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Free Software Directory recapping the "Golden Oldies" meeting

by Donald Robertson Contributions Published on Sep 13, 2016 10:27 AM
Check out the great work our volunteers accomplished at the last Free Software Directory meeting.

Every week free software activists from around the world come together in #fsf on irc.freenode.org to help improve the Free Software Directory. This recaps the work we accomplished on the Friday, September 9th, 2016 meeting.

This week we had a special theme of "Golden Oldies" where we worked particularly on entries that hadn't received an update in quite a while. The meeting started off a bit slow with the channel just trying to get our new tool for discovering old entries looking nicely formatted and usable. Once challenge that had been discussed the previous week was the fact that users sometimes forgot to update the review dates of entries, but hopefully this issue will resolve itself as more older entries get reviewed.

kamel also jumped in with a new project for improving the directory: a tool for scanning entries to help predict tags/categories for the entry. This tool will be critical in making adding categories to the directory feasible. If we add categories, having a tool to find previous entries that can fit into that category will be extremely useful. In working on this project, kamel also found many pages that were not working, and has listed them on the directory for us to review what the issue is.

The channel also discussed the requirements for inclusion in the directory. While it can seem like a straightforward question of whether the package is freely licensed, there can be some interesting wrinkles. In particular, the channel discussed the inclusion of packages that are freely licensed, but then offer a 'premium' proprietary fork of the work. While selling exceptions to a freely licensed copyleft work can be acceptable, offering broken version of software under a free license as an advertisement for a fully featured proprietary version is a different story. A further complication to the issue arises when there is a community developed version that isn't associated with the proprietary developer. More work will need to be done to hash out all the details and write up proper guidance on dealing with this problem.

The meeting ended with the channel deciding that next week's theme should focus on packages related to accessibility. Free software is for everyone, but unless we make quality tools that everyone can use, many people will be left out. If you would like to help update entries related to accessibility or just help update the directory in general, meet with us every Friday in #fsf on irc.freenode.org from 12pm to 3pm EDT (16:00 to 19:00 UTC).

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