"On 10 April, astrophysicists announced that they had captured the 1st ever image of a .

No headlines mentioned that the image would have been impossible without open-source software: , a library for graphing data.

Just 5 days later, the NSF rejected a grant to support that ecosystem, saying that the software lacked sufficient impact.

is widely acknowledged as crucially important in science, yet it is funded non-sustainably."

@josemurilo Uh oh, this reminds me that I need to stop watching Seinfeld reruns and get back to work on this literature survey about organizational capacity for data curation... A good & interesting article, though.

@josemurilo Indeed. Likely, more people learning about and using the term Free Software over "open source" would help raise awareness of the importance of Free Software and its philosophical and societal aspects. Otherwise, it's kind of hard to make a point for "open source" when it deliberately misses the many points and issues that are the focus of Free Software.

@aminb IMO we should use the term "Libre Software" to make sure the correct meaning of "free" is conveyed. Otherwise in English people tend to think of the well-used term "freeware" with the "gratis" meaning, which is thought of as crappy, ad-supported, or possibly-malware software.

I've heard the objection that English-speakers don't know what "libre" means, but I think that's either an exaggeration or that people would quickly learn the meaning if the term gets used.


@leadore @josemurilo

Yeah, that ambiguity in English is a shame. A nice middle-ground could be using the term Free/Libre Software. I've seen rms use it too.

The well-named LibreOffice has probably helped familiarize people with the term as much as anything.

@aminb @josemurilo @leadore What's funny is that, more and more, I've heard people use the term "open source" to refer to things that aren't open source at all but are free-of-cost. For instance, people saying that something like Canva is open source because it's free to use.

@aminb @josemurilo @leadore Yeah, I'm trying to think back to the actual instances, but I know I've heard non-technical (in a narrow sense, they're probably super-technical in other ways) people use the term "open source" literally as a synonym for free-of-charge or shared, for non-digital, non-conceptual actual objects--like they said something like, "oh, these books/bicycles/condoms/etc. are open source."

@pizza_pal @aminb @josemurilo @leadore I've heard it used a few times like that, the connotation generally being that it's about some type of material good that's kinda socially conscious, positive for people's well-being or whatever. I was bemused, but I'm usually not pedantic enough to correct people--unless they're interested in that kind of thing. I do a good RMS impression tho.

Sad fact, but i'm not surprised. Why would externalization of costs (by using open source and not supporting it) work any better in science than in running critical internet infrastructure?

What does #matplotlib provide that other libre plotting systems, such ggplot or pgplot, don't? In other words, what is the marginal benefit of this specific library in the context of research?

Why does it matter?

They chose to use it, did their research with it, and it produced (fantastic and groundbreaking) results for them.

And if it works for their use case...funding should be given.


I choose to use libre office to write my papers, making it fundamental to my research. Should it be given funding by a central body?


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