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Re: A possible GFDL compromise: a proposal

On Fri, 2003-09-26 at 13:13, Brian T. Sniffen wrote:
> 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

I'm not sure what bias you see here.  I believe that a "no" answer to
"Is an MP3 file software?" implies that the respondent's primary
definition of software is not "anything made of bits".  The main point
of my message was to respond to MJ Ray's comment that

  "Software" is not a controversial word in English (roughly inverse of
  "hardware" in one sense).

giving more evidence of controversy.

Carl Witty

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