Re: MOSTLY OFF-TOPIC: Communicating with the Academic Community

Subject: Re: MOSTLY OFF-TOPIC: Communicating with the Academic Community
From: Bruce Byfield <bbyfield -at- axionet -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Fri, 16 Aug 2002 12:22:06 -0700

Darren Barefoot wrote:

In my capacity as (try not to laugh) "technology evangelist", we've developed
a "free software licenses for students" program. Basically, anybody with
an academic email license can download a 12-month license of our
software for non-commerical use.

Are you calling the program a "free software license"? If so, you might be having a PR problem you didn't anticipate: what you're offering isn't free software, and many people in academia will know that. As a result, you may be unintentionally giving your company the appearance of being either ignorant or deliberately misleading.

As you may know, "free software" is a term for software for which the source code is available. A more formal definition would be software released under a free software license, such as the GNU General Public License.From what you say, the software is not free in any of these senses.

Academia is probably the worst possible place to make such a slip. Universities are hotbeds of free software advocates. For one thing, most students are young and as idealistic as they'll ever be, and campuses are places where idealism can flourish. For another, free software principles are very close to those of academic freedom,so they strike a natural chord with students and instructors.

Of course, it's hard to know whether this really is a problem. But you might want to do the safe thing and rethink your program's name.

Bruce Byfield bbyfield -at- axionet -dot- com 604.421.7177

"To Newgate Gaol they took him, the Ranter's dream was dead,
He had no taste for martyrdom; 'I will recant,' he said,
'I banished sin, but I have erred, it cannot be denied
'That these are sin: greed, tyranny, hypocrisy and pride.'"
- Leon Rosselson, "Abezier Coppe"

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MOSTLY OFF-TOPIC: Communicating with the Academic Community: From: Darren Barefoot

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