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Re: [seul-edu] New educational section in GNU

On 26 Dec 2000, Vladimir Tamara wrote:
> As I  expressed in my  previous email, I  wish that Seul/Edu, 
> GNU and
> seveal  other projects  could work  in team.   If Seul/Edu 
> decides to
> support also the values of free software and the position of
> GNU as it
> supports currently  the installation  of GNU/Linux in 
> schools, please
> let me know to add links to the Seul/Edu web pages from the
> GNU server
> and to look for other ways to cooperate.
There are some misunderstandings in this discussion, from both
sides I think.  I'll try to lay out the areas in which I think
we're talking past each other (as usual, I may be and probably
am missing some other such areas).  SEUL/edu does support the
values of free software.  We have never failed to encourage,
support, and provide resources for projects to develop free
software for educational purposes.  However, we recognize that
there are some software niches that are considered mandatory, or
nearly so, for use in schools for which there are no free
applications available and none under development.  If there are
commercial programs available for Linux in these niches we do
publicize their availability in the hope that they will help
make Linux a viable, unfrightening choice for use in schools. 
If and when projects start up to create free software in these
niches, we encourage, support, and provide resources for them
just as we do for any other free educational software projects.

I realize that this viewpoint (which I consider to be a
pragmatic superset of the GNU guidelines) doesn't square
entirely with the FSF rules.  I understand that the FSF has to
maintain their strictures if they're to stay morally and
ideologically consistent.  It's unfortunate that those
strictures prevent these two groups from working together toward
goals that are substantially the same.  SEUL/edu will encourage,
support, and if desired provide resources for any educational
efforts of the FSF, as we do for all such projects.  If because
of the nature of our advocacy efforts the FSF can't completely
reciprocate, that's unfortunate but understandable, and
shouldn't cause any lasting conflict between the groups.  That's
the SEUL/edu position, in so far as I have any authority to take
such a position for a loose-knit group such as ours.

> I personally work in some projects  that I would like to see
> as parent
> projects of  Seul/Edu, but  for me also  the values are  too
> important
> (the projects  where I'm involved  now are Structio, SLEC, 
> GNU Typist
> and the section education of GNU).
I'm not sure I understand this.  Do you mean you'd like these
projects to be listed on our page as SEUL/edu-supported
projects, but because of our above-stated position feel that
such listings would be inappropriate?  I think that was
essentially the position Hilaire took with Dr Geo and Dr Genius.
 While we don't particularly like having projects feel
uncomfortable being associated with us, neither do we feel that
we must have the first and last words on educational software
for Linux.  So long as such software is being developed and
used, our goals are being served.  If the software is associated
with SEUL/edu, that's just gravy.  We'll still encourage,
support, and publicize the projects in every way we can.

Doug Loss           The art of medicine consists of amusing the
dloss@suscom.net    patient while nature cures the disease.
(570) 326-3987             Voltaire