Bit Prepared II: Richard Stallman Meets the World Scout Bureau

Richard Stallman from the FSF, Ray Saunders from the World Scout Bureau and the author discuss the connections between free software and Scouting philosophies.

The Free Software Foundation (FSF) promotes computer users' rights to use, modify and redistribute free (as in freedom, regardless of price) software and documentation. All around the world, national and international organizations exist that independently take their inspiration from the writings of Baden-Powell, who started Scouting in 1907.

What could Baden-Powell have in common with FSF? Nothing, except a few essential ethical principles. In "Bit Prepared, Part I, I wrote, "[GNU/] Linux and the whole FLOSS movement do appear as the soul of Scouting made software: the first, if not only, kind of IT technology that should to Scouts, or used by their leaders".

After writing that article, I was contacted by the World Organization of the Scout Movement (WOSM), an umbrella body that brings together Scout organizations from more than 150 countries. Implementation of the WOSM policies adopted by the World Scout Conference largely is delegated to a professional body, the World Scout Bureau (WSB). I asked the WSB and FSF if they would be to have representatives meet on-line to discuss my theses and to find out if and how WOSM should use products and practices from the free software movement in its activities.

The initial feedback from both organizations was encouraging. Richard M. Stallman, founder of FSF, said, "[The Bit Prepared article] is very interesting.... You may succeed in starting something very useful with this." WOSM never had addressed itself directly to the question of adopting particular IT policies at a world level, but according to Ray Saunders, WSB Director, Information Technology, "the synergy between the ideals of Scouting and the principles under-pinning the Open Source community is indeed evident." Starting from there, I engaged Richard and Ray in the e-mail interview that follows.

Marco Fioretti: What is free software?

Richard Stallman: Free software is software that users are free to run, study, change and redistribute. It means that you are free to adapt it to your needs and free to help others by sharing it. By contrast, non-free software prohibits cooperation.

Fioretti: In the "Bit Prepared" article, I listed some affinities between the philosophy of Scouting and that of the Free Software movement. What do you think about them?

Stallman: That such similarities should exist does not surprise me, because ideas of self-reliance and the importance of helping your neighbor circulate in our society and will pop up in various places. However, I think it was a good stroke of insight on your part to notice this particular similarity.

Ray Saunders: I think we can all agree that the good practices evident in the Free Software community seem to me to be entirely consistent with the method and ideals represented in Scouting today.

Fioretti: Does the WOSM currently recommend the use of any specific software product?

Saunders: No, for the very reasons that are stated in your introduction above.

Fioretti: What are the criteria currently used by the World Scout Bureau when choosing software for internal use?

Saunders: We try to select the most appropriate software according to our needs and, of course, our means. Cost is a very important criteria for us. When we spend money, we are spending our members money. The World Scout Bureau primarily but not exclusively uses Apple Macintosh computers. As we migrate to Mac OS X, the possibilities for us to use open source and free software are now much wider than they were just a couple of years ago. As a result, open source and free software solutions are now actively being considered alongside the commercial products we currently use. We are already upgrading some of the commercial software we used previously to open source or free software alternatives. [Editors' Note: Other success stories of Scouts using free software can be found in the comments to "Bit Prepared" posted by Ray and Gino Lucrezi of Global Scoutnet.

Fioretti: Do the Free Software Foundation and GNU recommend the usage of only the software they produce? If yes, why? If not, how does one choose to adopt any software program, regardless of its origin?

Stallman: It's not who was the developer, it's whether he respects your freedom that matters. If you want to live in freedom, you've got to reject software that tramples your freedom. You shouldn't stand for software that keeps you helpless or forbids helping others. When a program is free software, that means you and others can see what it does. So you can listen to other people in the community who have studied it and used it and thus decide whether you want to use it. If you really are concerned about what the program does, you can read the code yourself.

Fioretti: Many national Scout organizations have Merit Badge systems that aim to help young members learn practical skills in a variety of disciplines. Software and Internet already are proposed as Merit Badge subjects in many associations. Is there any policy requesting that the candidate must know the difference between proprietary and free software? At least to know when and how it is right and legal to copy and redistribute programs?

Saunders: Any such policy would be a matter for the national Scout organization proposing the merit badge to its members. I would hope that in the face of today's reality of pirated software, the issues surrounding copyright and licensing would be addressed in some form within the relevant requirements. That approach certainly would provide ample opportunity to raise awareness about the differences to which you refer. It also should improve knowledge about the availability of open-source and free software solutions to the wider community.

Fioretti: Do you have any suggestions or comments regarding the merit badge requirements list proposed in the "Bit Prepared" article?

Stallman: I think they look fine.

Saunders: There are a couple of places I might want to substitute "discuss" with "demonstrate", but they represent a good starting point for any national Scout organization thinking of introducing or reviewing a computer merit badge scheme today.

Fioretti: Should a Scout association decide to try or switch to free software or at least free formats and protocols, where can it find help from the free software community?

Stallman: Look in www.gnu.org/directory for our list of over 3,500 ready-to-use free software packages that run on GNU/Linux. If you're considering using a program that isn't in the directory, www.gnu.org/licenses/license-list.html can help you judge whether a license qualifies as free. If you live in a city, there are people in the city who know how to use GNU/Linux. There probably is a user group there. If you approach them asking them to help your troop switch, they probably will be glad to help. [Editors' Note: Two on-line lists of user groups can be found here and here.]

Fioretti: Ray, what about support from within WOSM, besides Global Scoutnet?

Saunders: I'm not aware of Scout-specific resources addressing directly this topic. Perhaps your readers can inform me otherwise? There are a number of software applications related to Scout activities, developed by Scouts and made available to other Scouts to use, though not always free. Some are listed at David Jansen's InterNETional Scouting and Guiding Pages. The UNESCO's Free Software Portal also is a very helpful starting point.

The Jamboree on the Internet (JOTI), an annual event during which Scouting experiences are exchanged and ideas are shared, contributes knowledge to the world brotherhood of Scouting. During JOTI, as many as half-a-million Scouts from all over the world make contact with one another using the full range of operating systems and software, much of it using open-source software. Certainly there's the opportunity within that event for a bit more research on these issues. This year's event runs October 16-17.

Fioretti: Will there be a specific forum devoted to these issues as part of JOTI? If yes, could I or Richard participate to represent the free software community?

Saunders: Not as far as I am aware this year, but it's a good suggestion for the future. Full information about this year's events can be found by following the links from our Web site.

Fioretti: Ray brought some interesting Scout documents to my attention. Strategic Priority #7 of the current World Scout Strategy says, "Effective communications are vital to all aspects of Scouting.... Modern technologies offer Scouting many new techniques for doing this, more effectively, more efficiently and at a lower cost". Eduardo Missoni, WOSM Secretary General, also said in his speech at the 2004 European Scout Conference, "According to our principles and values, we will be in the front line in exploring and adopting open, universally accessible and appropriate technologies". Richard, were you aware of this? What do you think?

Stallman: One could interpret this as meaning free software, but one also could interpret it in other weaker ways.

Fioretti: I agree, but the statements above seem to match perfectly the recommendations I made at the end of "Bit Prepared". For example, all Scout organizations should make sure their Web sites are viewable with any browser and, above all, don't accept or distribute documents in proprietary formats, as Richard suggested some time ago.

Saunders: I welcome the anybrowser.org campaign. Internationally agreed standards should not be subsequently enhanced to commercial advantage, which often renders the results incompatible with standards-compliant browsers. We need to check our own sites from time to time and ensure that we are achieving maximum accessibility for users based on the agreed standards, not the modified versions created largely by proprietary products and tools.

We must distinguish here between good and bad practices in the field of proprietary formats. For example, I would describe a proprietary format for which the proprietor provides freely available reader software (such as Adobe does for its proprietary portable document format .pdf) as an acceptable practice. As a result, I am happy to distribute and receive documents in that format. My core sensitivity is that the recipient of any item I send should not have to go out and purchase a proprietary product in order to read my content.

Proprietary products using open standards for their file types also sit comfortably in my portfolio of acceptable solutions. You get what you pay for and can migrate to another product with relative ease, because the content you have produced is not locked-in to the creative tool.

Stallman: A zero-price but secret reader program still would take the user's freedom even if it did not take the user's money. What makes the PDF format open--thus, not proprietary--is its documentation is public and, aside from the newest features that mostly are not used, it is not covered by patents, so anyone can implement it. I use free software to use PDF files.

Fioretti: Of course, the easiest way to prepare a migration to free software or, at least, to achieve universal accessibility is to switch as soon as possible to free cross-platform programs, such as the communication suite Mozilla and, above all, OASIS office file formats through OpenOffice.org. Doing so would guarantee that every Scout always could access Scout information, that e-mail could be signed digitally according to standards and that Web sites could be generated for the widest possible audience. After these steps, every single Scout or Scout unit then would be free to decide if, when and how to make a complete transition to free software.

Now, let's assume the WSB fully accepts this policy. Ray, may we ask you to explain what procedure the WSB should follow to officially embrace it; if and how it could request or suggest that the national associations do the same; and how official practical guidelines could be provided to facilitate its adoption?

Saunders: We like to talk about learning by doing in Scouting. So my message to any Scout reading this is to make a personal commitment now to get involved and try some free software for yourself, as I have done. For example, I'm currently involved in the alpha test of NeoOffice/J, the great Java implementation of OpenOffice.org 1.1.2 created by Patrick Luby for us Mac OS X users. It's important that as many Scouts as possible contribute to this process of change from a position of personal experience. So, the first guideline might be best expressed as, "Think globally. Act locally!"

Second, I think it will be important to ensure that the young people attending our World Scout events encounter open source and free software on the computers put at their disposal on those occasions. This already has happened with success during the last World Scout Jamboree in Thailand, for example. I remind you again that much of the annual Jamboree on the Internet already is functioning on open-source software solutions, so that is another area where our young members and their adult leaders can gain practical, hands-on experience using free software.

Third, I think it is essential to be able to demonstrate that the use of open-source software, such as OpenOffice, is a reality in the Central Office of the World Scout Bureau. We have started providing our internal stationery templates in OpenOffice.org format files, and a number of the team in Geneva already have migrated to using OpenOffice.org. I'm pleased to include Eduardo Missoni amongst those users reporting that they are very satisfied with the experience. So, professionally, we've already begun to play our small part in the process of creating momentum for change.

All these successful experiences then can be used to promote the use of free and open-source software to others, such as the leaders of national Scout organizations and the volunteers serving on the World Scout Committee or on our regional Scout committees.

I believe that taking practical steps, such as these I've outlined above, will create the necessary critical mass required to bring about policy changes inside our national member organizations that, ultimately, can result in them collectively choosing to adopt policies to be promoted at the world level.

Stallman: I have to point out that to contrast free software with commercial software is like contrasting tall people with thin people. Some free software is commercial (developed by businesses), just as some tall people are thin. Copies of free software often are sold for a price; meanwhile, some non-free programs are available gratis.

The issue is not about business and not about price--it's about freedom. Free software respects the user's freedom; non-free software does not. If a program is free, you can "leave it better than you found it" if you so wish, and that's where free software meets the spirit of Scouting.

When choosing any given program, I suggest you verify that it is free software and that it can run on a free platform. MacOS is not free and neither is the usual Java platform. So, if NeoOffice/J depends on them, it cannot be used without limiting your freedom.

Saunders: Using enabling technologies in the short term that allow many more people to try out free or open-source software now may be limiting, in Richard's view, but if it helps more people get on the bus and take a tour for themselves, that should be to the benefit of an organization such as FSF, as awareness and support for free (as in freedom) software grows. And that, I believe, is in everyone's best interests.

Fioretti: I am glad to hear all this for two reasons. The first is, from now on, it will be hard for any Scout to ignore the ideals of free software and the importance of communicating through truly open technologies. The second reason is the approach described by Ray makes it possible for single Scouts or Scouts units to migrate to free software if and when they choose, in the smoothest possible way.

I therefore conclude this interview with four short invitations. The first is to all Scouts: please try the software Ray and Richard mention and contact the closest GNU/Linux user group for help. The second is to all supporters of free software, starting with OpenOffice.org and Mozilla: send this article and "Bit Prepared" Part I or bring it by hand to the closest Scout group and offer your help to try free software. Next, to make all this easier, everybody who can translate both articles in other languages, please mfioretti@mclink.it contact me. Last but not least, any other organization inspired by Baden-Powell is welcome to contact me; I am eager to know what you think of free software.

Thanks to Richard and Ray for their time.

______________________

Articles about Digital Rights and more at http://stop.zona-m.net CV, talks and bio at http://mfioretti.com

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As described in the article,

Georges's picture

As described in the article, the philosophy of Free Software as described by Richard and many other people has many common with scouting. There are also common ways to reach this aims as "learning by doing", helping the user to find the technology solution of her or his problem by her or his own efforts and so on. Also both communities are international and non-discriminating. They have the same spirit of brotherhood.

So working in a Free-Software-community may be one way to follow scout-ideals as adult.

Open Source and the Boy Scouts

Anonymous's picture

With time things do change. On May 9, 2008 the Boy Scouts of America announced the release of their Open Source Initiative project. The OSI project was directed at creating an Open Source Software resource to provide a wide variety of services to the organization.

The Boy Scouts have joined the Open Source Community.

http://opensource.scouting.org

Proprietary products using

Mobiworkplace's picture

Proprietary products using open standards for their file types also sit comfortably in my portfolio of acceptable solutions. You get what you pay for and can migrate to another product with relative ease, because the content you have produced is not locked-in to the creative tool.

Proprietary products using

Promodeling's picture

Yes this is standards for their types.

Interesting article

Nik's picture

I'm from Russia and I hope you will excuse my English...
I can't estimate this article to the full. I only can tell, how in Russia concern to this problem. It is possible to tell, that in Russia there is no problem of free software. Today in Russia cracked software is very popular and everyone can buy any software for 2 dollars. I think it really badly. I hope sometime in Russia software will be license as in Europe or USA.
--------------------
Yours faithfully,
Nik Ozerov

Well, from the one hand you

Life in Cartoon Motion's picture

Well, from the one hand you are right, there are a lot of cracked software in the Russia, BUT if you don't want to increase pirates' income and want to help to developers of this soft you should buy license for it(or key). If everyone buy software it decrease problem of pirates.

Software meets scouting philosophies?

Mag's picture

I can't see any relationship between software and scouting! Anyway, thanks for the very long article!

Software is part of our world

Michael's picture

Software is part of our world today. Scouting is discovering this world.

As described in the article, the philosophy of Free Software as described by Richard and many other people has many common with scouting. There are also common ways to reach this aims as "learning by doing", helping the user to find the solution of her or his problem by her or his own efforts and so on. Also both communities are international and non-discriminating. They have the same spirit of brotherhood.

So working in a Free-Software-community may be one way to follow scout-ideals as adult.

Michael, former scout (DPSG), fellow of the FSFE and Debian GNU/Linux-user

Thanks for your explanation

Coach's picture

Thanks for your explanation Michael, that wasn´t totally clear for me after reading the article...

Erratum

Michael's picture

... has many common aims with scouting.

Excuse my mistake.

Michael

article

7sec's picture

I think it is essential to be able to demonstrate that the use of open-source software, such as OpenOffice, is a reality in the Central Office of the World Scout Bureau. We have started providing our internal stationery templates in OpenOffice.org format files, and a number of the team in Geneva already have migrated to using OpenOffice.org. I'm pleased to include Eduardo Missoni amongst those users reporting that they are very satisfied with the experience.

Translation?

Otto's picture

I am looking for a german translation, too. My English isn't very well.

Thanks and greetings,
Otto

translation

buchen's picture

a german translation would be a good idea and will help to understand more of the really speficially details, i´m looking forward of it.

If you'll find translated

Elma Hayer's picture

If you'll find translated text, give me tip where I'll may find it.
BTW. Great helpfull article

Translation

Mic's picture

Guys, if you're keen to translate this great article into german, so go ahead ...i'm still waiting for a good one! ;-)

look in deep

Handy's picture

its a really interesting article with a portion of look "behind the scenes". i never tought about free software like that but it makes sense. lets have a look whats coming next.

Free software specifications

Andy James's picture

So according to this, the term "free software" best describes open source software, not only un-priced applications that have limited access to its coding?

Free software

Mr GPS's picture

Open source - is real _free_. Un-priced uplications usually have some advertisments in them, but open source software may be edited by anyone. This makes it absolutely free.

hummmm

tuggle's picture

While I wouldn't call these guys the best free software evangelists, the large user base they have the ability to push to and influence compensates for that a good deal.

hmmm

PK's picture

Additionally, Free Software is an excellent opportunity for Scouts to "Be Prepared" for the use of technology in any situation, especially when they're looking for "Good Turn" opportunities. Here's an example: there's a neighborhood school that is having trouble getting technology, i. e. computers, due to Finances, Fear, and unFamiliarity on behalf of the staff. No problem! A Scout who is familiar with, say, K12LTSP can go in, show the school how to implement an entire computer lab for one-fifth or less of the cost of a proprietary solution, and then help the staff to actually do it. Thus, the school gets technology access to their kids, at a low price, and the students and staff learn something. This would indeed be an excellent Good Turn!

Italian Translation

Anonymous's picture

You can find it at
http://www.scoutnet.org/italy/ArticoloSoftwareLiberoParteII.html

From there you can also go to the translation of the first part.

Polish

Aukcje's picture

Very very thank you my friend.
I am also search Polish translation. Some peoples have this?
Greetings

news's picture

polish

wozny's picture

Thank you for this link, but I dont see: english - polish etc.
See this: www.translate.pl wll be help

regards

polish

strony www's picture

Thanks for help this translator is very good

Yeah

Anonymous's picture

+1 . it's good...

Re: Bit Prepared II: Richard Stallman Meets the World Scout Bure

Anonymous's picture

I recall a similar struggle a few years ago in which the 7 Principles of the Cooperative movement indicate that only Free Software should be used. However, as with the Scouts, the housing co-op in which i lived and its umbrella organizations cited cost factors (not in the Principles) for staying with the proprietary stuff, understandably including retraining of office staff and IT administrators. Another factor was the desire to train co-op member volunteers in "real world job skills". Assigning any kind of priority to making a transition to FLOSS seemed to be the hardest thing to do.

It still is a problem among many other NGOs whose principles align with the Free Software movement but who get proprietary software "donated" or simply pirated by well meaning volunteers.

From the author

Anonymous's picture

Of course, in practice there will be a lot of cases where resistance will be made, and often with very valid reasons too.

After this article, however, I hope it will become impossible in Scouting to just dismiss the issue without providing really valid reasons, to leave official websites only viewable with proprietary browsers, and to distribute or pretend any official document (like the papers to become a Scoutmaster) in proprietary formats.

Oh, and please forward the article, if you already didn't, to all the Scouts you know, and to everybody else you find appropriate.

Thanks for your contribution,

Marco Fioretti

a little bit of support

Am Schreibtisch's picture

your article is really good and well written, i also forwarded and recommend it to some scouts i know and for sure to some people which i think are interested in the topic too, btw. i have got some positive feedbacks of some of them.

with regards...

I don

Anonymous's picture

"Cost is a very important criteria for us. When we spend money, we are spending our members money. The World Scout Bureau primarily but not exclusively uses Apple Macintosh computers."
I hope those Mcintosh and the software were a gift, they

Price-quality

Paolo Bonzini's picture

Macintosh computers have a very high price-quality ratio even though they're not cheap. Surely they have lower maintainance costs, because the hardware is pretty well standardized (the manufacturer-of-the-day effect causes so many new PCs to give endless plug&pray problems).

Re: Bit Prepared II: Richard Stallman Meets the World Scout Bure

Anonymous's picture

I was a scout in my adolescent years. However, I found the paramilitary undertone a bit too pronounced for my liking, so I dropped out.

But I think the scouting organisation, like any other organisation, would benefit a great deal by using FOSS.

However, I do not think that scouting should be a frontman for FOSS. The level of 'freedom' in 'free software' runs counter to their conformist philosophy.

Re: Bit Prepared II: Richard Stallman Meets the World Scout Bure

Anonymous's picture

Ok, I know this is kind of off topic, but I was not the one bringing it up: What is so "conformist" philosophy with scouting? It might be in the US, but not in my part of the world. In my part of the world, the basic "skills" and values you learn in scouting is cooperation, leadership, practical skills and tolerance. In no way is "obedience" a part of this, though respect might be. The image of scouting does suffer quite a bit by association with it's founder (a military officer), misguided perceptions, Hewey, Lewey and Dewey (is that their name?) in Donald Duck, and US-centrisism. Although I'm sure there are different ways to do scouting in US too, my perception is that you might be more right about US scouting than scouting here in Norway, for example.

Oh, btw, in my spare time I'm making the publishing system for the district web site, based on PHP/mysql. I *am* toying with the idea of realeasing an open source project based on it, but I'd like to see clean it up and document it a little more. Cooperation and sharing is definitely within the values of scouting.

I fell in love with Dan’s

esforces's picture

I fell in love with Dan’s book. I was reading this book while on a flight to Chicago to LA. People thought I was crazy because I was so engrossed reading it and I’d mutter “Ohs and Ahs

From the author, on: Scouting being conformist

Anonymous's picture

As a matter of fact, one of the things B-P pointed out when he started Scouting was that he found the current military training system too rigid,
and producing massified individuals, unable to act independently.
It is also true that what Donald Duck's nephews do is not Scouting, and Scouting suffers from being confused with that, even here
in Italy.
Last but not least, you raised another important point that I hope all readers consider. I am talking of Scouting:

  • worldwide
  • as originally proposed in B-P writings.

It is exactly for this purpose that I only looked for, and proposed, B-P's quotes to prove my theses.

Please let's have well clear the distinction between that and any single
national Scout association. I say this not as a critique to any particular organization, just to keep the right perspective.

Thanks for your contribution,
Marco Fioretti

Re: Bit Prepared II: Richard Stallman Meets the World Scout Bure

Anonymous's picture

Paramilitary overtones? Conformist philosophy?

*chuckles, shakes head sadly*

From the author, on: Scouting maybe not a good frontman for FOSS

Anonymous's picture

I am sure that in this very moment there are a lot of Scoutmasters asking
themselves if FOSS could ever be a good frontman for Scouting...

Now discussing if Scouting in and by itself is too much paramilitary,
conformist etc is off topic in this forum, so I will not reply on that. And I would really appreciate if all readers did the same.

BUT: if any conformist philosophy, whatever that means, finds out that its own
basic principles match those of FLOSS, couldn't it simply mean that:

  1. that philosophy is not as conformist/reactionary as many believe
    and/or
  2. FLOSS is less revolutionary/radical/whatever than many believe, but
    just plain good common sense?

Marco Fioretti

Re: Bit Prepared II: Richard Stallman Meets the World Scout Bure

Anonymous's picture

As a former Scout, I agree that Scouting and the Free Software Movement do have significant overlap with respect to basic ethics, and I agree that Scouting should be using Free Software at all levels. Since the WSB is "primarily a Mac" shop, I would invite them to try out Yellow Dog Linux (http://www.yellowdoglinux.com), a very easy-to-use Free platform; it's basically Red Hat Linux for the PowerPC. I have run it on my Macs now for a year and a half, including a Power Mac G3 Blue and White, and I find it excellent.

Additionally, Free Software is an excellent opportunity for Scouts to "Be Prepared" for the use of technology in any situation, especially when they're looking for "Good Turn" opportunities. Here's an example: there's a neighborhood school that is having trouble getting technology, i. e. computers, due to Finances, Fear, and unFamiliarity on behalf of the staff. No problem! A Scout who is familiar with, say, K12LTSP (http://www.k12ltsp.org) can go in, show the school how to implement an entire computer lab for one-fifth or less of the cost of a proprietary solution, and then help the staff to actually do it. Thus, the school gets technology access to their kids, at a low price, and the students and staff learn something. This would indeed be an excellent Good Turn!

Oh, not to mention this: now that this school has operational technology, naturally, the kids are going to want to use it at home, too. No problem! It's Free Software; the school can make as many copies of it as they want, and not only is it legal, but actively encouraged to do so.

Re: Bit Prepared II: Richard Stallman Meets the World Scout Bure

Gino_Lucrezi_Scoutnet's picture

I would like to point out that there is an italian translation of the article "Bit Prepared I" which I did. It is available here:
http://www.scoutnet.org/italy/ArticoloSoftwareLibero.html

Thank you Marco for this very interesting sequel!

Re: Bit Prepared II: Richard Stallman Meets the World Scout Bure

Anonymous's picture

Somebody should really fix the grammer of this article.

Thanks Molly, Perfect Work

emule's picture

Thanks Molly, Perfect Work

Dont fix it!

Anonymous's picture

Actually you shouldn't fix something that isn't broken. In an interview it's what the people say - you can't change that afterwards. You'll never know if you deface what they intended to say.

yes!

Sergey's picture

i think so too. its like "free will" and "personal mining".

From the author: about the grammar of this article

Anonymous's picture

Greetings,

Please remember that this is a transcript of a dialogue among people of
different nations.

I have pasted in the text of the answers as I have received it, and I could
not have done differently. If there is something wrong with my
grammar, I am interested to know it. Being a non native English speaker,
I am always willing to learn better. Not in this forum and web page, of
course, as it is absolutely off topic (as in "let's stop this thread now"). If you feel like helping me, just email
to me my sentences and the correct form.

Thanks,
Marco

Re: Bit Prepared II: Richard Stallman Meets the World Scout Bure

Anonymous's picture

It is 'grammar', not 'grammer'. After we fix the 'grammer' we should fix the speling.

Note from the author

Anonymous's picture

Hello, everybody,
Just repeating the same friendly request I made to all readers after the first article:

As far as this forum is concerned, let's just analyze if Baden-Powell thought does imply and require that Scouts should use Free Software (the philosophy, more than any single "product") in principle, regardless of anything else. This is why I wrote the article: I will ignore (in this forum, of course) any side comment, and am asking the readers to do the same.

Thread hijacking (jumping into any online discussion and start talking of something else) is simply and terribly counterproductive. It doesn't even matter who is right and who is wrong. Nobody ever goes anywhere when that happens.

Thanks for your time,
Marco Fioretti

re

Praca's picture

It's not who was the developer, it's whether he respects your freedom that matters. If you want to live in freedom, you've got to reject software that tramples your freedom. You shouldn't stand for software that keeps you helpless or forbids helping others. When a program is free software, that means you and others can see what it does. So you can listen to other people in the community who have studied it and used it and thus decide whether you want to use it. If you really are concerned about what the program does, you can read the code yourself.

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Private PaaS for the Agile Enterprise

If you already use virtualized infrastructure, you are well on your way to leveraging the power of the cloud. Virtualization offers the promise of limitless resources, but how do you manage that scalability when your DevOps team doesn’t scale? In today’s hypercompetitive markets, fast results can make a difference between leading the pack vs. obsolescence. Organizations need more benefits from cloud computing than just raw resources. They need agility, flexibility, convenience, ROI, and control.

Stackato private Platform-as-a-Service technology from ActiveState extends your private cloud infrastructure by creating a private PaaS to provide on-demand availability, flexibility, control, and ultimately, faster time-to-market for your enterprise.

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Sponsored by ActiveState