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Re: [Gnu-arch-users] Front page to wiki now modifiable again

From: Aaron Bentley
Subject: Re: [Gnu-arch-users] Front page to wiki now modifiable again
Date: Wed, 24 Mar 2004 22:22:33 -0500
User-agent: Mozilla/5.0 (Windows; U; Windows NT 5.0; en-US; rv:1.6b) Gecko/20031205 Thunderbird/0.4

Tom Lord wrote:

   > From: Andrew Suffield <address@hidden>

   > > Well, what is _your_ definition of "free", since you think it is
   > > applicable as a touchstone which must be used to test any FSF
   > > licensee?

   > Here it is:
> >

   > Clear, precise, and decidedly acceptable. Minus the hippie stuff, it's
   > the first test usually applied to any license under review to test
   > whether it is free enough for Debian (the DFSG is essentially this
   > written more explicitly, plus some pragmatic restrictions).

   > RMS has acknowledged that the GFDL is not free under this definition.

But that definition applies to _software_.  The freedoms enumerated
directly pertain to software (for example, you can not "run"
True, but it's not hard to generalize "run" to "use". Especially things that have a digital representation. It's easy to see that bound books are a compiled format (convenient, but hard to modify), whereas DocBook or Microsoft Word are source formats that permit easy modification.

Would you apply the definition in that essay to a political essay?

Absolutely. Like ESR does with those Halloween documents, a political essay can be presented as a composite of the original work, plus annotation and critique. This has social good.

to a musical recording

The native format of multi-track recordings is source code. The session file contains high-level directives such as "turn the volume up 50% over 3 seconds" or "apply effect foo to track bar with the following settings. . ." During the creation of the recording, the directives in the session file are interpreted in real time. When the work is ready to be distributed, it's compiled into PCM files.

The native formats are the preferred form for making modifications to the recordings. Only by using native formats can you change the effects or replace tracks[1] Unfortunately, they aren't usually open formats, and dependence on third-party proprietary plug-ins is common.

The educational value of the source formats for musicians and recording engineers is very high. It's a field where everyone's always reinventing the wheel because no one will give up their trade secrets.

?   If so, can you elaborate on the analogy you
have in mind and why it is a good idea?   Oh, and, yes, manuals, too.
The advantages of Free manuals should be obvious. This argument has dragged on so long because Mikael Goikman wants to reuse the wiki contents for his own projects. Given the dearth of good documentation, anything that encourages the spread of documentation can only be a good thing. Freeness promotes collaboration and reuse. It allows one person to continue work started by another. It allows major portions of a work to be excepted and combined with other works. Restrictions hamper these things. In reality, authors need to eat, and copyright is a mechanism that introduces an artificial scarcity so that information can be sold, even though its cost of duplication is negligible. If we ever figure out how to pay for the creation instead, it'll be a great day for society, because it can be available to everyone then.


P.S. No, my songs aren't available in source form. They take up much more space than the output wavs, oggs or mp3s do, and musicians don't even think of collaborating this way. But I'm not opposed to the idea, if there's genuine interest.

1 Vocal removal is a hack that damages the remainder of the recording. It relies on the common practice of placing the lead vocal in the centre of the stereo field.

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