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Free Software
&
Free Data Formats,
an opportunity for Everyone
Paolo Pedaletti: Paolo.Pedaletti@OpenLabs.it

Copyright (c)...
Free Software and Free Data Formats, an opportunity for Everyone

Index
Introduction.........................................
Free Software and Free Data Formats, an opportunity for Everyone

Introduction
With this document I will try to explain wh...
Free Software and Free Data Formats, an opportunity for Everyone

Free Software definition
Free Software is that kind of s...
Free Software and Free Data Formats, an opportunity for Everyone

What is NOT Free Software2
It's NOT a technology
A techn...
Free Software and Free Data Formats, an opportunity for Everyone

Examples of Free Information usable commercially
The eco...
Free Software and Free Data Formats, an opportunity for Everyone

Possibility of Free Software commercially use
With the F...
Free Software and Free Data Formats, an opportunity for Everyone

Benefits to develop Free Software
Why a programmer shoul...
Free Software and Free Data Formats, an opportunity for Everyone

Monopoly is
in economic field
what dictatorship is
in so...
Free Software and Free Data Formats, an opportunity for Everyone

The obstacle to Free Software
Contrarily to what can be ...
Free Software and Free Data Formats, an opportunity for Everyone

The misunderstanding comes from the mistake to not consi...
Free Software and Free Data Formats, an opportunity for Everyone

Coming from an economy based on the exchange of material...
Free Software and Free Data Formats, an opportunity for Everyone

The real problem
The problem is only apparently technica...
Free Software and Free Data Formats, an opportunity for Everyone

Linkography
Useful link:
Marco Fioretti: Cos'è più impor...
Free Software and Free Data Formats, an opportunity for Everyone

Addendum
Economic effects
The use of open formats would ...
Where were you?

I worry about my child
and the Internet all the time,
even though she's too young
to have logged on yet.
...
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Free software, free data formats - an opportunity for everyone

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Transcript of "Free software, free data formats - an opportunity for everyone"

  1. 1. Free Software & Free Data Formats, an opportunity for Everyone Paolo Pedaletti: Paolo.Pedaletti@OpenLabs.it Copyright (c) 2005 Paolo Pedaletti “First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win” Mahatma Gandhi
  2. 2. Free Software and Free Data Formats, an opportunity for Everyone Index Introduction.......................................................................................................page 3 Free Software definition....................................................................................page 4 What is NOT Free Software...............................................................................page 5 Free Data Format definition..............................................................................page 5 Examples of Free Information usable commercially.........................................page 6 Possibility of Free Software commercially use..................................................page 7 Benefits to develop Free Software....................................................................page 8 Free Software, the value is in the freedom.......................................................page 8 The obstacle to Free Software.........................................................................page 10 The real problem.............................................................................................page 13 Conclusion.......................................................................................................page 13 Linkography.....................................................................................................page 14 Addendum........................................................................................................page 15 Economic effects..........................................................................................page 15 Data accessibility.........................................................................................page 15 Where were you?.............................................................................................page 16 Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike You are free: • to Share — to copy, distribute and transmit the work • to Remix — to adapt the work under the following conditions: • Attribution. You must attribute the work in the manner specified by the author or licensor (but not in any way that suggests that they endorse you or your use of the work). • Share Alike. If you alter, transform, or build upon this work, you may distribute the resulting work only under the same, similar or a compatible license. 2/16
  3. 3. Free Software and Free Data Formats, an opportunity for Everyone Introduction With this document I will try to explain why it's opportune to use Free Software and Free Data Formats rather than proprietary software/closed formats.1 1 Harmful effects of the lack of freedom: • http://www.theregister.co.uk/2005/04/27/apple_snubs_wiley John Wiley & Sons, a leading publisher of technology books, said Apple Computer has removed all its titles from the shelves of Apple stores in apparent retaliation for the upcoming publication of a biography of Apple CEO Steve Jobs. The books disappeared from Apple stores • http://www.wired.com/cars/coolwheels/news/2006/08/71554 Giant Robot Imprisons Parked Cars 3/16
  4. 4. Free Software and Free Data Formats, an opportunity for Everyone Free Software definition Free Software is that kind of software distributed with a license that grant 4 fundamental freedom: 1. The Freedom to run the program, for any purpose (Freedom 0) 2. The Freedom to study how the program works, and adapt it to your needs (Freedom 1) Access to the source code is a precondition for this 3. The Freedom to redistribute copies so you can help your neighbour (freedom 2) 4. The Freedom to improve the program, and release your improvements to the public, so that the whole community benefits (Freedom 3) Access to the source code is a precondition for this Fig. 1: General scheme about relationship between difference of main software licenses: http://www.gnu.org/philosophy/categories.html 4/16
  5. 5. Free Software and Free Data Formats, an opportunity for Everyone What is NOT Free Software2 It's NOT a technology A technology mange the study of the production process, not how the final product must be distributed (not with witch license) It's NOT a development model A development model is a set of rules that describe how to project and write a software. Free Software can be developer in many different way (from one single person, from a team of fans, from a firm, from people that don't know each other, in asynchronous mode, hierarchic, …). The development model does not deal with the rules of use and freedoms granted to the end user. Free Data Format definition A free file format is a file format that is both3 1) published so that anyone can read and study it in its entirety and 2) not encumbered by any copyrights, patents, trademarks or other restrictions so that anyone may use it at no monetary cost for any desired purpose But how is it possible to base a commercial activity on a software (or a data formats) with such freedom? 2 Chapter added after reading Francesco Potorti' 2010/12/01 post on discussioni@softwarelibero.it 3 http://perens.com/OpenStandards/Definition.html 5/16
  6. 6. Free Software and Free Data Formats, an opportunity for Everyone Examples of Free Information usable commercially The economic/commercial exploitation of the free information is not a novelty of the computer era4: • The laws are freely accessible (they're not freely alterable), they are not protected from copyright or patent, but anyway the lawyers are able to get fair earnings managing this free information on behalf our name. Why? Why having anyway the possibility to freely access to all the laws, do we decide to use a middleman, that he get paid, for this? Would you live better in a state where the access to the laws were restricted to a limited number of people? • The words are free (and modifiable), not “gratuitous”. The books cost (and I don't pay only for the paper) giving the possibility to the writers (and not only them) to earn. Their works are protected by the copyright, not by the patent. Would there be more books or better books if the single words were protected by patents or copyright? • The recipes of cooking are free (and modifiable), not patented neither under copyright. Yet exist a lot of people (cooks) that are paid by us for using this information to our benefit. Why? Why do we decide to pay someone else to cook a dish that we would have been able to quietly get by ourselves? Would we eat better if the recipes were patented/copyright? • The musical notes are free (not modifiable), yet the composers are able to earn fairly from an opportune matching of the notes. Why don't we produce on our own the musical information that we have so much necessity? Who prevents it? The songs/music fruit of their job, are protected with the copyright, not with the patent. The truth is that we are not all equals5, we don't reach the same results even if we own the same information. But then where is the "added value", if it is not in the information in itself? 4 any comparison has some limits of validity, they are only similes with some exceptions 5 This “myth” of universal equality has industrial origin, when “perfect” pieces were only and only one identical to the “master” piece, and even a small difference was synonym of defect. This theory applied to the human beings is deeply wrong. We are all different (different doesn't mean inferior or superior, but only … unique), and this is our main strength. 6/16
  7. 7. Free Software and Free Data Formats, an opportunity for Everyone Possibility of Free Software commercially use With the Free Software you don't sell a sequence of byte or instructions, but you sell the assistance, the consultation, the documentation, the courses for the use of the software, the certifications, the support, the personalization... The "added value" of a computer solution is the Human Being that knows how to: ● choose ● install ● configure ● use ● update and correct the software, making it become a solution to a problem (to write a letter or to make some calculations). The software and the hardware by itself are not a solution. The Free Software realizes this and says: Can you do it by yourself? Well, good luck and "bon voyage"... Don't you know how to do this? "Nice to meet you, Paolo Pedaletti, 100 € per hour”. The most important change that Free Software introduces is to move the "added value" from the unmaterial object to the person. In this way there is an enormous contractual power from both the parts. From the supplier of solutions' point of view, he/she can be paid how much it holds opportune for the provided added value. From the client's point of view, he/she can choose the level of quality of the supplier of solutions on the basis of his own choices, tastes, budget. He/she doesn't depend on a single supplier anymore with all the benefits that derive from it (100€ are too much for you? You are free to find someone else, much cheaper but hopefully with the same skill, performance and professionality). There is Freedom of Choice for Everybody. 7/16
  8. 8. Free Software and Free Data Formats, an opportunity for Everyone Benefits to develop Free Software Why a programmer should find interesting/useful to develop Free Software? Because the profit is mutual, both for who writes Free Software that for the one who uses Free Software. The detection and correction of the inevitable defects that every software has, it's a heavy, boring, and difficult work for who has written the program (like it is heavy boring and difficult to find the errors of typing for who write a text). Is more productive to submit this assignment to others. To detect a problem is simple and immediate for the one that uses that software every day, trying to correct it can be very instructive and useful for who wants to begin to program. But only if the source code is freely available it's possible for everyone to try to correct the “bug”. Consequently the original programmer that makes free his own software has a return both economic (like personalization and education to the use of the software) and educational (with the suggestions and the corrections that can be introduced in the original program) You creates a natural two-way flow of information, 6 among who produces and who uses Free Software. Free Software, the value is in the freedom The advantage of the Free Software is not just in the fact that is commercialexploitable, but in the fact that is Free. In this way it's not possible to create monopolies, the clients are not forced to make some unwanted choices. Who provides Free Software has the opportunity to spread his/her own computer solution in the widest possible way, creating a basin of customer that for a professional use ask for a payed dedicated assistance. In other way, monopoly says "Or me or no one other", Free Software says "If not me, someone else". For this reason the Free Software maximizes the probabilities of success / survival (maximizes, it doesn't means guarantee, considering that nobody can guarantee nothing for sure about the future) 6 … contrary to other more permissive licenses such as the BSD license, which allow the software born free to become closed / proprietary. 8/16
  9. 9. Free Software and Free Data Formats, an opportunity for Everyone Monopoly is in economic field what dictatorship is in social field: a lack of freedom of choice. (full stop) 9/16
  10. 10. Free Software and Free Data Formats, an opportunity for Everyone The obstacle to Free Software Contrarily to what can be thought (or wrote, even on important sites of reference7), the obstacle to the Free Software is not proprietary/closed software. The problems come from the: ● software patents ● proprietary closed data format because these constraints prevent the Free Software to exist/work. For the information (software, books, music...) it's more proper, rather perfect the copyright, not certain the patent. The difference between copyright and patent consists in the fact that: ● the copyright makes exclusive an implementation (a single program, a book, a song) ● the patent makes exclusive an idea (a functionality, a story, a melody) The patent works very well (it works = it reaches the purpose for which has been introduced) as it regards the matter, while it would be (it is) harmful if applied to the Information. The monopoly that derives to patent the information is an excess of private ownership, because it prevents the competition, contrarily of the copyright. I want to clarify that this last sentence doesn't have any connection with some ideologies trend in the past, because I consider the private ownership a value inalienable (it is "the excess" to be not correct/opportune). 7 http://www.gnu.org/philosophy/free-software-for-freedom.html 10/16
  11. 11. Free Software and Free Data Formats, an opportunity for Everyone The misunderstanding comes from the mistake to not consider the intrinsic and fundamental differences between the matter and the information: ● MATERIAL: it's necessary "localized" My clock is on My wrist, and if it "appear" at someone else wrist, it means necessary that it has disappeared from mine. INFORMATION: to communicate the information that I own doesn't imply that I "forget" it (non necessarily) ● MATERIAL: it's not easily duplicable. My clock surely it's not the only one existing in the world, but for duplicating it it's necessary a not negligible amount of energy, prime-material, work and time INFORMATION: digital information is easily duplicable with a consumption of energy/material/work/time practically negligible. ● MATERIAL: it's hardly editable/customizable. It's sufficiently to consider a car, and think to change the color of the chassis or the interns. They are securely remarkable expenditure (of many percent point of value of the car) INFORMATION: digital information is easily editable / customizable. Obviously you need to have a knowledge (even if only superficial) of the language with the program has been written (having available the source code). ● MATERIAL: to transport matter from a place to the other costs a lot. Generally, the cost is directly proportional to the quantity of matter and the distance to cross. INFORMATION: it's easy to transport and the cost of the transport is practically insignificant, if you don't consider really notable quantities of information (encyclopedias? libraries?) ● MATERIAL: the velocity of transport/diffusion it is very slow (compared to the information one) INFORMATION; the velocity of transport/diffusion is very elevated (compared to the material one). It results evident that the greatest part of the "natural" property of the material are a PADDING for the information.8 8 Stefano Quintarelli: http://blog.quintarelli.it/blog/2011/07/il-mondo-nuovo.html “La remunerazione dell’opera dell’ingegno è essenziale per lo sviluppo; io lo vedo come un fattore di fiducia nel futuro perché le risorse immateriali sono illimitate, a differenza di materie prime ed energia (che in particolare, in Italia, non abbiamo). Tutti noi cosiddetti “lavoratori della conoscenza” abbiamo risorse illimitate su cui costruire: la nostra immaginazione e fantasia.” 11/16
  12. 12. Free Software and Free Data Formats, an opportunity for Everyone Coming from an economy based on the exchange of material, there is who finds normal (but only for mental inertia) "to stick" the old properties to the new good (the information), while on the other side there is who realizes of this useless padding, and he'd want gladly act without them. But why we persist with old traditions, if now we can do it better? Why to drag along the old limits, if it's possible to act without them? 12/16
  13. 13. Free Software and Free Data Formats, an opportunity for Everyone The real problem The problem is only apparently technical or economic. In reality the problem is Social and Politic. We are digitalizing our Life more than ever ● our Identity, with the electronic signature and the digital ID card ● our Activity, with the on-line purchase, on-line banking transitions and online “surfing” We are creating a digital alter-ego of ourselves, that is alive and acts in our name into the digital world. Who will role the digital world will also role what our digital alter-ego will or will not be able to do on “the other side” of the monitor. Who will rule our digital alter-ego will role by reflex, also automatically our real life and us, here, on this side of the monitor9. To be able to continue to have the freedom that we have from this part of the monitor (laboriously gotten in the past), we must give the possibility to our digital alter-ego to enjoy some same freedom, on the other side of the monitor. Conclusion10 I hope to have clarified what it concretely means Free Software and Free Data Formats, and why it is important to keep on guarantee the freedom of choice that we have earned with so much hard work in the real world, also in the digital world, toward which we are going. Because the Freedom of Choice in a Democracy is vital. ©Paolo Pedaletti Friday, August 5, 2011 paolo.pedaletti@openlabs.it 9 The “war” between free vs close software/data formats is the update version of the war(s) in the past century between people pro freedom (democracy) and people against it (monarchy/dictatorship). Less blood, same target. 10 Translated from Italian with the contribute of Federica Grisoni 13/16
  14. 14. Free Software and Free Data Formats, an opportunity for Everyone Linkography Useful link: Marco Fioretti: Cos'è più importante, l'alfabeto o la penna? Marco Fioretti: How to turn into Free Software supporters people who couldn't care less Simone Aliprandi: http://www.standardaperti.it Simone Aliprandi: http://www.copyleft-italia.it Paolo Pedaletti: http://www.scribd.com/doc/932152/Software-Libero-unaopportunita-per-tutti 14/16
  15. 15. Free Software and Free Data Formats, an opportunity for Everyone Addendum Economic effects The use of open formats would permit the free and public data distribution, commonly called OpenData11, data that • could be analyzed, correlated and republished/sell developing a market and a business now very limited • could permit to the citizen to be informed/aware about the effects of their lifestyle and their actions. Data accessibility12 For what concern data accessibility for long time, two different problem must be distinguished: hardware accessibility: physical support must be accessible/readable, otherwise even if I own it I can't be able to access to the informations contained inside (who still have a 8' or 5,1/4 floppy driver?) software accessibility: format, if it's a open format, it means that technical specifications are freely available and freely implementable. This guarantee the accessibility to the information memorized in those formats for very long time without any artificial legal obligation. This feature (of data accessibility without constrain for very long time) it's indispensable for a State (hopefully a long term project...).13 11 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Open_data http://www.data.gov/ http://data.gov.uk/ 12 Obsolescenza digitale, Medioevo Digitale, Preservazione Digitale 13 http://www.pubbliaccesso.gov.it/biblioteca/manualistica/documentielettronici.htm 15/16
  16. 16. Where were you? I worry about my child and the Internet all the time, even though she's too young to have logged on yet. Here's what I worry about. I worry that 10 or 15 years from now, she will come to me and say: 'Daddy, where were you when they took freedom of the press away from the Internet?'” Mike Godwin Electronic Frontier Foundation http://eff.org

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