[Clipart] Understanding what "Open" means

Nathan Eady eady at galion.lib.oh.us
Mon Apr 18 11:47:01 PDT 2005

Mike Traum wrote:
> Andrew,
> Regarding hard links, I thought it was the same as a copy (oddly
> enough - I've been working on unix/linux systems for 10+ years).
> After doing a bit of research, it appears that it's not (it's an
> inode reference) on ext2 and ext3 filesystems, and probably others.
> And, tar does support this. Zip does not, but that's to be expected
> and proabably acceptable. So, I agree, this would be the best
> solution by far. You'd have a download that isn't bloated becuase of
> duplicate files. You'd have an extraction that isn't bloated on
> filesystems that support it. The only issue is extraction filesystems
> doesn't support it (Windows XP / NTFS doesn't, I believe), but I
> think we can all live with that.

Let me get this straight:  you think everyone can live with just
writing off all systems that don't support hard links, even though
yesterday you didn't know what a hard link is, have I got that
about right?  Maybe you should stop and think about the implications
of things that you are advocating.  I'm trying to be patient, but you
are frankly not making large amounts of sense to my way of thinking.

As far as I am concerned, it is nothing like reasonable to suggest
that we write off platforms that don't support hard links; it is
*absolutely* not reasonable to assert that everyone would be okay
with that; I am certain we would *NOT* all be okay with that, and
if you were thinking about the implications you should *know* that
some of us would not be okay with that.  It would be one thing if
you were suggesting (as has been discussed on this list in the past)
offering the packages in two forms, one with hard links and one
with copies -- we set that idea aside for practical reasons, but
suggesting it would be understandable, if you had not read that

However, if I understand what you are saying, you want us to just
tell people using any filesystem that doesn't support hard links that
our clipart is not for them.  I disagree not just with this specific
suggestion but with the entire underlying attitude that it belies.
We are not building some kind of exclusivist club with a
gnosticism-inspired inner circle of people who exchange content
among themselves and board up the windows to keep the outside world
from getting to any of our precious secret wisdom.

Please try to understand where we are coming from when we call this
the "Open Clip Art Library".  I'm not sure how well you understand
the "Library" part, but I am certain you do not understand the
"Open" part, or have chosen to ignore it, not just in this instance
but also on several other recent occasions.  "Open" means, among
other things, that the collection needs to be useable for the
broadest possible audience.  (It also means that contributions will
be accepted from the broadest possible author base.)  We go out of
our way -- sometimes significantly out of our way -- to avoid
making life hard (or our clipart difficult to access) for people
on various platforms with sundry limitations.  We don't generate
filenames with spaces in them, or non-ASCII characters, or longer
than (IIRC) 31 characters, because various platforms and filesystems
would have problems with them then.  We supply both ZIP archives
and tarballs of each release.  We have plans to localize for various
languages.  We provide a filtering tool for people who cannot use
a collection that might include images in one objectionable category
or another, so that they can produce a subset collection that is
acceptable to them.  We require all submissions to be released into
the public domain.  We have tested the website in web browsers as
old as IE3 and Navigator 4.08.  And so on and so forth.  You might
(nay, should) notice a pattern.  All of this fits together into a
mindset that is focused on providing a general-purpose repository
of clipart that anyone can use for any purpose.  Please try to
understand this mindset.  It is key to the way we do things.

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