Paul Sutton

software

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.

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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

JabRef Update

Not quite following on from my previous post The JabRef bibliography software has been updated.

JabRef is a bibliography manager, to help make .bib files easier to create and manage. It should be possible to upload the output .bib file to Overleaf too.

  • Screenshots from Jabref 3.8.2

jabref1

jabref2

References

There is a #latex channel on the Freenode IRC network.

#LaTeX, #bibliography, #manager, #software, #windows, #linux, #apple, #overleaf, #ctan,#tex-live,#overleaf, #jabref,#references,


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If you would like to try out different desktop environments on a GNU / Linux based OS then Debian offers a tool called tasksel. This will make it easier to choose a different desktop environment for example.

You need to run this as root.

#tasksel

which presents you with the following.

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The tasksel tool runs as part of the text based installation routine but post install you may want to change something without having to resort to using synaptic or other graphical package manager or even using apt from the linux terminal or console.

You can also opt to install a webserver or ssh server.

#Linux, #debian, #console, #software, #choice, #install

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


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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 zleap@social.isurf.ca


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#KSTARS – ASTRONOMY PACKAGE

KSTARS is a Linux based astronomy package. For a free software package it has a lot of features and downloadable catalogues of stellar objects.

When you first load up the package you may want to view the constellation lines. I worked out how to do this, but am including some info below to help users change the line colour from the default light grey as it may be easier for people to see the lines.

If you click on Settings (menu) —> configure —> guides

You should get the following

constellation lines

I have checked the boxes to constellation:-

  • lines
  • boundaries.
  • names

If you then click on the colours tab at the side

constellation colours

I have set the colour to yellow. This does stand out, probably a little too much. However you can set it to the colour of your choosing or leave as the default grey.

colour picker

The end result of this is (download):

Hope this helps

#software, #astronomy, #science, #kde, #linux, #freesoftware, #setup, #configuration, #constellation, #linecolor, #boundaries, #names.

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