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Re: [Fsfe-uk] Just a Minute

From: Martin Coxall
Subject: Re: [Fsfe-uk] Just a Minute
Date: 15 Apr 2002 17:29:28 +0100

> Of course, but what specifically would you expect a national
> free software organisation to focus on?

As I have said, Free Software flourishes in a free environment. By
fighting for freedom, we ensure the long term viability of free

> I've suggested we aim specifically to persuade the UK Government
> to making it's own software developments Free Software.

I would have thought that most government systems would be bespoke
in-house stuff developed by companies like EDS and logica, not
particularly useful free software.
> Patents/ cryptography/ other intrusive or badly thought out
> legislation is a fair target.

I absolutely agree with you.

> Infrastructure protection issues are important, but other than
> where free software can assist this, I'm not sure the AFFS
> should campaign. So it is fine to say "Apache is easier to
> secure than certain commercial products" and lobby the
> government to review it's use of less secure products where free
> alternative are available. 

I consider this to be something of a secondary issue for us. This sort
of campaigning is more appropriate for the security guys, the apache
software foundation, the big Linux boys, IBM, etc...

> But I'm not sure we should address
> issues of say newsgroup filtering by UK ISPs, which a "freedom"
> term might cover.

Well, that rather depends on in which context you mean. If, say, an ISP
decides to unilaterally not carry alt.binaries newgroups, then this is
an internal issue for them.

If the EU tries to pass a directive requiring ISPs not to carry
alt.binaries newsgroups, then we should get involved.

> Personally I think a whole lot of Intellectual Property law in
> inadequate or inappropriate, and would be fair game for the AFFS
> to approach.

Absolutely. Although where possible we should avoid the term
"intellectual property", it being a loaded propaganda word.

> Issues such as the various wiretap bills are also important to
> me, but I'm not clear whether the AFFS is the appropriate place
> to oppose them, although it might be the appropriate place to
> encourage cryptographic methods to defeat privacy invasion.

I also agree. Richard Stallman wrote a lovely article on why every
person who uses Free Software should oppose RIP, I'll see if I can dig
it out.

> Are these the issues you mean? If not what are they?

Yes, these are the issues I mean. And yes, they are "pro free software",
yet they are not "advancing free software", and this, I think, is the
important distinction.


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