Date: Mon, 17 May 2004 18:46:45 +0530
From: Aniruddha Shankar <karim(a)sarai.net>
Subject: FLOSS "Concept Booklet":Contributions/Criticism/Addenda solicited
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I work in a non-profit organisation (www.sarai.net
) that is deeply
involved in and committed to Free/Libre/Open Source Software. We're in
the process of creating and publishing a Concept Booklet on
Free/Libre/Open Source Software that will, hopefully, be accessible even
to people with an extremely limited understanding of computers and
absolutely no knowledge of open source/free/libre software. In
collabroation with one such layperson, we created a set of questions on
free software and are in the process of generating the answers and the
additional content for the concept booklet. We'd be thrilled if you
people would contribute as many answers as you can to the questions that
we have outlined below. Of course, please feel free to comment on the
existing questions and to make additions to them.
All contributions will be gratefully acknowledged. The booklet will be
published under the Creative Commons/Share Alike License and distributed
free or at a nominal cost. We will, of course, be providing a full
version online, including print-quality PDFs.
This call for contributions from the wider community interested in
free/libre/open source software is an effort to extend the methodology
used in creating free software into the arena of collaborative
publishing. All contributions, no matter how small, trivial or obvious
they might seem, are extremely valuable to us. Please, do take the time
to read the questions and contribute, if possible. I apologise to those
who are subscribed to two or more of the lists to which this is posted
for the crosspost. Please feel free to forward this email to people or
entities that you feel might be helpful.
Intro / Concept:
What is free software?
Well tell me what's not " free" about other kinds of software?
So " free" means that I don't have to spend any money then?
How is Free Software actually made?
So how is this different from the production of other kinds of software?
So the term Free Software is a legal definition then?
What do you mean by " Copyleft" ? What's wrong with copyright? How is
Is this Copyleft against the law?
What does GNU GPL stand for?
If this software is free as you say then why do we need legislation to
What other licenses exist to protect Free Software?
Okay so I can see that Free Software is legal but surely if I duplicate
something that means that someone is losing out somewhere along the way?
History of F.S:
When did this whole Free Software thing start? How long have people been
using it for?
So Free Software actually pre-dates Microsoft?
So are you saying that in some ways the history of Free Software and the
internet run parallel to one another?
Okay, but now what is Linux? When did that come about?
So how this changed the development of software in general?
Who's this Stallman character then? Where does he fit into the picture?
How do you see the future development of Free Software?
How is Free Software actually made?
What kinds of people make Free Software?
But I still don't understand why anyone would want to give away their
work for free? What's in it for them!?
What do you mean by a Digital Commons?
In what ways could I benefit from involving myself in this Digital Commons?
Arguments for using F.S:
I'm still not convinced. Surely a big computer company knows best when
it comes to designing software? Why would I want to use software
designed by an amateur?
But what about bugs? Surely Free Software is more likely to be virus prone?
So you're saying that Free Software actually evolves at a faster pace
than closed software?
Software that can be modified actually runs better than closed software
Free Software is only something used by computer enthusiasts, right?
Have any established organizations actually used Free Software to their
Personal Relationship to F.S:
What kinds of problems might I expect to encounter using F.S?
Okay but why would I want to modify my software anyway?
Look, I'm no computer whiz! Isn't it easier for me to just use packaged
software? Who do I turn to when something goes wrong?
But how do I know I can trust someone not linked to a big company that
has a reputation to uphold?
Won't this cost me more than just calling someone out through the
help-line of an established computer company?
Well what do I have to lose from using Free Software?
Okay so how would I begin to install Free Software on my machine?
Aniruddha 'Karim' Shankar
The Sarai Programme
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