pdfreaders campaign

Martijn Brekhof m.brekhof at gmail.com
Sat Jul 16 17:32:08 CEST 2011

On Fri, 2011-07-15 at 17:54 +0200, Sam Geeraerts wrote:
> Mark Lamers wrote:
> >    It would be nice if we can come to consensus on which points we would
> >    like to make, Write them out and then glue the letter around that
> >    framework. 
> My attempt at summary:
> = Things we agree on =
> 1) Terminology: "niet-vrij", "PDF-lezer".
> 2) Primary focus = free software.
> 3) Also mention open standards and neutrality.
> 4) Include a straight reference to an explanation about free software.
> 5) Keep it simple.
> 6) Say thank you at the end.
> 7) Offer support about the issue.
> 8) Make it a positive message.
> = To be discussed =
> (--> My comments)
> a) Do we mention that non-free software can install unwanted additional 
> software.
> --> Is this true for non-free PDF readers? If it isn't then they might 
> think we're lying/slandering or at least overreacting.
I think using the unwanted software (spyware?) argument is dangerous as
this does not count for all non-free software. IMHO it feels like
spreading FUD.

> b) Do we keep the advertisement story like in the original letter? 
> Martijn said that it comes across as a "don't buy from them, buy from 
> us" pitch, in this case politically rather than commercially flavoured.
> --> I think the advertisement argument is good for our target audience, 
> but maybe we should soften it up a bit.
The last few years there has been a lot of debate regarding the use of
free software in governmental institutions in the Netherlands. AFAIK
they concluded that Open Standards is more important than the use of
free software. This meant that the focus is on using software that uses
Open Standards and not on free software. Therefore I think the Open
Standard argument might have a bigger impact. 

> c) How to convince them that pdfreaders.org is a solid reference. 
> Suggested so far: regularly updating the website (visible at the 
> bottom), giving contact details, explain about FSFE.
> --> Perhaps we should keep it simple and just pull the "I'm so confident 
> I don't need to explain myself" card, saying "pdfreaders.org is an 
> important resource". If I were them I'd verify that by typing "pdf 
> reader" or "pdf readers" into a search engine and the website is ranked 
> pretty high for both queries.
I agree. Besides I do not think we will be the only ones using
pdfreaders.org as reference. So there will be a higher demand to keep
the website running and up-to-date.

> d) Can we point to a "comply or explain" policy?
I do not think it is wise to put that card on the table. I noticed about
2 years ago at the "Overheid en ICT" conference that a lot of ICT
departments within the governmental institutions do not really like the
policy. They happily explained to me that they can easily get passed the
policy by finding some ridiculous feature not supported by the free
software alternative.

> e) Can we point to other policies about free software or open standards 
> on a national or European level?
I have no idea.
I will check with Maurice who is more up to date on these kinds of
things when I see him again in about a week.

> f) Can we give high profile examples that already link to pdfreaders.org 
> (like Munich was an example for OpenOffice.org)?
Good idea. Using good examples usually takes the edge off of critical

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