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Re: [seul-edu] SEUL Licensing (was: Our presence at trade shows)
Doug -- one of your comments here highlights the dilemma I've been trying to
At 11:30 AM 8/31/00 -0400, Doug Loss wrote:
>... Now, rather than ask MECC to
>port Amazon Trail to Linux, which free project
>should we attempt to help? There
>_is_ no one working on similar programs for Linux;
>I've checked. As soon as such a
>project starts we'll gladly support it as much as we can.
And suppose that prior to that time, we *had* successfully persuaded MECC to
port its program? Do we now just say something like "Thanks and goodbye"?
This is a slippery problem, but it is at the center of any efforts we make
to encourage commercial ports. Are we willing to make the case that there is
a real market (one that will pay for the software and last awhile) or not?
If we view all commercial ports as temporary fixes until a free product
comes out, I'm hard pressed to represent to commercial developers that we
see a real market for them here. And I don't think many commercial vendors
are gullible enough to see this sort of invitation as promising a real
market in any case.
Don't get me wrong -- I have no quarrel with our doing what we can to make
it easier for people who *want* do develop free software (libre or gratis,
though other postings seem to make it clear that libre implies gratis).
Ideas like Hilaire's suggestion to "encourage' teachers who have developed
shareware programs to make them free even sound fine, as long as "encourage"
doesn't turn into "coerce" (for example, perhaps his foundation could raise
money to buy the rights to good shareware programs and then make them
available for free).
I don't even have a quarrel with our adopting the stance that only free
software meets our gold standard for acceptability. I don't share that view
personally, but it certainly is a respectable stance, especially when it
comes from someone like Stallman, whose own personal creation of free
software enhances his credibility (whether or not one agrees with the
details of his actual analysis). But people who feel this way simply should
not encourage commercial vendors to port to Linux.
I do have a problem with our doing these things AND also trying to act like
we are promoting Linux as a viable market for commercial vendors of
educational software. That's all. And that is why I raised this question in
the context of what kinds of presentations we want to make (and who to make
Really, the best case I see to make to commercial porters is that the
chances of their being squeezed out are small, as there are few people with
both the programming skills and the educational knowledge needed to make
good educational software who are also willing to do it for free. So the
projects we do see tend to be good ones, but there are not many of them (at
least not many that get completed). I can make this argument honestly,
because I see free/Open Source software as a niche player, not as the wave
of the future. But my sense from the others posting on this thread is that I
am on the fringe here.
------------------------------------"Never tell me the odds!"---
Ray Olszewski -- Han Solo
Palo Alto, CA firstname.lastname@example.org