[sf-lug] mastering CDs in bulk for Software Freedom Day
rick at linuxmafia.com
Fri Aug 28 15:17:51 PDT 2009
Quoting Sameer Verma (sverma at sfsu.edu):
> I agree that principally, it makes more sense for a *Linux* user group
> to hand out Linux CDs at an event such as this (BTW, does SF-LUG have
> any plans for SFD?), and given that the event is *Software* Freedom
> Day, and not *Linux* Freedom Day, prinicpally I would not discriminate
> against the OS on which the Software (application) runs. IMO, it goes
> against the spirit of some parts of the Open Source Definition.
I'm minutely familiar with the Open Source Definition, having
participated in OSI's licence review process for many years. And yet, I
cannot find any part of it, nor, as the USSC might say, "emanations and
penumbras", that in any way suggest that it's a good thing, let alone
obligatory, to cut CDs of MS-Windows software at one's own expense in
time and money and hand them out.
I've only been reading the OSD carefully for about a decade, so I might
have missed something: Does it contain some personal obligation to hand
out software for proprietary OS platforms, above and beyond the need for
OSD-compliant software to not be licensed specific to a product or to be
(Er, no, it does not.)
And, again, the fact that Sept. 19 has been declared by some guys
running a Web site to be *Software* Freedom Day doesn't make it
necessary for desirable for LUGs to hand out software for MS-Windows any
more than it being International Talk Like a Pirate Day makes it
necessary or desirable for them to adopt piratical attitudes.
> I think its safe to say that if the LUGs plan on participating, we
> (SF-LUG?) do a CD run of Linux (which distro?) and we (SFSU) will do a
> run of OpenEducationDisc, which SFD actually ships to teams
> anyway...we just don't get enough to give out.
Without particular objection (except what I've noted before, i.e., it's
no skin off my back if you toil on behalf of MS-Windows users), I note
that OpenEducationDisc appears to be (also) MS-Windows-specific, i.e.,
to consist only of MS-Windows programs. Sadly, the related Web page
(http://www.theopendisc.com/education/) doesn't mention that fact.
The linked FAQ page does clarify the matter:
Q: What are the requirements to run program XYZ?
A: You need to check the website of the program where it will give you
exact specifications. Most of the programs on this disk need Windows XP
or above and a computer bought within the last few years.
> > This particular bad argument does not improve with repetition: It's
> > frankly pretty obvious why giving MS-Windows users additional excuses to
> > remain on that platform doesn't "move the user closer to software
> > freedom", and never has.
> I actually have statistical evidence to the contrary (innovation
> adoption of FOSS research), but I have 20 different things pulling me
> 20 different ways, so maybe I'll share another time.
Does your research indicate that handing out open source MS-Windows
applications to users increases the likelihood of them deciding to
run an open-source operating system, instead? It doesn't seem, from
your brief description that it does, which would make your contention
somewhat non-sequitur to the point.
More to the point, the truly relevant question is whether the same
amount of money and effort applied to the actual Linux or BSD
communities has a greater or lesser benefit. I think it's pretty
obvious that the benefit is greater. Not that I have any business
criticising anyone else's decision to help MS-Windows users -- but
personally I would rather devote my free time elsewhere. (I'd
classify my, theoretically, doing it as "consulting". ;-> )
 Basically, consultant Matt Oquist, in conjunction with
Phil Harper of the OpenDisk / OpenCD effort -- though they've got
several other folks aboard, in the several years since.
 An alert reader might also figure out that fact, from the main
page's citation of contents that are obviously Windows-specific, such as
Clamwin and WinSCP.
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