free software

David Carroll dccarrol at SPAMucsd.edu
Sun Mar 11 18:50:07 MST 2001


Les:
> However, not everyone who uses this stuff, or even contributes code to
> this stuff, has a revolutionary or even radical outlook. indeed, its
> hard to know whether its anything more than just good, well thought
> out, tools put together in collaboration by people with enough time on
> their hands to contribute.

What I've found in following the Linux crowd (on various sites, such as
Slashdot) is that many of the users are anti-corporate, but usually far from
anti-capitalist.  I think some of the elements of the free software movement
are really worth building affiliations with, and educating.

> > This is important to me, because I am currently a graduate student
> > who will be publishing articles and books in the future and I want
> > to find ways to share the information.
>
> the web is your friend in this case.

Yes.  What I'd like to know is what public university policy is regarding
academic work being shared for free on the net.  I know that since the
Bay-Dole act of 1980, the university can claim all property rights to an
academic's work, then license it out.  I imagine that is less commonly a
problem for humanites professors, that they can share their work, but I'd be
interested to hear if someone has had any difficulty doing that.
>

> i suppose i should put user friendly in quotes, since some will
> complain that these tools take more work than the comparable Microsoft
> tools. we could debate hours on the merits of this argument. in brief,
> i don't buy it: MS tools simply require the user to dummy down to a
> lowest common denominator from which commercial companies can
> continually reap sales via these pseudo upgrades. the caveat of course
> is that it takes _time_ to learn how to use the free tools, and
> documentation for this stuff is a _real_ issue.

The state of some free software (notably GNU Linux) has been closer and
closer to the "dummy" or super user-friendly interface.  Some distributions
have reached the point where it really is as easy to install and use as MS
software, and much more stable.

> and of course our own Jose Peres is tops when it comes to writing
> about the intersection of capitalism and software. search the marxism
> archives, some of his stuff is of a quality unmatched in the software
> press, free or otherwise.

Thanks for the tip, Les.  I'll definitely check his work out.

Michael:

> How hard would it be to have the free software run programs or devices
> designed to work with Windows?  I use voice recognition and some indexing
> programs that are very important to me.  I know of no way to use them
> under Linux.
>  --
> Michael Perelman

There are several projects that have reached beta stage allowing you to
emulate Windows software on Linux.  Regarding the voice recognition ability,
there are a few utilities that can do this: xvoice and IMB ViaVoice SDK.
They are not out of a beta stage, but these are considered as important
projects.








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