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Re: Some ideas with Emacs

From: Richard Stallman
Subject: Re: Some ideas with Emacs
Date: Wed, 03 Jun 2020 00:25:18 -0400

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Please forgive me for taking so long to respond.  I am  backlogged
500 messages I have not yet seen.  I just saw your message today.

I wrote:

  > > Turning to the broader ethical issue, I think that _all_ textbooks,
  > > indeed all educational resources, ought to be free -- because they
  > > exist to be _used_ for a practical job: f teaching or learning a
  > > subject.

You wrote:

  > Quite the contrary - I would be suspicious about free educational
  > resources.

  > Why is that so?  Because if someone provides me with information (be it
  > of educational nature or otherwise), and I do not pay for it, this means
  > that it is quite probable that someone else paid for it.  And the goals
  > of the "someone else" may be very different from my ones.

I believe we are miscommunicating.  When I say "free" it refers to
freedom -- "wolne" in Polish.  I believe you are talking about whether
you have to pay for a copy -- "darmowe".

Our definition of "free" for textbooks is basically our definition
of "free software"; see https://gnu.org/philosophy/free-sw.html.

Special interests with lots of money are already capable of pushing
their positions into textbooks.

When a nonfree educational resources is published, if it contains
bogus claims, you can't change them.  If the resource is free, you can
make a modified version and distribute that.

  >   But I would *never* give my child a "free history textbook"
  > (for example) unless I made really sure that the author did not try to
  > push some nasty agenda with it.

The non-wolne history textbooks in the US have such problems too.  The
book Lies My Teacher Told Me, by James Loewin, explains some.  There
are strong partisan pressures on what to say school textbooks.  And
not just in history -- also in biology, geology and medicine.  But
this is getting off topic for GNU.

For decades, our detractors have claimed that free software can't
exist, or that it has to be inferior, based on arguments similar to
the ones you have made.

Meanwhile, there are now many educational resources which come close
to being wolne without, alas, actually being wolne.  They are called
"open educational resources".  Many come from universities that could
just as well make them wolne.  See

Dr Richard Stallman
Chief GNUisance of the GNU Project (https://gnu.org)
Founder, Free Software Foundation (https://fsf.org)
Internet Hall-of-Famer (https://internethalloffame.org)

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