32 19 min 3 yrs

From the time of free software’s inception, with Richard Stallman’s, community has been a central part of its philosophy: we must be free to choose to share any software we use or create. Stallman wrote, “I consider that the golden rule requires that if I like a program I must share it with other people who like it,” and from this point concluded that we must always be permitted to share our discoveries and innovations with others, in order to make their computing and their lives easier and better. Software that is free always has benefits beyond the individual, and the free software movement depends on a vibrant, ever-changing, committed pool of developers, activists, users, and enthusiasts to keep the dream alive and the movement growing.

Every year, the LibrePlanet conference brings together many members of that movement to celebrate our achievements, strategize how to deal with our setbacks, show off new ideas, and decide what new frontiers we will trailblaze together next. The 2019 conference included many introductions to, and updates from, new and familiar projects, discussions on copyleft and security, and explorations of free software in the business world, but one compelling theme was woven through both days of the conference: how do we maintain and increase the health of our all-important community?

The winners of the 2018 Free Software Awards, presented during Stallman’s keynote speech last week, both reflected how crucial community engagement and advocacy are to the free software movement. Deborah Nicholson was given the Award for the Advancement of Free Software, recognizing her position as an exceptional opinion leader, activist, and community advocate. Her speech on Sunday, “Free software/utopia,” emphasized her efforts to consciously sustain a positive development environment: she pointed out that even extremely dedicated contributors to a project can ruin the whole thing if they insist on negative and insulting behavior. If the free software movement is to grow, it must attract and maintain newcomers, and that means insisting on good behavior.

The Award for Projects of Social Benefit also reflected the community-building theme: the winner, OpenStreetMap, is a free, editable map of the world that owes its breadth and utility to the efforts of over one million volunteer community members. It’s an amazing example of how huge numbers of motivated people can be inspired to do tremendous good together, and in addition to the obvious ethical benefit of it being free software, it’s also helped to provide priceless information to humanitarian efforts, like the disaster response after the 2010 Haiti earthquake and after Hurricane Maria devastated Puerto Rico in 2017.

Other talks that explored aspects of the free software community included:

* “Hackerspace Rancho Electrónico,” in which activists Martha Esperilla and Stefanía Acevedo described their radical hackerspace, which welcomes hackers, hacktivists, and free software users at all levels for workshops, talks, meetings, working groups, and more;

* “Sharing global opportunities for new developers in the Wikipedia community,” in which Srishti Sethi provided a gentle introduction to the world of Wikimedia for newcomers, with plenty of pointers on how to get started;

* “Governing the software commons,” in which Shauna Gordon-McKeon delineated some of the many forms of governance structures that dictate how people can and can’t participate in the building and proliferation of free software projects;

* “Sparking change: What free software can learn from successful social movements,” in which Mary Kate Fain suggested lessons of past movements to use to mobilize our wider communities to fight against the abuses of proprietary software; and

* “Meta-rules for codes of conduct,” in which Katheryn Sutter explored the ways in which free software enthusiasts might be communicating poorly with each other, and how to create codes of conduct to enable us all to understand each other and treat each other with respect.

The sobering and inspiring closing keynote from Micky Metts, a prominent free software activist and member of the Agaric Design Collective, the MayFirst.org leadership committee, and Drupal, also emphasized gathering our forces to fight the evils of proprietary software. She delineated the increasingly sinister ways in which corporate technologies are creeping into our private lives, arguing that scenarios like Orwell’s *1984* are closer than ever to fruition, and will keep advancing if we don’t fight back with a bold new tide of free software and other creative solutions.

With all of this urgency, it’s easy to forget that one of the key aspects of free software that attracts newcomers and keeps us in the fold is the joy of discovery and the fun of invention made possible when you have complete free reign over the code you use. And what better example of free software-powered fun is there than gigantic model rockets? Free software veteran Bdale Garbee opened up day two of the conference with the keynote speech, “Freedom is fun!”, where we learned how Bdale has used free software design tools to build everything from rockets to his son’s guitar. Free software is necessary to save privacy and democracy — but there’s a reason why so many people like to tinker with it in their free time, and that’s because they enjoy it.

Between Saturday and Sunday, there were 66 speakers in over 40 sessions, with 53 volunteers and over 341 total participants. We also gave away raffle prizes generously donated by Vikings GmBH; Technoethical; Aleph Objects; ThinkPenguin; JMP; Altus Metrum, LLC; and Aeronaut, and we’re extremely grateful to our generous sponsors, Red Hat and Private Internet Access. Please keep an eye on our MediaGoblin instance for photos from the event, and videos of nearly every speech, coming soon!

Finally: while the LibrePlanet conference only happens once a year, the free software community needs your participation year-round. You can find local LibrePlanet teams at the LibrePlanet wiki!

32 thoughts on “LibrePlanet wrap-up: Building the free software utopia

  1. Internet is dying, siphoned and sucked away into DarkNet created by brands like Google, Facebook etc.. For example, Open Directory Project’s web listing gone offline in 2017. Founded in 1998 as “Gnuhoo”, the human-curated directory once powered Google and served as a model for Wikipedia. Back in the day, when search engines were nearly useless, curated directories like DMOZ were the best.

  2. Streaming services are growing more popular by the day, and the companies behind them are developing ever more insidious ways to restrict and spy on the people who purchase their products.

  3. Someone referred to Gates Foundation ‘gifts’ to the most powerful man in India, traditionally a growth area of Free/libre software. Cablegate (or CableGates) showed us what the Gates Foundation did in Tunisia in order to undermine GNU/Linux (OLPC). Bribing officials and heads of state through the Gates Foundation is habitual. Usually it’s not visible. It’s disguised (or laundered) as charity, children, social justice etc.

    Sabah Hamid has meanwhile published “Why I Resigned From the Gates Foundation” and her reasons are politics, not the bribery. To quote: “Along with other staff at the India office of the Gates Foundation, I first heard about a top leader being considered for the award a few months ago. I did not realize that the decision had already been made. It took me until early August to raise my questions, but I saw very quickly that the foundation had taken decision, considered it irrevocable. The tech Nazi crowning bhakt Kazi, for the sweet backdoor freehold, and to enforce Microsoft & its Branded Allies genomes on as many gadget pigs possible.

    Ref / Source / Read More: http://techrights.org/2019/09/28/gates-above-the-law/

  4. For tolerating public telecom Self-Destruction by capital hyper ruling gangs, dumped 2G Scam, bringing out 4G-5G stealth loot in billions siphoning off to private corporations & allies! Once more on development godi of cronies.

  5. In the world of Internet and social media games, you never get a second chance to make a first impression, every single piece of copy, app cover or web page, every minute of video, every utterance you make can become a decision point for someone. It may be a potential customer, a prospective employer, maybe even a family member.

  6. In 2010, WikiLeaks, the vigilante whistle-blowing site, has disclosed the contents of over 250,000 diplomatic cables from U.S. embassies to countries around the world. The White House warned that the exposure of highly sensitive documents could “deeply impact not only U.S. foreign policy interests, but those of our allies and friends around the world.” The site itself has so far published only 220 cables, but it has shared information from the entire cache with several newspapers and magazines. Der Spiegel, one of the chosen few outlets, described the leak as “nothing short of a political meltdown for U.S. foreign policy.”

  7. Each year we stage the International Day Against DRM (IDAD) to help others learn about the dangers of Digital Restrictions Management (DRM). For this year’s IDAD on October 12th, we are focusing in particular on the increasing and disturbing amount of DRM present in ebooks and other online educational materials. Having so thoroughly invaded our leisure time, the digital infection known as DRM should not be allowed to spread into the classroom. Joining us in the fight for IDAD 2019 are the Electronic Frontier Foundation, Creative Commons, and The Document Foundation, among ten other participating organizations we are privileged to have standing with us in the fight against DRM.

  8. The hydra of streaming media conglomerates gained an ugly new head in the form of Disney+, and Pearson’s latest attempt to restrict access to textbooks reminded us that even education can’t escape digital handcuffs. Over the years it’s crept into our coffee, spied on our habits, and may one day threaten toast, but the fight’s not over yet.

  9. The Free Software Foundation (FSF) is looking for interns to spend the summer contributing to work in one of three areas: campaigns, licensing, or technical.

    These positions are unpaid, but the FSF will provide any appropriate documentation you might need to receive funding and school credit from outside sources. We also provide lunch expense reimbursement and a monthly transportation pass that will give you free access to local subways and buses (MBTA). We place an emphasis on providing hands-on educational opportunities for interns, in which they work closely with staff mentors on projects that match their skills and interest.

    Apply at https://www.fsf.org/volunteer/internships

  10. Real Initiatives like Ubuntu Mobile and Replicant are tactically killed by Google & its profiteering allies to monopolize the tweaked Linux based Android, remains strategic & unapologetic?

  11. Getting people more acquainted with the work we do helps us source new contributors, as well as convince people to use Replicant.

  12. Mobile devices such as phones and tablets are becoming an increasingly important part in our computing, hence they are particularly subject to freedom and security concerns, aggravated by greedy Google & Co.

  13. The invading saffron nazis from GujjuStan wearing greedy masks of JaiSriMoneyBan are here to promote their WestIndiaCompany, just for trading human lives for bucks.

  14. The weather in Boston wasn’t quite as cold as it was when we campaigned against Disney outside of local theaters on the premiere of Frozen II. Just before moviegoers huddled inside the theater, we were there to pass out fliers and start conversations on the dangers of Disney+

  15. Only thing standing between us & our objective is the billions of dollars corporations spend to try & persuade us to trade freedom for convenience! But as every underdog story shows, it’s passion and not profit that wins in the end.

  16. Our goal may be ambitious, but it’s not impossible to achieve. The passion we’ve seen from anti-DRM activists over the years has driven one point home: the only thing standing between us and our objective is the billions of dollars corporations spend to try and persuade us to trade freedom for convenience. But as every underdog story shows, it’s passion and not profit that wins in the end. For instance, due to a large public outcry, Disney has begrudgingly lowered the DRM level of its new streaming service. Yet we won’t rest until it’s gone for good.

  17. Website or an app cannot 100% guarantee data security and privacy. There is some risk in both cases. Only advantage in your own website or a reliable cloud: You 100% own and control. In case of pure apps, there is Google, Apple, Could Provider, Third-Party licenses and many others in-between.. think about it and decide.

  18. Learn to take responsibility for knowing what data is out there about you & how that data is being used or abused.

  19. Cheers RIPTiktok, self-ban desi apps slavery whatever profiteering govt promotes like its EVM setu for power play!

  20. We’ve updated several policies (including Inappropriate Content, Gambling, Mobile Unwanted Software, and Ad Fraud including impression fraud) with clearer language and additional examples. Please note that these aren’t new policies and we aren’t changing our enforcement standards and practices as a result of these updates.

    All new and existing apps will receive a grace period of at least 30 days from the issuance of this notification to comply with these changes.

  21. Our sole purpose is to help you find compelling ideas, knowledge, and perspectives. We don’t serve ads, we serve you, the curious reader who loves to learn new things. A home to thousands of independent voices, and we combine humans and technology to find the best writings for you.

  22. Wise to not watch or share so many social media videos, forwards & posts, make time table 1 per day. Also there are 100+ TV channels, watch max 2 channels per day, rotate them on daily basis. So, see same channel after 1 month – TV, Media and Internet are Idiot boxes. Don’t let them emotionally blackmail you. But if you’re doing this to build-up daily sops and new stories for Bollywood etc.. then do ping-pong in whatever way possible 👍

  23. I always emails and viral this website’s news and posts to my contacts.

  24. A needle that refuses to go through certain fabric is as ridiculous as today’s computing restrictions. But we laugh about the former, and continue to use the later. Making software a kitchen table issue in every home can at times seem like an insurmountable challenge, but there are so many community members doing incredibly inspiring work driving user freedom forward. https://www.wisepoint.org/6738

  25. Proprietary software is one of the chief ways in which these corporations are able to continually abuse their users. If the software were instead free to study, share, and modify, others would be able to detect and remove (or substantially mitigate) unwanted “features” like the user tracking. Even users without technical know-how could then use the altered software to protect themselves, and would benefit tremendously from a robust community of software professionals and hobbyists able to verify that their computer or cell phone isn’t violating their rights. Giving the community of users insight into and control over the tools that they use is crucial to retaining their freedom.

  26. I am the landlord thanks to my forefather’s ruthless greed,
    I am the capitalist with power to suppress labor’s every need.
    I am a proud labor thanks to my ancestor’s selfless sacrifice,
    I am a worker with power to organically shake all evil edifice.

    – Sudhir Panda

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