Paul Sutton


Open Clipart is back.

Open Clipart is a archive of free / creative commons images submitted by a strong community of users. Their website is now back up having been down for a while.

The site is NOT fully working yet.

This will be a really useful resource for images. All images are Creative Commons zero. Please see here for more information.


I Love Free Software Day

February 14th is not simply valentines day. It is also an opportunity to show your love for free software and thank the world wide community who work hard to develop free software.

I love FS

Four Freedoms

Four Freedoms


#freesoftware, #free, #gnu, #fsf, #fsfe, #4freedoms

Blender Open Movie Project

The Blender Open Movie project archive, now has 10 movies to watch and enjoy. These can be found on the project website.

These are very high quality pieces of work, they also demonstrate how powerful Blender is. This is really good promotion as to what can be achieved with free software.

#blender, #movies, #free, #software, #videos, #animation

You can find me on Friendica at

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This blog post has been ported from my old blog site.

If you’re looking for a new online course to take, you’re in luck. 200 universities have launched 620+ free online courses. Here’s the full list, by @dhawalhshah

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This is well worth checking out. All this learning and knowledge is now at the fingertips of everyone which is great for knowledge sharing and improving the skills of many people all over the world.

I was sent this by Free Code Camp New Online Courses

It is fantastic to see, forward thinking learning institutions, offering courses to more students.

#courses, #free, #lowcost, #universities, #colleges, #worldwide,#elearning, #freecodecamp

You can find me on Friendica at

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Licenced under Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0)

I am currently working through another short OpenLearn course. This time I am exploring the constellation of Orion.

Having previously studied other Space science courses, some of the concepts are easier to understand, such as the lifecycle of stars.

Despite understanding the maths behind huge numbers. Distances such as 1 light year are massive : (ly) $$9.5 \times 10^{12} km. $$

The subsequent distance to the Orion Nebula which is 1600 light years. Therefore $$1600 \times 9.5 \times 10^{12} km $$.

I think, that this should be expressed as $$1.6 \times 9.5 \times 10^{15} km $$

Understandably it is difficult to imagine the sort of distances involved.

If you intend to study this course. I would recommend other courses first. Courses such as 'The Sun' may be a good starting point.

I am about ½ way through the second week of the course. Currently looking at the life cycle of a star beyond the main sequence phase, so this includes Red Giants, Brown / White dwarf, Supernova and black holes, or at least how and under what conditions these are formed.

You do need an astronomy package, to help with the course. This comes in more useful, if you don't have clear skies to observe Orion. I have discussed how to use the kstars package to find Orion in post yesterday (30/12/2019).

What I can take from this course, is some inspiration to write some posts about other constellations of the night sky.

References :

It may be beneficial to have a look at these courses before embarking on this longer course:

The Galaxies stars and planets course has a section on the scale of the universe, which is helpful to help you understand very large numbers.

#astronony, #study, #openuniversity, #openlearn, #free, #shortcourse, #orion

You can find me on Friendica at

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Licenced under Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0)

Free Culture

Free culture is about advocating user freedom on the Internet and promoting those services that respect users freedom and privacy.


Free software is defined here by the four freedoms set out by the Free Software Foundation.

  • The freedom to run the program as you wish, for any purpose (freedom 0).
  • The freedom to study how the program works, and change it so it does your computing as you wish (freedom 1). Access to the source code is a precondition for this.
  • The freedom to redistribute copies so you can help others (freedom 2).
  • The freedom to distribute copies of your modified versions to others (freedom 3). By doing this you can give the whole community a chance to benefit from your changes. Access to the source code is a precondition for this.

Source GNU.ORG


By media I am referring here to digital media this includes

  • Pictures
  • Photos
  • Music
  • Video
  • Documents

These media types can be covered under a Creative Commons (CC) license of which there are many. However Free Culture refers to two main Licenses here

  • creative commons zero : cc-0
  • creative commons attribution : cc-by
  • creative commons attribution share alike : cc-by-sa

These licences are also a way to counter DRM (Digtal Right Management).

Open Standards

Open standards are important for helping users collaborate and preserve documents for future references. It provides an Open standard such Open Document Format (odf).

The Document Foundation advocates the use of these open standards through software such as Libreoffice which as this is also free software any software derivatives can also work with these documents.

Open standards also frees users from vendor lock. This is discussed further by The Document Liberation Project

Plain Text

Of course the best open document format, is probably plain text. this can be opened by any text editor on any platform.

These documents can be enhanced further with markdown or formatting software such as $\LaTeX$ but ultimately the document is plain text. The software for building $\LaTeX$ is also free software.

The internet is built on these ideas as HTML, CSS and Java Script are all simply plain text documents.

User Privacy

By finding alternatives to the Big Tech companies we can start to take control of our privacy. Services such as Disroot offer a wide range of services, such as e-mail and cloud storage. They even offer a diaspora instance.

The free software foundation also advocate the use of gnu privacy guard. This can be used to:

  • Encrypt e-mails
  • Sign e-mails

However unless you really need to (as in sending something confidential) I don't see a reason to encrypt, however digitally signing e-mails does allow a web of trust to be built up, so that a recipient knows tht e-mail is really from you.

Services such as Telegram and Signal offer end to end encrypted messaging services. Rather controversial in some respects as these services get blamed for helping criminals and terrorists. Nevertheless your private conversations remain that way.

Social Media

The rise of centralised social media and subsequent concerns raised about user privacy and how data is collected, sold and possibly open to abuse. The Cambridge Analytica Scandal has exposed some of this, and the influences of social media on Elections, especially the US election of 2016 and the EU Referendum in the UK has also been exposed.

Decentralised social media

There are now alternatives to all the above centralised control of social media. Decentralisation allows people to run and control their own social media instance, or if you don't feel confident in running your own, you can join an existing group (known as an instance).

As each instance is independent with its own set of rules, a way to allow these to communicate is needed. Protocols such as Activity pub allow instances of the decentralised social media network to share posts and user content.

But it goes beyond this, Services such as Friendica and Diaspora offer an alternative to Facebook, other services such as Mastodon offer an alternative to Twitter, Peertube and Pixelfed offer alternatives to Youtube and Instagram. By having all these different services run Activity pub (and other protocols) all these services can talk to each other. Without the user having to worry too much on how this works.

Wordpress also has an ActivityPub plugin to facilitate this and decentralised services such as personal Journal have this built in.

The Negative side of these social networks.

Of course with all this independent control, comes a negative side, such as groups supporting far right views. The same protocol that allows instances to communicate can also allow instances to be blocked.

Sites such as:-

Are both non tracking and privacy aware. SearchX goes a step further in that you can include the software on your website and make search decentralised.


You can find me on Friendica at

Further reading

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#linux, #latex, #science, #freebsd,#debian