Schools don't floss enough

We need to teach our school kids to use Free Libre Open Source Software

Quote from one of the studies published on the Open Source Observatory and Repository, [British school switches students' computers to Linux, reducing costs and improving computing knowledge]( "The next step was to persuade the Senior Leadership Team of the school. After two long meetings discussing the IT team's proposals in detail, the plans were approved. As Moore notes, the school specialises in science and engineering and if their students are to go on to do great things like start the next Google or collapse the universe at CERN… they will certainly need to know Linux."

That is necessary even for humbler tasks, such as gathering data from online sources. Office workers (grown-up school children) should think nothing of it, to do this:

for I in `seq 1 10`;do wget https://somewebsite.example/all?page=$I ; done

For those readers who blinked, I’ll explain. This downloads ten pages, one by one, replacing the “$I” by the numbers 1 to 10 sequentially. So now you have then raw HTML files.

After having downloaded these ten pages, you could distill from these whatever you think is relevant. Suppose the ten pages contain the number of reads (visits) or those pages. Looking at the raw code (remember F11 in Word Perfect, anyone?) you see that means you need the number following the word reads, or rather following the html-literal “reads</p”.

Well, you can get those numbers by using the two friends Sed & Awk.

for i in `ls`; do sed -n '/reads</p' $i |  awk '{print $11}' ; done >> ../result

Adding that <p narrows down the results. It avoids seeing lines that have words like bread, reading or readers in them.

And so on.

These are two basic uses of standard FLOSS solutions that are installed on the vast majority of open source hosts computers, servers and PCs.

Gijs Hillenius
Context for Digital Government

Policy specialist on open source in public services, knowlegde transfer expert