Ade Malsasa Akbar contact
Senior author, Open Source enthusiast.
Saturday, August 22, 2020 at 23:58

I teach GNU/Linux. I make a computer school online for Indonesian people by using Free Software and GNU operating systems for living purposes. Among the skills students learn are writing documents with LibreOffice and mastering Ubuntu. I have used Jitsi video call technology for about six month since early 2020 and I found it perfect for my online teaching as I open classes in my country Indonesia for people from Sumatra to Papua islands. Of course I also use Telegram as it is the easiest FLOSS communication tool for me and my students. I am happy to share with you my teaching experiences.

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My school:

It is a computer course using Free Software and GNU/Linux.

My online school is nothing else than my Telegram channel. Every student becomes a student simply by joining. Generally my school is divided into courses and transcripts - courses are classrooms (groups) and transcripts are simply a full copy of a class saved as LibreOffice document. A course held in a classroom (group) so new course held in a new class too. Now my school has 90 courses thus you can download 90 transcripts to learn everything about switching completely into GNU/Linux. So yes all my courses are downloadable. Everyone does not have computer can still learn by having the transcripts printed on papers. Of course all my courses are in Indonesian not in English.

In my school students learn:
  • What is free software and what is GNU/Linux
  • What is LibreOffice and Open Document Format
  • Commercialization and selling of free software
  • Hardware that is compatible to GNU/Linux
  • Switching completely from Microsoft Windows to GNU/Linux

(All schedules here - the green announcement is the course and transcript download below it is the transcript)

My students:

Most of Indonesian people coming to my courses are those who use Microsoft Windows wanting to switch to GNU/Linux either in dual or singleboot way. They are my main target. I reached more than one thousands persons today calculated since first establishment at 2017.

My Achievements

  • I teach online in front of so many students in paid and gratis courses.
  • I meet students from Aceh to Papua which are between the most east and west points of Indonesia archipelago.
  • I convey the free software definition, the name of our community, the goal of our movement, the GNU operating system history, the Ubuntu history, and the importance of LibreOffice and OpenDocument Format and also selling free software is okay.
  • I train students to migrate from Windows to GNU/Linux completely - using GNOME and KDE, Nautilus and Dolphin, before practicing basic command lines until the most important thing package management system Synaptic and APT.
  • I guide students in basics of computing such as what distro to choose, where to download a distro, making bootable media, booting, and running a LiveCD and one among them is Trisquel.

My specifications:

I use my only computer I have an old laptop Acer Aspire One 756 with Intel Pentium processor and 4GB memory and Intel Graphics video card which also I use to write hundreds of UbuntuBuzz articles. Operating systems I use mainly Kubuntu and since 20.04 released I also use Ubuntu. Internet access I use are between broadband fiber (Indonesia's Telkom and IndiHome public hotspots) and personal mifi (XLGO XL Axiata).

My requirements:

Jitsi meets all my requirements. It is very simple as I don't need too much features except:
  • easy join - no registration no phone number no email required
  • no application - simply uses existing web browser to go
  • stable conference - no hassle no trouble when teaching
  • voice call - students can hear my voice and vice versa
  • share screen - I can see students' screens and vice versa
  • no webcam - we learn about computer not cosmetics
  • raise hand - student clicks a button to sign that they understood
  • text chat - for students to inform something or reply to my questions
  • gratis - everyone accesses video call at no cost (see

My tools:

  • Telegram Messenger - my primary tool as my online school is originally in Telegram for three years.
  • LibreOffice - I obligated my students to have LibreOffice to read the books and do the assignments.
  • Jitsi Meet - my primary tool right now aside from Telegram solely for video call (share screen).
  • Ethercalc - my registration form for students.
(My latest classroom - every class has a book where every student must download it first and read it with LibreOffice (an Impress document) - this class was attended by fourty students and were full with discussions and pictures about graphic design and basic programming as the topics)

My practices:

Pictures explain everything.

(My classroom showing four students with one sharing his computer screen which is using Ubuntu operating system - all other students see his screen simultaneously)

(Kubuntu is the recommended operating system used by all students)

(One of my teaching goals is to give people Trisquel the completely free software operating system and I am happy I did from so far away via video call and Telegram)

(I welcome all distros and this one is my student coming with his Fedora GNU/Linux)

(My classroom is a video call room and this is when a class session yet to be started) 

(One of my students uses Apple macOS - a proprietary software - and he learns Free Software Definition right on his screen) 
(He determined to install GNU/Linux on his Macintosh)

(Many students use Windows - a proprietary software - and they learned to install LibreOffice - a free software - right away by joining my courses)
(In my country there are many people of this kind: currently using Windows but willing to switch to GNU/Linux and I guide them little by little strategically)

(I have a special group on Telegram to lead students in the video call by schedules and notifications and as the place for them to send assignments - and yes their first tasks at that moment is to help their classmate who does not have computer by using LibreOffice to create pdf ebooks she can read with phone)

My past tools:

I will not forget these great tools I have tested previously before I decided to stay at Jitsi only:
  • Nextcloud Talk - I cannot use it as it got too much connection hassles.
  • Riotim (now Element) - I cannot use if as it is slow and heavy and the video call got hassles.
  • Jami (formerly Ring) - I cannot use it as it is unstable.
  • BigBlueButton - I cannot use it because (despite it has good connection and better voice) it cannot do share screen from student to teacher.

You may ask questions.

How can I make registration form?
Easy, I only point students to Ethercalc.

Why not using Moodle?
Moodle is very good but I am more familiar with Telegram and I'd need too much time to adapt to modern Moodle.

How if you disagree with my choices of software?
You may disagree I use Telegram so you can choose Element. You may technically disagree I use Jitsi so you can choose Big Blue Button instead. See recommendation by Free Software Foundation.

I do not use proprietary software

Many people use proprietary software video call such as Zoom, Microsoft Team, Skype, WhatsApp, Google Meet, and many more. I learned from Free Software Foundation that proprietary software is often malware sooner or later gratis or paid because solely of its users don't have control over the software. For you dear teachers who are still depend on them, I strongly suggest you to try Jitsi. Have Jitsi with Telegram combo will boost up your teaching a lot. O dear teachers, please consider to adopt free software only education as it is fundamental for independence and cooperation. My experience shows that we can do online teaching without software that trample our freedom.

(Have you ever read this important page and watch the six minutes video?)


That's my teaching experience. I am the happiest to share this with you. With this online school I made I can convey Free Software Movement to as many people as possible in Indonesia fluently and quickly. I do everything myself and also without any monetary funds and to be honest all my hardware are actually not healthy anymore as well. I can make money from this as I have paid courses and ship bootable medias. I can convey everything quickly exactly as I wanted for so long time far better than merely writing. I can correct the misunderstandings my own community had - mostly about the word 'free' and our goals are not eliminating 'piracy'. I got so many new friends and met good people. I hope this reaches you all, o dear teachers. I hope you have my happiness with you.

This article is licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0.