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Re: [Fsfe-uk] hacker definition

From: MJ Ray
Subject: Re: [Fsfe-uk] hacker definition
Date: Fri, 16 May 2003 15:47:15 -0000
User-agent: slrn/ (Linux)

Ramanan Selvaratnam <address@hidden> wrote:
> I thought this was regarding the support for the distant learning 
> courses. eg: the support for M$ IE, Outlook etc. or in the case of 
> Bikbeck I found that they supported Netscape on Windows and Mac and 
> thats it! The courses are coordinated on a MUD server running GNU/Linux!
> There are so many free MUD clients out there on free systems but 
> non-free web browser interface is what is officially supported!

That's part of it, but I think OU policy is rather different in that if
they produce something requiring particular proprietary software, the
liability is all on a free-software-using student.  I don't know if
Birkbeck have made a conscious decision to use an open platform for
their coordination?

> the OS  or the cost. I would really like to discuss some related issues 
> offlist with anyone interested.

Is there a specialist list for these people?

> talk of 'freeware is not free software' gets too much for everyone. 

I hope you're giving them the four freedoms explanation to help?

> The point I am making is that distant study from the comfortable and 
> *affrodable* locations will be fair on good citizens only if  teaching 
> institutions adopt and support  free software.

Now that is a good summary of what motivates me.  May I reuse it?

> It is worth looking into the possibility of presenting a united front to 
> highlight this for different  fields  of studies.
> People like the OU will have to take notice then.

How?  Petition or what?

> More worryingly  I have noted that my kid is being introduced to 
> non-free software at playgroup that I cannot supply at home!!

Ow!  Is there any way to change this?  An informal word with playgroup
leaders may be the best first step.

> The scope of free sofware is truly astonishing and it is time that there 
> is one central resource highlighting/promoting this in the UK, to the 
> common (wo)man.

OK, but how do we best do this?  Link up with the UNESCO/FSF directory
somehow?  What other projects should we start or get involved with?
How should we be involved with them?

After tomorrow's meeting, hopefully we'll be able to put a better
snapshot of current activities onto the web site and build it from
there.  Maybe the above ideas can be a starting point for the

MJR   http://mjr.towers.org.uk/   IM: address@hidden
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