stet (software)

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stet is a free software package for gathering comments about a text document via a webpage. The initial version was developed from late 2005 until mid-2006 by the Software Freedom Law Center as a service to its client, the Free Software Foundation (FSF). The software was built to facilitate public consultation during the Version 3 draft process of the GNU General Public License.

To comment on a document hosted in stet, the user must select a few words or a sentence from the text and anchor their comment to that specific text. This requirement, it was hoped, would increase the specificity and relevance of comments. Also, all the previous comments are visible to each new user. Heavily commented-on parts are highlighted by light to dark color-coding of the text according to the number of the comments.

stet is implemented in JavaScript, XSLT and Perl, using parts of Request Tracker. The initial development was managed by Bradley M. Kuhn, CTO of the SFLC, and implemented by Orion Montoya who was on a one-year contract with the SFLC. The only known deployment of stet to date is available at the GPLv3 Draft Process site,

On 21 November 2007, Kuhn announced that SFLC released stet under the Affero General Public License[1], making stet the first program known to have been used in the generation of its own software license.

This design is fairly unique, and Eben Moglen of the Software Freedom Law Center has high hopes for it:

The way in which we use highlighting in a document to represent the comments, the intensity of the commenting, to allow people to navigate the commenting on a single document I actually think is a useful collaboration tool for 21st century public deliberation. We noticed that some people are beginning to pick up the software and make other use of it.

Eben Moglen [2]

So we’re attempting to create a kind of 21st century consultative structure in which people from all around the world in different social locations can use the net to cooperate with one another to discuss the terms on which they live. And the GPLv3 process is in my mind, therefore, a very primitive example of a kind of social activity which I think is going to be much more common in the 21st century – a kind of global democratic event.

Eben Moglen [3]

As of 2009, stet is not actively developed, and its project page recommends co-ment instead: a software with very similar functionality, but written in Python/Django, developed by Sopinspace, the firm of SFLC director Philippe Aigrain.

[edit] References

  1. ^ Kuhn, Bradley (2007-11-21). "stet and AGPLv3". Software Freedom Law Center. Retrieved on 2007-11-22. 
  2. ^ wikisource:Keynote about GPL3 at HOSC 2006, June 17, 2006
  3. ^ wikisource:FLOSS Weekly 13: Eben Moglen on GPL 3.0, September 27, 2006

[edit] External links

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