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Re: licensing of XMPP specifications

Ben Finney writes:

> Ben Finney <bignose+hates-spam@benfinney.id.au> writes:
>> There seems to be no distinction between "software program" and
>> "program" in the above. What other kind of programs are there?
> Of course, I immediately realise that "program" has plenty of meaning
> outside of (and predating) the computer field. Consider this question
> as specifically within the context of computers, which was already the
> context of this discussion.

>From WordNet (r) 2.0 [wn]:

       n 1: a system of projects or services intended to meet a public
            need; "he proposed an elaborate program of public
            works"; "working mothers rely on the day care program"
            [syn: {programme}]
       2: a series of steps to be carried out or goals to be
          accomplished; "they drew up a six-step plan"; "they
          discussed plans for a new bond issue" [syn: {plan}, {programme}]

These meanings appear before the "computer program" sense in WordNet;
as I remember, that usually means the dictionary editors feel it is a
more common usage.  What precludes those meanings from being used in
the context of computers?  Why quibble over a qualifier that could
easily be useful?

When a software (or computer) program is used to provide communication
services to the public -- after all, many would argue that
communication is a public need -- the first meaning could apply.  When
a software program is used as part of a wider effort to build a
community, the second meaning could apply to deploying the service.

More to the point of this discussion, Debian will probably never
convince the rest of the world to use "software" to describe a set of
things that many more people call "intellectual property".  Most
computer-literate English speakers in the world use "software" to mean
"computer program" rather than "information" -- especially when that
information is not stored digitally on a computer-readable medium, as
in Francesco's example of a paper printout.

Michael Poole

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