Re: [gnome-cy] ACCAC: open-sourcing Y Termiadur

Hi Dewi

On Dydd Sadwrn 12 Gorfennaf 2003 9:06 yp, Dewi Jones wrote:

Rather than do a point-by-pointer, I'm just going to set out a few general 

(1) Sorry if I've said anything that offended you or your colleagues in CB - I 
was referring to ACCAC, actually, and you seem to have taken it as referring 
specifically to CB, which was not my intent at all.  CB is doing lots of 
helpful things, and the translation of OOo is a major achievement - no-one 
would belittle that.  

(2) The nub of the matter, though, is whether public funding should be given 
to any knowledge-based project whose deliverable is not in the public domain.  
The EU is, I believe, (slowly) moving generally towards the policy position 
that the answer should be "no", and I myself don't see why this should not 
also apply to projects that have been done in the past (in this particular 
instance, ACCAC's Termiadur).

(3) A corollary to this is that any organisation winning a tender should view 
itself as being paid to produce a public resource, not to create a bankable 
item that may potentially earn revenue into the future.  This is not the case 
with such things as roads and schools (pace the recent PFI initiative, which 
is specifically aimed at reducing the public funding of these items, and its 
variable record) - why should software or knowledge resources be any 
different?  The parallel with the free software arguments about the creation 
and support of software is in fact striking.

(4) There is an ongoing tension, which will have to be addressed by someone at 
some point, between constricted availability of Welsh language materials paid 
for from public taxation of both English- and Welsh-speakers in Wales, and 
the wider benefits to Welsh of having those materials freely available.  In 
the digital age, I fail to see why Welsh needs a "gatekeeper" to say when or 
where I should access publicly-funded language information (via that 
gatekeeper's publications, website, or anything else).  If there is an issue 
with the resultant cost of access, this is just another argument for making 
the material completely free - others may provide such access at no public 
cost, as recent history has shown.

(5)  On a point of fact, the original KGyfieithu dictionary link was to the 
address you mentioned in your email to me of 24 January (Re: [E-GYMRAEG] 
Partneriaeth Bysellfwrddd Gymraeg / Welsh Keyboard Partnership), which was  The BBC issue only came up in March, when you 
asked me to remove that link (which, as you'll remember, I complied with 

(6) On the XP point, CB's argument would presumably be that getting Welsh on 
the desktop was so important that it was willing to subsidise the production 
of this resource for a wealthy foreign multinational monopoly.  I have issues 
with that, but I can see that such an argument can be made.  But what I find 
difficult to accept is the simultaneous suggestion that provision of the same 
thing for free software must pay its own way and *not* be subsidised.  I 
don't see how both things can be legitimately argued at the same time unless 
there is in fact a subtext that a particular legacy operating system is the 
only thing worth bothering about.

(7) It is valid, IMHO, to ask for license fees to use any resource such as the 
OED or GYA if it was produced by academics employed directly by a University.   
However, if the work or its workers were the recipient of specific public 
funding (for salaries, publication, whatever), then the same issue arises as 
regards Termiadur.  In that case, I believe the public has paid once, and 
should not be asked to pay again to view its own property.  I don't know what 
the funding position was for the GYA - if it was the former, then certainly 
the WAG should pay whatever fees are necessary to make similar provision as 
it is making for English.  If it was the latter, though, my response is 
above.  (If anyone can shed light on the funding position, I'd be grateful, 
because the Termiadur issue may be part of a wider public policy case that 
could be made.) 

(8)  Finally, for what it's worth, I have no objection to buying the Termiadur 
CD at all.  But there are no doubt copyright conditions attached to it as 
well.  In the last resort, this is the "shared source" argument in a 
different context.

I want to underline again that my points are NOT directed at CB, but at a 
wider public policy arena, where the main players are large public bodies 
like ACCAC, and where accountability is sometimes tenuous.  

But the issues in 2, 3 and 4 above are, I believe, valid ones, and need to be 
pursued in some form.  It seems bizarre, does it not, that the 
publicly-funded copyright-holding body directs me to a site owned by the 
resource-holding supplier body to which I am not allowed to link?  Plainly, 
one end of the string is not tied to anything.

Best wishes


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