13 June 2006

Untangling FLOSS

LXer sent me to this story called "Brainstorming ways to push open source". I can't really see that it has much to do with brainstorming, but I notice that its about work done by Rishab Ghosh, from the Merit/Infonomics research institute in The Netherlands.

Ghosh is one of the leading European researchers on open source, although sadly he insists on calling it by the ridiculous name "FLOSS". Now, call me conventional, but floss is something I associate with cleaning my teeth, rather than with changing the world, so I find this a pretty silly name. Luckily, this doesn't detract from the value of the work Ghosh has done/is doing.

However, finding that work is another matter. The article mentioned above refers to equally daftly-name FLOSSpols site, which seems to be what the brainstorming refers to. However, in another feat of mind-bending misnaming, the work arising out of FLOSSpols is hidden away under the heading "deliverables" - what ordinary human beings would call reports. It might have been nice (a) to have used the word "report", and (b) to have a clear link to where they can be found.

All this persiflage is particularly sad because the reports look particularly good: I've not read through them completely, because they are long and detailed. But it would be a great pity is such valuable work did not reach a wider audience, but remained, instead, tied up in a tedious tangle of floss.

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