Opinions

Opinions

Drigg (the pligg alternative) vs. Pligg: why should people switch?

As some of you already know, I am the main developer for Drigg. I donated probably more than 1000 hours of my life to the Drigg project, because I believed in it. After reviewing existing CMSs out there, I believe that Drigg is the best system available today for people who want to create Digg-like sites (but, in fact, when people deploy Drigg they get fully functional Drupal sites...!). You can see my contributions to Drigg daily. One more programmer has joined Drigg, which is going right ahead.

However, Drigg's community is still smaller than Pligg, its main competitor. Why?

Making free software culture feel right

Why it should be a lot more about feeling, rather than knowing, that free software and free culture is right.

Over the last ten years or so, free software has grown from being just a geek-phenomena. GNU/Linux has become a serious force in the business and server market with major companies now throwing their weight behind it. But on the consumer side of the market, things look still quite a bit different. Although GNU/Linux adoption has made some progress on the desktop too, it's still largely absent, Windows comes pre-installed on almost all new machines sold and you see even die-hard free software advocates using Mac OS X on their personal machine. Why is that?

Free software is not politics: petitions for the Italian elections

I have been saying this for many years: free software must not be associated with an ideology or political party. Doing that would:

  1. be an utter falsity;
  2. damage our ability to advocate.

I am not the only one with this opinion! As you may know, we'll have elections in Italy next Sunday and Monday, and the Italian Association for Free Software is now promoting two remarkable initiatives.

Programming languages and "lock-in"

Language and lock-in

One of the favorite arguments for free software is that it avoids lock-in to a particular manufacturer's products. Something similar happens due to choice of programming language, though, which accounts for the sometimes-baffling project rivalries in the free software world. While this may be a surprising result to end users, it makes a lot of sense if you think about how developers—especially free-software developers—work. Occasionally, you hear complaints about these "divisions" of the free software world, but is this really a bad thing?

Why I'm Leaving Google

Wed, 2008-04-09 04:00 -- dogboi

I'll admit it. I fell hook, line and sinker for Google's "We do No Evil" claim. I loved Google.com. I host my email accounts on Google using the hosted domains service. I use blogger.com for my tech blog. Google was my home page.

So what changed? I started to sense something wrong a few months ago when I started watching the ads in GMail. They're reading my mail. That's not a revelation of course. Everyone knows that. But the reality of it hit me like a ton of bricks. Some bot in the kingdom of Google is reading my mail and targeting ads directly at me.

Virgin Mobile Australia: the path Google doesn't (yet?) follow

There are companies we love and respect. Google is one of them. Regardless of their mistakes, their jet, their priorities in terms of software releases, there is an "innate" trust.

But, is it safe to trust Google?

I am asking this because I got burned. Not by Google, but by Virgin Mobile Australia.

Advocating free software in the real world

Recently, in this column, I spoke about how we can lose our free software choices if we don't use them. Sticking with that choice is not always easy so how do we get others to make it, particularly in a world where the choice is often made for them. How can we advocate free software in a world where others don't seem to care?

great point

I thought a long time on your comments you made here trying to find something to refute your points. I am generally someone who thinks that people need to understand the "why" behind what they do. So someone that uses free software should understand that the point in do doing so is for freedom. Stallman has said that if no one was told about freedom that in ten years we probably wouldn't have it anymore. I tend to agree with that sentiment.

Free software alternatives: What good is choice if you don't use it?

Look through a list available packages for any free OS and you'll find a sometimes bewildering choice of browsers, mail readers, editors, desktops and tetris-clones available. Despite this many will just blindly install the first one they've heard of. Is this a good policy? What good is all this choice if we don't use it and what are those choices?

Note: please see the bottom of this post for a list of free software alternatives available now!

What is the free software community?

In this video, I try to answer the question "What is the free software community?" Comments, or even community posts in response to this, are most welcome!

Note: you will need a flash player to see this video. We are examining options. If you have success using Gnash, or know of a video service that is more free software friendly, please let us know!

The Asus Eee PC (Part Three): The Alternative Distros

In Part One of this four parter on the Asus Eee PC I looked at the technical specifications and in Part Two I looked at how to get the default Xandros up to speed as a full KDE desktop. In this third instalment we come to what is perhaps the most fun part of the experience.

It's the data, stupid

During Clinton's successful 1992 campaign James Carville hung a sign in their headquarters with the following three points:

  1. Change vs. more of the same
  2. The economy, stupid
  3. Don't forget health care.

He was attempting to counter Clinton's inclination to offer solutions to any and every topic he encountered. I know I have a similar tendency, and it comes into play when I attempt free software advocacy. As a result I've been working on my own version. My sign looks like this:

  1. Change vs. more of the same
  2. The data, stupid
  3. Don't forget the excluded.

Tango Icons are Set Free!

From http://bear454.blogspot.com :

Jimmac announced today on the Tango Mailing List that thanks to about a bazillion requests and the negotiation skills of Michael Meeks, the Tango Icon Library will be changing licenses from CCASA2.5 to Public Domain. Yes, folks, free as in free. Put those beautiful icons in any app you want; they're yours...

http://bear454.blogspot.com/2008/07/tango-is-free.html

Free Software - is it a political question?

Think, for a moment, about what the free software community looks like from the external gaze. "Bloody Communists" - I've never actually had a businessman say this to me when I've been explaining free software, but I'm sure they've thought it. I suppose the smarter ones might have thought "anarcho-syndicalists". Choosing to use free software may be simply economic, but contributing to any such project is surely a political statement.

So what is this statement? I'm not the person to write your statement, but I can offer mine.

Zen and the Art of Computer Programming

Is it true that programmers enter a state comparable to deep meditation while they are at work? Some claim that they do, but how do we know what they mean by this? In order to understand, we first need to decide what we mean by meditation, for it has been defined in so many different ways. One is the ability to rest in the here and now and it is usually understood that meditation will lead to a state of increased awareness and undivided attention. Since I run Song Of Life, I often wonder this.

A £99 GNU/Linux laptop: is it just too cheap?

On 28 February 2008, Elonex launched the Elonex ONE--the first sub-£100 laptop in the UK. Clearly competing against the much in-demand Asus EeePC [2], Elonex say they are aiming at the school-student market. The thing is, I just can't stop asking: isn't £99 too cheap for a laptop?

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