FAQ
Hello
Is it a waste of time to try to get school admins to put python in
their school laptops?

OK. Here's the crib for the rest[!] of the world. Here in Australia
most secondary schools [that is kids from age approx 12-18] have some sort
of netbook/laptop program. I have looked at a few schools and they put
visual basic in but not python. [unless of course it's a mac where python
may already be in it] . This is a curious omission when Blender needs python
to run.

So, I emailed a school admin and told him about python, gimp, inkscape
and blender.

Have I wasted my time?
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  • hackingKK at May 30, 2011 at 11:09 am

    On 30/05/11 15:45, John Thornton wrote:
    Hello
    Is it a waste of time to try to get school admins to put
    python in their school laptops?

    OK. Here's the crib for the rest[!] of the world. Here in
    Australia most secondary schools [that is kids from age approx 12-18]
    have some sort of netbook/laptop program. I have looked at a few
    schools and they put visual basic in but not python. [unless of
    course it's a mac where python may already be in it] . This is a
    curious omission when Blender needs python to run.
    Even better, try convincing them to use Ubuntu instead of a virus
    called Where I Never Do Operations With Safety, or WINDOWS for short.
    That way Python will come by default and VB will be out of question
    Happy hacking.
    Krishnakant.
  • John Thornton at May 30, 2011 at 11:16 am
    I agree fully. Linux is better and safer. But they seem hellbent on getting
    their students to use Windows. For laughs the kids in year 7 start off with
    this on their school netbook:

    Individual software packages
    MS Office Professional 2010 $80.30
    (Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Access, Outlook, Publisher, OneNote)
    (EULA needs to be signed)
    DyKnow $47.00
    Microworlds EX Robotics (PC/Mac) $27.50
    Inspiration V8 (PC/Mac) $50.60
    Graphmatica $4.40
    Sophos Anti-virus $30.00
    Network Cable $6.00
    Labels for laptop and bag $1.00
    Additional Software
    Home Studio (Yr 7 and 8 Music) $50.00
    Upgrade from Vista Business to Windows 7 Professional $103.40
    Software packages also installed (either free of charge or cost covered by
    School) are ArtRage, Acrobat
    Reader, Cite Ace, Mavis Beacon Typing, Scratch, Wordweb, Kahootz, Comic
    Life, Ni Hao, French
    Gamemaker, NewsMaker, Yenka Science, Autodesk Inventor.

    *******
    Gimp? Python? Linux? Inkscape? Blender?
    That software may as well be on the moon. [sobs into beer...oh well, at
    least they get to buy anti-virus gear...:)]

    John


    On Mon, May 30, 2011 at 9:09 PM, hackingKK wrote:

    On 30/05/11 15:45, John Thornton wrote:

    Hello
    Is it a waste of time to try to get school admins to put python in
    their school laptops?

    OK. Here's the crib for the rest[!] of the world. Here in Australia
    most secondary schools [that is kids from age approx 12-18] have some sort
    of netbook/laptop program. I have looked at a few schools and they put
    visual basic in but not python. [unless of course it's a mac where python
    may already be in it] . This is a curious omission when Blender needs python
    to run.
    Even better, try convincing them to use Ubuntu instead of a virus called
    Where I Never Do Operations With Safety, or WINDOWS for short.
    That way Python will come by default and VB will be out of question
    Happy hacking.
    Krishnakant.
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  • Chris Angelico at May 30, 2011 at 1:28 pm

    On Mon, May 30, 2011 at 8:15 PM, John Thornton wrote:
    Hello
    ??????? Is it a waste of time to try to get school admins to put python in
    their school laptops?
    Two halves to this question.

    1) Would it be of value if the school admins were to put Python on the
    school laptops?
    2) If you ask them to, would they?

    The answer to #1 is "Undoubtedly". Cost? A tiny bit of disk space.
    Benefit? Even if only one student in a thousand picked it up and
    learned it, that's a huge number of people who've been exposed to a
    better language than VB.

    But the answer to #2, based on my cynical view of these things, is
    "Unlikely". You could ask the school admins, but they'll point to some
    policy from upstairs that says what they need to provide. And I don't
    know who formulates that policy, but more than likely it's a
    committee.

    Who pays for all that software? I'm guessing it's part of one of those
    perversities where something is valued more if it costs more ("We
    spend $X million teaching our students modern computing"). Replacing
    the netbook packageset with Ubuntu and a whole swathe of free software
    (the significant part here being free-as-in-beer, but it would be
    free-as-in-speech software too) would cut $400 per student off their
    boast according to the figures you posted - but that doesn't seem to
    include the OS itself, so possibly even more.

    The other part of the problem is a huge lock-in involving grade
    schools, tertiary education, and company employment agencies, all of
    whom think that "computer skill" means "knows how to change cell color
    in Excel". And that is not an exaggeration - my brother says that when
    he was applying for jobs that required computing skills, the
    recruitment agency wanted to know his ability level with Word 2003 and
    Excel 2003. Getting past that is not going to be easy.

    But if you can just get a smidge of extra software put on the laptops
    (some nice easy tiny stuff - Python, 7-Zip, InfraRecorder - skip OO
    because it's too heavy), nobody would notice the extra disk space
    usage (even a cheap netbook will have storage measured in hundreds of
    gig), and it gives them a chance to learn something decent. Bored
    student browsing the Start menu... might not happen very often, but if
    even one person learns Python, that'd be worth it!

    Possibly the best way to encourage Python deployment would be to
    require it to run some internal script. Then the interpreter will be
    put on the laptops ("it's so tiny, won't cost anything to put it
    there"), and IDLE will be available for anyone who wants it. Now the
    question is, how can you get into a position where you can have a
    script that's needed for every student...

    Chris Angelico
  • Jmfauth at May 30, 2011 at 2:30 pm
    On 30 mai, 13:09, hackingKK wrote:

    [...]
    Even better, try convincing them to use Ubuntu instead of ?a virus
    called Where I Never Do Operations With Safety, or WINDOWS for short.
    That way Python will come by default ?and VB will be out of question
    Happy hacking.
    Krishnakant.
    Do you mean one of these os's, where Python (2) is not
    working properly because the *defaultencoding* is set
    to utf-8?

    jmf
  • Irmen de Jong at May 30, 2011 at 10:15 pm

    On 30-5-2011 16:30, jmfauth wrote:
    On 30 mai, 13:09, hackingKK wrote:

    [...]
    Even better, try convincing them to use Ubuntu instead of a virus
    called Where I Never Do Operations With Safety, or WINDOWS for short.
    That way Python will come by default and VB will be out of question
    Happy hacking.
    Krishnakant.
    Do you mean one of these os's, where Python (2) is not
    working properly because the *defaultencoding* is set
    to utf-8?

    jmf
    Huh? On all of my machines, including windows and Ubuntu 11.04, sys.getdefaultencoding()
    returns 'ascii'.

    Irmen
  • Terry Reedy at May 31, 2011 at 1:12 am

    On 5/30/2011 6:15 PM, Irmen de Jong wrote:

    Do you mean one of these os's, where Python (2) is not
    working properly because the *defaultencoding* is set
    to utf-8?
    Huh? On all of my machines, including windows and Ubuntu 11.04, sys.getdefaultencoding()
    returns 'ascii'.
    For me, WINXP, 2.7
    sys.getdefaultencoding()
    'ascii'

    winxp, 3.2:
    sys.getdefaultencoding()
    'utf-8'

    Both are what one would want.

    --
    Terry Jan Reedy
  • Harrismh777 at May 31, 2011 at 12:57 am

    Chris Angelico wrote:
    Is it a waste of time to try to get school admins to put python in
    their school laptops?
    No, absolutely no... Python advocacy is necessary in this venue !
    Possibly the best way to encourage Python deployment would be to
    require it to run some internal script.
    Chris has a great idea here... but I think more along the lines of
    an app that benefits school admins in terms of networking registration,
    accountability, or messaging. In other words, if I understand Chris
    correctly, make the script / app necessarily useful to the admins you
    are trying to advocate to, so that the students reap the benefits of
    having the interpretor installed and ready...?!?

    Great idea...





    kind regards,
    m harris
  • Chris Angelico at May 31, 2011 at 2:53 am

    On Tue, May 31, 2011 at 10:57 AM, harrismh777 wrote:
    Chris Angelico wrote:
    Possibly the best way to encourage Python deployment would be to
    require it to run some internal script.
    ? Chris has a great idea here... but I think more along the lines of an app
    that benefits school admins in terms of networking registration,
    accountability, or messaging. In other words, if I understand Chris
    correctly, make the script / app ?necessarily useful to the admins you are
    trying to advocate to, so that the students reap the benefits of having the
    interpretor installed and ready...?!?
    Precisely. If there is some kind of need for a script to be deployed
    on all students' laptops (even if it's just part of some installer,
    and not necessary post-setup), then write it in Python and put the
    interpreter on there. This is not shenanigans, but simply the use of a
    quality tool; it's no different from the eComStation installers making
    extensive use of VX-REXX, and thus mandating its installation as part
    of the eCS install.

    Chris Angelico

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