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Re: A possible GFDL compromise: a proposal

Carl Witty <cwitty@newtonlabs.com> writes:

>> "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.

But your question, "Is this MP3 file software?" is itself biased.
Consider the alternatives:

1. "Is this MP3 file software or hardware?"

2. "Can an MP3 file be Free Software?"


Brian T. Sniffen                                        bts@alum.mit.edu

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