[wilhelmtux-discussion] erklaerung for Markus

Anne Possoz anne.possoz at epfl.ch
Don Dez 12 01:03:04 CET 2002


Comme promis à Markus Wernig lors de la réunion PLLA du 13 novembre, je
vais reprendre ici, cette fois en anglais, mes remarques sur les statuts
de wilhelmtux.

My comments are based on the french version:
without being able to know if they are or not a translation of the german 

Preliminary remark is that the quoted page already takes away part of my 
freedom as, if I reduce the size of the window, I can't see a full line at 
once. The reason is that the table width is in pixel (absolute value) instead 
of being in % (relative value). Hum...

The first paragraph says that wilhelmtux wants that softwares libres are used 
in all public administration instead of proprietary softwares. Then fight 
against proprietary softwares, licences, patents (by the way, the french word 
for patent is "brevet" not "patente") with request for free format and 

More or less fine... (I realize that the erklaerug changed since my first 
post on August 21st. A version number would help to realise that the text 
changed and probably a date too).

Persistance et transparence: fine.
But we have to keep in mind that, accessible by everybody does also mean that 
there is a simple solution to access them. We cannot force the citizens to 
use free software. So they need to have tools to access the information 
without having to learn how a computer works.
This is propably possible, but should not forget it.

"dans la plupart des cas le code source est disponible publiquement"
??? Free software are always open source without restriction, otherwise they 
are not free software anymore.
"Il est ainsi possible de détecter..."
The access to the source code permet the détecter...
"ces logiciels moins sensibles à des attaques"
It is not really the software that is attacked but the software that could be 
used as a mean of intrusion, etc.
"Des résultats (...) deviennent reproductibles."
Closed source could give reproducible results also. Bugs in closed or open 
source could exist. What is the aim of this sentence?
Probably something like "computed results could be traced to check that they 
are not biased".

Libre concurrence et politique de réglementation
This is not particularly a free software problem. It is a capitalistic point. 
Small companies have always to find their way in that arena. Selling free or 
proprietary softwares will no be different.
I don't think that this argument is valid. And if/when IBM (as an example) 
will sell linux with support, "Des prestataires du secteur tertiaire qui 
proposent par exemple des services technologiques..." will probably also have 
no access to the market.
Definitely, I don't see this as an argument for free software.
And mentionning M$ specificaly is just silly. What if M$ dies and another one 
takes his place? What if free software is so much dominant?
There are other monopole in other areas (like matlab in calculus).
"Une des tâches d'un état libéral dans un marché libre..."
What is "un état libéral"? Do we want Swtzerland to be a liberal state? I 

I would drop that point entirely.
The reason for free software is not there.

The arguments there are very dangerous.
Some documents today claim that the TCO (total cost of ownership) is bigger 
for free software. Some other documents claim that security is not bigger 
under linux than windows. All that may be true, at some level at least. We 
should keep in mind that today free software are used by people with a lot of 
skill, that many of them give a lot of their time for free and often with 
passion. The 3rd argument will disappear as soon as big companies will sell 
free software distributions at very low cost.
And this paragraph misses the "pérennité des documents et autres archives 
(audio, video, etc.)".

Déclaration de protection de données: 
I hope that you are 100% sure of the software behind all that so that there 
is absolutely no chance that some cracker could access these data. Who can be 
100% sure? Not me. Probably a good idea to rephrase it with that in mind to 
avoid one day to spend the rest of life in prison (remember that we live in 
an era of lawyers).

All these remarks are the reasons why I am unable to sign the "Liste de 


P.S. I have to admit that comment in english on a french text is very tiring 
and no easy for people who don't read french.
I made that exercise today but am not sure it was worthwhile.
Having an english version would have been a better way of communication even 
if I have to say sorry about that.
Babel is fun but is it productive?