MediaGoblin adding support to OpenStack Swift

I am very happy to see the Free Software Foundation going back to making good software. I have argued for long time that what made the FSF a great organization that changed the world is the fact that they didn’t only point at proprietary software as a problem but they also provided a solution with copyleft and the GPL licenses and provided working code in the GNU system. I’m glad to see that the FSF has adopted Mediagoblin’s software development and included it in the GNU system. It’s free as in freedom software as a service that allows to publish multimedia content (pictures, audio, videos, 3D models) in a federation with API support and lots of awesomeness. You can think of it as a federated replacement for things like Flickr, YouTube or SoundCloud that you or anyone can run. Just wonderful.

If you haven’t donated yet, do it now as it’s not too late. MediaGoblin 1.0 is going to support OpenStack Swift too, so if you like OpenStack you have the moral obligation to donate to the FSF to develop Mediagoblin.

How To Read Open Document Format ODF documents on Symbian

My previous post on the topic generated quite a discussion about Open Document Format (aka ISO 26300) documents on mobile platforms. My argument was that ODF support on most mobile platforms is still poor compared to the proprietary counterparts. From the discussion that happened on identi.ca I learned about a quite decent Symbian reader for ODF files, called Office Reader. I tested it using Funambol email push and sync client on my Nokia E71 and the results are quite good. You can see from the screenshots below (taken from a pretty complex ODT test file) that the text rendered correctly.  I’m confident that I would be able to get an idea of the attached document and, if it was a press release, for example, I think I would OfficeReader would present enough information to approve it or not. This is the  if you want to compare to the mobile version. I’ve tested also a couple of ODP presentations and spreadsheets: they are rendered good enough to get an idea of what kind of document it is, but not as well as the text file.

I downloaded and installed OfficeReader directly from the phone’s browser, but of course all other options are valid. Check the FAQ if you can’t install or run it (I had to allow your phone’s operating system to run unsigned apps).

PS I took the screenshots with the free software Screenshot application (GPL license but the install screen says ‘freeware -not to be sold’ ?!?).

Why I wish I could reject your email attachment

The Free Software Foundation (FSF) today launched a campaign calling on all computer users to start politely rejecting email attachments sent in secret and proprietary formats: for freedom and the good of the web!  I believe that open standards are the best form to convey information and I think that attachments contribute to spread proprietary formats.

Unfortunately I think that this campaign cannot be joined by mobile phone users because it’s damaging them. None of the mobile operating systems I have stumbled upon offers support for OO.org. Maybe on Android there is a way to read attached ODF files, but through Google Docs (support of Impress file format is missing, though). ODF support on BlackBerry was announced but I couldn’t find mention on their website. I think Meego (formerly known as Maemo) has native support for ODF, but very few people use it. Not sure about other OSes. A search for OpenOffice.org/ODF on Nokia Ovi Store produced no result. That alone excludes 40% of European mobile phone users (millions of people, including me) from joining this campaign. I wish I could join this campaign, but for me is still impossible to view an .odt or .opd on the move, so I prefer to receive a .doc or .ppt that I can use on my OpenOffice.org desktop and also look at it on my phone.

Mobile users still have too little freedom to reject proprietary formats. For Document Freedom Day I would like to add a new item to the FSF’s list of priorities: support for ODF on mobile operating systems, from Android to Symbian to others.

via Why I’m rejecting your email attachment — Free Software Foundation.

Two days to comment on TLS-authz standard to IETF

Patent encumbered standards are the worst because they seem legit, but instead they can easily become incompatible with Free/Libre Open Source Software.’  Free Software Foundation campaign is alerting the community to act fast:

Last January, the Free Software Foundation issued an alert to efforts at the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) to sneak a patent-encumbered standard for “TLS authorization” through a back-door approval process that was referenced as “experimental” or “informational”. The many comments sent to IETF at that time alerted committee members to this attempt and successfully prevented the standard gaining approval.

Unfortunately, attempts to push through this standard have been renewed and become more of a threat. The proposal now at the IETF has a changed status from “experimental” to “proposed standard”. The FSF is again issuing an alert and request for comments to be sent urgently and prior to the February 11 deadline to ietf@ietf.org. Please include us in your message by a CC to campaigns@fsf.org.

Read more: Send comments opposing TLS-authz standard by February 11 – Free Software Foundation.

Vista is a failure and GNU adoption is ramping up

Today is one of those days that starts with a sweet taste.’  The FSF has declared another victory for its BadVista campaign: Vista is a clear failure for Microsoft and for FSF it’s time to devote energy to something else. (btw: did you donate to FSF?)

Upcoming Windows 7 won’t be any better because it’s on the same awful track of Vista, focused on DRM and depriving freedom to its users.’  Vista is so bad that hardware manufacturer have switched to GNU/Linux for the new and highly profitable netbook segment. A whole new set of devices, from Asus EEE to HP Mini Mi, all powered by GNU/Linux (not Vista) are introducing innovation (and some freedom) to the desktops.

And the mobile landscape looks promising too, after seeing the first comments about the new Palm Prè.’  I love the desktop+cards paradigm, but I still don’t know if this is a good device freedom-wise.’  Way to go: 2009 looks like a happy new year already.

New MacBooks are Defective by Design

The new MacBook not only have reflective screens and miss a FireWire prot, but they also hide a stupid DRM locks in the video signal called HDCP. CrunchGear reports:

What is HDCP? It’s essentially a digital standard that tells your OS what you can display content on. If you connect your device to a project, as one high school teacher discovered while trying to play an iTunes video, the HDCP system will stop video from streaming to that device. If you connect it to an HDCP-compliant monitor then you’re in luck.

This means that even if you buy legitimate content but your TV is not HDMI capable you won’t be able to play the movie on it. The solution? I wish I could say simply ‘buy a GNU system’ that is cool and well designed, but I still haven’t found something I would tell my friends to put in their living rooms (I have my own custom made set-top-box, but it’s ugly).’  I cannot see why Dell or HP don’t bet on VLC+Elisa, which are 100times better than iTunes+FrontRow or the MS Media crap. So for now I’ll repeat what Crunchgear said:

Do a quick search on ThePirateBay. I’m sure you’ll find it in non-HDCP encrypted format.

Support Defective By Design campaign, donate to FSF

CrunchGear » Archive » MacBooks enter a golden new age of anti-piracy cruft: HDCP for all.

Free Software Foundation year end fundraising campaign

I had the feeling that 2008 was an important year for FSF. We’ve seen new campaigns take off, like End Software Patents and Support Open Document Format; the established campaigns Defective By Design, Play OGG, Expert Witness Fund have received good responses (if Google page rank is an indicator).’  We’ve seen also the first FSF Associate Members Meetings outside of Boston and I was lucky enough to participate to the first on in Portland this summer. And the best thing of it all was the FREE BEER! Look at the pictures, the free beer is visible there 🙂

This year marks a change, it shows clearly that’  FSF is reaching out to the wider community. The new structure is very community oriented and outreaching.’  FSF hired two campaign managers (Joshua Gay and Matt Lee), a membership coordinator (Deborah Nicholson). The organization has evolved into a campaign oriented organization and the results are visible. Charity Navigator has published its annual review of FSF fiscal reports assigning 3 stars (Exceeds or meets industry standards and performs as well as or better than most charities in its Cause.)’  Revenues increased 9.5% since last year (previous growth was 5.25%) and program expenses raised accordingly. Administrative expenses remained stable, showing that donations go’  to the operations, to support the FSF goals.

I will renew my membership this year and I think you should do that too. Click the image below, do it now!

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