From the Canyon Edge -- :-Dustin

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Ubuntu and an Eagle Scout Candidate

I never made it to Boy Scout status.  I had a lot of fun as a Cub Scout and as a Webelos, but at about 10 years old, I opted out, in favor of spending as much time as possible hunting and fishing in the swamps of south Louisiana with my dad and my uncles.

But I have always had considerable respect for my friends who made it all the way to Eagle Scout.

Dr. Valerie Taylor, the head of the Computer Science department at my alma mater, Texas A&M University shared this story with me recently, and I really enjoyed it.  I thought I would pass it along, here, to Planet Ubuntu...

In short, Eagle Scout candidate Raymond Westbrook of Boy Scout Troop 534 from Chicago, IL built a computer lab from 6 recycled PCs and running Ubuntu 10.04.  The lab is now available to members of the community, particularly the youth.

I thought this was a pretty cool story, and a fun way to start the year.

Happy New Year,


  1. Sorry, Dustin, I can't go along with you on this one.

    The BSA membership policy excludes known or avowed atheists or agnostics from all traditional programs.

    The Boy Scouts of America's homophobic policies have injured thousands of gay scouts and potential scouts, found them in court from San Diego to New Jersey, and cost them support of former scout Steven Spielberg, the United Church of Christ, and several corporations. Spielberg resigned from the BSA Advisory Council in 2001, saying, "it has deeply saddened me to see the Boy Scouts of America actively and publicly participating in discrimination."

    Indeed, their are so many controversies regarding the BSA that Wikipedia has a separate page just for the controversies:

  2. Excellent! I didn't complete scouting either but I am glad to see service incorporating Ubuntu. :)

  3. I didn't find out one of our scout leaders molested kids until we'd moved out of the area.

    You'd think I would have picked it up from the way the other kids talked about him, but autistic people aren't known for our grasp of innuendo.

  4. Now if only they could support Ubuntu and stop marginalizing gay men and boys, that'd be just awesome!


  5. I am an Eagle Scout. I am ashamed of BSA's discrimination policies, even though I am neither gay nor a true atheist.

    I would *love* to see a group of former BSA scout fathers, especially Eagle Scouts, start a competing program using similar curricula and programs. It would have to start small, but small means nimble and I'm sure it would attract folks who are against the quasi-military, closed-minded, USA-centric element that many troops espouse and that many parents dislike.

    But, nonetheless, we the Ubuntu Community should not discourage *any* organization from using our beloved software. If we attach and require a certain moral code to our software, we diminish its freedom.

  6. "The Boy Scouts of America's homophobic policies have injured thousands of gay scouts and potential scouts,"

    Like you I pointed out in a comment the issue of BSA's treatment of gay men and boys. But could we leave the ablelist language OUT of our discussions? Using one ism to defend against another ism is NEVER appropriate. Persons who hate gay persosn are not homo-"phobic", they are haters. There's a difference.

    Your use of "phobia" to describe someone who is hateful, is insulting to and marginalizes persons who have phobias. Just because some of us are not neuro-typical, does not mean we deserve to be thrown under the bus by the use of ableist language. A phobia is NOT hate, it is simply a differently abled state. Please keep that in mind for future discussions.

    "But, nonetheless, we the Ubuntu Community should not discourage *any* organization from using our beloved software. If we attach and require a certain moral code to our software, we diminish its freedom."

    No one attached a moral code to use our software. It is fully reasonable though to point out wen a group is incredibly hurtful to another.

  7. This post isn't about the Boy Scouts' controversial policies or bad scout leaders.

    My post is about something very positive one special kid did for his Scout project, which involved Ubuntu and Free Software.

    That is a positive story about a teenager volunteering his time to his community, building something out of nothing, and sharing that with others.

    Must we make something negative out an otherwise heartwarming story?


  8. Dustin, I can't believe that you are being this insensitive.

    No one is trying to "make something negative" about an otherwise heartwarming story. The story is negative from the start because the organization you highlight discriminates based on religion, sexual orientation, and gender. And these aren't just abstract terms. The BSA throws out children and young adults based on their religion and sexual orientation even after they've devoted their entire lives to scouting. Human beings are actually hurt by them.

    There are lots of examples you could have used to highlight Ubuntu in the community. Instead, you were insensitive to the discrimination of the BSA, and when the discrimination was pointed out to you, you blamed those that pointed out the discrimination.

    You've lost a reader today.

  9. This is a very cool thing this youth has done. I'm from Canada so don't have any direct experience with the BSA, though I have heard nothing good about them, though luckily their youth are almost always able to escape that shamming shadow. I've done many scouting events involving youth from other countries (include the US) and I can proudly say I've never seen the BSA's attitudes rub off on their youth. I can't believe the World Scouting Foundation hasn't done anything about the ridiculous attitudes and policies of the BSA's organizers.

    Good on this youth for doing something great like this for their community!


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