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Re: [Fwd: [Fsfe-uk] Hello]

From: MJ Ray
Subject: Re: [Fwd: [Fsfe-uk] Hello]
Date: Wed, 24 Apr 2002 23:37:39 GMT
User-agent: slrn/ (Linux)

Chris Puttick <address@hidden> wrote:

Can you write your replies in between the thing you're replying to, and
clearly mark the quotes with "> ", please?  I find it confusing, as I'm not
always able to reply often enough to recall context well.  Thanks. ;-)

> JANet are not connecting schools, although they offered the possibility of
> undertaking the NGfL connectivity, given suitable amounts of cash, [...]

Odd.  I was told JANet were obliged to do so.  No, I can't find a reference.

> The reason why you should avoid the free word is the misunderstanding it
> generates. No software is free. GNU/Emacs was not free; a number of highly
> skilled, valuable individuals contributed their time to make it work. It is
> only free to use. Cost effective is much more persuasive. 

We don't talk about free as in price.  We talk about free as in freedom. 
Does that make a difference, as long as we are really clear and up front
about it being free as in freedom?  (On price, we talk about cheaper and
fairer, not free, I think.)

> [...] Explaining what true open source is and how that can ensure
> continuity of support is again very persuasive. [...]

If by "true open source", you mean Free Software, then yes, I agree, but
let's be honest and use the right words.  If you just mean having the source
code, then I disagree quite strongly.

> StarOffice is useful because of (a) branding, (b) support and (c)
> redistribution agreements.

Let's look at this: a is because they expect to get their marketing money
back somehow; b is a different matter to the software... it's just a case of
the support contract and I'm sure more people can offer support for
OpenOffice.org stuff than the restricted StarOffice; c I really don't get. 
Surely the restricted software is less redistributable?  With Free Software
you get the redistribution agreement as standard.

> Unless someone can provide similar resources (and a neat database install)
> for the schools for OpenOffice [...]

Another motivation for a directory of suppliers.

> The majority of its development is courtesy of the open source development
> model, and hence provides a stepping stone onto other open source
> solutions.

Or it's a way for schools to make the same mistake yet again and find
themselves locked in to a proprietary supplier?  Why is StarOffice any more
of a stepping stone than anything else?  Yes, it lets you point and shout a
little, but it gets you none of the benefits and the cynics will point out
that there's been a lot more development of it in the closed way.

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