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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.

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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.

Hello sandbox!

Welcome to WordPress.com. This is your first post. Edit or delete it and start blogging!

This is just a sandbox post for me and my readers to test out the comment system,…

Communication with Free Software supporters, developers

I believe the problem of communication is by far the biggest problem and obstacle in the adoption of free software. I believe we have solved all the major technical problems in the adoption of free software, and the ones that remain are either being worked on or in testing. What has yet kept us from becoming the dominant supplier of software is our way of communication and marketing. Oh, I hear my readers mumbling: “here comes another free software detractor”. Actually, this is my best attempt at gathering attention upon an issue I can not solve by myself.

Why can’t I solve it alone, and then present my solution? Because that would be my solution to my version of the problem, as I see it. It would actually be of little help for others, as their issues are not even addressed. And failing to get their support to my initiative, it would fail itself, as many others did.

This problem needs be advertised by people with higher mind share on the public than my own, as there are still (many) people that negate its very existence.

Where do I see instances of this problem: in support forums in discussions between “gurus” and “newbies”, between developers and (experienced) users. Examples:
Winning Hearts and Minds” by Angry Admin,
Problems between developers and users:
A tale of two cultures” Daniel Robbins, Gentoo project initiator
Why did I stopped reporting bugs on Ubuntu”,
Why I quit: kernel developer Con Kolivas”,
Marketing problems (about the use of incomplete `truths` in our promotional messages):
Can we please stop fighting FUD with FUD? by Ryan Cartwright
Which can be solved with:
A Free Software Manifesto For All Of Us” by Marco Fioretti,

These are all old participants in the free software world (or they claim so). Even if every one of this reports are false, this is still an issue that should be analyzed.

I have to give 2 examples and ask your opinion on it.
1) I believe there is an important distinction to be made between our campaigns to use free software and our answers in support forums.
Say an end-user shows up on a support forum saying “I am using your free software program X on some proprietary Operating system” or “in combination with other software that does not respect user’s freedom”. In the current support forums the end user is likely to be greeted with a knee-jerk type of answer. For example: “Use Linux” or “read the guidelines” or worse – no answer at all.

I believe the right attitude of the ‘support people’ should be: “while we do not support your proprietary operating system, but here is the best advice we can provide you given the circumstances…”. The support community should provide end users with the best experience they can, so that users will come back when they are unencumbered by proprietary products.

End users have their own reasons for using their current products and could probably not give up on those products without costly transitions. Best thing to do should be to ensure a smooth transition – smooth by their terms – to free software. If their first contact is positive they are likely to come back. If we behave badly and rude and speak only technical language they will take their business elsewhere.

The fact that most applications of the KDE Desktop (less Kwin, Plasma) will run natively on most used proprietary operating systems is of great help. It will ensure users have a smooth ride to free software and that they do not have to switch applications all at once. It is also my hope that in the people supporting the KDE port on proprietary operating systems will also bring a new way of talking and behaving to the (technical support) free software world.

2) Another big mistake that we do is not explaining the free software philosophy in end users terms and with examples that affect them directly. Explaining artists the same freedoms as to programming coders is wrong: they care more about culture and telling them free software can smooth their ride in free culture is much more effective. By free culture I mean artwork developed collectively, just as our software, and distributed under a free (copylefted) art license.
It is right to present the four basic software freedoms, but for them free software is a means to achieving an end, free culture, and starting with the means to reach the end is wrong in my logic book. We should rather start with the end they care about and help them understand how Free Software can get them to that end. This is where we should rightly show them the four basic freedoms. This is also where I hope to turn them in free software advocates to others in their profession.

Yes I know I have another similar post here Communication in [an] overgrown community