Free Software Business meetings and other events in Rome

To confirm that June is a busy month I add some more important meetings to the list I wrote. They are all happening in Rome, during the Festival dell’Innovazione.

Roberto Galoppini, Nicola Mattina and others setup an informal session for Bruce Perens to meet the Italian blogosphere.

Tonight, starting at 8pm Arturo di Corinto will moderate a debate about Free Software between Ethics and Business, open issues and success stories asdf

On Saturday (tomorrow) Galoppini will be moderating a session on Commercial Open Source Software at the Auditorium Ara Pacis

Rome is upside down with all these meetings. There is even George W. Bush arriving today. I can only guess how happy romans are ๐Ÿ™‚

June is a busy month

What a month! This June is full of important dates, at least in Italy the Free Software enthusiasts have all weeks full.  Tomorrow Richard Stallman will speak in Rome at Universitร ย  La Sapienza in Roma. He and Bruce Perens will also be heard later by the President of the Italian Chamber. Many Fellows will be there with FSFE merchandising: look for the "plussy" ๐Ÿ™‚

Next Sunday, June 10th there will be the Pluto Meeting in Padova: special guest Richard Stallman that will receive the official paper attesting that Internation UNESCO  Clubs (FMACU) inserted the GNU Project into the list of World Treasures.

On June 12th in Milano I will participate to a panel promoted by AICT about Free Software trends where I have been asked to speak about DRM.

But first I will have to give a lesson to the Executive MBA in ICT students of Politecnico Business School, MIP on June 9th.  I’m preparing the slides now and I’ll publish them later.

 

And this is only the first half of the month ๐Ÿ™‚ For the second half I think all FSFE will be super-busy preparing the yearly General Assembly in Bruxelles.

 

The LGPL is good for you

I love the GNU Lesser GPL (LGPL).  Actually, I love the fact that FSF has offered the choice of two licenses: GPL and LGPL.

They are both full free software licenses, with the difference being the strength of its copyleft protection.  Business-wise the LGPL offers a tactical weapon to companies like Engineering, developer of the business intelligence suite SpagoBI (LGPL-ed) to compete on the market. 

To understand the tactical value of the LGPL I quote Richard Stallman’s words:

Using the ordinary GPL is not advantageous for every [circumstance]. There
are reasons that can make it better to use the Lesser GPL in certain
cases. […][When] the library cannot give free software any
particular advantage, […] it is better to use the Lesser GPL for that
library.

And it’s always worth remembering that FSF has adopted the LGPL with a tactical move itself:

This is why we used the Lesser GPL for the GNU C library. After all,
there are plenty of other C libraries.

Does it make sense to use LGPL for Business Intelligence suites like SpagoBI? I think so, and mostly it depends on the business model that the company is using.  I think that the important discriminator for a real Free Software Business is not the license it choses or its business model, but its ethical stance for freedom in the digital society.

Free Software Business is about ethics

Free Software is first about ethics, not only licenses nor development models. Ethics in business has started to be considered as an important item and it’s not unusual nowadays to see Corporate Social Responsibility mentioned in business reports.

That’s why I think that to qualify a Free Software Business we need to measure its orientation to doing good to freedom in the digital society. I’ve talked about this topic also in the past and I’m still convinced that consideration like the following from Roberto should come after looking at the companies missions and CSR reports.

we ended up classifying OS firms as those that:

  • sponsor, support, facilitate an open source project, that is a
    project that has a license compatible with the OSD definition, in a direct or indirect way.
  • the sponsoring/support must be continuous, that is it should not be a single, one time contribution.

I am aware that it’s not easy to measure ethics or freedom in digital society. Neither is easy to measure sustainable development, but many have been suggesting ways for many years despite difficulties ๐Ÿ™‚ Probably this could be a role for FSFE’s future activities?

FSFE published its new logo

FSFE logoAs some Fellows have noticed, FSFE has humbly published the new logo on its institutional web pages. This logo was discussed with the Fellows at the Meeting in Bolzano and picked between a few alternatives.  I’m glad most liked the same logo I liked. It is based on the concept of Osmosis and Metamorphosis and it connotates growth, development, evolution.  This new logo gives the right image not only for its simplicity and friendlyness but also because it pictures our movement perfectly.

Italian LUGConfg over, don’t fly Alitalia

Marco ‘mascotte’ aka Madero rocked presenting Advocacy. I’ll ask him to publish his slides because they were clear and straight to the point. His exposition of the project in front of the crowd was very good, too.  During the Q&A time we got many suggestions from other experiences advocating free software in Italian schools.  That’s the good part of having people in the same room listening: you get good suggestions and you exchange lots more information than using just mailing lists.

Overall, it was very positive event, until I had to take the plane.  Take off aborted for a technical problem. It wasn’t fun to feel the brakes at the last minute on the runway and it wasn’t fun to hear that by the time the problem was fixed (rapidly, in 30 minutes) the pilot would have finished his work hours.  So he just left and we had to wait 3 hours to get a new crew.  I made a mistake flying Alitalia again after 2 years boycott.  This company must happily die and make space for better enterprises.

ConfSL is over

With the final words from the representative of University, ConfSL 2007 has ended.  Shane’s speech was good and clear, I had the chance to introduce FSFE’s activities including SELF, STACS and the italian activities, like GNUvox.  I put the slides here.

Next year ConfSL probably will be in Trento, if there are no more candidates (said by the professor from stage).

Tomorrow will be total community day with the Italian LUGConf and the presentation of Advocacy by Fellow madero.

And you call this a community?

Oh, come on!? This is not a community, it’s a list of companies  that are doing business with Microsoft and have been doing so for a looooong time. There is no space for discussions, comments, hints and tips, chats or any other form of interaction.  Anybody that agrees that his

Company Name and
URL may be published on this website and shared with ISO national
standards bodies.

What is Microsoft trying to demonstrate here? That they have many partners? It’s not a secret, we all know it already.  How that site is going to demonstrate that OpenXML deserves to be called an ‘open standard‘ is beyond my understanding. Unless Microsoft really thinks that the ISO national standards bodies can be fooled by a list of companies on a useless web site.

Upgraded to Feisty

Well, at least hibernate now works out of the box. But gaim is a mess and evolution still sucks. Because gaim is such a crashing machine you won’t see me much online on jabber.fsfe.org ๐Ÿ™ Until some good people include pidgin in official ubuntu reps.  Sorry for that.  I’ll hang around IRC, freenode.net, as reed.

Next time I’ll seriously consider going for KDE.

I think I have removed all proprietary drivers (I don’t have hardware that needs them anyway) but it was annoying to see that universe and multiverse are not only enabled by default, but proprietary drivers are installed even without a warning. That’s the bare minimum a distro should do.