holiday pass are two weeks of holiday activities
packed with exciting and entertaining activities. Usually, those
activities are free of charge for the participating kids and
teenagers, and typically, at least at Kreuzlingen, the city at
lake Constance, they are outdoor activities. This year, though, we
had our first IT-related holiday activity:
for girls and boys, with Free Software and Linux.
Peter Bittner, a Kreuzlingen-based software developer and DevOps engineer, held two 3-day courses with up to 7 participants. Main goal of the event was to create awareness of the existence of a Free alternative to Microsoft Windows and Apple's macOS, and the important and dominant role Free Software plays in today's modern cloud-based software development.
Switzerland has a very uniform landscape of hard- and software in primary education: Almost exclusively Apple hardware, accompanied by Microsoft Office products and infrastructure services. Pupils are being taught "products" of the technology giants ("Safari", "Word", "Excel", "PowerPoint") instead of information technology concepts (web browser, text processor, spreadsheet, presentations). With this course, kids should get hands-on experience with GNU/Linux and development tools made of Free Software, so they could act as multiplicators for a better future.
The FSFE sponsored cool stickers, information posters and flyers, Lioh Möller's Faircomputer sponsored two laptops to use during the course and give away for free. Two Kreuzlingen software development agencies sponsored USB sticks for running Ubuntu with persistent data on any PC and snacks for the breaks. Organic apples and the excellent Kreuzlingen tap water were available for free too, for healthy breaks.
Course 1 (Mon-Wed) had 3 girls and 3 boys, while course 2 (Thu-Sat) had only boys, all aged 12-13. The location, a Kreuzlingen school building, was accessible by wheelchair as needed for one of the course participants. Everyone was super-happy and excited to take home the USB stick with all the achieved programming work and their new, friendly operating system.