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What are A340GC and libGC

The Glass Cockpit Library (libGC) is created for the Airbus A340 Glass Cockpit (a340gc) which is an Open Source project. The a340gc project is part of the Airbus A340 simulator project of the IRADIS Foundation. The goal of libGC and a340gc is to create a free framework that can be used to build a glass cockpit upon.

Curretly both A340GC and libGC are not developed any further at the moment. Its main developer and maintainer is currently too busy with other parts of the IRADIS A340 simulator, other projects, server maintenace, work, and home renovation, to be able to contribute to the development of A340GC and libGC. This does not mean that A340GC or libGC is dead, only that new releases of A340GC and libGC are delayed. See our news page on upcomming features.

Why Open Source (Free software)?

Both A340GC and libGC are released as free software under the GNU Public License version 2. It is permitted for everyone not only to use these programs but also to look at the source code. It is even permitted to modify these programs as long as the original copyright notice is preserved.

The term Open Source is not entirely the correct term to use. We should call it Free software like Richard Stallman of the Free Software Foundation has defined this type of software. In our experience the terms freeware and Free software are seen as the same by the public. Probably because the terms have the word free incommon. When referring to the software as Open Source most people realise that we're not talking about freeware. For this reason we use the not 100% correct term.

Why not freeware instead of Open Source one might ask? There's a big difference between Open Source software and freeware. The term freeware actually doesn't mean what it implies. The word free is derived from the word freedom. As one can see freedom has nothing to do with any kind of payment. Therefore freeware software should instead be called gratisware. This term 'gratisware' does make clear that the only only right you get is the right to use the software without paying the author. However the words gratis (one of the many Latin words in English) and free have become mixedup due to commerce and advertisements. Nowadays many people, even natural English speaking people, do not know the existance of the word gratis. And the correct term is 'without cost' not 'free of cost'and certainly not 'for free', while 'free of payment' should be 'fried of payment' as in 'the need of payment has been lifted.'

'"Free software" is a matter of liberty, not price. To understand the concept, you should think of "free" as in "free speech," not as in "free beer." Free software is a matter of the users' freedom to run, copy, distribute, study, change and improve the software.' -- Richard M. Stallman, Free Software Foundation, Inc.

Open Source software does give you the right of freedom. And is for that reason the kind of software license that is completely in line with the true meaning of the copyright act.

The copyright act -- put together quite some time ago (1791) -- is meant as an enforcement to protect the rights of authors over a short period of time; and to stimulate the creation of new works. The copyright act however is created in a time where it was almost near impossible to duplicate the work of an author. Further more during time the democratic copyright act by Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, and George Washington -- which had no mention of 'intellectual property' -- has been changed to include terms like 'intellectual property', to exclude the democratic safegaurds, and to extend the protection period from a few years after the publication date to almost a century after the author' death.

'Its peculiar character, too, is that no one possesses the less, because every other possesses the whole of it. He who receives an idea from me, receives instruction himself without lessening mine; as he who lights his taper at mine, receives light without darkening me.' -- Thomas Jefferson, author and architect

For this reason the copyright act is outdated, and misformed and should be renewed. All sections that protect the authors' work from being rewritten/reused by someone else should be replaced with sections that protect the authenticity of the authors' work. Copyright was ment as the right to copy ideas not as the right to monopolise ideas and the distribution of them.

'Copyright springs from the outdated thought that there is shortness on this planet, and that a possession is something you detract or deprive an other from. This time has passed, now we live in a world of plenitude, to which we need to grow accustomed to and learn to equaly share.' -- Albert Ballintijn, broad cast technician

Nowadays the copyright act is being misused on a large scale for personal enrichment and as an excuse to limit intellectual exchange and advancement. The following metaphor can be used to enlighten this;

'Propriety software can be compared to buying a novel that only contains the following text: "After reading this novel you are left with the impression of reading a book that gives you a romantic feeling." Only this text was printed because the author was afraid that if someone would have read the real text he could gets the inspiration to write his own novel.'

Many software authors do have the idea that if they would publish the source code of their software product it would be used by others to steal away their market position. What these software authors don't see is that the huge investments they make to create their software would be considerately lower if they could have made use of the experience of others and that they probably would have made a better product. They also forget that profit can be made from Open Source software. In the software industry everyone is reinventing the same thing over and over again.

More often software authors tend to avoid this 'reinventing the wheel' by buying components with which software can be glued together. Backed by statements as 'A house is also built of bricks you buy. Nobody makes their own bricks.' Something is wrong about this reasoning. Building a house is a physical challenge, not an intellectual challenge like creating software. If this kind of reasoning was valid it could also be applied to other intellectual challenges like writing a book or painting a painting.

In fact using bought software building components leads to a gap. On one side software authors who don't have any feeling or knowledge with what there're doing. And on the other side a small group of component authors who posses all knowledge and power. One should recognise this as an unbalanced and dangerous situation. Strangely enough people do see the same situation as a dangerous and a to be avoided situation when this shift occurs in the political or military power of a country.

'The Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) has one major provision that upends more than 200 years of democratic copyright law. It forbids the "cracking" of electronic gates that protect works - even those portions of works that might be in the public domain or subject to fair use. Because the DMCA allows content providers to regulate access and use they can set all the terms of use. The de facto duration of protection under the DMCA is potentially infinite. While copyright law in 2001 protects any work created today for life of the author plus 70 years or 95 years in the case of corporate "works for hire," electronic gates do not expire. The DMCA works over and above copyright law. The DMCA allows producers to contractually bind users from reusing facts or ideas contained in the work.' -- Siva Vaidhyanathan, cultural historian and media scholar.

The reason behind using bought software building components is in fact an attempt to make use of the same advantages Open Source software provides. While eliminating the semi 'false' risk of having code stolen. Stealing code from Open Source software is against both the copyright act and law, it is detectable and (better) provable. Open Source software is not meant as a source, inspiration, or push in stealing code.

An other advantage of Open Source software is stability and quality of the product. This can be 'and is' better compared to the propriety software products, this because of the simple reason that the vulnerabilities that the author(s) overlooked have a high change to be spotted by others. The spotter may correct these vulnerabilities and / or the author is notified of them so he can correct them. The risk of vulnerabilities in propriety software that are known only to a small group who misuse them for their own advantage is much greater than it is for Open Source software.

The only disadvantage can be sought in that the fact that found vulnerabilities are more known to the public than that is the case with propriety software. Mostly because the vulnerabilities that are fixed in a next version of a propriety software product are hidden from the public by the authors because they're afraid of losing face. While on the other hand Open Source software authors hold tracking and resolving vulnerabilities in high regard.

Under recent privatisation movements made by our governments even research institutes and universities need to close-up and shutout everything and everyone to be able to remain alive. Thereby withholding crucial information that is or can be needed to make progress, and sell only the implementations, in a very restrictive way and under strict terms, of their findings.

To summarise; the current copyright act and its current application tend to lead into 'cartel' / 'mob' formation, instead of being a stimulus to the intellectual level of mankind. Open Source software and it's principles and philosophies on the other hand are a form of software and a set of ideas that promote co-operation and the sharing of knowledge.

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