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Free/Libre Software for Education
There are various tools available at our disposal today that we can use to maintain a digital classroom and improve the learning experience of students. This page aims at familiarizing the reader with various such tools.
Rationale: Why use Free/Libre Software?
What is Free/Libre Software ?
Free software or libre software, is computer software distributed under terms that allow users to run the software for any purpose as well as to study, change, and distribute it and any adapted versions. Free software is a matter of liberty, not price: users—individually or in cooperation with computer programmers—are free to do what they want with their copies of free software (including profiting from them) regardless of how much is paid to obtain the program. Computer programs are deemed free if they give users (not just the developer) ultimate control over the software and, subsequently, over their devices.
Gratis versus Libre
When we say free/libre software by no means do we imply software that is free of cost (Gratis), instead we use the word free in the context of freedom that is "with little or no restriction". To avoid this confusion we try to use the term Libre which has it's roots from Latin and refers to the state of being free.
Free Software vs Open Source Software
Free/Libre Software is often confused with Open Source Software by those who are not aware of the difference between them. Free Software or Libre Software deals with user freedom and their rights primarily, whereas Open-Source only cares about the pragmatic benefits of having a public code base that anyone can contribute to. We care about our rights and freedom hence we prefer to use Free Software and therefore our community is called the Free Software Community of India. Learn more about Free Software here.
- When we use free software in classrooms we are exposing students to their rights as human beings and value their own and each other's freedom and rights.
- More often than not the barrier to using free software is less in comparison to their proprietary counterparts as it is often free of cost and is available in multiple languages making it easy to use for people whose primary language is not English.
- Free Software doesn't spy on it's users.
- Free software always operates under the user's discretion.
Proprietary Services and their Free Software Alternatives
|Free Software||Alternative to||About|
|Riot||Riot is a messaging client built on the Matrix protocol which is a new standard for open, decentralized communication.|
|FulffyChat||FluffyChat is a messaging client built on the Matrix protocol which is a new standard for open, decentralized communication.|
|Conversations||Conversations is a Jabber/XMPP client for Android 4.0+ smartphones that has been optimized to provide a unique mobile experience. XMPP is a federated protocol, which means you can freely choose a trustworthy server for yourself while still chatting with contacts that are using other servers. The communication between Conversations and the XMPP server as well as the communication between the individual servers is TLS encrypted.|
|Jitsi||Google Meet, Zoom||Jitsi is a set of open-source projects that allows you to easily build and deploy secure videoconferencing solutions.|
|Moodle||Google Classroom||Moodle is a learning platform designed to provide educators, administrators and learners with a single robust, secure and integrated system to create personalized learning environments.|