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Re: [libreplanet-discuss] ethical edtech edit-a-thon

From: Dmitry Alexandrov
Subject: Re: [libreplanet-discuss] ethical edtech edit-a-thon
Date: Wed, 13 Mar 2019 01:52:53 +0300
User-agent: Gnus/5.13 (Gnus v5.13) Emacs/27.0.50 (gnu/linux)

Nathan Schneider <nathan.schneider@Colorado.EDU> wrote:
> On Tue, Mar 12, 2019 at 11:08 AM Dmitry Alexandrov <> wrote:
>> Erin Glass <> wrote:
>>> I'm writing to let you know about the 'Ethical Ed Tech 
>>> wiki
>> ...the first thing that strikes in the eye ... is a tag cloud with distinct 
>> categories for ‘free/libre’ [1] and ‘open source’ software [2].  What 
>> definitions of that terms do you use, so this is required?  ...fine yet 
>> vague categorizations tend to be faulty.
>> Actually, the wiki in question already features ‘open source’ yet _not_ 
>> ‘free/libre’ Atom, CommentPress, Pandoc, Omeka, GitLab, Hypothesis and 
>> LibreOffice, with no examples of the opposite.
> I would think of "open source" as everything that's GPL compatible plus 
> non-free licenses.

Er?  Sorry, it seems that my English is not good enough to grasp it.

‘Open source’ programs are programs that are under GNU GPL-compatible terms and 
(union) programs that are nonfree?  That is LaTeX is not ‘open source’, while 
Microsoft Word is?  No, that’s nonsensical.  Next.

‘Open source’ programs are programs that are at the same time GPL-compatible 
and nonfree?  No, that’s empty set.

‘Open source’ programs are programs that available either (as an option) under 
terms of a GPL-compatible free licence or some nonfree licence?  These are free 
programs.  And again, why GPL-incompatible ones are excluded?  No, still a 
fishy guess.

Okay, I’m given up. :-)

In any way, that would be the most peculiar definition of ‘open source’ among 
_four_ others, I am aware about.  I couldn’t care less about purity of this 
confusing term, but is it really worth to invent another one?

> I agree that the distinction is tricky, and I don't love it. In fact, 
> originally we were planning to call this "open tech for open ed" or 
> something, and I happened to be in an email exchange at the time with Richard 
> Stallman, who objected on the "open" language, and so I set up the open vs. 
> free/libre distinction to avoid antagonizing anyone further.

To set a distinction, perhaps, is not the sure way to _avoid_ antagonizing.  
Rather, the other way round. ;-)

> I would love any suggestions about how to handle this matter better!

In the same way as nearly everyone do, of course.  Do not install a separate 
category of ‘open source’ software in any sense of that phrase.  Due to its 
overwhelming usage as a metonymy for ‘free’ in the anglophonic sphere, that 
category will became the only one really used, while ‘free / libre’ will remain 
neglected, thus provoking confusions about how LibreOffice, Pandoc, etc are not 
free.  It already went that way.

P. S. ¿Are you aware that your mail user/transport agent substitutes hyperlinks 
with this mess:

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