Found I develop free software because of CUNY and Blackboard following the Blackboard security issues story. It is a really good blog post. This conclusion made me smile. I am certain there are plenty of people in the system I support who strongly agree. I just wish there was an easier way of finding and applauding them.
As long as our IT departments are dominated by Microsoft-trained technicians and corporate-owned CIOs, perhaps the best way to advance the cause â€“ the cause of justice in the way that student money is spent â€“ is to create viable alternatives to Blackboard and its ilk, alternatives that are free (as in speech) and cheap (as in beer). This, more than anything else, is why I develop free software, the idea that I might play a role in creating the viable alternatives. In the end, itâ€™s not just about Blackboard, of course. The case of Blackboard and CUNY is a particularly problematic example of a broader phenomenon, where vulnerable populations are controlled through proprietary software. Examples abound: Facebook, Apple, Google. (See also my Project Reclaim.) The case of Blackboard and its contracts with public institutions like CUNY is just one instance of these exploitative relationships, but itâ€™s the instance that hits home the most for me, because CUNY is such a part of me, and because the exploitation is, in this case, so severe and so terrible.
The training plan is to make me one of those “Microsoft-trained technicians”. It makes me feel stupider just thinking about it.