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Author: tbuitenh (7:00 am)
Free culture, free culture, what the **** is free culture? It's something geeks like to talk about. Now, don't click away to another website. This is important.
Your freedom to use information is being limited more and more. New laws are created around the world at the very moment I'm writing this. New computer chips are being designed, that will limit what you can do with your own files on your computer. In the end these will even limit your freedom of speech. The only ones who seem to be aware of this are a few "free culture" geeks like me. We want a free world. One in which everyone is free to communicate, free to invent, free to share his ideas. Of course we need rules, laws in such a world. You can't have freedom without laws to protect it. But that's not the direction the world is moving in. Instead, freedom is taken away.
What have we done about it? NOT MUCH! We created a couple of websites, and used them for endless talk. Cause that's what geeks do. I admit, it's my fault too. I'm the moderator of the advocacy & activism forum at libervis. And what did I do there? You guessed it, I talked.
I think it's time to actually do something. We can't stop and undo the changes on our own, we need at least half the world with us. We need to raise public awareness of free culture. Campaigning against things we don't like (eg software patents) is not enough. We should also promote what we do like: our ideology of freedom.
So, how do we get the couch potatoes moving? (no offense intended). How do we make free culture mainstream?
This is were we should start. "Free culture" isn't exactly catchy. The word "culture" reminds me of museum trips in primary school. No wonder noone is interested. And "free" is such an ambigous word. Many people call all free software "linux". It's not correct, but that's what you get for using a boring name. "Linux" sounds much more interesting, you see? But I digress. This is not only about software.
I don't mean we should replace the term "free culture" by something else ("open information"? ). But any campaign needs a central concept, a catchphrase, a brand. From there you can build a coherent set of texts, images, animations and whatnot to promote something.
Well, enough talk from me. Come on and help me, I can't do this alone, libervis can't do this alone. It doesn't matter if you don't have a lot of time, neither do I. It doesn't matter if you are new to free culture, as long as you understand what it is about. Feel free to ask questions about it on other parts of the libervis site.
Write a slogan or a movie clip idea, draw something, compose a tune, get creative, anything goes. For inspiration, you can view a flash animation that can be found here: http://legacy.randomfoo.net/oscon/2002/lessig/
And if you decide not to do anything, then at least give the link to this page to someone who might.
edit: I started a brainstorming session here:
Author: lakerdonald (6:35 pm)
Today's entry is rather short, but it's on a subject that's been bothering me for awhile. What I want to know is this:
What is the point of making games like Half Life 2 and Doom 3 so cutting edge that most of America does not have the power to play them?
I mean I've seen the games, and they are beautiful, but what is the point of being beautiful to only a small percentage of the population? I'm not saying that games shouldn't take advantage of newer technology, but when you're forced to upgrade your system for each new game that comes out, I think things have gone too far...
But that's just me.
Author: lakerdonald (9:53 pm)
R.T.F.M. To some, it is an obscure acronym uttered by techno-junkies. To others, it's an omen of actually doing something yourself. To me, it is a way of life. Perhaps I'm a bit of curmudgeon, and I've lost touch with my roots as a hapless novice, lost in a strange world of ls, df, and sh. But I'd like to think that even back then I was self-sufficient enough to go onto Google before spamming some Linux help forum with ten questions every five minutes, randomly PM'ing people on IRC for help, or sending e-mails to the personal accounts of random people who knew what they were talking about.
That, my friends, is what a n00b is in my opinion. There is nothing wrong with being new at something, as we all had to start somewhere. Nobody's born with a prenatal mastery of Unix, just as they're not born with the knowledge to do Algebra, not born with the maturity to start a family. That's not to say that there's something wrong with asking questions, after all, where do you think Google gets its answers from? But would it kill you to use your own brain once in awhile.
It's a lot like the concept of homework in school. If you copy off of somebody else's, you won't be learning the material. It's the same with knowing how to work an OS: if you just keep asking for a play-by-play synopsis of everything, you'll never learn to tackle the next problem for yourself, so you'll be stuck in an infinite loop:
2.Ask somebody to make it work for you.
3.Error is fixed
You can't expect to gain much from the situation if that's your idea of solving a problem.
So, sometimes, it's just worth it to:
Author: Libervisco (5:26 pm)
I don't own an ipod myself, but i can imagine how precious this awesome little device can be to people. Just plug it in, transfer thousands of tunes and listen whenever and wherever you are..
BUT, this, among other things, bothered some of those people with deep pockets and short sight so they invented one another of those cool law gadgets: a so called "INDUCE Act" - "Inducing Infringement of Copyrights Act" - before known as - "Inducement Devolves into Unlawful Child Exploitation Act".
Let's throw a bit of humor to this because it just asks for some..
Let me present you the best and latest law modification i just wrote that serves the protection and promotion of life and prosperity. It is called "Inducement of Death Act" which prohibits mothers giving birth to a child because by doing so they enable one more death to come to the world some 100 years later (if the child would live that long;) thus increasing the death rate of our populace. Isn't it great, we'll have much less people dieing if this law passes. *thrilled*
Yeah, what about people not coming to the world in the first place?
Yeah.. kidding aside, this IS indeed short sighted as the blind man itself (even he is not AS short sighted as the people who made and believe this act). Let's ban ipods, VCR's CD players and in the end, computers, because they enable us to "infringe on copyright". Well, it's basically the same as saying, let's get back to the stone age and we will have no "piracy" anymore at all..
And yet, this act is being pushed by those obviously very smart people. It's an act that will effectively prohibit companies from making such cool devices as your iPod is. Would you let them?
Save the iPod,
Endangered Gizmos and
Freedom Of Choice!
Author: tbuitenh (7:00 am)
Linus stops using bitkeeper
Now I wonder... What will be used instead of bitkeeper? Darcs maybe?
By the way, I don't agree with the quote. The compromise helped the development of linux. Now there is no free of cost version of bitkeeper anymore, that doesn't do much damage. Overall the compromise was a good choice.
del.icio.us or de.lirio.us?
You know I like http://del.icio.us . An open source clone has appeared: http://de.lirio.us . Is this good or bad? It's good that it's open source, it allows me to build and extend my own bookmarks server if I want. On the other hand the social bookmarks concept might work better with only one server. I guess it would be best if there was some method to search all known del.icio.us-like servers at the same time. Perhaps there is some possibility to use RSS for this? Just a thought.
Author: klepas (9:46 pm)
I see three main factors inhibiting the uptake of Open Source by the general public.
- Price Gouging versus Reasonable cost and access
- Restrictive licenses and Copyright versus Free for Personal Use
- Misinformation spread by vested interests
Microsoft has a profit margin of 70% on turnover - after taxes and expenses. Compare that to about 0.5% for a retail chain like Woolworths/Wal-Mart or the 5-10% of the best industrial companies.
Many countries have laws against excessive profits. All western countries have laws against monopolies and cartels, and especially about them mis-using their market power.
Unpublished source code and restrictive 'EULAs', End User License Agreements, mean that people are stopped from what they do best as a community: Building upon others work.
Many a fine program with an extensive user base and useful, innovative features has failed in the market place. Mostly, everything good about it is lost forever. The loyal users are orphaned and everybody loses.
Open Source means nobody gets orphaned, there cannot be arguments over who invented what, when and we, ordinary mortals, "can stand on the shoulders of the Giants".
What is the motivation of software authors in keeping their software hidden and risking losing their creation if their market goes sour? Is it greed, a desire to dominate or something else?
Whatever it is, it is not about providing great service and the best outcome for their clients.
Spreading FUD, 'Fear, Uncertainity and Doubt', is a very well known and practiced technique in the computing industry.
Large companies with a vested interest in maintaining the status quo have done this for years.
It is entirely natural for the current large companies to take this stance against the 'new' interloper, Open Source. They do this in the sure and complete knowledge that their actions are directed against their own clients.
What's common about all those purveyors of FUD from the past? They not only lost the battle, but all but a very few disappeared within a few short years. Those that remain become a shadow of their former selves. Look at Lotus and Novell - both were industry giants and were either taken over or shrank dramatically.
I personally believe these are the largest contributors that prevent open source from spreading quicker. Of course there are other small factors, which can be considered large like software patents, which i did not mention on. Mind you this could fit into licensing... Also, consider, this piece was begun in January 2004
Thank you for reading this piece.
Thank you Stephen, your help was a great asset, and perhaps the only reason it actually exists. You made me write my first piece.
First composed in Jan 2004.
Well, I was originally going to post this as an article, but, Daniel was quite right - it needs some work. If there are any comments, please feel free to help out, and just copy 'n' paste into your comments to refurbish it.
Author: charles (3:11 pm)
Browsing through the news recently you may have heard about several mergers and buy outs in the IT industry. Symantec and Oracle will devour their siblings Veritas and Peoplesoft for more than 10 billion dollars, and Microsoft acquires an antispyware firm.
But what came out in an almost more overwhelming fashion along with these news was the indifference and the seemingly disinterest of what is called the Consolidation of the entreprise computing market.
2 to 5 years ago these news would have made the front lines for two weeks. Today, they didn't even stand for two days. Why is that so?
Journalists will all have a good answer for this, but in my opinion, this phenomenom is the sign of a new era in the IT market.
These companies are heavyweight in their own fields, yet, their mergers are likely to fail, as we know that only 1 merger over 3 leads to a real success (Success in coordinating and merging their HR and organizational structures). But we live in times where great and big companies see their days counted. These corporate behemoths are heavy, difficult to manoeuver, and these mergers will frustrate their customers. The only sad being is that FOSS doesn't have similar offers yet; but it's only a matter of time before these companies will be irrelevant to their own market, letting room for FOSS to take its stand.
Oracle, Symantec develop and sell proprietary software that will become irrelevant in the entreprise market as it moves from a pricey and rarity-based model to a commodity-based model.
Just like Microsoft, they are driven and protected by their proprietary model, but unlike the Redmond giant, they aren't monopolies, nor do they have the power to pressure their customers. Hence, their fall will be quick and inconsequential.... just like their mergers. This why, at least in my humble opinion, these news do interest only a few and potentially affected customers. They belong to another age, the nineties, the age of windows 98.
And to paraphrase a famous ad:
"Free Software is everywhere.... Can you see it?"
I can. You can. Can Oracle and Symantec see it? I don't think so.
Author: jamesthompson (1:52 am)
The problem within...
The church is in a tough state right now, trying to reestablish its identity in a post-modern thinking and increasingly fast paced world. Technology has jumped by leaps and bounds yet the average church is probably in the early to mid ninety's at best technology wise. And on top of that there exist many problems in many churches relating to how they are using the technology they do have.
For an example: I have heard of one church that has no less that twelve computers between secretaries, ministers and other locations in the church as well as two servers. But of the operating system and application software they use on a daily basis only one of the licenses is legal. And I can't imagine this situation is too atypical.
The truth is that this church doesn't operate this way because they want to, it is because they have to, at least in their mind. They have a budget for IT of a few hundred dollars a year and with the age of their systems that is barely enough to cover repair costs. There is no way this church with its current mindset and budgetary restrictions could handle becoming legal in terms of software licensing. But even if they could, would that really be the best thing? I mean their accounting software releases a new version every year, Windows; which is the OS in use, is updated every few years and other bits of their software are updated on varying schedules. There is no feasible way they could keep up to date and remain legal in terms of licensing, so instead they steal the software. YES, I am going to say it, even though I hate everything about proprietary software licensing practices they are stealing according to the letter of the law, and yet there are those in the church who will try to justify it. I will not bother discussing their justifications because they are idiotic at best.
I have to ask myself, what kind of an example is this setting? Church leaders stand in the pulpit and preach against sin and that people need to get right with God and all the while, every day the church is using software that is stolen? That is hypocrisy and blatant, and in many cases unashamed and unrepentant hypocrisy! It is a tragedy that our churches are like this.
Now please hear me, unchurched skeptic, not all churches are ripe with this and other forms of hypocrisy but there are enough out there that you should be suspicious of the message they preach. But I implore you to not abandon the teachings of God because fallen, sinful men can't live up to what they preach. If we could live up to every bit of our preaching we would have no need of the Grace of God but because of our sinfulness we still have to rely on His mercy, so please don't misunderstand my message here. Also, not all churches knowingly engage in piracy, some are simply naive and don't know what they are doing is illegal. Also remember that although I am chiefly concerned with these practices in the church, they are no less common in secular institutions.
It is a tragedy and a systemic problem that our churches are in such a condition. But what is the answer, what is the way to turn this around? Well there are multiple answers, depending on how the church wants to go.
I hope this little teaser has piqued your interest and will bring you back over the next few weeks to see what I am going to be putting together. Next time I will discuss the differences between our traditional software monoculture as it exists in many churches today and the intriguing possibilities offered by the FOSS opportunities and products out there.
Come back next time!
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivs License by James W. Thompson, II.
Author: jamesthompson (6:06 pm)
Before I say anything else...
FOSS has seen many advances in many areas over the last few years, major media has started talking about it and big companies like MS and Sun are trying to figure out how exactly to deal with it. In my experience though I have been somewhat saddened that the church has not picked up FOSS as a way to do ministry better and more cost effectively. The focus of my blogging will mostly focuson the areas where I think the church could use FOSS in creative ways that would enhance ministry.
Since this is my first blog entry I'm going to resist the temptation to dive right into the issues and instead talk about myself and my background so everyone who cares knows where I'm coming from. First off I am 22 years old married for almost a year and a half to my wife Pamela. We have a daughter named Marissa who was born in June of this year, 2004. We are both undergraduate students at the New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary [ nobts.edu ] where I am the full-time Web Administrator. I consider myself a geek who is interested in pretty much all things computer related. I got my start on an Apple IIe programming BASIC thanks to an innovative class taught by my Private Elementary school. I have always loved technology and computers specifically and spent much of my middle school and high school years working on hardware troubleshooting and learning programming languages. I started doing Web Design and Development in 1999 and have honed in on that more than anything else since then. I still try to keep myself up on other areas and love playing with new stuff that I don't understand just to see what I can do.
My present studies are in the area of Chrisitian Education and I hope to go on to Master's studies in that same area as well as Biblical Studies, particularly Greek. Eventually I would like to do Doctoral work and teach at either a Christian College or Seminary.
I have a keen interest in the role of technology as well as copyright and other "intellectual property" issues as they relate to the church. I am particularly interested in trying to encourage adoption of FOSS in the church context because I see a great opportunity to overcome issues the church struggles with in terms of technology.
As for my particular beliefs, being as I say I am so interested in the church; I am unashamedly a Southern Baptist and have no intentions of changing that denominational affiliation. Some my consider me more socially progressive though because I don't tow the party line when it comes to many things. I am however theologically conservative and evangelical/missions minded. I try not to prostletize where it is not welcomed but if you push the buttons or ask for it I'll chime in. I hope most of all that my contributions to the church and society as a whole will have a lasting impact and bring people closer to Jesus Christ the Lord.
Author: charles (10:48 am)
It's been a long time I haven't written here. One of the reasons for this is that I'm busy and lazy, but these last days were hectic, especially inside OpenOffice.org's community.
We're having a surge right now of new burgeoning communities willing to localize the FOSS office suite or just wanting to build their communities online. Interestingly, I wanted to share with you how OpenOffice.org is spreading throughout the Balkans and Eastern Europe quicker than Wienerschnitzels.
The two oldest communites in that area are the Slovenian and the Greek communities, found here: http://sl.openoffice.org & http://el.openoffice.org
We started with them 1 year and half ago, and these communites have been performing well. The Slovenian community has been releasing a book on OOo, while maintaining a good, albeit small, community. The Greek community is bigger, and has strong ties with local companies selling services on FOSS and OOo.
Not far to the North, one of the greatest communities is the Czech community (http://cs.openoffice.org), led by the great, godlike and adorable Pavel Janik, who is also in charge of the Localization project for all the OOo languages (but judging from what Pavel does, he's much more than that. Recently, the Czech community even opened a new site, www.openoffice.cz.
It is one of the strongest community we ever had, along its sister community, the Slovak native-lang project: http://sk.openoffice.org.
Then, we had the Serbian project, http://sr.openoffice.org. Today it is a project that desesperately needs help. It didn't really move a lot from the time it was opened, one year ago.
In the mean time, the Croatian native-lang project was opened (http://hr.openoffice.org) and is also working on the Gnome and KDE localization.
But much more is under way. As other projects were opening not very far from there (http://hu.openoffice.org , http://ro.openoffice.org) , the Bulgarian project, http://bg.openoffice.org opened, while the Albanian and Bosnian communities were
opening a few days ago (note: Bosnian project is still inactive).
Now, where does it lead us? It leads us to the point where the grass-root marketing efforts of all these communities and their lobbying power added to their localization efforts is able to slowly, but surely fight against proprieatary software.
In commercial terms, these community efforts are litterally opening new markets. In political terms, we have seeded international communities of volunteers able to move altogether, and that is what companies like Microsoft hate the most. Add to this the fact that in countries like India (to name just this region), we are covering a small but significant fraction of the spoken languages: Hindi, Tamil, Bengali, Gujarati, Malayalam, and today Telugu, account for several hundreds of million people who never had the chance to use a computer in their languages...
This is a global wave, and a tidal wave with that. Europe (in its geographical sense) is now covered with the notable exception of Swedish and Polish (that is, Polish is available but not officially) and you can realize now our progress in less than 4 years: we're everywhere. And the next answer we should make to Microsoft will be this one: "Dude, we've got you covered!"