Free software is a video which does a good job of explaining how free software is much more than free (gratis). It talks about the freedoms offered by FOSS and provides lots of examples. It also covers some of the more practical benefits of free software by explaining problems that can occur when commercial closed source developers drop support for their older versions.
A common question that students ask is how companies can make money with free software. Where's the money in free software? accompanies the above video and addresses this issue.
Linux is one of the best-known examples of free software and today many Linux distributions include live CD functionality that allow users to try the operating system without formatting or partitioning their hard drives. Trying a live distribution from CD (or USB flash disk for better performance) can be a great way to introduce students to free software and the programs that are available in a relatively safe environment.
The Open Source Initiative page has a very clear definition of what it considers to be open source software. The Free Software Foundation page is slightly less clear but also worth reading. It should be remembered that although often grouped together, "open source software" and "free software" are not the same thing.
Should Companies Admit They've Been Hacked? This is an extremely relevant case study as the past few years as seen a slew of high-profile companies attacked by criminals intent on stealing sensitive customer details (usually credit card details and passwords) from their databases. Some companies chose to hide the breaches from their customers while others were open about being compromised. This case study discusses the ethics of each approach.
These free collections of lesson resources from PG Online address ethical issues related to Computer Science. The four packs contain similar content but are tailored to individual IGCSE, GCSE, and A-Level exam boards. The PG Online website has a wide range of (paid) resources for other units and levels too.
- Cambridge IGCSE Ethics unit
- Edexcel GCSE The Bigger Picture unit
- AQA GCSE Impacts of Digital Technology unit
- OCR GCSE Ethical, legal, cultural and environmental concerns unit