Tuesday, March 8, 2011
As a high schooler, I often have to deal with the annoying technologies that the school uses. These technologies often are outdated and are hard to deal with. For our login and file use, we use Novell NetWare 6. Yes, version 6, the version that was released in 2001. In addition we use Windows XP, released in 2003, on computers that have Windows Vista stickers. I understand the need for long term support, but we could have computers running much better with more up-to-date operating systems and set ups if we used a free operating system, like Ubuntu or Fedora, on a LTS release schedule. This would provide the stability needed as well as the free upgrades that could help. These technologies that the school uses, and the blocked technologies, such as many websites, cmd.exe and others, do not encourage the creator spirit that is necessary. This creator spirit is gone, because companies like Apple, Microsoft and others are producing too many products, many of which high schoolers use, that are purely for content consumption. When we look at why the education gap between countries such as China, and the US is growing, this lack of creating spirit can be a cause. This creating, or hacking, spirit is what has created some of the best technologies in the world. Schools and other institutions discourage hacking, without realizing that a true hacker does things, not for malicious intent, but rather for bettering the world. The people who exploit systems for malicious purpose, those are crackers, not hackers. Hackers are the people who created the internet, who created the programming languages behind the internet; people like Larry Wall and Linus Torvalds; Mark Zuckerberg, Larry Paige and Sergey Brin. Without hackers, it is possible that I would not be able to write this post today. So, instead of discouraging this hacker and creator spirit in our schools with old software that is blocked, we need to let our students do what they will. Chances are, if they have reason to use cmd.exe or edit config files, they are smart enough that they will be the next great hacker. Without these abilities, we may be blocking the next hacker from creating the next great invention.