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Apologies after teacher's 'Linux holding back kids' claim

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Updated The leader of a US effort handing out PCs and CDs running Linux to kids has apologized to a teacher for "throwing her to the wolves" in a tirade online.

HeliOS founder Ken Starks has blamed a misunderstanding for his blog post, which had criticized the Texas middle-school teacher after she'd attacked HeliOS for "misleading" students about Linux and holding them back.

Starks has apologized to the teacher - known only as Karen - for saying she’d taken a pro-Microsoft line claiming Microsoft had funded the union she's a member of.

The HeliOS leader was apparently shocked by the level of responses he'd received to the blog, with calls from across the world including one wanting to identify the teacher for $1,000.

According to Starks: "You have my sincere apology for slapping you all with such a wide brush." Starks claimed his statements were based on an "isolated but nasty experience two years ago".

Starks said he and Karen had spoken - she contacted him.

“When she heard that an adult had given him [the student with the Linux CDs] some of the disks to hand out, her spidey-senses started tingling. Coupled with the fact that she truly was ignorant of honest-to-goodness Free Software, and you have some fairly impressive conclusion-jumping,” Starks said.

The apology came after Starks ripped into Karen after receiving a strongly worded letter from her. The teacher promised to prosecute HeliOS for alleged - but unspecified - "illegal" activities, saying HeliOS is "misleading" students about Linux and holding them back.

Karen said students needed to learn Windows, not Linux. Karen had claimed: "No software is free and spreading that misconception is harmful."

Karen continued that HeliOS is holding back students' education and potential careers by bamboozling them with Linux when they should be concentrating on Windows.

The thing that probably got Starks was this zinger from Karen: "I am sure if you contacted Microsoft, they would be more than happy to supply you with copies of an older verison [sic] of Windows and that way, your computers would actually be of service to those receiving them." ®

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