Frankfurt am 22. März werden dafür aber wieder einige von uns dabei sein!

Daneben gab es natürlich wieder ein breit gefächtertes Themenfeld über das wir gesprochen haben. Leider war ich diesmal etwas faul, was die Notizen angeht, also kann ich nur auf folgende Punkte verweisen: NixOSstartpage.commutt-kz, .

Dann also bis zum nächsten mal am 2. April in Frankfurt oder eben schon am 22. März auf der Cryptoparty!

Free Software in Education – news collection February

Here’s what we collected in February. If you come accross anything that might be worth mentioning in this series, please drop me a note, dump it in this pad or even better: drop it on the edu-eu mailinglist!

FSFE Edu-Team activities

We are making quite some progress in the NLEdu campaign: Kevin reports that the commercial director of SchoolMaster, the largest Dutch ELO/student administration software supplier,  confirmed that they will roll out a platform-independent HTML5 version in April. This would make the NLEdu campaign a success as it will allow Free Software users to access the course materials with any standard compliant browser.

In a response to an interview Kevin gave to an education-related news site, an employee of Three Ships, the second-largest ELO / student administration software supplier also promised to roll out an update “mid-2014″ that would “further improve interoperability”, although they weren’t very clear about the meaning of this claim. While I was writing this report, Kevin publihsed further info about this matter.



Edu Software

  • Loris pointed us to, a website for students learning accounting and bookkeeping. It’s based on DELT, that is free software (GPL Affero) and can be installed separetely, if one prefers to have his/her own setup.
  • On the KDE-Edu list, Filipe reported that  GCompris is migrating from GTK to Qt (QtQuick). The main reason is to create a tablet version of GCompris.

Distro News


More SUGAR news at


Other News

 Future Events

Thanks to all contributors!

Kurzer Bericht von der Veranstaltung “Recht auf informationelle Selbstbestimmung?”

Gestern trafen sich sehr kurzfristig zwei Fellows und Kollegin um die Veranstaltung “Recht auf informationelle Selbstbestimmung?” mit Constanze Kurz und Peter Schaar in Frankfurt zu besuchen. Jan Philipp Albrecht war ebenfalls als Podiums-Gast angekündigt, konnte aber leider nicht kommen.

Für Leute, die sich mit dem Thema beschäftigen, gab es nicht so viel Neues, aber es war mal wieder schön die Ereignisse und Argumente mundgerecht und zusammengefasst präsentiert zu bekommen.

Daneben empfand ich es als beruhigend und motivierend, dass dieses Thema noch eine Menge Leute interessiert und aus dem Haus zieht. Der Saal war voll (ich schätze es gab weniger als 10 freie Plätze). Außerdem wusste ich nicht wie unterhaltsam Peter Schaar sein kann.

Die Veranstaltung, oder Teile davon sollen am 16. März im ZDF zu sehen sein. Name der Sendung “Sonntags”. In der Mediathek wird der Beitrag dann hier erscheinen.

Ob die Situation besser mit technischen Mitteln oder mit politisch/rechtlichen Mitteln angegangen werden sollte war kein Streitpunkt, sondern es bestand Einigkeit darüber, dass dieses Problem auf allen Ebenen angegangen werden muss. Generell bestand unter den Diskutanten kaum Dissens so sehr sie auch danach suchten :) Es ist fraglich in wie weit die Anwesenheit Jan Philipp Albrechts diese Situation besonders geändert hätte. Höchstens vielleicht in der Einschätzung welche Erfolgsaussichten der geplanten EU-Datenschutz-Grundverordnung eingeräumt werden.


Kurz und Schaar äußerten wenig Hoffnung, dass in absehbarer Zeit etwas Substanzielles von der Politik kommen könnte. Constanze rief dazu auf, dass solange sich die Politik nicht bewegt, die Bürger mit den Füßen (bzw. den Fingern) abstimmen müssten und den datenfressenden Dienstleistern den Rücken kehren sollten. Es seien schließlich sie, die denen ihre Daten freiwillig gäben. Siehe dazu auch Karstens Artikel: Some things you can do to secure your communications

Kurz: schön sei, dass die NSA Affäre als Katalysator für viele Entwicklungen diene, dass man schon fasst dankbar sein muss, dass sie besteht. Das hatte ich mir in ähnlicher Form auch schon öfter gedacht.

Schaar betonte, dass wir mehr darauf pochen sollten, die Zweckmäßigkeit der massenhaften Überwachung zu überprüfen, denn bereits vorhandene Studien belegten, dass sie rein gar nichts zur nachgesagten Terror- oder Verbrechensbekämpfung beitrage.

Im Folgenden schreibe ich einfach stichpunktartig die Punkte auf, die ich sonst noch bemerkenswert fand:

  • Neben dem Recht auf informationelle Selbstbestimmung gibt es auch das Grundrecht auf Gewährleistung von Vertraulichkeit und Integrität informationstechnischer Systeme. Das ist bisher von mir nicht wahrgenommen worden. Vielleicht geht es jemanden ähnlich.
  • Ich glaube Constanze verwandte den Begriff “Informationelle Gewaltenteilung“, der mir sehr gefiel und mich an Matthias Artikel erinnerte: Demokratie braucht Freie Software.
  • Ein weiterer Begriff, der mir gefiel, diesmal von Peter Schaar: die “eingeschliffenen Ohnmachts-Strukturen der EU” (in Bezug auf die NSA Affäre)
  • Im EU Jargon soll laut Schaar der Ausdruck “German vote“ gebräuchlich sein, der gleichbedeutend ist mit “Enthaltung:) . Dieses vorhersehbare Abstimmverhalten führt er auf das föderale System zurück.
  • Der Moderator Heinz-Peter Höller deutete an, dass es bei BITKOM kürzlich “gefunkt” hätte aufgrund der Spannungen zwischen den deutschen Firmen und den amerikanischen Tochterunternehmen. Davon habe ich nichts mitbekommen. Weiß da jemand mehr? Update (3. März, 2014): Gemeint war wohl das hier: Bitkom streitet über Antworten zum NSA-Skandal


Der Moderator erwähnte in seiner Zusammenfassung als Fazit: “Wir müssen also mehr verschlüsseln und mehr ‘Open Source’ nutzen.”  Das Schöne an dieser Bemerkung war, dass es mir schien als sei dies auch beim Publikum generell angekommen.

Als Constanze mal ins Publikum fragte: “Wer verwendet denn bereits GPG/PGP?“, hoben überraschenderweise ca. 30% der Anwesenden die Hand. Wow.

Also ein netter Abend, wenn es nur nicht so heiß gewesen wäre. Während die drei auf dem Podium sich jeder einen Liter Wasser reinkippen konnten, mussten wir im Publikum das mit ansehen und verdursten… ;)

Mehr davon können wir am kommenden Mittwoch beim Fellowship-Treffen in Frankfurt erzählen. Dann aber mit Getränken. :)

#ilovefs Thank you to Carsten Dominic and Bastien Guerry, developers of org-mode

Org-mode logo by Greg Newman (GPLv2+)
Today is “I love Free Software Day” again.  I used to have a little more to say on this occasion, but on the other hand there is not much more to say:

This year, my thanks go to Carsten Dominik, Bastien Guerry and all the others who helped them developing org-mode which made my live so much easier.


Working on FSFE’s education pages

In this post I want to share what is currently being discussed in the edu-team to get some more feedback to what the edu pages should look like. Please submit any comment or suggestion below, per email to the edu-team or this public etherpad.

The last thing we changed on the pages was the mission statement of the edu-team in 2012, so I guess it’s time for an update. We would like to provide much more background info than we currently do. But the first question is: what info do we currently provide? It turned out that I had no clue on what’s actually already there, but somewhat burried and hidden on

I’ve started to go through the SVN and look for more edu related  content we may not be aware of. I grep’ed the SVN for certain keywords and put the result in an etherpad.  Now, we can start to sort and consolidate what we currently have and embed in what we want to have in the future. (Help welcome by the way.)

Tagging edu pages and list them automatically on the main edu page.

It would be nice if we could list every page that is tagged as edu content automatically so we wouldn’t have to keep up with new pages manually. Some pages are already tagged, but not consistently and I have to find out how to generate a neat list of them to integrate them on a page and am already in contact with Hugo who did the new design.

Something similar is already being done with the leaflets,  but the leaflets are not  advertised on the current edu pages. I would like to include them, automatically as well if possible, but separate from the other listing above.

Team page

Our plan was to set-up the edu-team page similar to the existing country team pages like France or Germany as they show all events and news that are tagged with the corresponding country code.

Edu News feed

I would like to include  a Free Software in education news feed, a planet like aggregator which  collects our blog entries to the matter. Björn mentioned a way how to convert rss feeds to a static page without the use of javascript which sounds like a nice solution to me. Until this is done, I could create short news entries whenever we publish something relevant in our blogs.

be transparent and inviting

I’d like to make the edu-team work more transparent and most of all more inviting to contributers. Maybe by promoting some of our tasks that wait for someone who picks them up.  We could just refer to the ticket system we have been using to collect ideas and tasks. This very bullet  point is issue #25 by the way :) The tickets #16 and #19 are good examples for tasks anybody could pick up and complete, don’t you think?

At the same time, I want to encourage people to submit new tasks they deem important to be done. Of course, with our limited resources, we’ll have to focus on what we think is most important and leave the rest to somebody else. Bottom line is: We want to make it easy and clear how to help us and how to get involved.

What else?

  • Promote the possibility to edit the wiki pages where we collect all kind of data and texts (#23).
  • Promote the possibility to submit edu news for the summaries I’ve been posting and/or to the  news feed I mentioned above that needs to be set up. In January I started to ask people using this pad for this among other ways and it was actively being used.
  • Provide an easy way for feed-back. Something like  ”How can we make this page more useful? Please mail your ideas to edu-team@…”
  • We want to provide good case studies, samples of good (non-discriminating) policies, sientific material, etc.. Until we have a revised and condensed collection of good resources, we can make use of the links we already have in the wiki.
  • Create and  provide “target group” specific info/flyers like teachers or advocates.
  • Provide good resources where to get more info including practical information (maybe also target group specific as with the leaflets)

I am looking forward to any feed-back. Until then, we’ll start implementing the things above step by step. :) Any help is welcome!

Fellowship Meeting in Darmstadt

Last Wednesday, we finished our first round around Frankfurt with our Fellowship meeting in Darmstadt. Twelve Free Software enthusiasts met at Kneipe 41 and had delicious Pizza and drinks. I’ll list a fraction of the various topics below. On top of all the interesting things we discussed, it was a lot of fun again!

After everybody got something to eat, we did a brief introduction round to get to know each other (there were so many new faces!). We discussed the topics of the agenda and a lot more after that. Good thing we did have an agenda as the topics were a little too nerdy for some of the attendees (including me) before the “official part” started. And after that, various independent discussions took place at the same time that covered everybody’s interest I suppose.

Firstly, we spoke about the upcoming AbiCamp in Dreieich which some of us plan to attend.

In this regards, Alexander pointet also to “Chaos macht Schule“.

Ana told us about her project: aDTN – Undetectable communication in wireless delay-tolerant networks: “aDTN is a network layer protocol for wireless delay-tolerant communication that ensures that an external attacker cannot link network participants to each other nor to the messages they send.” Such a network would be useful during demonstrations etc.  She’s looking for more contributers by the way.

In this context, we also talked about BitMessage

We talked again about our plans for Document Freedom Day and that educational institutions are in the focus this year.

The upcoming “I love Free Software” day (#ilovfs)

Upcoming Cryptoparties in Frankfurt (Feb 22nd) and Mannheim (Feb 23rd). As cryptoparties are an excellent opportunity to point out the importance of Free Software to an interested audience, we should show up at these events and raise awareness. Unfortunately, I won’t make it to either one of them this month, but I am confident that Free Software will be presented anyway. has a new design and asks for Feedback!

Italy puts FS first

After the various recommendations of C30C talks in January, “Seeing the secret state, six landscapes” was added to the list.

Circumvention Tech Summit Berlin

And countless other topics I didn’t bother to write down or didn’t get aware of as the table was too long to follow all conversations at once :) I hope that we’ll get a somewhat complete list of topics in the wiki by the end of the month.

And finally: Dirk had some interesting thoughts how “sapere aude” relates to Free Software. As I said in the beginning, this was fun again including the commute to and from Darmstadt.

I am looking forward to the next meeting one in Frankfurt! :)

Free Software in Education NEWS – January

Here’s what I collected in January. If you come accross anything that might be worth mentioning in this series, please drop me a note, dump it in this pad or even better: drop it on the edu-eu mailinglist!

FSFE Edu-Team activities

We are still working on the edu pages on FSFE although I haven’t had much time for it this month. Although I did manage to grep the SVN of to find edu related articles that are scattered around the site. Now, we can start to sort and consolidate what we currently have and embed in what we want to have in the future. This and everything else we’ve been planning will be put in a separate posting. If you have any input on that, please drop us a line!

We received and replied to a few inquiries, one was if the content of our edu leaflet may be used in derivative works. They may. We will relicense them under CC-BY-SA 4.0 eventually to make this obvious to everybody.

Sebastian pointed me to CodeCombat, a game designed to learn programming. I haven’t had the chance to look at it yet, but it sounds cool. :)


Great article by Gregg Ferrie on how to Upgrade your school to Free Software! I read it only once, but I definitely have to get back to it soon. Among a lot of other things, it contains a link to scientific research on the benefits of thin clients.

Another great report on Joinup about a Croatian group conducting Software workshops and attract students. I’d like to contact these folks and hope that I’ll get to it some time.

University of Graz, Austria awarded the E-Learning Champion 2013 – their highest remunerated award for excellence in teaching to Gerald Senarclens de Grancy for his courses “Computational Management Science” 1 and 2. Both courses teach basic programming skills to business students. However, it is to be pointed out that the price was awarded because the courses fundamentally use and promote Free Software, open (web) standards and open content (German). This benefits, among others, platform-independent mobile learning. Congratulations!

Charlie Reisinger explains how they prepared 1725 laptops in a two day weekend using the the FLDT system. Pretty impressive… The procedure is also discussed on the Debian/edu mailing list.

On the edu mailinglist of Apirl (French), they discuss if the switch-off for MS XP support isn’t a perfect opportunity to switch to Free Software.

The KDE edu list gained quite some momentum. This months several people offered help on developing edu applications, namely parley, labPlot 2 (see software news), kgeography and kmplot.

Santiago Ferreira Litowtschenko pointed to USB4butia, a free (as in Freedom) input/output board. The project BUTIÁXhas more info (in Spanish). took place on January 18

RoboSchool, a 5 day workshop dealing with robotics, is taking place in Chemnitz, Germany. I don’t know how much Free Software will be used there, but as Markus Dittman is involved, I guess FS will be used. Does anybody know more about it?

The General Assembly of FRISK  took place in Oslo-Trondheim, Norway

An Arduino workshop for teachers took place in Damme, Germany


Edu software

Alexander Semke announced the first stable version of LabPlot2 on the KDE edu mailing list.

Distro news

Skolelinux: Petter Reinholdtsen asked if anybody knows how the Skolelinux Live 7.1 was made. There was no response on the mailing list yet. Anyone?

Aseem Sharma had a look at four kids distros (namely Quimo, Ubermix, Edubuntu and Sugar) and explains his argumentation why kids should be exposed to Free Software early

Other news

Google Research ran a pilot to teach kids computer science and shared their findings after 31 after-school programs for 4th-12th grades.

First and not so surprising but still worth mentioning:

Students were most engaged when they had a creative outlet or where there was a big “wow-factor”. They were less engaged with tools that were strongly scaffolded for learning and did not result in a creative result. In this initial set of pilots, students were most engaged with Scratch and App Inventor.

Pretty much in the same direction goes this interview with a teacher and these four projects for parents to teach their kids about open hardware and electronics by Dave Neary.

Not directly related to Free Software, but it is still interesting to keep an eye on the current market development:Microsoft loses marketshare massively to Chromebooks in the US schools.

Future Events

I am especially happy, that the pad to submit more edu news has been used by some people. This makes this work much more fun! Thanks to all contributors!