Archive for the 'freedom' Category

‘Freedomware’ terms and concepts

I hope you noticed that thoroughout my blog I try to use freedom software or freedomware. I wrote this page as an explanation and to avoid misnaming in the community and to strengthen the brand ‘freedom software’.
NB: I don’t hold much love for marketing or the current advertising mechanism, but I had to use the term brand.

That is because I am trying to avoid ambigous related terms such as:

  • free software which can be interpreted as ‘no money’ or ‘gratis’ OR software under a free license (of course the Free Software Foundation cannot be avoided)
  • FOSS – which makes people say “what is this new acronym? Eah, I don’t care, I’skip it”
  • FLOSS – what is this? a string to clean people’s teeth?
  • open source – it refers to the ability to write a piece of software collaboratively, but it does not reflect any ethical dimension, it’s not the same as free software.
  • linux – many people in the proprietary world or even the general public tend to refer to the freedom software as just ‘linux’
    This is outrageous! Reducing the whole community to just one project or one piece of software is unacceptable for me.
  • Anti-microsoft – I heard people (mostly paid microsoft trolls) who claim that freedom software community actually means anti-microsoft. This is just wrong, I won’t bother explain this if you don’t know it already.’

Freedomware is short for freedom software and I like it because it’s just as short as free software, while it tells the whole concept, such as ‘free (as in freedom) software’ or ‘free (as in free speech, not as in free beer) software’. It leaves no doubt that it refers to software that provides the four freedoms of free software. While I think freedomware can be confused for ‘freeware’ when spoken, I still think it’s preferable to free software. I would like to point that when spoken one should prefer to use the longer term ‘freedom software’. Also read the free software page at Wikipedia.

Also I try to use GNU/Linux when I refer to the generic class of operating systems running Linux kernels because most of them include software from the GNU Project, such as gcc… Although many would point out that most of the software coming from the GNU Project is not used by average users nowadays, I am not calling it GNU/Linux for historical reasons or because we should pay homage to Richard Stallman, I do so because the most important contribution from that project was the GNU General Public License, the license under which the Linux kernel and most other freedom software is released.

I call it GNU/Linux because we should always preserve the spirit that brought us together and that is the spirit of the GNU Project, not Linux, nor open source. Likewise the BSD software community keeps its spirit alive by calling thier operating systems FreeBSD, NetBSD, OpenBSD, PC-BSD and so on…

PS: While I host my views and terms dear, I don’t try to push them down to other people’s throats and I don’t enjoy others doing the same on my own blog.

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AGPL application suite

Password manager: http://www.clipperz.com/blog

Free web operating system: http://eyeos.org/en

Browser chat: AJAX Chat https://blueimp.net/ajax/#license

Toward Free Network Services, http://autonomo.us/

MicroBloging http://laconi.ca

Eliberatica 2009

Ok, I do not know how to cover a conference properly, so I’ll just say that this year I saw more social networking and people were more action focused. I also got the sense that more and more Romanian people want to get involved in the free software movement. Keywords for this conference would be ‘action oriented’ and ‘social networking’, which is great.

A little about myself: I am interested in all things free culture, from software, to artwork, to data, but I am particularly interested in free as in freedom network services (FNS for short), from free cloud service to collaboration services between artists.

What I apprieciate most about this conference is that I had more time to socialize with people around: I had the opportunity to talk with Georg + Monty on patents, javascript AGPL, managed services and mostly stuff related to my trial at making a web/network service.

Now, I’d like to say a few words about the presentations:

Continue reading ‘Eliberatica 2009’

Eliberatica 2008

The main ideas I got out of this conference http://eliberatica.ro/2008/:

Contributing to a freedom software project is easy, be it translation, documentation, source code or artwork. Free software projects fail all the time, but that is good because the costs of a failure of such project are relatively low. The cost is only the cost of time its contributors have committed to it.

However silly our work seems to be when we do it, it allows others to build on it – and that is what makes it strong and durable. So we should start make our on contributions on it.

Making a business out of a freedom software project is very hard and needs a very careful analysis of the business model involved. Licensing is especially important, it sits at the core of the business model.

My notes/outlines on the logistics of the conference:

  • Sun (the one in the sky, not the company called Sun Microsystems) was really stumping on my nerves;
  • breaks were too short, there was too much content;
  • having 2 presentation rooms and a separate terrace (at Eliberatica 2007) was better;
  • the presentations were too business-like, although the audience was technical oriented
  • not too many practical activities, too much theory.

Suggestions for 2009 (I intend to join the organizing team or at least spend more time helping organizing it):

  • set up a wiki about the conference
  • I have missed the mailing list discussion about the conference, needs more promotion
  • suggested debates (voting ideas and topics? or not?)
  • have an unconference (barcamp)
  • have practical activities (coding session, install fest, gaming fest)
  • Eliberatica Planet for gathering feeds about Eliberatica

Personal objectives set up related to Eliberatica:

  • FSFE + FreedomMarketing.org
  • OpenOffice.org extensions for collaborative artwork: ODF SVN, wikiediting, image versioning
  • Common configuration repository (SAMBA registry?)
  • Mozilla test suite for extensions
  • translation of licensing with APTI, Bogdan Manolea
  • Library of Freedom Software Business cases – translation OmegaT/Trados

This also serves as my tasklist which I will, hopefully, update as I fullfill these objectives.

More detail on each item in following posts.

Moved to bogdanfreedom.wordpress.com

Should any readers follow this blog in the future they should go to https://bogdanfreedom.wordpress.com

Why did I made the move? Simply because I wanted to use more free software, less proprietary (like blogger). This way presumably I will promote freedom software better.

Also I hope to use WordPress in my blogging efforts about my free software projects.

Free Culture sells Linux better than any feature set

No matter how many features we add to free software, when a user compares our products with a proprietary one she/he does not see any difference. It is still a buggy piece of crap, made by some folks far away, that does not work as expected. We are not any different from them. Free software will never differentiate from the proprietary products in our current proprietary culture. Real end users see us as programmers, not as different institutions, companies. There is no Microsoft to fight with in that world, only some programmers or IT support people. The IT people are generally some bad guys, scum, dirt lovers whose help everyone needs. To succeed in this world we need paint ourselves in a whole different color than proprietary vendors.

Features and feature sets are the tools of marketing the old proprietary software. In a free software world, when comparing two free software products features are irrelevant, as anybody can copy source code from everybody.
XMMS got a new feature I don’t have in my music player software? Where is that XMMS’s source code? Hmm, no problem I’ll add it in two weeks!

Features and feature-set comparisons with other software (proprietary or not) make us look the same as the old proprietary software. Features we have (and proprietary does not have) are hidden to new users, so we are not a bit different. Or even worse, we lack that feature X from their previous software. No matter what, we are lagging behind. This is no way forward.

Start advertising something no proprietary software has! That “something” is “Free Culture”. Since Free Software is a subset of “Free Culture”, no proprietary vendor in his right mind will advertise that.

What is this “Free Culture” I keep talking about? Here are a few definitions:
Free Cultural Works
Wikipedia page on Free Culture Movement

What means promoting Free Software through Free Culture? It means we need to start advertising the collaboration tools in our software. We have to enable and encourage artists to share their work with other artists and with the world – just as our programmers do. Go out there and tell student/young artists how they can work more efficient as a collective. Show them examples of “free cultural projects’ that are successful and which they can contribute to. Examples include:

  1. Wikipedia
  2. Students for Free Culture
  3. Mutopia Project – sharing free music sheets
  4. Project Gutenberg, the first producer of free electronic books

We have the motivation, the responsibility and the technical means to promote Free Culture. What stops us from doing this? Licensing?
That we will lose support of some people? That is unavoidable anyhow!
But look what we would gain!