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Re: Intent to mass-file bugs: FDL/incorrect copyright files

On Fri, Nov 19, 2004 at 03:43:03AM -0600, Joe Wreschnig wrote:
> On Thu, 2004-11-18 at 23:45, Hamish Moffatt wrote:
> > The hammer is your extremely limited vocabulary for classifying
> > computer-related things. Suddenly you've classified everything as
> > software and lost any subtlety of documentation versus programs
> > versus data etc.
> "Suddenly you've classified everything as matter and lost any subtlety
> of plastic versus metal versus gasses etc."

Equally true.

> Just because I choose to call programs, documentation, and data all
> "software" doesn't mean we can't distinguish between them. It just means
> when I use the word "software" I mean all of them, not caring what
> particular kind of software it is. The same way when I say "all matter
> consists of protons and electrons" I don't care about the kind of
> matter.

I consider the word "software" to be poorly chosen for this purpose. Ask
someone off the street whether they consider software to include every
bit of data on their computer eg their email, photos etc and they'll
tell you no. "Software" means "computer programs" to most people,
including me.

Now I think the original SC meant computer programs only (indeed it mixed
the terms programs and software). The latest SC changed all the
references to software and uses the new definition.

> If I do want to distinguish, I use "program", "documentation", "data",
> etc. For example I might say "I think that Debian should have different
> requirements for freeness in documentation than in programs." But it
> doesn't make sense to say "different requirements... in documentation
> than in software", anymore than it makes sense to say "Titanium is a
> metal, not matter." One is a subset of the other.

True. So say "programs" if that's what you mean.

> I also think, when you begin to examine questions of classification into
> program/documentation/data, the line becomes impossibly blurry at many
> points. Using "software" to refer to all of them avoids that problem
> entirely. If someone wants to assert something like my hypothetical
> statement above, I think they have to propose (or at least outline) such
> a distinction criterion.

Saying "software" avoids confusion, sure. But SHOULD the same guidelines
apply to all the types of software - computer programs, documentation
etc? Nobody has convinced me.

I'm not really sure why we're having this discussion again though.
The majority of GR voters disagrees with me.

Hamish Moffatt VK3SB <hamish@debian.org> <hamish@cloud.net.au>

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