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[fsfc-discuss] Do we have our own Canadian "Words to Avoid (or Use with

From: Russell McOrmond
Subject: [fsfc-discuss] Do we have our own Canadian "Words to Avoid (or Use with Care)"? (Was a reply to "Hello")
Date: Sun, 29 Jan 2012 09:07:29 -0500
User-agent: Mozilla/5.0 (X11; Linux i686; rv:8.0) Gecko/20111124 Thunderbird/8.0

(New subject line referencing http://www.gnu.org/philosophy/words-to-avoid.html I thought this was on the FSF.org site, where it should have been. I suspect this is part of the confusion between GNU and FSF. http://www.fsf.org/licensing/essays/words-to-avoid.html redirects to the GNU website...)

On 12-01-28 07:21 PM, Stephen Paul Weber wrote:
People who hate DRM/TPM have in my hearing disparaged DFD because of ties to
GNU.  I am not saying this is rational, only that it has happened.

I'm partly wanting to discuss this more as I want to ensure our (and my own) advocacy work can avoid some of the misconceptions and pitfalls. It is interesting, but I've heard these types of comments associated with RMS, and through that the FSF as many see it is his project, but not before the GNU project.

While I agreed with what he said (the actual wording), there were many people uncomfortable with what RMS wrote when Steve Jobs died. I've had associates tell me they didn't want to use the "Free Software" term any more because they didn't want to be associated with the impression portrayed by the media about what Richard said.

(In case anyone missed the original and the follow-up http://stallman.org/archives/2011-jul-oct.html#06_October_2011_%28Steve_Jobs%29 )

We can't avoid all misconceptions, but we can at least be aware of language issues and avoid them if we can.

When I'm talking to politicians about "technological protection measures" I try to stick to my "4 owners, all 4 of whose property rights must be protected" conversation. On software, I simply state that technology owners must be protected in their right to make their own software choices. And that to software authors the right of computers owners to pick their software is far more important than protecting copyright.

I avoid talking about "Fair Use" or "Fair Dealings", as I personally feel these are a distraction from the critical questions of who owns the computer, who should hold the keys to any digital locks, and weather owners should be protected in their right to make their own software choices. I have found it unfortunate that everyone from Defective by Design to Michael Geist have spent so much time discussing fair use/dealings.

My view that Free Software is the equivalent to software code as access to information and related transparency/accountability policy is to legal code has proven to be a distraction for many politicians. They are not ready for the "code is law" level of the conversation. I have found I can't always have that conversation with fellow members of the FLOSS community, as many do not agree there are moral, ethical and other issues with proprietary software: they see it as a developer choice rather than a societal governance issue.

Be aware of the language/etc issues, and avoid them when mentioning is unnecessary...even if they represent strongly held personal views.

So, this is a short (and way-too-anecdotal) summary of my high-level concern
with close ties to GNU.

  I think it is helpful to discuss these things openly in this forum.

If I were given the choice, I would prefer creating a Canadian Free Software Conservancy to creating a Canadian GNU project. I think we as a community have matured to the point where having a legal/business support umbrella for a wide variety of independent non-profit incorporated software projects is better than having a single non-profit that centrally manages everything. The GNU project started at a time before the communications networks and distributed development tools we take for granted today.

 Russell McOrmond, Internet Consultant: <http://www.flora.ca/>
 Please help us tell the Canadian Parliament to protect our property
 rights as owners of Information Technology. Sign the petition!

 "The government, lobbied by legacy copyright holders and hardware
  manufacturers, can pry my camcorder, computer, home theatre, or
  portable media player from my cold dead hands!" http://c11.ca/own

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