|FROM ||Ruben Safir
|SUBJECT ||Subject: [LIU Comp Sci] Future of Computer Education
|From owner-learn-outgoing-at-mrbrklyn.com Sun Jan 4 00:33:21 2015
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Date: Sun, 4 Jan 2015 00:33:19 -0500
From: Ruben Safir
To: hangout-at-nylxs.com, learn-at-nylxs.com
Subject: [LIU Comp Sci] Future of Computer Education
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It is unfortunate that you conclude that the opportunities to learn
computer literacy and sciences hasincreased over the last few years.
The opportunity has been available broadly and freely for decades
now. In fact, the programs that you underline here, which are
company produced and purchased platforms, are not helping anyone
to better understand coding or Comp Sci principles. They are likely
doing the opposite and obfuscating programming principles and
narrowing coding options.
The real opening for young people to learn to program began with
and continues to be the GNU Free Software program. GNU and Linux
is the largest repository of freely available IT knowledge and
education ever prodcued by man. It is the backbone of computer
education and has opened the door for individuals to learn since
its inception. From its early adoption and on until today, it has
not only empowered the genral population through Information Access,
it has spured communities, and has even raised the standards of
living for 3rd world nations by giving them a leg up in the high
tech field through sharing.
Today, however, there are fewer locally organized groups to support
learning and hacking, and things are getting worse.
The first thing people need to do in order to get better educated
is put down your smart phone.
Construction of an "app" in three days does not constitute any
measure of technological knowledge. It actually means someone has
been duped and is now a proudly dependent on very limited commercial
toolkit. Real IT education requires much more work. It is the Real
Deal. Real Math. Real Science.
The Linux kernel, which was launched by a 21 year old programmer
from Europe, contains as of 2013, with the 3.10 release 15,803,499
lines of code.
Yeah that didn't happen in 3 days or ever a week. It didn't happen
with the help of Apple or Microsoft or Sun or Unisys. In fact, it
was the reverse. These companies, maybe all companies, now rely on
the infrastructute of GNU and Free Software, in order to churn out
profits, often just repackaging old ideas to a new clientel on a
While one can learn to be a productive coder with TUTELAGE, in a
few years of hard work and study. You can't dispense with the
tutelage, and you can't dispense with the practice and the work.
This is where your local user groups step in and provide support.
They also provide you with a measuring stick to judge your own
capabilities. This can not happen surrounding yourself with peers
and working with companies that want to exploit youthful enthusiasm.
Unfortunately, user groups are all but dieing as their membership
grow older with and gain private responsibilities. It doesn't help
that you can't get the kids to dig their heads out of their smart
For one example, a recent presentation at a local University for
a computer group included "programming" flappy bird through object
C. in one hour or less. They showed how to add some basic function
code to an existing code base, and to press a button and compile
it, and then flappy bird flaps. That was it, they learned Object
C? That's what they were told and they were awash in a glow of
They didn't learn a damn thing but they got an excellent pitch to
join a private coding school with "ties to start up entrepreneurial
The real documentation to learn ObjectC, however, IS available for
free on line and has a diverse community of developers and users,
supported by the GNU project. There is that word again, COMMUNITY
This is the real Object C. In order to learn it, one starts with
Here is the core manual with 148 pages, i think, or documentation
of the objectC and gnustep core.
This is the base API
With the development of "apps", there is a lot of renewed interest
in ObjectC and GNUstep. But there is no shortcuts to deep knowledge.
Trust me, this current gold rush for IT coders is not going to last
long. There will be a crash, just like there was after the dotcom
boom. If you expect to remain working in IT for 40 years, you are
actually going to have to learn something. You are going to need
a good background in C, C++, program design, Operating systems,
systems security, assembler, architecture, and essential related
math skills. A background in LISP, Lamda Calculus, and relational
theory can't hurt either.
The threat to your education is the very companies that want to
exploit young people today. They are trying to close off the access
to tools and documentation, ONCE AGAIN. Before the GNU project and
Linux took root, you have no idea how hard it was to get tools and
education for comp sci education.
ObjectC, for example,is threatened to be partially closed by future
apple development by skirting GNU copyright protections for privatized
development using the CLANG compiler, instead of GCC. Likewise,
Oracle has moved the JAVA RTE to it's private sphere. These "people"
want to ensnare everyone.
Will this generation coming be smart enough to identify the threat
to their own growth, empowerment and education. Do you have a
Richard Stallman among you. I don't think so. Get your head out of
the clouds, get your behind to a computer club and be prepared to
work. To me it looks bleak.
Ruben Safir NYLXS