[Fsfe-ie] Cumann Scóp-Ríomhoideas na hEireann

David Golden david at oldr.net
Sun Nov 2 15:13:55 CET 2003

On Sun 02 Nov 2003 12:39, David O'Callaghan wrote:
> Hi all,
> I think "Ríomhoideas" means an individual computer program. "Bogearra"
> would be the usual translation for "software", or "Bogearraí" in the
> plural.

I don't really like Bogearraí  - has a ring of a much-too-literal translation 
from the english.   "Oideasra"  is given as the translation for "software", 
"Oideas" for "program" here: 

While one may draw a distinction between "program" and "software",
e.g. a collection of clipart could be "software", though perhaps most would 
not consider it a "program" as such, in formal terms, the image data can 
indeed be considered a "program" written in, say, the "language of jpeg", 
interpreted by the computer that displays the picture.  Lispfucius Say: code 
is data, data is code.

> I'm pretty sure that "Saor" normally means "libre", and "saor in aisce"
> means "free of charge". Think of Saorstád Éireann (Irish Free State),
> for example. But "saorearra" means freeware, so the confusion is still
> there in Irish.

Indeed, I'm pretty sure you're right.  However, my worry over "Saor" was that 
in my experience, few use "saor in aisce" anymore - generations of 
schoolchildren dumb-translating with english-irish dictionaries have meant 
they use "saor" ambiguously, probably actually holding something isomorphic 
to the woolly english "free" in their minds.

But is Saor (which I am happy to take to mean Libre...) even the most 
appropriate for the sense of "Free" in the FSF, given Irish might have a 
third shade of freedom, perhaps not perfectly expressible as either Libre or 
Gratis?  Perhaps just as English confuses Libre and Gratis, so common usage 
of Libre confuses, um, "Libre-as-in-personal-freedom" and 

Libre might be necessary but insufficient for Scóp, just as you're not 
particularly unfree because you lack lots of capital in present society, but 
you can't necessarily achieve everything cool you might want to, unlike a 
citizen of the (fictional) "Culture" post-scarcity society in an Iain M. 
Banks novel.  Consider: access to fsf-free software and participation in its 
culture can provide scope for amazing further development even without huge 
"conventional" capital.  Perhaps scóp is partly "freedom as in unimpeded 
potential for fulfilment."

> I'm not an Irish scholar but I haven't come across the adjective "scóp"
> before. Scope can be translated "réimse" or "scóip", but these mean
> something like "field (of study, etc.)".

I'm pretty sure the word exists though, though I stress: *I could still be 
wrong about the exact colour of its meaning*, despite my lyricism above. I 
don't know how I even encountered the word before (though it must have been 
in school, as I have barely spoken a word of Irish since)

I'm not confident at all that there is an adjectival usage or that it would be 
an unusual prefix like sean or saor (it just "sounded right" that way round 
to me, and if there isn't an adjectival usage, hell, I'm as free as the next 
guy to invent one...).

I'm about 50 miles away from my printed dictionary, but Scóp [Shkaawp ?] as a 
word. probably noun,  is present in at least two online Gaelic dictionaries, 
translating as "Scope/Freedom" and "Freedom":


Scóip [Shkoep?] with the i is probably a new import from English "scope", 
probably by someone unaware of the older word.

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