Readers weigh in on . . .

Re: All roads met at the NEXUS (Dec. 17)

This sounds like a great idea when you keep in mind the delay in crossing at the Peace Arch. However, Pembina, N.D., is not so bad at all.


times I cross the border with my wife, children and friends. I would imagine the NEXUS would not apply. It would appear to be only of any comfort to the vehicle owner/card holder travelling alone. I travel across often by rental car and I would assume the “”gadget”” is fixed to my own personal car and not transferable to a rental! If I assume all these things correctly I only see it to be of limited use and not worth the exercise.

Pat McManus
Sales manager
Canadian Tool & Die Ltd.

Re: CAAST clamps down on eight Canadian companies (Dec. 16)

Personally, I’m skeptical about CAAST’s figures for software piracy in Canada. If I remember correctly, the estimate is based largely on reduced software sales and upgrades. However, these reduced sales might be accounted for by any number of legitimate events: the lack of significant features in newer versions of software, a growing tendency in the last few years to hang on to existing software longer, and the increased sophistication and popularity of free and open source software. So far as I know, CAAST has said nothing in public that shows that it is taking these alternative explanations into account.

Bruce Byfield

Re: The war of the words (Dec. 11)

The article said this: “”Stallman’s position is that Open Source Software (OSS) is not free.””

That must be a misunderstanding, because that’s not what I think. Perhaps it was an mistranslation, since I was speaking French. (The event was sponsored by Francophonie.) What I actually said was that “”open source software”” and “”free software”” are not synonymous.

Nearly all open source programs are also free software, because most of the licenses that qualify as open source also qualify as free software. There are just a few exceptions, and they are not often used.

Most people that I know cannot tell the difference between Free Software and Open Source Software except for the zeal that comes from the Free Software group.

That’s why I want people to know I advocate free software, not open source. We have principles that the open source movement was formed to reject.

The philosophical views of the free software movement and the open source movement are as different as night and day. In the free software movement, we consider non-free software unethical, antisocial and illegitimate; that’s why we have been working for 20 years to escape from it. The more recent open source movement looks at the matter only in practical, economic terms. It sees non-open-source software as ethically legitimate, and criticizes it only by saying that it is likely to be technically inferior.

For the open source movement, closed source software is a suboptimal solution. For the free software movement, non-free software is a social and ethical problem, and replacing it with free software is the solution.

See for more explanation.

These two movements should not be confused, but the translators from French to English were confusing them, translating the French term “”logiciel libre”” (which means “”free software””) as “”open source.”” I asked the translators not to do this, so as to translate the speaker’s words accurately. Whichever movement a speaker chose to identify himself with, it ought to be translated correctly.

I am not battling the open source movement, merely asking people not to mislabel me and other free software advocates as part of it. I agree with you completely about the battles that we have to fight.

The real battle that remains is much more important. This is the battle over a real restriction of our personal freedom caused by secret and/or patented standards.

I mention both of these issues in my speeches about free software, and I talked about both at WSIS. I would like to have spoken about them in the Francophonie debate, but as one of eight speakers, I could not fit everything. I hope that others reading this will speak about these threats too.

Richard Stallman

Re: Swing Blade (Dec. 4)

Though I am not exactly certain what HP’s cost structure is and where they make their money, I’ll be interested to see if they can duplicate what I think has been a clever trick: that of “”baiting and hooking”” the corporate consumer by getting them to buy their copiers and then making a killing on associated consumables (photo quality paper, toner, etc.).

If someone figures it out you could get a backlash, not only in the market you were expanding into but in your original market.

Claude Bond

Re: Swing Blade (Dec. 4)

Great article! I have been ask by the IS Director to look into Blade PCs for a possible upgrade for our site. They pretty much want to stick with HP, but the problem on my part is I can’t find any information on performance. Any suggestion, information, or sites to go to would be appreciated. Your article is the closest I’ve seen in addressing this issue. Thanks.

Richard Gutierrez

Letters to the editor must include the writer’s name and company name along with an e-mail address or other contact information. All letters become the property of Editors reserve the right to edit submissions for length and content.

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