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Android Education Software KDE IT

The Free Educational Software GCompris Comes To Android 75

New submitter xarma writes GCompris is a reference in its category on GNU/Linux but also on Windows. Its development started in 2000 in Gtk+. Last year the development team, willing to address the tablet and PC users from a single code base, took the hard decision to fully rewrite it in Qt Quick. The new version is now developed under the KDE community umbrella. After one year of work, a first release has been shipped on the Android play store. Continuing on its original funding approach, it remains free software but requires a fee on proprietary platforms.
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The Free Educational Software GCompris Comes To Android

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday January 18, 2015 @04:02AM (#48843453)

    "gcompris" sounds like "I understand" in French, where the letter G sounds like "j'ai", "I have".

    Maybe everyone knew, but it's the first time I hear of this project.

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Actually, it's "I have understood" (j'ai compris); "I understand" would be "je comprends".
      Both forms have nasal vowels which do not exist in english, so giving a pronunciation guide for english speakers is impossible (at least to my knowledge,and obviously the "r" is completely different), but the final "s" is silent (as almost always in French), it rhymes more or less with "happy", certainly shorter than "bee".

      • Actually, it's "I have understood" (j'ai compris)

        Beginner's mistake... Actually "j'ai compris" is "I understood".

        • If anyone's a beginner it's you. The usage of the tenses doesn't map as simply as that, but given that it's auxiliary plus past participle it's the perfect tense. The construction is identical, so "I have understood" is at least the more literal answer.

          http://french.about.com/od/gra... [about.com]

          • by fyngyrz ( 762201 )

            Continuing on its original funding approach, it remains free software but requires a fee on proprietary platforms.

            Ok, rant coming. Not objecting to these folks right or choice to charge for commercial use (in fact, I think it's appropriately self-reinforcing and somewhat amusing) but my rant is on a subject that can, at least in one important aspect, be traced back to the more global linux/GUI issue, which this immediately brought to mind. Ahem.

            <RANT>
            Between a snarkily neurotic prejudice against non-

          • Sorry but this site is crap. Even Google Translate does a good job translating "j'ai compris" into "I understood". Tu parles français couramment mon ami??
    • by Nemyst ( 1383049 )
      First time I hear about it as well and surprise surprise, it's another open source project with a terrible name! Every single time, they think they're clever, but just end up being inane.
      • by Anonymous Coward

        Actually, the name is very clever *if* you happen to speak french. So I assume the author speaks that language. I'll admit it doesn't translate well though, so you can definitely argue that for most users the name kinda sucks, much like most open source programs.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    I had to fire up a search engine to figure out what the software is all about. Turns out submitter is in good company, as the software's own website is similarly vague about what it does and why I'd want it. Tentatively I'm going with "this is for kids", and, since the summaries are so vague "nice way to waste a rainy sunday afternoon with trying to install it". The educational lesson here is that these would-be educators are too self-absorbed to want to try and learn anything from.

    • by anagama ( 611277 )

      I looked at the website too -- I don't think it is quite as vague as you make it out, but it is also clear to me that whoever wrote the summary and the website is either: a) not a native English speaker, or b) a very bad writer. Hopefully, there are no modules on English.

      One year ago we took [^w made] the hard decision to fully rewrite GCompris in QtQuick in order to address tablet users while keeping PC compatibility. As you [can] imagine[,] it's [^w it was (*)] a daunting task and something for sure [^w

      • by xarma ( 916256 )
        You are quiet rude with us. This is a community based project trying to help children all over the world. Many contributors are not native english but we do an effort to do everything in english to have a wide audience and ease the translations. That said, feel free to send us patches for our web site, the source code for it is here: http://quickgit.kde.org/?p=web... [kde.org]
        • This is slashdot. But look at the good side - you made the front page.

          Quickie question - this is on both on your home page and your news page. Can you clarify?

          As you will see, the full Android version is sold for 6€ now but the price will have to be adjusted to find the optimal one.

          Do you consider Android to be proprietary - just wondering.

          Also, I'll email you with a correct translation from the original french - click on my user name and scroll to the bottom (slashdot's css is broken again - the user info that used to be beside the list of recent comments no longer fits because ..., well, because this is slashdot :-)

          • by xarma ( 916256 )

            This is slashdot. But look at the good side - you made the front page.

            Sure, I am happy for GCompris to be on the front page and was ready for harsh comments.

            Do you consider Android to be proprietary - just wondering.

            Part or Android is free software but for sure the store is not. We are looking for contributors willing to help us to package GCompris on F-Droid.org [f-droid.org] which is fully free software compliant. It let people using a fully free Android system to get applications outside the Google store and which are guaranteed to be free.

            Also, I'll email you with a correct translation from the original french

            Great, your patch will be welcome.

        • You are quite rude with us.... Many contributors are not native English speakers but we make an effort to do everything in English to have a wide audience and ease the translations.

          FTFY.

        • by anagama ( 611277 )

          Sorry, it is not rude. It is a valid critique. You are publishing a teaching tool, thus you have a responsibility to ensure it is adequate for that purpose. That means you need to go out and find a competent editor for the English translations, a different competent editor for German, and yet another for each and every other language you are publishing in. If you don't do that, it calls into question the quality of the educational materials you are producing. Think about it, would you really want a per

          • by xarma ( 916256 )

            Yes, I agree with you and this is what we do on the software itself but we are less strict on the communication.

            For now nobody complained and I did not realize the quality level our readers expect now on our project. I'll try to see how we can improve there.

      • by xarma ( 916256 )

        Thanks a lot, your fixes are online.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by huftis ( 135056 )

      I had to fire up a search engine to figure out what the software is all about. Turns out submitter is in good company, as the software's own website is similarly vague about what it does and why I'd want it.

      I agree that the description in the blurb is quite vague. But a picture speaks more than a thousand words, and I think a video is even better, so here’s a three-minute video showing GCompris in action [youtube.com] (it’s the same video that you get when you click the video link on the Google Play page). It doesn’t show all (currently 88) different games/activities in GCompris, but it should give you a pretty good idea about what the software is about.

  • by msobkow ( 48369 ) on Sunday January 18, 2015 @04:19AM (#48843491) Homepage Journal

    Requiring fees based on the deployment platform used does not constitute "free" software under any open source definition I have ever read.

    • by muep ( 901215 )
      If it is free software, you should have the possibility of altering the program so that it does not ask for money and you are permitted to distribute such versions.
      • If it is free software, you should have the possibility of altering the program so that it does not ask for money and you are permitted to distribute such versions.

        You can, the source is available here [gcompris.net]. And it is apparently licensed [github.com] under the GPLv3.

    • XChat [xchat.org] would like to have a talk with you.

      • XChat would like to have a talk with you.

        No, no it would not: XChat for Windows is not free software.

      • by Trepidity ( 597 )

        I don't think XChat for Windows is open-source; in fact it appears the source code isn't even available, under any license. The site does provide diffs for its modifications to the LGPL libraries it's built on, but the source to the Windows front-end isn't released.

    • by tlhIngan ( 30335 )

      Requiring fees based on the deployment platform used does not constitute "free" software under any open source definition I have ever read.

      Eh?

      Free software is about freedom, not price. You can sell your Free software based on your deployment platform. In fact, prior to the internet, if you wanted GNU stuff, you paid the FSF $5000 to get tapes with the software you wanted.

      If you create something, you can give it for free on Linux, and make Windows and Mac users pay. Of course, you run into the the possibilit

      • Free software is about freedom, not price.

        Free Software is also Open Source software. If I can't get the source (perhaps from a paying customer) and build it and come up with a working executable then it's not Free Software. In this case they're giving away some but not all of the activities included with gcompris with the Android version. It's possible, then, that the core software remains Free Software, while those other activities (for which you also have to pay on Windows and MacOS) are commercial, for-pay software.

        However, I'm already download

        • by huftis ( 135056 )

          In this case they're giving away some but not all of the activities included with gcompris with the Android version. It's possible, then, that the core software remains Free Software, while those other activities (for which you also have to pay on Windows and MacOS) are commercial, for-pay software.

          However, I'm already downloading some stuff right now, so I'm not downloading the 280MB tarball to find out

          No worries. I’m happy to tell you that all of GCompris, each and every activity, is free software. If you download the source code, you get the source code for all the activities.

          If you want to, you can compile the software yourself. (Actually, there’s not much compiling required. GCompris Qt is written in Qt Quick, so it’s mostly just JavaScript code, that doesn’t need any compiling.) You can get the latest version of the source code at the KDE Git repository [kde.org], or at a GitHub [github.com] mirror.

          • No worries. Iâ(TM)m happy to tell you that all of GCompris, each and every activity, is free software. If you download the source code, you get the source code for all the activities.

            That's awesome, then, and I care not a fig whether some people have to take some extra steps if they don't want to pay the paltry fee. Thank you for keeping your work Free and Open.

        • by xarma ( 916256 )
          No it is not a partialy free software application, in GCompris everything we do is under GPL. All the sources are included in our public repository.
        • Free Software is also Open Source software.

          Free software and opensource software are two different things. Also, there's precedent for charging on proprietary platforms since (1) there's no requirement for the author to make their Windows or OSX version free if they're using libraries and code that can be dual-licensed or not licensed under a "you must give the source to anyone who asks" license, and (2) there might be licensing issues with libraries used to build on proprietary platforms, such as a per-unit fee (or even per-user, like dBASE 4 and o

          • Free Software is also Open Source software.

            Free software and opensource software are two different things.

            Very good! Thanks to English, both of these statements can be correct, and they are. Unless, of course, you decided to let some tools who call themselves the OSI tell you what Open Source means even though the terms had a definition in the software community before the OSI even existed. That you weren't aware of it is irrelevant, all that means is that you shouldn't get a say because you weren't even there when it happened.

            Free Software is "Open Source". It is also a lot more than that. That's why Free Soft

    • by huftis ( 135056 )

      Requiring fees based on the deployment platform used does not constitute "free" software under any open source definition I have ever read.

      The software is licensed under the GNU GPL 3, and is thus certainly free software. It follows all four freedoms in the free software definition [gnu.org]. It is also open source, under the offical Open Source Definition [opensource.org]. In fact, being able to sell the software is integral to it being free software. From the GNU licence FAQ [gnu.org]:

      Does the GPL allow me to sell copies of the program for money?

      Yes, the GPL allows everyone to do this. The right to sell copies is part of the definition of free software. Except in one special situation, there is no limit on what price you can charge. (The one exception is the required written offer to provide source code that must accompany binary-only release.)

      And, of course, the source for GCompris Qt is available, at both a KDE Git repository [kde.org] and a GitHub [github.com] mirror. You’re welcome to compile it yourself, and play it for free, on either a Linux syst

    • Requiring fees based on the deployment platform used does not constitute "free" software under any open source definition I have ever read.

      Free Software requires that the user be given the source code, and that they can redistribute their changed code. It doesn't require that you give the binary to the user without charging them a fee. Open Source literally means only that you can see the source, and maybe make use of it privately; it had that meaning before the OSI was even a thing. But if they're not claiming that the for-pay activities in non-Free-OS variants of gcompris are Free or Open, AFAICT. They do like to otherwise claim gcompris is

    • Requiring fees based on the deployment platform used does not constitute "free" software under any open source definition I have ever read.

      So you have not read any, and have no idea what you are talking about. Start with the open source definition (opensource.org) and the Free Software Foundation (gnu.org).
      https://www.gnu.org/philosophy... [gnu.org]
      http://opensource.org/faq#free... [opensource.org]

      You are making, unintentionally, an excellent point that one should refer to gratis software and libre software.
      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/... [wikipedia.org]
      GCompris is always libre software, but sometimes not gratis. That is OK with both the FSF/GNU and OSI.

    • More to the point, Android is an open source and freely redistributable platform.

      • by xarma ( 916256 )

        More to the point, Android is an open source and freely redistributable platform.

        Android AOSP is the Open Source part of Android used by Cyanogen for example to create a fully open source mobile operating system. But the Android store who is provided on most Android devices is not part of AOSP and for sure is not Open Source.

    • by jrumney ( 197329 )
      It depends how it is done. If, like the original Qt license, the license says that the software cannot be used on those platforms without paying the fee, then you are correct, it is non-Free software. But if anyone is free to compile the source themselves, but the authors make a convenient binary package available for a fee, then it is still Free software.
  • by Anonymous Coward

    GCompris is a reference in its category on GNU/Linux but also on Windows.

    That almost tells us what GCompris is or does, but not quite.

  • The linked release notes mentions that GCompris is fully translated into 8 languages. But note that it’s also partially translated into (currently) 29 languages [kde.org]. In fact, some of the languages supported don’t even exist as native locales on the Android platform (but you can still choose the language manually, in the GCompris preferences menu).

    GCompris was only very recently moved to the KDE infrastructure, and it’s still in the review phase (see the KDE software lifecycle [kde.org]), so not all tran

    • by xarma ( 916256 )
      I fully agree and it is quiet hard to do. It's much simpler to focus on a single language but since the start of this project we decided to take the hard path and give children of the world the opportunity to be tought in their language.
  • by gr8dude ( 832945 ) on Sunday January 18, 2015 @05:23PM (#48846717) Homepage

    I've used GCompris (among other tools) last year in a summer camp for children from socially vulnerable families. It was a project powered by volunteers and donations.

    The kids enjoyed it very much, due to the variety of activities available - everyone found something to tinker with. If you're interested, have a look at the photos: http://tinco.md/galerie [tinco.md], https://www.facebook.com/TINCO... [facebook.com].

    Children liked TuxType and Scratch too, but GCompris ranked #1, especially among the younger ones.

    Some youngsters in Moldova had a great summer; and who knows - maybe a few of them will build careers related to computers. And that could be your fault (-:

    p.s. I am glad it runs on Android now, I've already recommended it to a parent.

    • by xarma ( 916256 )

      Excellent, I found a picture with the electricity activity of GCompris: https://www.facebook.com/TINCO... [facebook.com] are you the one on the picture?

      The electricity activity is is not yet ported on Android but based on the forums talking about GCompris, this is a must.

      • by gr8dude ( 832945 )

        I have feedback about that activity. A kid was experimenting with batteries and light bulbs - they wouldn't turn on, though his wiring was correct.

        After thinking about it and tinkering, it turned out there was a missing dependency - `gnucap`, simulation does not work without it. I didn't know it at the time and it was difficult to figure that out because we were in a remote village with sporadic 3G coverage and all those children were buzzing around with excitement (-:

        Perhaps it is better to install it alon

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