Russell McOrmond's blog

CLUE's investigation of Toronto District School Board (TDSB) Information Technology

The story in ITBusiness.ca gave a good overview of a problem experienced by one of the teachers in the Toronto District School Board (TDSB). News stories have tight deadlines, and there is much more that we have learned since the deadline for that story. As the policy coordinator for CLUE I have received multiple replies to questions from Jill Worthy, the superintendent for the district that includes Monarch Park Collegiate.

ITBusiness: Toronto high school expels Linux lab

An article in ITBusiness.ca by Sarah Lysecki discusses the Linux lab we reported earlier.

Ed Montgomery, a computer science teacher at Monarch Park Collegiate, said in an e-mail to ITBusiness.ca that he was given a note in May, telling him that the Linux lab would be dismantled and replaced with a Microsoft-based Classroom Migration Technology Initiative (CTMI) lab.
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Montgomery sent a letter to The Canadian Association for Open Source (CLUE) last week asking for help. Russell McOrmond, an Internet consultant who is also a policy coordinator at CLUE, received the letter.

Interview with Mr. Montgomery about dismantled Linux lab

Many people have been asking for for more details on the high-school teacher who had his Linux Lab dismantled. Mr. Montgomery has offered to do a question-and-answer with us.

Canadian anti-DRM coalition makes timely debut

A newsforge article by Bruce Byfield includes:

We talked to representatives of two coalition members about the status of DRM in Canada: David Fewer, staff counsel at the Canadian Internet Policy and Public Interest Clinic (CIPPIC), Canada's leading legal technology law clinic, and Evan Leibovitch and Russell McOrmond of CLUE, an open source advocacy group.

The Hon. Joe Fontana, P.C., M.P., hosts Open Source event on Parliament Hill

It is great to see that some members of parliament are taking the time to learn more about FLOSS. While this introduction to the event focuses on using FLOSS to save money, it also provides an opening to discuss some of the policy issues facing our part of the software sector.

FLOSS is to software what patents were to historical tangible inventions

I wrote the following as a reply to an ITBusiness.ca article written by Shane Schick titled Truth, justice and the open source way which discussed FLOSS and the patent system.


I believe that FLOSS is to software what the patent system was for tangible inventions of physical things in the past.

Historically we had limited communications technologies and mobility slowing down collaboration. Inventions of tangible things took a lot of time and energy to move from design to prototype to distributable product. Within this context patents solved important problems. Without governments granting a temporary monopoly to the first inventor there would be too much risk to trying to develop ideas, and too much of an incentive to keep the ideas secret. Far too many inventions were kept secret and lost with the death of the inventor. A patent filing required a full disclosure of the invention such that someone skilled in the art could study, replicate and improve upon it, with the 20 year monopoly representing the slower realities of the day.

FLOSS in a competitive marketplace: avoiding the "one true way" myths.

I have been complaining for years that the incumbent "software manufacturing" firms have been justifying radical FLOSS crippling changes to the law using invalid statistics. The statistical method that the BSA (and it's Canadian arm with the Orwellian double-speak name of "Canadian Alliance Against Software Theft") use largely include the use of FLOSS software as if it were "infringement".

Their methodology is simple: Count the number of computers shipped to a region and "estimate" the demand for software from BSA members. Then count the amount of software BSA members shipped, subtract the two, and declare the difference as "piracy".

Introduction: Russell McOrmond, CLUE policy coordinator

I have been invited by the executive to be a policy coordinator, working for CLUE in Ottawa. My focus will be on the federal government and federal policy, but will also be collaborating with other CLUE members on other levels of government as well.

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