Hi Dr. Nagarjuna,
Sorry for being a bit late in replying but let me add to Rishi's compliment
that you write well and are very articulate in expressing your thoughts.
I believe that you agree with me that over all we should attempt to write
"good freedom software".
Now by being focussed on what "good" means here you have asked a very Macro
question because you, me and all our friends know that "GOOD" means
different things to different people. Its an extremely relative term.
Still I will try to answer your question in a very generic way and in total
lay man jargon ...
According to me ...
1. a software is good if it helps me achieve desired set of functional
tasks with minimum focus on technicalities (end user perspective)
2. a software is better if it helps me achieve desired set of functional
tasks with minimum focus on technicalities and is extremely pleasing to work
with through consistent interfaces (end user perspective)
3. a software is best if it helps me achieve desired set of functional tasks
with minimum focus on technicalities, is extremely pleasing to work with
through consistent interfaces, has a definite growth plan, manovers to
incorporate best industry practices and APPEALS TO THE MASSES.
Now ... i redefine the definition of a good software here ... a good
software is that tends towards the best with a plan to be the best. Over and
above that, if it is FREE; masses would embrace it instantly.
Dr. Nagarjun, in that case your, my and FSFs beliefs of FREEDOM SOFTWARE are
realized to its full potential. I stress ... the POTENTIAL exists.
If our software wins, our philosophy wins.
I am not saying that we are not getting there. I stress ... We have taken
giant strides in recent years. But there is a lot to be done. You may show
some features and tell me that the issues i have highlighed in above points
are there to some/great extent in freedom software, still my experience with
end user says otherwise. I repeat ... Good to Great ... cause there is a lot
to be done. On software front as well as promoting the philosophy.
I was sad at seeing the reaction to a small mail from an end user
"Rammanohar Reddy" with some of our friends saying it does not matter to FSF
on what he or any other end user has to say on Free software/Linux. It does
Friends philosophies die without mass support and appeal. Though CLASSES are
using the FREE Software, still we are far away from MASSES. Statistics
support what i mean.
Windows XP: 210 Million Copies Sold
Now my question is ... do these 210 Million people who might have bought
this software dont matter to us? Some would say they dont. I would say they
We could make them switch by helping them.
another question: How many of them have heard about us and our philosophy?
another question: If they have heard, How many would switch? If Yes, why and
if not, why not?
another question: Are they paying for the software because they hate us and
I will answer this one - they are paying cause they dont have an option.
Give them an option and trust me friends they would switch. If you think you
have already given them an option then explain them your options. "I dont
care attitude" does not help.
210 million people are 209 million too many to ignore. Atleast for me.
Microsofts mention triggers a useless defensive reaction from a lot of our
friends at FSF and elsewhere too. I am yet to understand why? We could take
a leaf out from their research on customers and the expectations.
I repeat FREEDOM matters, does it stop us from evolving and improving. I
have said this before, i will say it again and again and again ...
LETS TURN FROM A PHILOSOPHICAL MINORITY TO A MASS MAJORITY.
There is a lot of work to be done. I am sure Dr. Nagarjuna is doing his
part, Rishi is doing his part and i am doing mine.
Lets write Good FREEDOM software.
P.S. Dr. Nagarjuna and friends i assume we understand what do Masses and
IF NOT I, THEN WHO?
IF NOT NOW, THEN WHEN?
Watch LIVE baseball games on your computer with MLB.TV, included with MSN
I totally agree with you that free software can be made easy to use. I am
infact not in favor of writing any software that is a nightmare to work
with. That is the reason i initiated this debate by forwarding a mail from
an end user to the list.
Does RMS ever say that Free software should not be designed to be easy to
use? i doubt.
Infact we all know that Freedom matters, Free Free Free ... Lets get over
with the basics and get our heads down to write good FREE software. We have
the Freedom and we promote it too.
.. And the world has heard us loud and clear.
They say the DEVIL LIES IN THE DETAILS ... So its useless to talk about
freedom and free software without backing it up with good software. We have
come this far with good work. Lets just keep on doing the good work and not
pay a deaf ear to end user's perspective.
hail the spirit of FSF
WORRY NOT ON WHAT HAS BEEN DONE,
WORRY ON WHAT NEEDS TO BE DONE.
FOR EVOLUTION IS NOT WHAT EXISTS,
IT IS WHAT WE DO WITH WHAT EXISTS.
>Subject: Fsf-discuss Digest, Vol 7, Issue 1
>Date: Wed, 05 May 2004 12:00:43 +0530
>Send Fsf-discuss mailing list submissions to
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>When replying, please edit your Subject line so it is more specific
>than "Re: Contents of Fsf-discuss digest..."
> 1. free good and easy to use software (Mathur,Anurag)
>Date: Wed, 5 May 2004 11:57:11 +0530
>From: "Mathur,Anurag" <amathur(a)iPolicyNet.COM>
>Subject: [Fsf-discuss] free good and easy to use software
>Content-Type: text/plain; charset="iso-8859-1"
>Please refer to ur opening mail.
>I think free software can be made good and easy to use without much effort.
>Life is too short to be glum, put a smile on your face and spread it to
> I need to create list for both testing/Unstable. Can I use this with
> -d option
Using apt-spy for two different trees would not work out correctly.
Here testing is separate and unstable is a different kind of cake
Browse the site http://www.apt-get.org/ and insert appropriate lines in
your /etc/apt/sources.list file instead of using apt-spy ....
ragOO Amateur Radio VU2RGU
DRM is clearly an attempt by publishers to unilaterally impose
restrictions that go beyond copyright law. That is, a power grab -- RMS
Am using Apt-spy to make my sources.list file.Here
are few things am unable to do nicely*.
1) I need to create list for both testing/Unstable.
Can I use this with -d option.
2) Apt-spy creates list with one or two
sites.Sometimes most packages won't be found on that
site,due to various reason's (don't flame,often I
kindly let the mirror site about this).
It would be great if you can tell me how to have
secondary or bit slower site also listed too.
Can you please share some of the apt-spy tricks so
that I can save my bandwidth.
* I can run apt-spy couple of times and cat the files
ok that's not what am look for here.
Do you Yahoo!?
Win a $20,000 Career Makeover at Yahoo! HotJobs
Rakesh 'arky' Ambati said on Thu, May 06, 2004 at 05:31:23AM -0700,:
1) I need to create list for both testing/Unstable.
Can I use this with -d option.
Why don't you experiment? It will not kill you. And you certainly can
2) Apt-spy creates list with one or two sites.Sometimes most
packages won't be found on that site,due to various reason's
(don't flame,often I kindly let the mirror site about this).
There is some misunderstanding here. apt-spy looks only for official
Debian mirrors. If you need unofficial packages, like backports, you
need to manually edit sources.list
Mahesh T. Pai, LL.M.,
'NANDINI', S. R. M. Road,
On 26th April teachers union from Kerala, KSTA, made a protest
demonstration in front of IT@School project (school IT education program
of Govt of Kerala).
One of the issues raised in this protest was lack of teacher training in
--- Rishi <rishi(a)gangfam.com> wrote:
> On Sunday 02 May 2004 1:58 am, Rakesh 'arky' Ambati
> > Hello List,
> > I have a seen a considerable increase in spam
> > auto-remailing virus in my mailbox.Is it possible
> > prevent to mask email addresses on mailing list
> > archives.
> Don't know about masking of e-mail addresses but
> this service called Spam
> Arrest is really great..
> They have a 30 day free trial and I haven't received
> a single spam since.
Is this GNU/Free software ?
I have addressesed the email to mailing-list admin.
Do you Yahoo!?
Win a $20,000 Career Makeover at Yahoo! HotJobs
Interesting debate. More knowledge needs to be in the public domain; we
need to extend the debate beyond software. FN
---------- Forwarded message ----------
World Intellectual Property Rights Day
26th April 2004
WORLD SUMMIT ON INFORMATION SOCIETY
SKIRTS THREE KEY ISSUES
The recent World Summit on the Information Society adopted a declaration
and action plan aimed at a people-oriented information society where
everyone can create, access and share information and knowledge. However,
due to basic disagreements, decisions were postponed on two key issues
(global Internet governance and creating a Digital Solidarity Fund) while
another key issue (intellectual property) was hardly addressed.
By Martin Khor
Third World Network Features
The World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) ended with the adoption
of a declaration and action plan aimed at a people-oriented information
society where everyone can create, access and share information and knowledge.
The Declaration has 11 key principles and the Plan of Action contains 147
proposals. Many familiar issues in the discussion on the information age
found their way into the Summit documents, such as the right to
information, equity, access, the right to cultural identity and diversity,
local content, and building the capacity of the poor and marginalised.
But some key issues, such as the impact of intellectual property, were
hardly addressed. And decisions on two contentious subjectsInternet
governance and the setting up of a new Digital Solidarity Fundhad to be
postponed until the second phase of the Summit, to be held in Tunis in 2005.
The wrangling over the two controversial issues at one stage
threatened the atmosphere and outcome of the Summit preparatory process.
They remained unresolved, to the bitterness of many developing country
leaders. But a compromise was worked out whereby they will continue to
be debated, with the assistance of two separate task forces to be set up
under the UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan, and final decisions will be made
at the Tunis meeting.
The governance of the Internet was one of WSISs most contentious issues.
The issuance of Internet domain names is presently administered by a
private organisation, ICANN (Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and
Numbers) based in San Francisco. Many developing countries argued that the
administration of domain names and other aspects of global Internet
management should come under an inter-governmental body, such as the
International Telecommunications Union.
However, the developing countries demand for an inter-governmental
oversight of the Internet was strongly resisted by some developed
countries. In the end, the Summit decided to postpone taking a decision,
and instead asked the UN Secretary-General to set up a working group on
Internet governance to make appropriate action proposals by 2005.
The group should develop a working definition of Internet governance;
identify relevant public policy issues; develop a common understanding on
the roles and responsibilities of governments, existing international
agencies, and other forums, and the private sector and civil society; and
prepare a report to be presented in Tunis in 2005.
The second major contentious issue was how to finance the many proposals in
the Summits action plan to bridge the digital divide and upgrade
facilities in the poorer countries.
The developing nations proposed the concept of a Digital Solidarity Agenda
to mobilise human, financial and technological resources for inclusion of
all men and women in the emerging Information Society. But their proposal
for a Digital Solidarity Fund to finance the Agenda was turned down by the
developed countries, some of which claimed that existing amounts and
channels of aid were enough and that the developing countries should commit
their own funds.
This caused many Third World leaders and diplomats to complain that the
Summits fine sentiments and proposals would eventually mean nothing
concrete for their countries, since there would not be the financial means
of implementing the proposed actions.
Again, a final decision on this divisive issue was turned over for the 2005
Tunis meeting to make. And again, the UN Secretary-General was asked to set
up a task force, to review the adequacy of existing financial mechanisms to
meet the challenges of ICT for development.
A third contentious issue is how present and future intellectual property
rights regimes are raising the cost of information and communications to
consumers, and in turn affecting the access of the public, especially of
the poor, to information and to the use of ICT.
Some NGOs and research organisations are increasingly taking up this issue,
pointing out that the principles and actions promoted by the Summit on
access to all and participation by all in the information society are being
undermined by the monopolising
power of corporations making use of existing and new
intellectual property rights regimes. This has enabled the high prices
for software and may also lead in future to restrictions on and increasing
costs of data transmitted through the Internet.
At the Summit, civil society groups issued their own joint Declaration,
Shaping Information Societies for Human Needs, which was presented to
governments at their final official session on 12 December.
The NGOs said the vast majority of humankind has no access to the public
domain of global knowledge. Yet, instead of extending and strengthening the
global domain, recent developments are restricting information more and
more to private hands with patents being extended to software for example.
They called on the UN to carry out a review of the impact on poverty and
human rights of current arrangements for recognition and governance of
monopolised knowledge and information, including the work of the World
Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO) and the World Trade Organisation.
They added that efforts should be made to limit intellectual monopolies,
stimulate innovation and reward initiative, rather than keeping knowledge
in private hands until it is of little use to society.
Whilst the NGOs recognised that the current trend of governments granting
more intellectual property rights to companies would counter so many of the
fine principles of public access and equity expressed in the Summit
documents, the subject is inadequately and inappropriately treated in the
The Declaration instead tries to strike a balance between intellectual
property protection (which grants monopoly and restricts access) and the
need for dissemination and sharing of knowledge, and asks that everyone be
empowered to debate and decide on these issues.
This is skirting one of the biggest issues in the right and access to
information. Needless to say, it will return in a bigger way in future as
questions are raised whether the Summits aims and plans can be implemented
if the current intellectual regimes continue and expand.
The Declaration then states 11 key principles, namely:
* The shared roles of governments and all stakeholders in promoting ICTs
* The need to develop ICT infrastructure including to reach to remote areas;
* The ability for all to access and contribute information (stressing the
need for a rich public domain, and affordable access to software);
* Capacity building, where skills to take part in the information society
are made available to all;
* Building confidence and security in the use of ICTs;
* Creating an enabling environment (including through regulations, fair
competition, standards and proper Internet governance);
* ICT applications should benefit all aspects of life (such as government
operations, health, education, business, agriculture, environment, culture,
and poverty eradication);
* There should be respect for cultural identity and cultural and linguistic
diversity and the creation and dissemination of content in diverse
languages and formats;
* Reaffirming freedom of the press and information;
* Stressing the ethical dimensions of the information society (with all
actors asked to prevent abusive use of ICTs motivated by racism, hatred,
violence, child abuse, etc.); and
* Committing to international and regional cooperation.
The Plan of Action, which contains 147 action proposals, follows closely
the 11 principles of the Declaration. Third World Network Features.
About the writer: Martin Khor is Director of the Third World Network.
When reproducing this feature, please credit Third World Network Features
and (if applicable) the cooperating magazine or agency involved in the
article, and give the byline. Please send us cuttings.