Archive for the 'Freedomware service' Category

Proprietary services or free desktop software?

Actually that question is more of a flame bait or a non-starter for a real discussion. I would answer it by choosing a third option, freedom cloud service. Read on to find more about it.

There are some people, RMS for example, who say that freedom minded individuals should avoid using proprietary services. I’m not going to defend proprietary, but if we think that people are going to give up on proprietary services, and go back to the desktop, as the only alternative, we are fooling ourselves. Once people have discovered network services and the collaboration that can be done with it, they are never going back to the desktop and working offline. Working on the desktop is like taking notes while watching TV: nobody is ever going to know about it and people work to make themselves known! The people’s short term need is to communicate with others, and, even if on the long term that means they give up their freedom, short term needs always prevail. Short term communication will always win against long-term freedom. A service will always win against a piece of software.

No doubt, on the long term, if we do not build freedom services that are consistently better than their proprietary counterpart, proprietary service maintainers can insert proprietary plugins both on the client side. We are going to lose the progress we have achieved on the free desktop software and people’s data will be just as locked in as with the old proprietary software.

We need not to advocate for going back to the desktop free software, because that is a losing battle, we need to build freedom services that fill the communication gap between people better than the proprietary do. We need a process to help us design and maintain a freedom service consistently better than we currently do.

I agree ‘cloud computing’ is a trap, I disagree on the way out of it. I say we should build an alternative freedom service cloud. I will cover how to build such a freedom service and problems associated with it in a later post.


Why freedomware services are important?

Free network services, or freedomware services, matter because they bridge communication channels between people across space and time.

The digital equivalent of the Speakers’ Corner in London’s Hyde Park in the Internet Age are, and  In fact the ‘speech’ from the saying ‘free as in speech, not as in beer’ is the perfect example of a freedomware network service. Free speech, upon which the free market relies on heavily, relies in turn on free press which is still a service.

I started to get involved more with free(dom) software when I began to realize that working collaboratively is much more effective than individual work. That was after I read an essay at Life is not read-only.

Soon after, I learned that other people need to work collaboratively, too. So I wanted to expand the posibilites of collaborative working from software creation and Wikipedia to many other fields of knowledge. There are already services that build and enhance this collaboration: for example, vector graphic artists build OpenClipArt, lawyers and law officers build Jurispedia, helps users share small tidbits of information. In addition to creating a free culture that can be used in free software, such participants also understand better than the average non-programmer how the freedom software world works and are most likely to be the best at spreading the word amongst their kind about freedom software and culture.

What is a network service?

A network service is an instance of a software that runs reliably for a period of time and which links together people over space and time.

But who brings together the software needed to run a service? That would be the service maintainer(s). She/he is the one who wields the power of the software to enable communication between people. And linked people communicating build together culture.

To sum up: culture builds on services, which in turn builds upon software and maintainer’s work.