Why Creative Work Should Enter The Public Domain

February 4th, 2014

Here is a great post by John Walker that makes the case why creative works should enter the public domain sooner rather than later.  He also points out ways to fast track that by using copyleft and Creative Commons licenses.  My favorite analogy exposing the hilarity of the current copyright laws was asking, “And the surgeon’s royalties on that heart operation he did…Why shouldn’t he get paid every time [your heart beats]?”  Great thoughts.  If you’re a creative, I join John in hoping you get paid.  However, as a creative, please recognize the societal and cultural shoulders you are standing on that allow you to do your work and consider contributing it back to the public whether through Creative Commons or public domain licensing.

How Can Open Source Be Better? Diversity.

December 5th, 2013

I really appreciated this NPR story drawing attention to some of the many challenges in breaking into software development, even open source software development, especially for “coders of color”.  As the open source movement continues to gain momentum world-wide I expect this to change (hopefully fairly rapidly), however, we all should be looking to find ways to broaden the diversity of those in our community.  Open source software by its’ very nature extends our community to people of all races and ethnic backgrounds worldwide and diversity will only make that community better and stronger.

The Antonio Pizzigati Prize for Software in the Public Interest

December 4th, 2013

The Tides Foundation today announced it is accepting applications for The Antonio Pizzigati Prize for Software in the Public Interest for 2014 (due Dec 6, 2013) which “annually awards a $10,000 cash grant to one individual who has created or led an effort to create an open source software product of significant value to the nonprofit sector and movements for social change.”

Thank you to The Tides Foundation for supporting open source projects for non-profits!

Creative Commons 4.0 Announced

December 2nd, 2013

New 4.0 versions of the Creative Commons licenses have been  made available.  If you haven’t considered releasing your organizations content under CC licenses, please check them out.  It’s a great way to share your content and allow others to improve and modify it.

Pixar on the Importance of Open Source

March 10th, 2013

Here is an interesting post pointing out a few awesome comments by Pixar’s Senior Scientist.  The most interesting to me (and probably you too) was this:  “open-source software like Blender can do almost everything Pixar’s software can do”!

If you aren’t looking at free and open-source software as an option for your church or non-profit, you are missing out on a huge, available (and free) resource.

Why Would Someone Use Generic Hardware and Open Source Software

November 26th, 2012

Here is a great summary of the reasons that open source software and generic hardware work (and might not work too) in a business environment.  Great summary read describing the tangible and intangible benefits of the free and open source model.  I can say now that I’ve been using open source software for so long that I never even notice that I don’t use Microsoft or Apple products.  And it’s even easier and most cost-effective than ever to make the switch.

TED Talk Supporting the Embrace of the Remix

September 18th, 2012

In the spirit of Solomon, Kirby Ferguson makes a compelling argument to Embrace the Remix in his TED talk about copyright and patent law.

How willing are you to share your creative work with others?  If you’re interested, check out Creave Common Licenses for your content so that it’s explicitly shared.

Museopen Releases More Public Domain Classical Music

August 17th, 2012

Funded by it’s Kickstarter campaign, Museopen as released several professional recordings of classical music into the public domain.  If you’re looking for classical music for a backing soundtrack or just enjoy listening to classical music, check out the site!  There even more music done by other submitters as well.

How to Create a 70-Computer Computer Lab for Free

August 14th, 2012

What a great story of a teacher picking up open-source software as a noob and doing good by creating a computer lab for his school…with zero budget!  My favorite quote comes at the end; “in a digital world, teachers are responsible for making students ‘better digital citizens’.”  What a great example of rethinking ethics and responsibility in a digital world.

Making Hardware Last – iFixit and Technological Responsibility

June 22nd, 2012

Another very interesting article about the ethics of making computers last by Wired’s iFixit.  I don’t have much to add.  We should always be considering others in our technology choices and not just ourselves, right?

And if you want to know the best way to make your hardware last.  Here’s my recommendations:

  1. Buy a quality computer that is “fixable”
  2. Install Linux (or buy it with Linux installed)
  3. Fix or upgrade your computer as necessary.
  4. If you do require newer or faster hardware that you can’t upgrade to, make sure the computer finds a new home when you buy your new one.  Depending on where you live, there can even be services that will refurbish your old computer (usually installing Linux afterward) and send it to markets that can’t afford the latest technology as mentioned in the iFixit article.

From personal experience, both of my Dell home laptops are almost 7 years old.  They still run Ubuntu phenomenally (I just upgraded to 12.04).  I’ve replaced the battery pack in both, but otherwise they have worked flawlessly.  I even do some pretty heavy lifting with audio and video production and I’ve never felt the need for more although I did buy pretty beefy hardware at the time I purchased them.

If you’re interested in a longer discussion on this issue, you can also read my prior post about Digital Ethics and the Environment.  Please keep rethinking ethics in our digital world!