HOST: Welcome to AMERICAN MOSAIC, in VOA Special English.
I'm Doug Johnson. On our show this week:
We hear music by Neil Young …
Answer a question about open-source software …
And report about new members of the National Women’s Hall of Fame.
National Women's Hall of Fame
The National Women’s Hall of Fame is the oldest organization that recognizes and honors important American women. The non-profit educational organization was established in nineteen sixty-nine with headquarters in Seneca Falls, New York. That is the town where the first Women’s Rights Convention was held in eighteen forty-eight. The National Women’s Hall of Fame recently honored ten more outstanding American women. Pat Bodnar tells us about them.
PAT BODNAR: A national committee of judges chose the honorees from the arts, science, government, education and other areas. They join two hundred seven other women honored by the National Women’s Hall of Fame since nineteen seventy-three.
Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton is among the newest Hall of Fame members. The wife of former President Bill Clinton is the first female United States senator from New York State. She is also the first former First Lady elected to the Senate.
The other living honorees are peace and health activist Betty Bumpers, architect Maya Lin and scientist Rita Rossi Colwell. Betty Bumpers helped establish the first national campaign to give children medicine to prevent disease. Maya Lin designed the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C., at the age of twenty-one. Rita Rossi Colwell was the first woman and the first biologist to head the National Science Foundation.
The National Women’s Hall of Fame also honored six women who are no longer living. Blanche Stuart Scott was a pilot in the early days of the airplane. Mother Marianne Cope was a Roman Catholic religious worker who cared for patients with Hansen’s disease, or leprosy. Patricia Locke worked to keep Native American languages from being forgotten.
Mary Burnett Talbert was active in the struggle for voting rights for women and civil rights for African-Americans. Ruth Fulton Benedict studied social sciences. She wrote the book “Patterns of Culture” in nineteen thirty-four. That same year, Hall of Fame honoree Florence Ellinwood Allen became the first female judge of the United States Circuit Court of Appeals.
HOST: Our VOA listener question this week comes from Nigeria. Semako Fasinu asks about open-source software.
Open-source software is a way in which businesses and individuals can offer the source code of a computer program to the general public. If a person has enough knowledge about computers and computer programming, he or she can change the program’s source code. The source code is like a set of directions that show the program how to operate.
People change the codes so that the program will operate in a way that will meet their needs. Sometimes changing the code will make the program run faster. Or it will take problems out of the program. These problems are called “bugs” and can cause a computer program to shut down.
People who change the source code of a computer program share these programs with each other on the Internet. Programmers enjoy being able to improve computer programs on their own. They enjoy being able to ask other people on the Internet for help with their programs. Working together, people can improve computer programs for the good of the group.
However, some computer software companies worry about open-source software. They think that if people are able to create and change their own software, they will not want to buy the companies’ products.
Many people say that open-source software is bad because the programs do not include security measures. They say that any person who is smart enough can change the programs in bad ways.
The people who support open-source software say that all computer programs should be free and ideas should be open to the public.
The Open-Source Initiative is a group that supports software sharing. The group says is it is hard to count the number of people who use open-source software because there are no sales of it. Linux is one of the most popular open-source operating systems. The Open-Source Initiative says Linux has between four million and twenty-seven million users.
The group says everyone who sends e-mail or uses the Web is using open-source software. Internet mail transports, Web servers, FTP servers and our own VOA mail system all use open-source software.
Neil Young has been writing and performing his music since the nineteen sixties. He formed two famous rock bands: Buffalo Springfield and, later, Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young. More recently, Young has been performing on his own. His latest album is called “Prairie Wind.” Faith Lapidus tells us more.
FAITH LAPIDUS: Neil Young was preparing to record songs for his new album in March. Then his doctor told him he had an aneurysm, a weakened blood vessel in his brain. He wrote and recorded all the songs for the album during the week before he had an operation to fix the problem.
The songs on “Prairie Wind” are influenced by country music. They are about change and the passage of time. Young sings about family, home, nature, religion and his childhood in Canada.
Four of the ten songs contain the word “prairie.” A prairie is an extensive area of flat grassland, like in the middle of North America. This song is called “Far From Home.”
Neil Young has performed many kinds of rock and blues music. He says country music has been his most successful communication with a lot of people. And he says his songs speak for themselves. Here is another song from “Prairie Wind.” It is called “Here for You.”
Some experts say Neil Young is one of the greatest songwriters of all time. They say his songs last through time. We leave you now with the title song from “Prairie Wind.”
HOST: I'm Doug Johnson. I hope you enjoyed our program.
Our show was written by Shelley Gollust, Katherine Gypson and Jerilyn Watson. Caty Weaver was our producer. And our audio engineer was Darryl Smith.
Join us again next week for AMERICAN MOSAIC, VOA’s radio magazine in Special English.