Open source software is doing gangbusters! I’m sitting in a hands-on open source lab on mindmapping using a tool called FreeMind. There are about 50 people in here using recycled laptops provided (presumably) by the open source playground people to build mind maps. The software is pretty slick looking on first glance. Here’s a screenshot from FreeMind:

I’m willing to bet that fewer than 5 of these people have ever used Linux before (or will use it ever again). However, I’m pretty sure a good number will try out FreeMind at home because it’s available for Windows and Mac OS X.

I think the coolest impact of open source software is how it’s available on closed source operating systems (really, I mean Windows in this case). A woman walked in a few minutes after the session started, opened her Windows laptop, downloaded FreeMind, and followed along. That’s powerful!

FreeMind may be a nice alternative to Inspiration. I need to play with it some more to see if it’s suitable for the middle school set. Either way, open source has arrived.

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