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.
______________________

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

Comments

Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.

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.