Updates from June, 2011 Toggle Comment Threads | Keyboard Shortcuts

  • stefano 10:00 am on June 9, 2011 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: fsf, gnu, skype   

    FSF highlights two projects that can replace Skype 

    GNU Free Call wants to help people easily connect with each other without relying on any one centralized network. To do that, they’re creating a peer-to-peer calling network, along with client software for traditional desktop computers and mobile devices. The project recently released stable call server software, GNU SIP Witch 1.0, and now the team is beginning to focus its efforts on building the client software.

    WebRTC is coordinating an effort to let people call each other and hold videoconferences just by visiting a Web site.

    via Two new projects can help free software replace Skype — Free Software Foundation — working together for free software.

     
  • stefano 7:48 am on June 6, 2011 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , freedombox, fsf, moglen   

    Technology is changing politics 

    That’s the theme of the Personal Democracy Forum that started today in New York.

    Too often, the discussion of technology and politics employs a kind of lazy shorthand. We say things like “The Internet is revolutionizing politics,” or “the Internet is helping dictators,” as if a set of network protocols and bits and wires could do anything on its own. Unfortunately, that shorthand often infects our discussion of current events, and we end up debating things like “TwitterRevolution” or “Facebook effect” rather than the real issues, which are what people do with these tools. The Internet, after all, doesn’t empower anyone. We empower ourselves.

    Don’t miss the plenary keynote with Dan Sinker, Michael Wesch, Lisa Gansky, Lawrence Lessig, Andrew Rasiej and Eben Moglen that will probably tell the public more about the FreedomBox.

    Watch live streaming video from pdf2011 at livestream.com
     
  • stefano 9:37 am on June 1, 2011 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: fsf, fun   

    Silly search engine puts a free pool in FSF office 

    Just spotted via John Sullivan: if you happen to search for a ‘free open pool boston, MA‘ Google will tell you that the Free Software Foundation has one. It makes sense: next to free beer you need a free pool. You won’t find free beer in FSF offices though.

    BTW, Bing Maps doesn’t find any pool in Boston with that query.

     
  • stefano 9:08 am on June 1, 2011 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: apache, , , fsf, odf, oo.org, open standards, oracle   

    Oracle 'donates' OpenOffice.org to Apache foundation 

    Oracle has done what Sun should have done a long time ago: put OO.org code into the hand of an independent foundation. The good news is that now a wider participation from corporations and individuals is possible. Hell, even Microsoft can now participate into OO.org development. I hope that soon the fork can be reconciled, too.

    My first thoughts is that Apache Foundation is a good home for Open Document Format, ODF. If the license will also change to Apache there will be more opportunities to create an ecosystem on top of the standardized format.The free software movement needs a thriving ecosystem around ODF so that we can edit and exchange office documents between computers, mobile and other devices without sacrifices. So far this ecosystem has failed to materialize and OpenOffice.org as a tool has many flaws (bad/old GUI, heavy and in areas like presentation is just bad).

    I personally welcome the change as I never believed that The Document Foundation had enough steam in its engine to radically improve the product. But I believe it can still maintain and improve LibreOffice until Apache’s community will start rolling the next generation of desktop productivity tools.

    Oracle ‘donates’ OpenOffice.org to Apache foundation | ZDNet UK.

    Comments from Rob Weir and Novell’s Michael Meeks.

     
    • Rob Weir 4:51 pm on June 4, 2011 Permalink | Reply

      Thanks for the analysis. I agree that the ODF support side is critical. Although some have criticized the he move to Apache 2.0 license from the previous copyleft LGPLv4, the Free Software Foundation actually recommends this:

      “There are only a couple of kinds of projects that we think should not have any copyleft at all. The first is very small projects.
      .
      .
      .
      The second is projects that implement free standards that are competing against proprietary standards, such as Ogg Vorbis (which competes against MP3 audio) and WebM (which competes against MPEG-4 video). For these projects, widespread use of the code is vital for advancing the cause of free software, and does more good than a copyleft on the project’s code would do.”

      http://www.gnu.org/licenses/license-recommendations.html

      As the leading application supporting ODF, I think this is a good argument for using a permissive license for OpenOffice, to make this ODF support ubiquitous.

      • Stef 7:03 pm on June 4, 2011 Permalink | Reply

        I agree with you Rob: the ASL is a good license to build a framework that supports ODF. LibreOffice may well continue to exist and be licensed under LGPL and keep existing, even thriving, as a desktop tool. I think there is space for both, as long as RedHat, Novell, Canonical and co. keep investing in The Document Foundation.

  • stefano 7:17 am on June 1, 2011 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: fsf, gnu   

    Why it's fair to put GNU in GNU/Linux 

    I keep meeting people that get this wrong and start very boring discussions about the name of operating systems based on Linux kernel. Latest storm started with Pedro Côrte-Real ‘How much GNU is there in GNU/Linux’ and the subsequent comments on LWN.net. GNU is the foundation of a very powerful idea: that one day  computers would run on a free (as in freedom) operating system. GNU is not an operating system, GNU cannot be measured in lines of code. The lines of code of GNU that are copyright by the FSF are what made everything else available, from Linux to Android to Apache. If it wasn’t for the early years of development of the GNU system by Stallman we would have probably never had what we have now.

    Call it whatever you think is fair but remember that this is not about lines of code, it’s not a technical issue: calling the system GNU/Linux is paying a tribute to the idea that computer users need to have a free operating system. I wish the FSF would make this more prominent on gnu.org.

     
  • stefano 9:46 am on May 31, 2011 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: dbd, defectivebydesign, drm, , youtube   

    Google extends copyright with YouTube Store 

    Copyright is a set of exclusive rights granted to the author or creator of an original work, including the right to copy, distribute and adapt the work (Wikipedia). Google is adding a new right: the right to exclude you from configuring your device the way you want.

    Google is excluding jailbroken (rooted) Android phones from accessing the pay-per-view YouTube channel, you won’t be able to play the streamed file on your own device.

    Google – the vendor – and the studios – the rights holders – are using copyright to control something much more profound than mere copying. In this version of copyright, making a movie gives you the right to specify what kind of device can play the movie back, and how that device must be configured.

    via Cory Doctorow Google’s YouTube policy for Android users is copyright extremism

     
  • stefano 10:51 pm on May 17, 2011 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: cloud, cloud computing, fsf, mediagoblin, project   

    MediaGoblin project brings GNU into the cloud 

    GNU MediaGoblin is a new software project that will enable people to publish, share and distribute their photos, video and other media in the cloud. Think of it as mix of social sites like Flickr, YouTube, DeviantArt or Facebook but better. Being a GNU project, it respects users freedom will be licensed under the GNU Affero General Public License and federated using OStatus. Like Status.net and Identi.ca, you’ll be able to run your instance of MediaGoblin and still be able to follow your friends across different domains.

    It’s good to see the GNU project lead the way in cloud computing and provide an example of how to do social web applications right, respecting users freedom. Just like the FSF took the lead in the late ’80s redefining the operating systems with GNU, there is a need to experimenting with code while keeping moral leadership. As Simon Phipps wrote, the cloud is here to stay so we better learn fast how to transport the principles that worked for servers and desktop computers to cloud and mobile.

    The team developing MediaGoblin has a long series of success: Chris Webber and Will Kahn-Greene, both longtime Miro contributors, are leading the Development Team. Matt Lee and Rob Myers from FooCorp, the makers of GNU FM (the software that powers Libre.fm) and GNU social, are providing infrastructure. Deb Nicholson, founder of the Women’s Caucus, is helping with community outreach.

    Good luck to all of them: I hope to see working code soon.

    via GNU MediaGoblin: GNU MEDIAGOBLIN: FREE AND DECENTRALIZED MEDIA SHARING IN DEVELOPMENT.

     
  • stefano 7:00 am on May 12, 2011 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: ekiga, empathy, fsf, gnu, open standards, sip, skype, telepathy, voip, xmpp   

    Looking for freedom respecting alternatives to Skype 

    Now that Microsoft has bought Skype many people I know are wondering what will happen to Skype’s GNU/Linux client. Will Microsoft keep it or will they drop support for it? I don’t know, nobody can predict what Microsoft will do at the moment.

    From a conversation I started on identi.ca I learned a few things about the state of VoIP with free/libre software. The good news is that all you need is to make voice calls over Internet, computer to computer, there are many alternatives based on free software and open standards. The two main protocols are XMPP and SIP. Software like Jitsi (aka sip-communicator), Ekiga, Coccinella, QuteCom (aka openwengo), Telepathy/Empathy, Pidgin and other provide the same basic voice calls.

    Some of these programs claim to have video capabilities but I haven’t tested this function deeply. The fact that Carlo can’t make video calls with Ekiga is not a good start. I tested Empathy video call with a friend on Empathy, both of us using our Google Talk accounts on Ubuntu and the video call worked. I’m not aware of any other XMPP server that allows video calls or if there are services using software from Muji project. I learned a little bit about SIP Witch, OpenMSRP and GNU Telephony, all seem very promising tools to help stay away from proprietary VoIP software.

    Some clients, like Jitsi work also on Windows and Mac OS X. Others are GNU/Linux specific but this shouldn’t be a problem: being based on open standard one should be able to run any other SIP or XMPP client on those platform and still be able to call each other. A search on iTunes App Store and Android Market reveals lots of SIP and XMPP clients, I’m not sure about their capabilities though.

    None of these clients allow desktop sharing: this is not a big limitation for me though, as I rarely used that. The main features missing from all these programs are:

    1. a global addressbook to discover your friend’s address
    2. simple ways to make calls from computer to phone or viceversa

    Discoverability of new accounts is crucial to drive adoption: I have lots of contacts in my addressbook and I would like to be able to find them online instead of having to ask them for their latest VoIP address. The complexity of SIP broker white pages is intimidating, I’m not even sure I understand how it works.  Honestly, I don’t even want to know: I want to call my friends and family.

    Enabling calls from and to regular phones could finance further development of these applications. I can’t believe that none of them seem to offer an easy way to buy credit from the application itself.

    Since the Free Software Foundation considers a replacement to Skype an High Priority project I would suggest them to put it on a more visible page.  I keep looking for a good free software alternative to Skype that I can use to talk to my mom: leave your thoughts and notes in the comments.

     
    • Pascal Fares 4:50 am on May 15, 2011 Permalink | Reply

      Hello,

      google talk also work verry well.

      • Stef 9:20 am on May 15, 2011 Permalink | Reply

        thank you. Since Google Talk uses XMPP protocol I didn’t mention it explicitly. I should have added it :)

    • GALESL 10:59 am on May 16, 2011 Permalink | Reply

      I’m in the same boat. Over the years I’ve dipped my toes in these waters only to pull back out immediately. But it looks as though things have advanced and I’ll really do it this time.

      I’m about to try Jitsi (whose webpage says it does do desktop sharing BTW) and https://www.getonsip.com/ to provide *both* SIP and XMPP (I was scratching my head wondering which to go with, but Jitsi and getonsip support both).

      I have many contacts in China and the Chinese version of Skype (actually called TOM) is open to govt monitoring :shock: Another reason to lose Skype.

      If the Jitsi/getonsip (or similar combo) proves fairly simple, I’ll try to convince all my China contacts to make the switch by saying something like “Well now that Microsoft owns Skype, you soon won’t be able to use it on an iPhone/iPad!!11!!” Appeal to their aspirational side :wink:

    • Allan Roger 10:04 pm on January 16, 2014 Permalink | Reply

      Wanted to know has any one tried using free audio conferencing service provided by RHUB? It allows all participants in a meeting to attend an audio conference and get land-line quality. It is free and integrated.

      • stefano 5:22 pm on January 17, 2014 Permalink | Reply

        I didn’t know rhub but it doesn’t seem to be ‘free as in freedom’, which is what I’m interested in.

  • stefano 8:09 am on May 11, 2011 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: brick, dbd, defectivebydesign, drm, nintendo,   

    The horrible Terms of Service in Nintendo 3DS 

    Free Software Foundation has published a new campaign to inform Nintendo 3DS users that the Terms of Service of the machine are offensive and dangerous.

    The 3DS has a videocamera that may be used to take pictures and videos of friends and family: just using Nintendo 3DS you give them the right to do whatever they want with your pictures and videos.

    By accepting this Agreement or using a Nintendo 3DS System or the Nintendo 3DS Service, you also grant to Nintendo a worldwide, royalty-free, irrevocable, perpetual, non-exclusive and fully sublicensable license to use, reproduce, modify, adapt, publish, translate, create derivative works from, distribute, perform and display your User Content in whole or in part and to incorporate your User Content in other works, in any form, media or technology now known or later developed, including for promotional or marketing purposes. (Chapter 1, Nintendo 3DS End User License Agreement)

    And there is more: the Nintendo 3DS will send the Activity Log to Nintendo when the wifi is connected, share your information and use it to target advertisements to you. Nintendo states that they “may update or change the Nintendo 3DS System or the Nintendo 3DS Service in whole or in part, without notice to you.” Children under 13 should not use their real names to create their game nickname, take pictures with the built-in camera, or participate in any number of ways the 3DS is set up to encourage. Read the details on Brick Nintendo before they brick you! on DefectiveByDesign.

    This awful behavior from such arrogant companies cannot be tolerated! Send Nintendo a brick: the campaign crew of Defective by Design wants to flood Reggie Fils-Aime, President and COO of Nintendo of America office with cute bricks to let them know that Nintendo 3DS Terms of Service are unacceptable and that DRM must be dropped. Donate as little as $10 to Brick Nintendo before they brick you.

     
  • stefano 8:25 am on May 6, 2011 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: facebook, , freedombox, moglen, , twitter   

    The FreedomBox on CBSNews 

    Eben Moglen explains on CBSNews the FreedomBox project: software that keeps you in control of your private addressbook and your digital life online combined with plug-computer hardware. The ending quote “If that’s a revolution then we’re doing it” is pure Moglen style. Enjoy it.

     
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