Paul Sutton

freedom

University of costumed heroes

Software freedom is important as it gives users the power to be in control of the software they use and the hardware it is installed on.

GNU.org defines free software as :

What is Free Software?

Free software means the users have the freedom to run, copy, distribute, study, change and improve the software.

Free software is a matter of liberty, not price. To understand the concept, you should think of “free” as in “free speech”, not as in “free beer”.

More precisely, free software means users of a program have the four essential freedoms:

* 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.

```

The latest Free Software Foundation video hopefully helps illustrate what can happen when you put trust in closed source systems that cannot be subject to scrutiny through access to the source code.

Examples of common free software

You can follow the fsf on the federated social media networks such as Mastodon

Initiatives such as Tech Pledge are also a good idea for getting people to think about how they behave on line and starting to build better, more friendly, respectful communities.

#fsf,#freesoftware,#video,#promotion,#software,#freedom

SnapAs : Adding photos to WriteFreely Blogs

As this blog is powered using WriteFreely, I have just found another service that is designed to complement adding pictures to blogs, making this process very simple.

SnapAs allows you to drag and drop a photo and provide the markdown code so that you just copy / paste in this to your blog.

There is a tutorial and further explanation here.

The video is hosted on Peertube which is a federated and decentralised video sharing platform. There is a video here to explain more about this.

Hope this post is useful.

#fediverse,#writefreely,#SnapAs,#WriteAs,#blogging,#photos,#integration,#freedom,#decentralised.

I can be contacted on Mastodon here.

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Get a free Repl.it online IDE account here Get an Overleaf account here, Online collaborative LaTeX Editor

Online and remote learning : Lets not forget privacy.

This is an excellent article by the Free software foundation on the importance of maintaing user / learner privacy while they are learning online.

Some interesting points being raised and some serious concerns about privacy, use of webcams and monitoring of students during tests etc.

Learners need to ask questions and not just accept this as the new normal.

https://www.fsf.org/blogs/community/remote-education-does-not-require-giving-up-rights-to-freedom-and-privacy

#learning,#education,#online,#technology,#freedom,#privacy,#freesoftware,#fsf.

Libreoffice 6.4.2

Libreoffice 6.4.2, is now available to download, Please see the latest announcement here This is an update to 6.4 that was announced in a [previous post] post](https://personaljournal.ca/paulsutton/libreoffice-6-4-released)

#libreoffice, #642, #released, #office, #freesoftware, #freedom, #writer, #calc, #impress, #draw, math, #base

You can find me on Friendica at zleap@social.isurf.ca


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I have decided to join Mastodon social network. So will blog about this here, in order to help others.

Firstly you need to go to join mastodon where you will be presented with the following:-

mastodon1

Clicking on Get Started actually takes further down the page to:-

mastodon2

Where you can select from one of the many instances available, your choice may be influenced by:-

  • Geographical location
  • Interests
  • Number of users on a particular instance

Or some other reason.

I decided to go for quto.org as this is a STEM related instance. So clicking on the signup link.

signupscr

Filled in the credentials. After which I am asked to confirm. You will be asked to agree to some terms and conditions too.

confirm

Once confirmed you are taken to a set of 3 intro pages:

confirm

confirm

confirm

Then you are presented with

confirm

Where you can now set up your profile etc.

— Finding people to follow.

Enter their fediverse id in to the search box.

search

Usually this takes the form of

@username@instancename

You can follow me on the above qoto.org server by clicking this link.

In order for you to see items from my blog in your feed you need to take the following step in your profile settings.

Which is pretty easy to do, clearly this gives you a lot of control over what is then fed in to your feed.

Conclusion

Very easy sign up process, which is great, it looks like this instance also supports inline $\LaTeX$ which is cool too. I have now subscribed to this blog from mastodon.

Not quite ready to #deletetwitter yet, I have some contacts. Compared to the sign-up process on more old fashioned social media this is a breeze.

tags

#social,#network,#fediverse,#mastodon,#freedom,#privacy,#federation,#deletefacebook,#deletetwitter

You can find me on Friendica at zleap@social.isurf.ca


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Libreoffice 6.4 released

Libreoffice 6.4

LibreOffice 6.4 is here! More performance, more compatibility, and great new features to try out – it's an essential upgrade for the world's leading free office suite. Learn more and download it: https://blog.documentfoundation.org/blog/2020/01/29/libreoffice-6-4/

References

#libreoffice, #64, #released, #office, #freesoftware, #freedom, #writer, #calc, #impress, #draw, math, #base

You can find me on Friendica at zleap@social.isurf.ca


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Advocacy – The barriers to effective promotion

I have just tried to follow some links at the following site

https://www.softwarefreedomday.org/

If I click 2020 and follow the link to https://www.documentfreedom.org/ then I get a page that gives me the date for 2018 (so kinda out of date)

dfderror

The link for hardware freedom day goes to

https://www.softwarefreedomday.org/ so it seems some of the links just go back on themselves. Not really helpful.

On the tab for 2020 there is no direct link to software freedom day.

I am happy to promote all this, but unless people can find what they expect they will just stick to what they are using now and go away with a really negative idea of what this is about.

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Stickers like this and another one are great for advocacy, but useless if they link to outdated information.

I just find it very frustrating, and people will point out to us that they don't get this with Microsoft.

This is what we are up against. I feel that we just need to be far more effective, update information and ensure it is kept up to date.

References

#freedom, #softeware, #hardware, #documents, #promotion, #advocacy, #barriers,

You can find me on Friendica at zleap@social.isurf.ca


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Free Culture

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

Software

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

Media

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.

#freesoftware,#freedom,#free,#software,#media,#photos,#pictures,#videos,#music,#documents,users,#privacy

You can find me on Friendica at zleap@social.isurf.ca

Further reading


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