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Re: [Fsfe-uk] hacker definition

From: Ramanan Selvaratnam
Subject: Re: [Fsfe-uk] hacker definition
Date: Tue, 20 May 2003 20:14:04 +0100
User-agent: Mozilla/5.0 (X11; U; Linux i686; en-US; rv:1.4b) Gecko/20030507

MJ Ray wrote:

First a big thank you for organising the AFFSAC amidst all the setbacks.
It was good to put a face to this organisation.

The missing link is a central resource that gives more depth to the real value of free software by highlighting the human touch to it all.

It's hard to do this in a way that makes it human.  Arguably, the Brave

By the 'human touch' I meant connecting up the various diverse fields/diciplines of software use. Let people know that astronomy to biochemistry to office-ware to kids' games are all increasingly dependent on software and that they can/should be free and fair. My understanding is that many end users think all these software and related issues are beyond them due to thet way they have been marketed.

eg: Kstars, Ghemical. Abiword and Tux4kids can be just one click away under a common *non threatening* introductory webpage. Maybe we should run well written articles about history of software and even related fields like numbers. Also why not include any favourable views by economists to anthropologists. I am sure *if we are right* we should come across other right minded people giving credence to the idea 'that knowledge should be preserved made accessible'.

GNU World descriptions of software should be attached to the FSF/UNESCO
directory entries.  Would someone be able to work on that, and connecting
the directory up to different export formats?

Different export formats? Are you thinking in terms of an automated directory (like the RSS feed out of Freshmeat)?

Anyhow the FSF directory is nowhere near catching up with what is out there. What I like about the Brave GNU World is the monthly digest is well researched and nicely presented. The problem is it is for a developer audience.
We really need to get to the masses with software they need.
Please check the laterst digest as at <http://www.gnu.org/brave-gnu-world/issue-49.en.html> and you will understand that it turns oout to be of no use to a beginner who has never heard of free software.

BTW, AGNULA is something that is to be looked into deeper. I have sensed the same enthusiasm I had for free software when mentioning AGNULA to modern musicians who knew nothing about these freeing possibilities.

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
Simple links will be a waste. Commented / supported guidance is worth exploring.
One could even view this as some form of recruitment too.

Do we try to run an "ask AFFS" service?  Really, I'm stuck on how you think
we can do this.

First by catergorising the software in a way end users will like to see them.
GNU Win have lots of experience here. Their catergorisation as at
is a good starting point.

Then we could probably divide our skills along these divisions and be available for advice via mailing lists(?). Maybe each section could be highlited more than the others in some webzine of some sort that AFFS could produce periodically. This will require some time from dedicated developers. Maybe we are not ready for this ...I do not know....

Also how about promoting popular software that could end up breaking the rules if unfair legislation is ever implemented? eg: GIMP plugins for colour management functions. This is something that would help propagate our campaigns in a down to earth manner.

Best Wishes,


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