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Celebrate Computer Science Education Week with free software

by Free Software Foundation Contributions Published on Dec 09, 2013 05:59 PM
By Ben Cook, FSF licensing intern

This week marks the first ever Computer Science Education Week. Five million students in thirty-five thousand schools across 167 countries will be embarking on their first "Hour of Code" to learn the basics of computer programming. Computer science should be accessible to every 21st century student, and free software is essential to that goal. It is imperative that schools use free software, because the source code can be studied, shared, and modified by students using free tools. Free software also teaches students independence and creativity, instead of reliance on vendors and proprietary licenses.

Read more about why schools should use free software.

Unfortunately, the Computer Science Education Week 2013 website and affiliated website recommend sites that promote proprietary software. Some of these educational resources attempt to support GNU/Linux operating systems, but rely on unsupported, proprietary runtimes. Some do not even support free operating systems at all. Others encourage students to write programs for mobile platforms which exclude free software, and limit access with complicated terms of service and expensive developer accounts.

A few educational software projects are available that respect users' rights, but more are needed. Snap! is a visual, drag and drop programming language and older students may want to learn how to contribute to free software projects at OpenHatch. You can help us improve our list of introductory resources by adding to our collection in the Free Software Directory.

You can learn more about our internship programs at

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