[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index]

Re: [seul-edu] SEUL Licensing (was: Our presence at trade shows)

On Wed, Aug 30, 2000 at 05:10:42PM +0800, Hilaire Fernandes wrote:
> In education, end user free software are as much important as the
> kernel or any server related software. After all, the kids get some
> learning from these end user application. Getting the end user
> software free allows an equitable sharing of these tools of
> knowledge. Next using free software in school has some side effect as
> the source code is there and this allows talented student to go
> further with the software.

I'm a bit confused here. I agree very strongly that having free software
available in education is extremely important, for the reasons you cite
above. In addition, providing free software encourages an atmosphere of
sharing -- allowing students to focus on understanding, innovation, and
teamwork rather than who 'owns' the information. I think teaching this to
people early is particularly important as the world (or at least the US,
my perspective is limited) keeps moving away from community emphasis.

But you haven't explained why free educational software is "as important
as" free OS-level software. I would think that from a purely practical
standpoint, it allows more flexibility to have the core software free
than one particular category of end-user software. If I had to pick,
I would much rather have a free Linux (kernel, libs, etc) than a free
suite of educational programs. This is precisely because the core can
be (re)used to support a wide variety of other endeavors, whereas the
educational software suite is relatively limited in scope.

> Instead, it eventually asks for nice closed software to be
> ported. That is only a fraction of people/institution will be able to
> offer that ones. Is it really the spirit Seul wants to have? This is

The motivation for trying to get any high-quality software available is
a short-term solution. The overall thinking is that if we demonstrate
that it's useful, then truly free software will spring up to replace it
(particularly if we maintain an environment that encourages that). For
instance, geda.seul.org is coming along very nicely to fill in the gaps
of electronic design automation software. As another example, the license
for wxFTP was non-free when we first adopted the project, and by showing
Alexy that more people would use his software if he made it really free,
I eventually convinced him to change the license.

Of course, it does have the drawback that it compromises some of our
principles -- it doesn't push licensing arguments onto people, and it
doesn't make clear enough to people the importance of having all of their
software free. In short, it doesn't educate users as directly about some
of the most basic aspects of the free software community. I agree, this
is poor. (This is the fundamental difference between the free software
and opensource movements.)

> some reasons that leads to build up OFSET, the other ones is to get a
> legal organization in Europe so we can more easily ask for grant, also
> development done by individual and organization are not perceived the
> same, especially by ones not aware of the free software nature.
That makes sense, but is ofset the organization and seul/edu is the
individual, or what? :)

> I'm ok with Seul/Edu, after all Dr. Geo and Dr. Genius are still hosted
> by Seul/Edu. I'm not that a bigot after all ;-)
> Hilaire