About widi.berlios.de -> the authors respond

Bernhard Reiter bernhard at intevation.de
Fri Jul 13 11:42:36 UTC 2001


thanks for your resonse and the clarification about widi and BerliOS.
The FSFE of course welcomes more research initiatives about Free Software.
We support your effort and we also welcome any other efforts
resulting in more Free Software and further the Free Software movement.

There are serveral points BerliOS deliberatly does suboptimal.
In joining them or using their service you agree with what they do.
It is your decision and a political action.
Right now I personally do not recommend the use of BerliOS.

Note that several people from the FSFE core team were in personal contact 
with Lutz Henkel and Jörg Schilling and we told them about the situation.
My general impression is that they do not take the concerns serious enough.

Let me show you a few points in your mail 
why Free Software developers are cautious.


On Fri, Jul 13, 2001 at 12:14:32AM +0200, Gregorio Robles wrote:
> 	I've been posted your recent messages about Widi and BerliOS and I want
> to clarify some things. 

> 	* Widi is a study made by a research group at the Technical University
> of Berlin. It is part of a research that takes place at the "Informatik
> und Gesellschaft" (Computer Science and Society) Department headed by
> Prof.Dr.iur.Lutterbeck at the Computer Science Faculty of that
> university.

> 	http://ig.cs.tu-berlin.de

The short study about software patents done by that department
proposed a compromise which would have taken away the freedom of software,
though the own conclusions of the study were that software patents
are generally not good. 

> 	* Widi is hosted at BerliOS, because BerliOS has a SourceForge clone
> with all the services we required for our study: cvs, mailing lists, web
> space, an URL and a database. But the study Widi is part of is itself
> __independent__ from BerliOS.

> 	* Widi's budget is 0. We didn't get money from the German government
> nor we were sponsored by anybody. (that is the reason why we chose the
> BerliOS SourceForge clone... because its services are for free).

Which alternatives did you had?
Personally I hope that universities will be able to support their researchers.
You give up your independence to easily if you just use something
that is _gratis_ without further reasons.

> 	* Widi and all the tools used in this study are free software:
> 	    * CODD was started by Vipul Ved Prakash and we have restarted this
> project to enhance this tool. It's GPL & Artistic:
> http://codd.berlios.de

From a short read of the license terms on the above webpage I am not
even sure that it is free software. You take away the freedom to use the
program for any purpose which does not make it a pure GPL.
The Artistic license also has problems.

> "There is plenty of literature dealing with the process of developing
> Open Source and its economical significance. 

As you know we are with the Free Software movement.
Just studying the effects of the "open source" movement
might not really get to the point.

> The data are statistically meaningful. 

I can't say without studing the applied methods, the press release 
made am impression as the studies was aimed at the politicians directly.

Professional Service around Free Software                (intevation.net)  
The FreeGIS Project                                         (freegis.org)
Association for a Free Informational Infrastructure            (ffii.org)
FSF Europe                                            	  (fsfeurope.org)
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