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Re: A possible GFDL compromise: a proposal

Mathieu Roy <yeupou@gnu.org> writes:

> bts@alum.mit.edu (Brian T. Sniffen) a tapoté :
>> 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?"
> This is one is definitely worse: you explicitely point out which
> definition of the word software you think is the most usual, by asking
> to refer to this definition.

Well, yes: I'm being upfront about in which domain I'm placing the
question.  Simply asking "Is this MP3 software?" doesn't give any
meaningful data, because you can't control for bias on the part of the


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