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[OFFTOPIC] Announce: Archive for Free Software in Real Life

An Archive for Free Software in Real Life

There's been a lot of discussion lately about the free software
paradigm and where it's headed.  Now with the release of Netscape as
free software, and formation of free software support companies like
WilberWorks and Sendmail, among other events, the pace has been

During these discussions, we've heard lots of stories that seem
to be worth saving for others to learn from.  We think that a
community resource center (an "archive" with emphasis on the human experience)
should be set up to record these thoughts and experiences.  Story
tellers know that you have to tell stories in order to hear some new
ones: So we've set out a table with a few stories on it. There is
plenty of room for your story, too! 

Write down stories, essays, comments - whatever you choose - it's all
welcome as long as it relates to free software.  Tell us how you
participate in the free software community by using, developing,
supporting, or making money from free software.

The most important part is giving examples so that we can help to
develop a community resource center of what works and what doesn't
work.  Part of what works and what doesn't work are extra-technical
issues, in particular, cultural and power issues.  You can see in the
stories by Ken David that cultural misunderstandings and perceptions
of power inequity can impede the work.  We are trying to find ways to
bridge over cultural differences and to neutralize power problems and
thus facilitate free software development projects.

We will write up stories and lessons and present them to you as soon
as possible.

Other resources

Mailing list: Besides the repository, I have set up a mailing list for
discussion of free software issues.  This list parallels the
crynwr.com free-software-business list, but the intent is to be more
general in scope instead of focusing on business.  This is *not* a
forum for advocacy of any particular development style.

Free software introduction: In addition, I'm working on a paper
intended to provide an introduction to the free software community for
non-technical people.  If you'd take a look at the pre-release version
of the paper and send me your comments, bug reports, and suggestions,
I'd appreciate it.


* Free software repository: <URL:http://pfaffben.user.msu.edu/fsr>.

* Free software introduction: <URL:http://pfaffben.user.msu.edu/anp>.

* Send submissions to pfaffben@pilot.msu.edu.

* Join the mailing list: free-software-REQUEST@pfaffben.user.msu.edu.
  (Currently the list is manually operated, so subscription messages
  have no special format.)


Ben Pfaff <pfaffben@pilot.msu.edu>
Ken David <kennethdavid@compuserve.com>

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