HeliOS and Linux-hating teacher kiss and make up

HeliOS founder Ken Stark has apologised to the US teacher who threatened to call the police for using Linux in her classroom.

HeliOS and Linux-hating teacher kiss and make up

The Austin teacher became the centre of a media frenzy last week, after Stark’s blog revealed that she put a boy in detention and threatened to call the police after she spotted him handing out copies of the HeliOS distro.

Stark’s blog told how the teacher, known only as Karen, accused the HeliOS project of holding back children and committed the cardinal sin of encouraging the Linux advocates to contact Microsoft for old copies of Windows if they wanted to help children.

Now, Stark says he regrets the media storm he created. “Instead of crafting a measured, count-for-count personal response, I chose to share her obvious ignorance with members of the Linux Community,” he writes on the HeliOS blog.

“It was meant to illustrate the maddening ignorance and bias a Linux Advocate faces in a Microsoft Windows world. It was also meant to digitally spank the hand of the offender. It was a good direction to go I thought.

“Things pretty much turned to fecal flakes from there.”

Stark claims he was contacted by journalists from all over the world, who wanted him to name and shame the teacher – one UK magazine offered to donate $1,000 to his project for her full name.

However, the call he wasn’t expecting came from Karen herself, who asked the HeliOS man why he had “thrown her to the wolves?”.

“Karen and I have talked on the phone now for a couple of hours, here and there,” Stark adds. “We’ve come to understand each other more and had she said some of the things in her email that she said during our phone conversations… this black ink on white digital paper probably wouldn’t exist. And neither would over 2,000 comments that were less than kind on one end of it and absolutely brutal on the other.”

Stark concludes that misguided teachers aren’t his real enemy. “Karen seems to be a good teacher, and as she stated to me today, she has learned more about the tech world in a few days than she’s learned in five years. That’s because she’s trapped in a world of Windows. Most people are.”

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