Free Software

  • Short answer: yes, they can. Regardless of what some websites are saying. Mastodon is “an alternative to Twitter”. Mashable just wrote that: “Mastodon.. in many ways it’s like Twitter, but it is also so not like Twitter… What makes it stand out? It has better privacy controls than Twitter. Also, neo-Nazis are explicitly banned.” and then, 2 lines below: “Mastodon is a type of free and open source software (FOSS) known as “GNU social.
  • I enjoyed POSS2016 in Paris Last week, I presented the current status of the EU-funded research I am working on these days, that is DiDIY (Digital DIY), at the Paris Open Source Summit. I have already reported about that side of the conference on the DiDIY blog, but I found many more interesting things at POSS 2016.What I heard at POSS 2016 about OpenDocument and Free Software in Public administration is so important, in my opinion, that I put it into a separate post.
  • The logo of the ScoutLinux distribution Almost twelve years ago, I pointed out some links between Scouting and Free as in Freedom Software, like, for example, those between B-P’s call to“in some cases to have the fun of taking a hand in developing [wonders], and also in being able to help other people..” and the GPL clause stating that “For example, if you distribute copies of such a program, whether gratis or for a fee, you must give the recipients all the rights that you have”.
  • Some recent declarations from VW executives about the Volkswagen scandal are half unbelievable, half totally irrelevant. Seriously.Quoting from “Could Rogue Software Engineers Be Behind VW Emissions Cheating?”: “This was not a corporate decision,” [Michael Horn, CEO of Volkswagen America] later added. “There was no board meeting that approved this.” Duh. Really? How unexpected! Who would have thought? All laws, ethics and morals aside…, if I had shares in any company whose board members were so idiot to discuss something like this in an official meeting, maybe even leaving a written record, I’d either fire them on the spot, or get rid of my shares as quickly as I could.
  • A few days ago I summarized the most questionable or uncertain points of the software odissey of the City of Pesaro, saying that I’d also post questions and consequences, both for the City and Open Source advocates, not mentioned yet in this story. For Pesaro, the road forward has little or nothing to do with the initial topic, that is Open Source Software in Public Administration. The advocates, instead, should rethink some of their strategies.
  • Today, while cleaning up old backups, I found a text file named as this post, which I saved on November 17th, 2000, but never used. Cannot remember what I was planning to do with it, but here it goes. A bit naive, surely dated (just look at which Free Software **companies **I was suggesting to go for help…) but still interesting, considering how things stand today. Here it goes, unchanged:Linux on the desktop won’t be even considered by most corporations _ and newbies until it comes by default with one single icon that says:_
  • (no, not really but…) In December 2014, italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi annunced soldipubblici.gov.it, a Web portal that provides official Open Data on public spending (“Soldi Pubblici”, that is) in Italy. Within a few hours, an italian Hacker, [![spesa software dei comuni italiani Leonardo Maccari, set up an unofficial blog, that automatically fetches and plots certain categories of data from that portal, making them much easier to understand.
  • Almost ten years ago, I wrote about Free Software’s surprising sympathy with Catholic doctrine, noting that, albeit certain statements sound _“as if they could have been written by Richard M. Stallman, founder of the Free Software Foundation (FSF), in fact, they come from the Vatican Report “Ethics in Internet” (EiI)“._ In 2013, I greatly expanded that same thesis in “Catholic Social Doctrine And the Openness Revolution: Natural Travel Companions?” Today, I’ve just discovered that the June 2015 newsletter on Faith, Economy and Ecology of the Maryknoll Office for global concerns:
  • In December 2013 I came across something I still consider yet another proof of two things: first, much trust in the actual competence of many “digital savvy” Internet users is misplaced; second, many of the proposed alternatives to current social networks are trying to solve the wrong problem. Since it’s still relevant, here is a quote from an email in the public archive of the mailing list (emphasis mine): It is clear to me that a growing number of everyday local residents are actually offended or at least perturbed if you ask them to use something other than Facebook to engage in their local community online.