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Re: A possible approach in "solving" the FDL problem

On 2003-08-16 11:46:59 +0100 Wouter Verhelst <wouter@grep.be> wrote:

I'm glad we agree on the appropriate title for your position in this discussion. (If you meant that as an attack, then you really should go reread the code of conduct. You're also CCing me and that word is considered foul by many.)

I'm not even remotely suggesting we start describing each and
every word that appears in the SC or in the DFSG; I'm only suggesting a
note is appropriate if it is shown that the meaning of a word isn't
shared by everyone.

This is the case with the word "software".

If we cannot rely on true meanings, then this is the thin end of the wedge. The local conclusion is to define all words in order to remove all potential for misinterpretation, which is what I suggested and I don't understand why you are so hostile to it.

The meaning of a word is more than its etymology. [...]

Because a language belongs to its people, not the lexicographers, right?

Why do you think most legalese texts start with a description of words
of which you could generally assume most people more or less understand
their meanings?

They are using definitions which are *different* to the normal. Why do you think they only define some of the words used, and denote them with devices like leading Capitals?

Alternatively, we could remember that some people aren't native english
speakers, and that in some other languages, the word 'software' has a
different meaning as compared to what the english meaning is.

Feel free to translate the document, bugfix any defective translations, or bugfix defective languages, as required.

If I check
Van Dale (the leading Dutch dictionary, probably comparable to the
Oxford English Dictionary), the word 'software' clearly *isn't* any more
than programs:

Because a language belongs to its lexicographers, not its people, right? Really, it is difficult to discuss things with people who apparently advocate two contradictory positions.

My suggestion of adding a note to the DFSG or the SC isn't changing
anything of it either -- it's just clarifying. I'm not sure I
understand why you're opposed to that suggestion.

The English version does not need it. Maybe some of the translations do. Maybe a fully annotated version with all meanings has value for 2L speakers, which is why I suggested it, but it doesn't necessarily mean that the original document itself is ambiguous.

MJR/slef   My Opinion Only and possibly not of any group I know.
     http://mjr.towers.org.uk/   jabber://slef@jabber.at

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