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Re: [Fsfe-uk] Just a Minute

From: Martin Coxall
Subject: Re: [Fsfe-uk] Just a Minute
Date: 15 Apr 2002 17:10:25 +0100

> > > AFFS is pro-Free Software. That's the 'big' goal, the advancement of Free
> > > Software.
> > 
> > An utterly meaningless phrase.
> For values of meaningless equal to grand, wide, general, etc. perhaps. 
> If you mean "without meaning", then you are wrong.

Let's try "inaccurate" then. I don't think we can or should seek to
advance free software in vacuum. We should seek to defend freedom and
thus allow free software to flourish.

> "Association For Free Software". I'm intrigued as to what you thought it
> should be about.

That's a fallacy of the undistributed middle. By being pro-freedom, we
are for free software. *However* being for free software doesn't mean
that we should have some limited aim of "advancing free software" whilst
ignoring the wider issues of freedom.

> > There are more important things than free software, as Richard
> > Stallman says. And I agree with him.
> Of course there are; the current conflict in the Middle East is a
> shining example.

Making spurious statements like that isn't helpful. As I said, we are
talking about fighting for freedom from corporate and government
oppression. If we succeed, free software will flourish as a side effect.

> In the context of AFFS, though, there isn't. It exists to promote Free
> Software. For the committee to do otherwise would be to cheat the 
> membership.

Really? "Exists to promote free software" is again vague and inaccurate.
If the constitution says this, I think it should be removed. 

I think to ignore these real threats to freedom, whilst indulging in
some narrow-minded obsessing about whether St Neots school in Plympton
is using Evolution or Outlook would be a gross treachery to the entire
Free Software movement.

And yet, since we don't yet have a membership to speak of, now would be
a good time to decide exactly these things.

> > You really should have been there on Saturday, then maybe we could have
> > had this discussion properly.
> Well, I'm usually available in London if people want to talk to me. I'm
> also available off-list. But I don't think this is an on-topic
> discussion for address@hidden, unless I've misinterpreted you?

What? This entire discussion is about as on-topic as it gets. I think
you must have misinterperted me.


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