by Gener Luis Morada
The Pilipinas Anti-Piracy Team or PAPT which is mainly composed of the elements of the Philippine National Police, National Bureau of Investigation and the Optical Media Board, have recently announced they would be intensifying their campaign against the use of pirated software for 2009. Time and time again the PAPT has made this pronouncement and yet it seems that they are still having a difficult time in curbing the use of pirated software in our communities in spite of spending millions of pesos of tax payer’s money and countless hours of investigative work. It is not that they are not trying hard enough for it they have raided and persecuted in court countless companies that they caught using pirated software. Maybe, they have failed to realize that there is something in our system that has been telling people that using pirated software is not a crime considering that they have been using it and have been setting as an example to countless numbers of today’s students.
Being an Open Source Educational Technology Advocate has been very frustrating. I have the opportunity to visit a number of public and private schools in the different parts of the country. Might it be the schools that offer elementary and high school levels to technical vocational schools, still I find a majority of them using pirated software in their offices and computer laboratories. Worst some public schools were given computer units that they could use by the Commission on Information and Communication Technology with Edubuntu software installed then later being formatted to pirated Windows systems.
It is time for us in the open source community to exert our influence in asking for a definite policy on technical education with regards to the use of pirated software in our school system from the Department of Education. We have always been wondering why there is a breakdown in the value system in our communities and these breakdown will continue as long as our schools are setting an example that it is just fine to break the law since they are openly showing that they are using pirated software in their operations. The Department of Education should make it clear to the school administrator might it be coming from the public or private schools that if they could not afford to buy licensed software then the best thing to do is to use open sourced software for their operations. We will be able to break the cycle of corruption in our society by the schools providing an example that as one of the basic pillars in our society they are following what is required by law.
I happen to spent the day yesterday at the Rosario National High School in Rosario, Cavite as part of the team of Agham and CPU that handled the career orientation seminar of the fourth year students. There I met Mr. Noel Z. Alberto the ICT coordinator of the said school. Having been enlightened on the need to use open source software as part of the values formation of the school, he embarked on a program in which he mass migrated the computer systems that they are using in their school from pirated Windows XP to Ubuntu 8.10. In the course of the day we were able to talk what he is currently experiencing in the sudden shift from proprietary software to open source software.
I think that education will play a big part in gaining more appreciation for FOSS.