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Noticed a mistake

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guyjohnston's picture
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I've noticed that on the 'Switching to Linux: Linux from Windows' page, that in the 'What is not as good in Linux' section, under the heading 'Gaming', it reads "Gaming software developers seem to have little interest for the open-source world." I recommend changing that to read "Gaming software developers seem to have little interest for the free software world", to fit in with the rest of the site, because we're talking about freedom here, not a technical advantage.

guyjohnston's picture
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Noticed a mistake

I've noticed something else similar to this. On the FAQ page, under the heading 'Can I play my DVDs and MP3s under GNU/Linux?', it reads "doing this (circumventing the protection) is illegal in many parts of the world". Using the term "protection" here backs up the film industry's lies that copying a DVD can somehow cause someone harm or destroy the existing copies of it. Therefore I recommend changing that word to 'restrictions'.

Also, under the heading 'Aren't Linux users the ones who make illegal downloads?' on that page, I've seen that there's a link to Magnatune. I think it'd be a good idea to add a link to Jamendo there as well.

ariadacapo's picture
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Corrected

Thanks a lot! All three are corrected.
* The "From Windows to Linux" page will probably be revamped soon...
* I definitely agree on the wording around libdvdcss... I spaced up the text to try to make it clearer.
* Jamendo rocks. I only learned about it after I wrote the FAQ and never thought of adding it here.

guyjohnston's picture
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Two more problems

I've noticed another one. On the 'Misunderstanding Free Software' page, at the end of the 'Free software doesn't respect authors' copyrighted and patented software' section, there's a link to a "short and clear video on intellectual property by Red Hat". I don't recommend ever using the term "intellectual property" as it's very misleading and biased towards the proprietary information industry. I recommend reading Richard Stallman's very good article about the problems with it at http://www.gnu.org/philosophy/not-ipr.xhtml. I know that that term is used in the video, so I think the link should be removed altogether. Instead, it might be good to link to separate videos about how copyright and patents relate to software. There might be some appropriate ones with Richard Stallman or Eben Moglen.

I also really don't think the skull and cross-bones image should be used for that section. That supports the lies of some people that making a copy of some information or an idea can somehow harm someone, even going as far as implying that it can cause death. I expect it was put there to demonstrate the link with "piracy", but also I don't think we want to support the lies that copying information or an idea is the same thing as attacking crews of ships and robbing, kidnapping and murdering them. I think that image should be replaced with one of some scales, to show that that section is about legal issues (which are different from moral issues).

guyjohnston's picture
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Patents never "protect" innovators

I've noticed something similar to the first point on the 'How to Misunderstand Free Software' page. In the 'Free software doesn't respect authors' copyrighted and patented software' section, it reads "As such, they are seldom used to protect innovators". This implies that using someone's invention without their permission can cause them harm, which is untrue.

ariadacapo's picture
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re: IP and piracy
guyjohnston wrote:

On the 'Misunderstanding Free Software' page, at the end of the 'Free software doesn't respect authors' copyrighted and patented software' section, there's a link to a "short and clear video on intellectual property by Red Hat". I don't recommend ever using the term "intellectual property" as it's very misleading and biased towards the proprietary information industry. I recommend reading Richard Stallman's very good article about the problems with it at http://www.gnu.org/philosophy/not-ipr.xhtml. I know that that term is used in the video, so I think the link should be removed altogether. Instead, it might be good to link to separate videos about how copyright and patents relate to software. There might be some appropriate ones with Richard Stallman or Eben Moglen.

Stallman is usually one of the clearest speakers/writers around in the subject, but in that case IMO nothing comes close to that Red Hat video. It is just crystal-clear and right on the spot.
The fact is the term Intellectual Property is very widely used - even if it's entirely misleading. After viewing that video if someone still believes "IP" is comparable to material property, then really there's nothing I can do (and a good Stallman article won't change that either). Software patents are bad but AFAIK Red Hat still buys patents because for now there's no way around it. Most people don't understand what copyright is. Trademarks are an inevitable necessity. Unless it's clear in people's mind that what they call "IP" is so hugely diverse and meaningless, things aren't going to change. This video deals with that. It's putting light on things, not blindly furthering the use of the term "IP".

guyjohnston wrote:

I also really don't think the skull and cross-bones image should be used for that section. That supports the lies of some people that making a copy of some information or an idea can somehow harm someone, even going as far as implying that it can cause death. I expect it was put there to demonstrate the link with "piracy", but also I don't think we want to support the lies that copying information or an idea is the same thing as attacking crews of ships and robbing, kidnapping and murdering them. I think that image should be replaced with one of some scales, to show that that section is about legal issues (which are different from moral issues).

I don't like that image at all either (nor the word "Piracy" for that sake), it's simply part of the "catchy" aspect of the article. It's no more true than the "no money", "no innovation", and "communism" images, or even the term "patented software". It's just an illustration of the misconception that free software is anyway related to piracy.

So generally the approach on this article could be "give them what they want to read - and then just when they think they are about to strengthen their opinion: correct it." Again the objective is not to lecture people on philosophy or ethics: it's simply to _kill myths_. I can put "Intellectual Property" within quotes in the article, but I'm even dubious it would be more effective.

ariadacapo's picture
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"Protecting innovators" is

"Protecting innovators" is the #1 argument you'll hear for the defence of patents.
Originally that's the purpose. When I was I kid I wanted to patent some of my "brilliant" ideas too. I don't have a good link in English but if you read French here's a nice story that really matches my experience in trying to promote free licenses and absence of patents.

guyjohnston wrote:

[...] it reads "As such, they are seldom used to protect innovators". This implies that using someone's invention without their permission can cause them harm, which is untrue.

I don't get it, how does it imply this? I'm not referring to inventions here, only patents...

guyjohnston's picture
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Patents don't "protect" innovators

The point of patent law is to allow inventors a monopoly over their inventions for a limited time. This is to benefit the public, as we trade our freedom to use those inventions without the inventors' permission for a certain length of time, in order to have more made available to us (as it's easier for people to make money from inventions, so they're likely to produce more). By using the word "protect", you're implying that patents are somehow used to save inventors from some kind of harm which they would otherwise suffer. If you make use of someone's invention without their permission, you're not taking anything away from them, as they can still make use of it, and they've got the same amount of money that they had before.

I suggest changing that to read "As such, they are seldom used to benefit innovators". You're obviously making the point that it's often people other than inventors/innovators who receive the benefits of the patent system, which is true.

ariadacapo's picture
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Thank you, wise

Thank you, wise remark.
It's corrected now.

guyjohnston's picture
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Own versions of "core GNU operating system"

There's something else I've noticed now. On the 'What is Linux' page, it reads "Many companies develop their own versions of the core GNU operating system". I think it would be better if that was changed to "Many companies develop their own versions of the core GNU/Linux operating system" or "Many companies develop their own versions of the core operating system", as it's not specifically the GNU parts which are often modified and repackaged to make a distribution. A lot of the other parts are as well, such as Linux.

ariadacapo's picture
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How about: Quote: Many

How about:

Quote:

Many companies develop their own operating system based on the core GNU software

In fact to be honest this sentence was "twisted" a little, only so there would be an opportunity to properly acknowledge the role of GNU with a link (not merely with a link like "GNU/Linux"). I simply tried to do it with as few words as possible. Does the above suggestion work better?

guyjohnston's picture
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That would be better

I think that would be better than what it is at the moment. However, that still implies that only the GNU software is modified to make the different distributions. Maybe it would be better if it was "Many companies develop their own operating system based on the core GNU software and other components". I think it's a good idea to have a link to GNU, acknowledging that it's something in it's own right, but maybe it would be better to do that with a short explanation somewhere on the site of what GNU and Linux actually are (an operating system and a kernel/"small but important part of an operating system"), unless that would be too technical and confusing.

ariadacapo's picture
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I've set it to the sentence

I've set it to the sentence above, because indeed I think it's too confusing and complicated to explain the full thing. Most users don't really care about the relative size/role of GNU and Linux in their system anyway.

Thanks

Olivier.

EDIT: done, had some network problems

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