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Posts Tagged ‘freedom of information

The Free Web

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the free web

A FREE, uncensored, neutral internet is ESSENTIAL to Free Expression and Freedom of Information.

VIVA LA FREE WEB

¡Viva la FREE WEB!

In recent times, we have seen governments restrict access to the internet. We’ve seen the huge, corporate owned social networking and microblogging sites censor content their investors do not like, and even remove accounts belonging to protesting entities, such as Twitter’s recent removal of the account for OccupyWallStreet, and Facebook’s censorship of protest related photos.

But, we need the internet to communicate, not just locally, but nation-wide, and world-wide, to express our views, to make our voices heard, and to share what it is we are doing, and how our oppressors react, EVERYWHERE…

To that end:

The decentralized, federated, FREE (as in freedom, as well as price), social networks on which I currently play are:

Diaspora*

Diaspora* is a software that can be installed on a server by anyone that has the knowledge to do so. They in turn can allow people to register for an account on what is called their “pod”. There are many of these pods already established across the internet (list here podupti.me) with many users. You register for a free account on a pod and you can seamlessly connect with other users on other pods the same as if you were making someone a friend on other social networking sites. No matter which pod you are on, you are all using Diaspora. If you have the technical skills, you can even set up your own pod for your family and or friends. They can in turn connect to family and friends on your pod or even other pods with ease.

Diaspora* has many of the features of other popular social networks, including groupings of friends (like G+ circles, but called “aspects”. Oh, and Diaspora* had this feature over a year before G+ was even launched!), sharing of photos, links, videos, etc. Diaspora will allow you cross-post materials to twitter, facebook, and tumblr, and allow you to connect to friends on Friendika, as well. The aspects give you great control over you can view your content, so you have complete control over your privacy. Also, YOU own all content that you post. Diaspora* has not advertisements, and nobody on Diaspora* is tracking you, either on the site or across the internet. Diaspora* will not censor your communications with others. Also, on Diaspora* you can use any name or pseudonym you like.

There are numerous Diaspora sites, but they are all connected, so contacts on any Diaspora site can be connected to folks on another Diaspora site.

Here is my Diaspora profile:

tonybaldwin@poddery.com

I recommend joining diaspora at poddery.com or diasp.org.

StatusNet

StatusNET is for microblogging (like twitter, and can forward updates to twitter) built on free/open source software. StatusNEt is uncensored, free, and you can roll your own. StatusNet has features that twitter lacks, including posting of longer “blog” entries, sharing of events, uploading photos and music files, creation of polls and questions, and cross-connections with folks on any other StatusNet site. Also, one can make their StatusNet updates forward to Twitter, thus sharing with twitter contacts and StatusNet contacts, simultaneously. One more great feature of StatusNet are groups. By posting updates with a certain tag, the messages are grouped, and one can choose to be a member of that group and follow conversations on that topic. For instance, on the statusnet installation at Free-Haven.org/status/, there is a group for Occupy New Haven, and any update with !occupynewhaven or !onh is posted to that group. So, statusnet is kind of like twitter on steriods. Much more powerful, many more features. It is also more configurable. Our statusnet installation, for instance, is set to accept updates with up to 200 characters, as opposed to twitter’s 140 (one can change this up to 500 characters).

There is a statusnet installation on free-haven.org at http://free-haven.org/status/ Check it out!
My profile is tonybaldwin@free-haven.org
From there, I am following friends from all around the world on http://identi.ca, http://parlementum.net, and a few other smaller, private StatusNet installations, who are also following me from those sites, and I have my updates forwarded to twitter, from whence they forward to Google Buzz, Tumblr, and Facebook. If any of those proprietary networks cut me off or censored me, my friends all around the world on http://identi.ca and http://parlementum.net would still see my updates, as would, of course, anyone on our installation, or any other StatusNet installation who chose to follow me.

One can even export updates from any statusnet site, group, or individual to an rss feed, or, one can follow an rss feed. I have my free-haven updates embedded on my free-haven wiki profile here. Also, I have all public updates to our statusnet installation embedded on the front page of this wiki here.

Friendika

Friendika

Friendika

But, best of all, in my opinion, is Friendika.

Friendika is decentralized and federated, but also allows you to connect to contacts on twitter, identi.ca, diaspora, facebook, and other sites, from friendika. I recommend Friendika most highly of all (although a combination of statusnet for microblogging and friendika is a good idea). Friendika has photo galleries, an event calendar, friend groups, and all the other functions you already use on other social networks.

Learn more about friendika at http://project.friendika.com/

The creator, Mike Macgrivin, is a friend (he was part of the team that developed Netscape Browser for AOL!). I have developed software to interact with the Friendika’s API, and may be developing some plugins.

My current friendika profile is http://frndk.de/profile/tony

Comparison of Social Networks

In Diaspora, StatusNet, and Friendika, unlike FB, G+, and other sites, you own your own data, and completely control your own privacy. The sites are not corporate owned, and, in fact, if you have access to a server and the know-how, you can install and run a site yourself (kind of like you can with wordpress, joomla, etc.), and still connect to all the other friendika and/or diaspora sites. In this way, a truly FREE, open, neutral internet is forming, uncensored and unfettered by corporate interests.

Here is an excellent breakdown of the differences and similarities in social networks.
You will see that Friendika is richer in features than any other.

./tony


Creative Commons License
The Free Web by tony baldwin is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.
Based on a work at www.tonybaldwin.info.

xposted with: Xpostulate | original article

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OBAMA ADMINSTRATION GIVES GREEN LIGHT TO OPEN FORMATS

with one comment

This just in from the ODF Alliance listserv:

“U.S. federal government agencies will soon be required to make information available in open formats. According to the Open Government Directive issued by the Obama Administration, each agency will be required to “take prompt steps to expand access to information by making it available online in open formats……..To the extent practicable and subject to valid restrictions, agencies should publish information online in an open format that can be retrieved, downloaded, indexed, and searched by commonly used web search applications.” An open format is defined in the directive as one that is platform independent, machine readable, and made available to the public without restrictions that would impede the re-use of that information. Within 45 days of the publication of the directive on 8 December 2009, each agency was required to identify and publish online in an open format at least three high-value data sets. Agencies are required to produce a first draft of an Open Government Plan by April 2010.”

For more info: http://www.whitehouse.gov/omb/assets/memoranda_2010/m10-06.pdf

Written by tonybaldwin

February 18, 2010 at 2:10 pm

A Layman's Thoughs on Freedom of Information and Open File Formats

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(a work in progress / originally penned in 2008, reposted here from mylivejournal)

Had the inventor of writing, if you will, demanded his rights in terms of the use of such a system, of course, anyone that wrote anything would owe him for use of this “intellectual property”. Thus, he would have a right to demand his fee for the conveyance of any information, of any nature, in a written form. This would mean, he would have control over any written communication. He would be able to control what information could be conveyed in writing, who could have access to that information, and, of course, he could
demand payment for any and every time information of any nature was conveyed in this fashion.

Let me just clarify that by being a bit more precise, while summing up the entire situation in general:
He would have control over the conveyance of any information in written form.
He would control information.

Anyone with such power, of course, would have immense, if not complete control over public opinion and knowledge. I think we can agree that such control centralized in the hands of one person would be A BAD THING. This individual could control religious thought, philosophy, the dissemination of scientific knowledge, etc., ad infinitum.

Now, consider even if Gutenburg had patented and copyrighted the printing press, and all printing of any matter would, again, be his to control.  Or perhaps, say one person controlled all rights to the use of paper (papyrus), when it was invented, and, thus, could control any use thereof and any matter that was printed or written on paper, etc. Control over any such process or media would put untold power in the hands of the individual possessing such power.
I think we can agree that such control centralized in one person (or one company) would be A BAD THING.

Freedom of information, freedom of expression and freedom to learn are, and I believe this is a widely enough held notion that nobody will argue the contrary, ESSENTIAL freedoms. Freedoms necessary to the advance of the human species, of knowledge, of culture and scientific progress.

This is why we need to have open standards for document formats, and why proprietary document formats are to be avoided.  This is why we should not allow specific software vendors to control the dispersion of information by allowing their proprietary document formats to become standard to any industry. Allowing them such control allows them control over that industry. They will have the ability to stifle choice of software use and will have control over the publication of knowledge.

In today’s digital, information age, if one individual or one company has control of the file formats in which information may be shared, or if one company or individual controls all software capable of accessing information in said formats, that individual or company has control of all information. Such a company could extort whatever price they wish for your use of their product and file formats. Such a company could refuse you license to use their product and their file formats if they disagree with or dislike the information you wish to share, even.

This is pretty well the case when speaking of the current situation in reference to various industries where certain proprietary software vendors have cornered the market, often by untoward means and with inferior products, and stifled the people’s right to choice. This is why you spend $300 on Microsoft Windows, and $500 on Microsoft Office, and have to pay again for them to fix these inferior software products when they fail on you. This is why translators are almost unanimously being forced to use SDL’s Trados and Tag Editor. I assume the situation is similar on other industries (graphics/publishing, etc.) Choice is stifled when a vendor controls a market.

This is why document formats such as:
Microsoft’s .doc, .wmp or OOXML,
SDL’s .ttx,
Thomson’s mp3,
and other proprietary formats, specific to one software vendor, are harmful, and to be not only avoided, but completely eschewed in favor of open document formats, such as .odf, .tmx, .xliff, .xml, .html, and .ogg.
Understand, I am in no way advocating an end to intellectual property rights. Certainly, those who create works of art, software, literature, music, etc., have a right to their creations.
What I am advocating is free access to information and the means of manipulating and conveying information.

Relevant links:

tony

Written by tonybaldwin

February 18, 2010 at 2:22 am

A Layman's Thoughts on Freedom of Information and Open File Formats

with 6 comments

(a work in progress / originally penned in 2008, reposted here from mylivejournal)

Had the inventor of writing, if you will, demanded his rights in terms of the use of such a system, of course, anyone that wrote anything would owe him for use of this “intellectual property”. Thus, he would have a right to demand his fee for the conveyance of any information, of any nature, in a written form. This would mean, he would have control over any written communication. He would be able to control what information could be conveyed in writing, who could have access to that information, and, of course, he could
demand payment for any and every time information of any nature was conveyed in this fashion.

Let me just clarify that by being a bit more precise, while summing up the entire situation in general:
He would have control over the conveyance of any information in written form.
He would control information.

Anyone with such power, of course, would have immense, if not complete control over public opinion and knowledge. I think we can agree that such control centralized in the hands of one person would be A BAD THING. This individual could control religious thought, philosophy, the dissemination of scientific knowledge, etc., ad infinitum.

Now, consider even if Gutenburg had patented and copyrighted the printing press, and all printing of any matter would, again, be his to control.  Or perhaps, say one person controlled all rights to the use of paper (papyrus), when it was invented, and, thus, could control any use thereof and any matter that was printed or written on paper, etc. Control over any such process or media would put untold power in the hands of the individual possessing such power.
I think we can agree that such control centralized in one person (or one company) would be A BAD THING.

Freedom of information, freedom of expression and freedom to learn are, and I believe this is a widely enough held notion that nobody will argue the contrary, ESSENTIAL freedoms. Freedoms necessary to the advance of the human species, of knowledge, of culture and scientific progress.

This is why we need to have open standards for document formats, and why proprietary document formats are to be avoided.  This is why we should not allow specific software vendors to control the dispersion of information by allowing their proprietary document formats to become standard to any industry. Allowing them such control allows them control over that industry. They will have the ability to stifle choice of software use and will have control over the publication of knowledge.

In today’s digital, information age, if one individual or one company has control of the file formats in which information may be shared, or if one company or individual controls all software capable of accessing information in said formats, that individual or company has control of all information. Such a company could extort whatever price they wish for your use of their product and file formats. Such a company could refuse you license to use their product and their file formats if they disagree with or dislike the information you wish to share, even.

This is pretty well the case when speaking of the current situation in reference to various industries where certain proprietary software vendors have cornered the market, often by untoward means and with inferior products, and stifled the people’s right to choice. This is why you spend $300 on Microsoft Windows, and $500 on Microsoft Office, and have to pay again for them to fix these inferior software products when they fail on you. This is why translators are almost unanimously being forced to use SDL’s Trados and Tag Editor. I assume the situation is similar on other industries (graphics/publishing, etc.) Choice is stifled when a vendor controls a market.

This is why document formats such as:

  • Microsoft’s .doc, .wmp or OOXML,
  • SDL’s .ttx,
  • Thomson’s mp3,
  • Adobe .pdf

and other proprietary formats, specific to one software vendor, are harmful, and to be not only avoided, but completely eschewed in favor of open document formats created according to open standards, such as .odf, .tmx, .xliff, .xml, .html, .djvu and .ogg .

Understand, I am in no way advocating an end to intellectual property rights. Certainly, those who create works of art, software, literature, music, etc., have a right to their creations.
What I am advocating is free access to information and the means of manipulating and conveying information.

What are open standards?
From Free Software Foundation, Europe:

Definition

An Open Standard refers to a format or protocol that is

  1. subject to full public assessment and use without constraints in a manner equally available to all parties;
  2. without any components or extensions that have dependencies on formats or protocols that do not meet the definition of an Open Standard themselves;
  3. free from legal or technical clauses that limit its utilisation by any party or in any business model;
  4. managed and further developed independently of any single vendor in a process open to the equal participation of competitors and third parties;
  5. available in multiple complete implementations by competing vendors, or as a complete implementation equally available to all parties.

Relevant links:

tony

  1. click here for a copy of this article in the free/open document format .djvu
  2. click here for a copy of this article in open document text format .odt

Written by tonybaldwin

February 18, 2010 at 2:22 am