Monthly Archives: March 2009

Evan Prodromou’s Libre Planet keynote on engineering for free network services

Another podcast lite — audio recording of Evan Prodromou’s Libre Planet keynote on engineering for free network services based on his years of experience developing free software and in particular the free network service identi.ca, the laconica software that service runs, and the OpenMicroBlogging federation protocol the software implements. Announced after the conference, see Evan’s post on status.net for where he’s taking the service. Very exciting stuff!

To whet your appetite for the podcast I’ll highlight probably the two least obvious or most controversial points Evan made:

  • Smart data reduces the need for smart code, thus supports user autonomy. Put another way (from Evan microblogging a later conference rather than this talk, but it fits), metadata democratizes data. On that note watch for more exciting stuff being done with RDFa all the time.
  • Build free network services in PHP/MySQL. This is painful for many to hear, but if you want your code to be deployed by people on their own servers (or their own $5/month or less shared hosting account — the key being they control the code running the application in either case), PHP and MySQL are far easier for users to deal with than cooler stacks that require installing additional software in the typical case.

Listen and see notes and slides for more.

Mako Hill’s Libre Planet keynote on free network services

Benjamin Mako Hill gave a keynote at Libre Planet outlining progress on defining free network services since last year’s FSF member meeting, primarily the launch of Autonomo.us’ Franklin Street Statement, and an update on discussions within the FSF on network services.

See slides and notes from the talk and listen to an audio recording.

Continuing in the tradition of Bradley Kuhn posting a conference keynote in the podcast category of this blog, I’ll post this and perhaps others from Libre Planet one at a time as podcasts (or podcast lites — we’ve had only two fully produced Autonomo.us podcast episodes so far).

This recording is in format. Hopefully your podcatcher knows how to deal with that. [Update: works just fine in .]

“Creating in the Cloud and Other Tales of Design Realidad”

Jon Phillips of Inkscape and Creative Commons fame asks “How do our beloved desktop applications such as Inkscape, Gimp, Scribus, Krita, and Blender fit into this new world wide web world order (NWWWWO)?” in his blog and wikinotes. Worth perusing as we all ponder the transition from traditional desktop apps to more network-centric content development.

LibrePlanet Unconference Session Ideas

As announced here last month, the Free Software Foundation’s annual conference, Libre Planet, includes a free network services theme.
Tomorrow (Saturday) there will be keynotes by Mako Hill and Evan Prodromou of this (Autonomo.us) group on free network services.
Sunday there will be an unconference, hopefully with lots of thought dedicated to free network services sessions. Here are a few session ideas that I’ve (except for the personal servers one, by Wes Felter) added to the LibrePlanet wiki, some keying off ideas discussed on the first Autonomo.us podcast (six months ago!):

And a bit more on the activism side (the other unconference tracks are activism and high priority projects):

  • Free Network Services and Internet Policy: Free software and specifically free network services could have a role in mitigating or preventing some of the bad scenarios (and in abetting good outcomes) discussed in net policy circles, but those policy debates seem to ignore or discount free software. Should we engage policy people? Is there any hope of directing any of their punditry to free software advocacy?
  • Freedom Pact: Idea to get people to pledge to take Free-as-in-Freedom positive actions by/on a certain date, with a big menu of actions (including directly autonomo.us relevant ones) so that everyone can participate.

Even if you can’t make it to LibrePlanet, please edit the unconference session proposals above or add your own ideas that you’d like to have LibrePlanet participants (or future web readers) work on.

SCALE 7x Keynote

Many people have been commenting on and/or asking about my keynote,
When Software Is A Services, Is Only the “Network
Luddite” Free?
from Scale
7x
in late February. There is finally a
downloadable H264/MPEG-4 AAC version (114MB) available
. Also, please
note that the keynote is substantially similar to my Plone
Conference Keynote, which was released as a podcast
, if you want an
audio-only version.

I’m working with the SCALE 7x organizers to see if I can get the video
and audio of the keynote in a freer format. However, since the mp4 file
linked above does play in vlc, I figured it’s worth getting it out to
folks who are looking for it now.

There was also an article in Ars Technica that covered my keynote.