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MusOpen.org is Commissioning the Prague Symphony Orchestra this January

It looks like 2012 is going to be a great year for free culture. Possibly my favorite development is that MusOpen has organized its planned symphony recordings for this January. In September, 2010, the free culture organization raised over $68,000 (several times their $11,000 goal) through a Kickstarter campaign, with the intent of commissioning a "internationally renowned orchestra" to perform the Beethoven, Brahms, Sibelius, and Tchaikovsky symphonies.

Mounting Google Documents in GNU/Linux is just not a (real) option

If you use Google Documents, you might want to be able to access your files without using a browser. So, I was all set, happy to write a good blog entry about how to mount your Google Documents folder on your Ubuntu. (This is not a very free-software thing to do, granted. But then again, if you are an Ubuntu One user, well, Ubuntu One server isn't free software either. But, it's a service, and interfacing to things is crucial.)

So, is it actually possible?

Encouraging the next generation of hackers part 2 - Software implementation

In the first part of this series I looked at the Raspberry Pi -- a $25 computer which is being developed to remove one barrier to encouraging the next generation of programmers. It's ambitious and commendable but on its own it may not be enough. The choice of software for such a project is important and as important is the implementation of that software.

Creating a Project Website for "Lunatics" with Apache, Zope, Plone, MediaWiki, Trac, Subversion, and the Cloud Too

Film is a very comprehensive art form, probably the most that we have available to us at the moment, so it should be no surprise that a free film project severely tests the limits of available free software, not only for authoring the film, but also for collaborating on its creation. In the case of "Lunatics", we need to combine some of the community development software that is frequently used for free software development with tools allowing a lighter-weight interaction more comfortable for creative contributors, and finally, a fan-friendly public face. It's tricky, and I don't think we're really all the way there yet, but over this Summer, I've managed to find and assemble the necessary parts for our online presence. My solution combines several different platforms, and uses a few remote or "cloud" services as well.

Exploitation? Entrepreneurship, Capitalism, and Making Money on Free Software

Recently, I was directed toward an excellent analysis of commons-based peer production as a phenomenon which separates "entrepreneurs" (who want to get things done and create value in the world) from "capitalists" (who want to get a return on an investment of property without contributing any labor). An observer -- clearly outside of the community of free software developers -- expressed dismay at the example of Mozilla Foundation, which makes money from the open source Mozilla project, but does not pay for most voluntarily contributed code improvements to the Mozilla software. Is he right? Is this exploitation of those contributors?

Time for OSchoice.eu?

In my previous article I went through the history of the competition cases of the European Commission against Microsoft Corporation that led to the deployment of the website browserchoice.eu to allow consumers to freely choose their browser. Yet this is not enough: the origin of all problems is that most PCs in the market are sold bundled to a single operating system, Microsoft Windows.

I shall analyse how this panorama of poor competition could change if there was such a thing as OSchoice.eu .

Encouraging the next generation of hackers part 1 - Raspberry Pi the $25 computer

If you keep your eyes and ears on tech news, chances are you've heard of Raspberry Pi -- an ambitious project to create a small form-factor usable computer for the education market which will be available for £15/$25. The price is not the ambitious part though, it's the aims of the project behind it which I think are ambitious and worthy of some attention. Of course with that price it can only be based on free software.

Checking Out Ubuntu Studio 11.04

Well, it's not exactly brand new, but I am taking my first real look at Ubuntu Studio 11.04 (based on Ubuntu "Natty Narwhal"). This is what we decided to put on our "guest" computer when Debian "Wheezy" proved not to be so easy, and it gives us an opportunity to step out of our rut and look at a new GNU/Linux distribution.

Raising money For "Lunatics" with Kickstarter

We're putting the finishing touches on our initial Kickstarter campaign for our free-culture science-fiction web series "Lunatics", which is being made with free software tools in a process very similar to free software development. This is an experiment in commercial free culture, using the platform that has quickly come to be the standard for this kind of project fund-raising. Is Kickstarter all it's cracked up to be? I think it is, and for this installment in my "making free movies with free software" series, I'd like to explain why.

The road to browserchoice.eu

We all know about the overwhelming supremacy of proprietary software in the desktop market. But not everybody knows that some steps have been taken to try to limit it, in favour of a more fair competition among vendors, and between the proprietary and free software worlds. A key player in assuring that the markets are not artificially biased is the European Commission for Competition.

UEFI and Windows 8: is this bad news for GNU/Linux?

There are times when I think that there is a special, darkened room at Microsoft peopled by a bunch of guys who seem to have nothing better to do than sit and think up some new wheeze to nobble the opposition. The rap sheet is an inditment in itself: trusted computing, internet driving licenses, DRM, bullying hardware vendors and attempting to strong arm sovereign nation states. You wouldn't think the list could get any bigger. It just has; but then, recidivism in incurable.

Dialog Recording with Audacity and a USB Microphone

Home recording is not that hard or expensive to do, and Audacity provides a great tool for recording and editing dialog. I recently got the equipment together to do decent voice recording for our "Lunatics" video project. Total cost was under $150.00 for a condenser USB microphone system, and the sound is a tremendous improvement over my previous attempts. Now our biggest challenge is the room acoustics. So far, we're having a lot of fun recording dialog.

36 Free 3D Model Sites Compatible with Free Blender Animation Projects

Digging through "free" sites to sort the "free beer" from the "free speech" content is quite a chore. Many of the sites are not useful for free culture projects, and many make it very difficult to tell. Fortunately for you, I took notes! Here you will find 8 sites with free-licensed content, 8 more with licenses that you'll probably find acceptable for many projects, and 20 others that might be useful on some projects if you're not a purist. There are also 22 sites I have to warn you away from, because their terms are incompatible with use in free-licensed productions.

Minute Meme "Credit is Due" Distinguishes Plagiarism from Copyright Infringement

One of the most irritating myths promulgated by the entertainment industry is the idea that copyright is an ethical imperative because it's bad to "steal other people's ideas". This is frequently combined with an illustrative story of plagiarism -- in other words, a situation in which someone fraudulently claims credit for someone else's work. Of course, this is nonsense. Plagiarism and copyright infringement are two completely different things. Although they sometimes occur together, there are many examples of either without the other. And if your eyes just glazed over -- no problem: Nina Paley has made it easy with her new Minute Meme for QuestionCopyright.org, called "Credit is Due".

Firewall consistency with Firewall Builder

(This article was edited by Mike Horn)

In the past I've already published articles and interviews on FSM about Firewall Builder (or FWB in short). The reason is simple: the tool kept evolving during the years, improving the features it already had and adding interesting new ones.

During these years I've not being using the tool regularly since I am not a Network Administrator. But I can say that every time I had a firewalling problem at hand, where I needed to prototype and test iptables configurations quickly, this tool never betrayed me!

This time we'll talk about how FWB helps you to configure multiple firewalls in a consistent way. We won't be talking about firewalling per se, so you can still benefit from reading this article even if you don't have deep firewalling, networking or security knowledge.

The examples in this article are based on Firewall Builder v4.2. NetCitadel recently announced the release of Firewall Builder 5 which includes some minor changes in the GUI, so some screenshots in this article may look slightly different from what you would see in v5.

Why You Should Join Diaspora Now, Like Your Freedom Depends On It

I never really "trusted" Facebook or Google+. That is to say, I never expected them to respect my privacy or keep my secrets. I'm not too secretive online anyway, and what I do have to hide, I just don't post. But it is very clear that there is a great deal of corruption inherent in a business model which is based on concentrating the personal data from millions of users and selling that data to advertisers. At the very least, there must be a free alternative. But for that alternative to be viable, we need to use it. Identica has been around for some time now (and I use it -- I'm "digitante"), and Diaspora is (after a long hard start) finally getting some wind under its wings. I've used it, and it's Good Enough. In fact, you'll find it's pretty similar to what Facebook or Google+ offers, although there are still some rough spots.

Interview with Adam Green and Jonathan Gray, founders of The Public Domain Review

Adam is a Berlin-based writer and artist. Jonathan works at a not-for-profit organisation called the Open Knowledge Foundation and studies philosophy and intellectual history at the University of London. Together, they created a website called The Public Domain Review

Free Software and public domain are somehow cousins, and -- more importantly -- they share similar goals. I talked to Adam and Jonathan, who agreed to answer a few questions for us.

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