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Re: [libreplanet-discuss] Gratis software being released as proprietary

From: Jim Garrett
Subject: Re: [libreplanet-discuss] Gratis software being released as proprietary
Date: Sat, 8 Aug 2015 15:12:21 -0400
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Pen-Yuan Hsing, you've done a great service, regardless of ultimate outcome.  Now, by responding to your original post, I feel great that I've made a difference helping you make a difference.

The Free Software world has its convenience features too.  Also, overlaying something on a Google map is available to all, both Free and proprietary.  None of the features you mentioned pose any difficulty to Free software, I think.  A developer in the Windows world will naturally turn to Windows tools, and a developer in the Free world will turn to Free tools.  We just need to get the right people linked in.

As a related anecdote, I remember someone coming across a web site that creates bibliographies.  She thought this was extremely cool and innovative.  I almost couldn't bear to say that the *nix and GNU world has had this in LaTeX and BibTeX for a long time--decades?  In fact, it's quite likely the web site was a front end to just that.  People often don't know what's out there.

If you provide a specific description of the application, and the features that wowed the audience, I'm sure many of us could offer specific ideas of how Free software could apply.  And there are probably additional nifty features that could be added easily.  In fact, one virtue of giving someone freedom is that they can implement something you never thought of.  We can collaborate off-line, on this list, or on a project hosting site as others have mentioned, as you wish.

Ultimately a project-hosting site would be the best bet, but maybe your colleagues should be involved in that, otherwise they might feel like you're trying to take control of the project or create a competitor.  Somehow we should develop ideas to propose to your colleagues, and then open a project with them.  I suggest those of us from this list who are interested let you know, and then we can collaborate off-list by e-mail or other tools.  Please include me on the list of people interested.

By the way, Excel has issues with numeric calculations.  It has for a long time and it still does.  It's publicly documented; I can dig up references if you like.  I trust it to store data, and add, subtract, multiply, and divide, but nothing beyond that.  I have personally been bitten by Excel's issues.  Gnumeric, in contrast, is highly accurate, largely because Free software implementing accurate calculation algorithms was available.  It probably doesn't affect your colleagues' software because Excel is only storing data.  But it's something to be aware of.

I'm getting this through the Digest, so if newer posts have yet to reach me, I apologize.

Good luck!

Jim Garrett

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