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GNU/Linux: Source Code and Human Rights

May 08, 2008, 00:00 (1 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Bruce Byfield)

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"James Maguire, Datamation's managing editor, claims he has no interest in software whose source code is available for editing. 'I'm not a software engineer,' he says. 'If I can't grab it off the shelf, I can't use it.'

"He's half-joking, of course. But he echoes the opinion of many people outside the free and open source software (FOSS) community about what its efforts are about. Ask average computer users what FOSS is about, and, if they've even heard of it, they'll probably say something about the source code being publicly available.

"The problem is that the community has done a deplorable job of explaining itself to outsiders. Focused on the immediate concerns of developers, the Open Source Definition lists only one right out of ten (to redistribute the software) that might be of interest to average computer users..."

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