RMS On Sun, Sep 21, 2003 at 06:33:41PM -0400, Richard Stallman wrote: > Manuals, essays, licenses, and logos *encoded as bits on a > computer* are software. > > Defining all these thing as software is a peculiar way to use the > word. I don't think that is the best way to interpret the DFSG, > because it leads to unnecessary inflexibility. > > I do not try to tell the Debian developers how to make this decision > about interpreting the DFSG. My point is that it is a decision, and > that it goes contrary to the words of article 4 of the DFSG, which > seems to treat "software" as equivalent to "programs". My "New Little Oxford Dictionary" defines software as "computer programs". Not much help but it is only a pocket dictionary. A quick search on the Net  turned up a longer, but basically similar definition form the "American Heritage Dictionary". Princeton University's "WordNet" defines software as "written programs or procedures or rules and associated documentation pertaining to the operation of a computer system and that are stored in read/write memory". As a *nix system can mmap(2) the CDROM content into memory then documentation can be software. The "Free On-line Dictionary of Computing" has much more to say on the subject and while it is "not common usage" it does allow "that documentation (both paper and electronic) is also software." While you may not use the term "software" in this way the DFSG is _not_ breaking the rules of English by using the wider meaning. Steve  http://dictionary.reference.com/search?q=software -- White dwarf seeks red giant for binary relationship.
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