Free Software and Esperanto


This talk of languages has started me thinking about Esperanto again. It strikes me that for software to really be free you need everyone to be able to read the source. Maintaining multilingual documentation strikes me as too difficult. It seem better to document your free software code in a neutral common easy-to-learn language such as Esperanto.

Now I’m more of an open source advocate than a free software advocate (though I have been reconsidering my position), but even so it still strikes me as a good idea. I know that reading Coq source code is difficult because it is documented in French. Perhaps I should get an English-Esperanto dictionary and start giving my variables Esperanto names.

Of course the problem with starting this project is that I will be actually be reducing the number of people who can read my code from 10% of the population to 0.03% of the population (myself excluded). But damn it, what is practical isn’t what is right. In 25 years when all the good open source software is documented in some Chinese language, then you will all say, “Oh, we should have listened to r6. I’d much rather learn Esperanto than learn Mandarin.”


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Russell O’Connor: contact me