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Re: Re: A possible GFDL compromise: a proposal

> "Software" is not a controversial word in English (roughly inverse of
> "hardware" in one sense). Some people advocate a bizarre definition of
> it in order to further their agenda. If you're going to define common
> words just because someone objects to the normal meaning being used,
> you'll get some bozo that objects to the word "social" and claims it
> only applies to the welfare state. That's clearly ungood.

"Software" is a controversial word in English.  In an informal survey,
two out of two people surveyed (my officemate and myself) agreed that we
would not, by default, call an arbitrary collection of bits "software"
(the particular example in the survey question was "an MP3 file"); but
that we would agree to use a different definition of software than the
one we are accustomed to in certain contexts.

I assure you that my definition of software (roughly,
software==programs) was not adopted to "further my agenda"; if I were to
accept your claim "Some people advocate a bizarre definition of it in
order to further their agenda.", I would consider the
"software==anything made of bits" definition to be the bizarre one.  In
fact, I believe that most of the people who advocate
"software==programs", as well as most of the people who advocate
"software==things made of bits", are sincerely explaining the definition
that they personally use.

I have no idea where these different definitions of software came from,
but I don't think it's useful to attack people who use a different

I believe that adding a definition of "software" to the relevant Debian
documents would be an excellent idea.

Carl Witty

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