Previous Articles

Measuring and Improving Fundraising Success

Tue, 16 Jul 2024

Following up on Essential Elements of Effective Fundraising Strategies, evaluating the impact and effectiveness of fundraising campaigns is a multifaceted and ongoing process beyond simply tallying the funds raised. It involves a comprehensive evaluation of quantitative and qualitative metrics, allowing nonprofits to gain a deeper understanding of campaign performance, identify areas for improvement, and make well-informed decisions to enhance future initiatives.

Cognitive Biases and Leadership: How to Recognize and Overcome Your Blind Spots

Sat, 13 Jul 2024

For leaders, recognizing and overcoming cognitive biases is the first step toward effective decision-making. These biases, often subtle and ingrained, can lead to systematic errors in perception, judgment, and decision-making. Understanding these 'tricks' the brain plays is crucial, as it results in us believing we're making the best decisions when, in reality, various subconscious factors are at play.

Complexity is Not the Enemy: Free Software Should Tackle the Hard Problems

Wed, 10 Jul 2024

Free software is about freedom and the rights of the users. Yet, I've talked to some who argue that to be truly "free," software must be simple enough for anyone to understand and modify easily. While simplicity has its virtues, we should not conflate it with the core values of free software. The perspective that complex software can't be free is not only flawed, it's downright harmful to the free software movement's potential.

Why Your Browser Needs a Freedom Upgrade

Tue, 9 Jul 2024

The web, a platform for sharing and connecting, has a hidden truth. JavaScript and WebAssembly have enabled developers to distribute programs to your browser, turning it into a platform for running software you have little control over. This lack of power is a crucial issue that needs to be addressed.

The Last Resort: Using DMCA to Defend GNU Licenses

Wed, 3 Jul 2024

The GNU family of licenses is not just a set of rules but a beacon of empowerment in the software world. It grants users essential freedoms to use, study, change, and share software while ensuring these rights are passed on to everyone else. This vision of a world where software is a tool for freedom and empowerment, not subjugation and exploitation, inspires me to stand up for software freedom and drives my advocacy.

Building and Maintaining Relationships with Donors

Mon, 1 Jul 2024

Donor relationships are not merely transactional; they're a tapestry woven with shared values, mutual trust, and a deep appreciation for philanthropy's impact. Cultivating these connections requires a nuanced and holistic approach beyond simply soliciting donations. It fosters a sense of partnership and belonging, where donors feel valued, heard, and connected to the organization's mission.

Free Software: The Enshittification Defense

Thu, 27 Jun 2024

Gather 'round, everyone! We're diving into the digital dumpster fire known as "enshittification," and this is a full-blown societal stink bomb.

A "Dear John" Letter To Proprietary Software

Tue, 25 Jun 2024

With a heavy heart but a clear head, I must write to you today to say it's over. I'm leaving you. It wasn't easy. I know, I know, it's been a long time. We've been through a lot together, from the early days of dial-up internet to the present day of streaming cat videos in 4K. But I can't do it anymore. You're just not treating me right. Our relationship, once filled with promises, has become stale and suffocating.

How Joining the Free Software Movement Uplifts Us All

Mon, 24 Jun 2024

Welcome to the free software movement, where 'free' refers to freedom, not price. In this context, 'free software' means software that respects your independence and the community's freedom to run, study, change, and share the software. The movement's premise is a world where you are empowered to control your computing, because it's wrong for it to be any other way.

Why "Do Whatever They Want" Actually Means GPL

Sun, 16 Jun 2024

Have you ever released software under a permissive free software license, thinking, "I want people to be able to do whatever they want with my code"?

Essential Elements of Effective Fundraising Strategies

Sat, 15 Jun 2024

In the crowded landscape of nonprofit fundraising, where countless organizations vie for attention and support, crafting compelling messages and narratives is not just an advantage but a necessity. It's the art of translating your organization's mission, values, and impact into a captivating story that resonates with potential donors on a visceral level.

Making Data-Driven Decisions

Fri, 14 Jun 2024

Leadership is demanding, often requiring individuals to make tough choices with far-reaching consequences. It's a heavy responsibility, and the weight of those decisions can feel immense, with the potential to shape the future of their teams, organization, or even entire communities. Making confident and decisive decisions is a hallmark of effective leadership. However, the path to a sound decision isn't always clear-cut. Leaders must grapple with uncertainty, conflicting information, and the weight of potential consequences. In the face of such challenges, leaders must rise to the occasion, navigating the complexities of decision-making with both resolve and wisdom. Making confident and decisive decisions is an essential skill for any leader. Effective decision-making can be the key to success or failure, whether you're managing a crisis, prioritizing competing tasks, or deciding which path to take. But how can leaders consistently make the right choices, especially under pressure?

Essential Leadership Qualities

Fri, 7 Jun 2024

I've been reflecting on leadership qualities. Whether you're leading a team at work, a community group, or even your own life, having the right qualities can make all the difference. Leadership is not simply about holding a title or position; it involves inspiring and empowering others to achieve a shared vision. In this blog post, I'll discuss some essential leadership qualities that seem important to me in no particular order.

DRM: A Digital Restriction

Sun, 2 Jun 2024

What some may call DRM Digital "Rights" Management, the term Digital "Restrictions" Management is more accurate. It seems to be touted as a necessary evil to "protect the rights of the creators" and prevent so-called "piracy," which represents thinking that's so full of propaganda it could have its own blog post. However, as a software freedom advocate, I see DRM as a fundamental violation of our rights and a moral outrage.

The Chains We Forge

Sat, 1 Jun 2024

Have you ever considered the unseen shackles you might willingly place on yourself in the software world? Every time you use proprietary software, you surrender your freedom and control over your computing to the proprietary software developer for the illusion of convenience, security, or the latest shiny features.

The Long Game of Free Software

Sat, 25 May 2024

The free software movement is often likened to a David versus Goliath struggle. This metaphor symbolizes the challenges small teams of dedicated people face against powerful corporations and entrenched interests. It can sometimes be like that, but it can also be like a marathon. A marathon that will probably span generations. We are working towards a future where software freedom is a fundamental right for everyone. But how do we sustain our passion through such a long journey? How do we keep our eyes on the prize when the finish line seems so far away? One possible answer to this can be found by looking at Skinner's Law, the behavioral principle rooted in positive reinforcement.

Imagine a World Without the GPL

Fri, 24 May 2024

Greetings, fellow freedom fighters. I invite you to join me in a thought experiment. Imagine waking up one day, in a not-so-distant future, to find the digital world you knew had vanished. The free software movement was still started, but the GPL never existed, leaving behind a barren landscape dominated by locked-down, proprietary software. Welcome to the dystopian nightmare of a world without the GPL.

The Insider Advantage

Wed, 22 May 2024

All enforcement efforts for the GPL family of licenses should steadfastly adhere to the Principles of Community-Oriented GPL Enforcement, and I begin from that standpoint.

The Future of Freedom

Tue, 21 May 2024

As we stand on the precipice of the future, I see a landscape of confinement and control and unprecedented software freedom. In this context, the free software movement emerges as a beacon of hope, a guiding star that empowers and liberates. It's a movement with liberty and user rights as principles and a vision for a future where software empowers and liberates rather than controls and subjugates. As we venture into uncharted territories in the coming decade, free software is necessary and a source of inspiration, empowering us all.

Why GNU Screen is the Superior Terminal Multiplexer

Sun, 19 May 2024

Terminal multiplexers are indispensable tools for anyone who spends significant time in the command line. They allow you to create persistent sessions, detach and re-attach from them, and even split your terminal into multiple panes. GNU Screen remains the superior choice for several reasons.

The Freedom to Tinker: Why Free Software Matters

Sat, 18 May 2024

In our modern era, software seems to be ubiquitous, becoming an integral part of our lives for communication, work, leisure, and more. However, this widespread use of software also brings to light the importance of our rights as users and our ability to control the software that often seems to control our lives. This is where the concept of software freedom comes into play, advocating for the user's right to use, study, change, and share software, and ultimately, to have control over their digital lives.

The Free Software Foundation: A Pillar of the Community

Fri, 10 May 2024

In a world where software is ubiquitous, the Free Software Foundation stands out as a beacon of importance. Established in 1985 by the visionary Richard Stallman, the FSF has been an unwavering champion of the free software movement, providing leadership, structure, and support.

The Hidden Traps of Software Patents

Thu, 9 May 2024

Imagine embarking on a journey through a serene forest, only to find your path obstructed by concealed traps, ready to ensnare you at the slightest misstep. This is the harsh reality that free software developers face, courtesy of the pervasive practice of software patents.

Apple Unveils M4 Chip: A Monument to Planned Obsolescence and User Enslavement

Tue, 7 May 2024

CUPERTINO, CALIFORNIA - Apple today announced the M4 chip, a technological marvel designed to subjugate users further and deepen our commitment to maximizing profits at the expense of user freedom.

LibrePlanet 2024, Day 2

Sun, 5 May 2024

Yesterday was a whirlwind of activity here at LibrePlanet 2024. After a full day of inspiring talks, workshops, passionate discussions, and laughter shared with fellow free software enthusiasts, I joined in for some fantastic social events. Let me tell you, the energy was infectious. I fell asleep in my hotel room, utterly exhausted but energized and inspired by the collective energy. This is how you know it's been a good day at LibrePlanet.

LibrePlanet 2024, Day 1

Sat, 4 May 2024

Greetings, fellow free software warriors. Another LibrePlanet, another incredible first day. I'm writing to you live from the first day of LibrePlanet 2024, the Free Software Foundation's annual conference, and let me tell you, the energy here is electric! What a kick-off to LibrePlanet 2024!

Just When I Think I Am Done

Tue, 30 Apr 2024

The battle for software freedom, a shared endeavor that unites us, may sometimes feel like an uphill climb, a tireless struggle against the ever-encroaching forces of proprietary software, which often seems like a relentless, many-headed hydra. There are victories, to be sure, that fill us with a sense of shared purpose and accomplishment. And yet, when we think we've made headway - perhaps convincing a school district to adopt free software or pushing through supportive legislation - just when we think maybe the ideals of free software have permeated the mainstream, that the world has started to see the ethics behind free software, a new challenge appears that yanks us back into the trenches and provides a chilling reminder of our ongoing struggle.

Free Your Software, Free Yourself

Mon, 29 Apr 2024

The unethical subjugation and abuse enabled by proprietary software are well-documented. Proprietary software, by definition, limits user control and the inability to modify, share, or fully understand the software running on your devices creates a fundamental power imbalance. Plenty of examples are written about how proprietary software subjugates and mistreats people on https://www.gnu.org/proprietary/, and many more examples likely go undocumented. Today, I won't rehash that. Instead, I want to focus on a peculiar phenomenon: The tendency of the victimes of this power dynamic to excuse and rationalize the very behaviors that hold them captive.

The Challenge of Inclusion

Sat, 27 Apr 2024

The free software movement is deeply rooted in ethics. The movement's core is built around a social and political ideal - enabling everyone, regardless of their background or beliefs, to have control over their computing and the software that does that computing. Lately, I've been thinking about a question: How do we improve the free software movement so that we can accept everyone without regard to what they may or may not think elsewhere? Our ability to embrace a broader spectrum of participants, irrespective of their affiliations or perspectives on other matters, is crucial for the free software movement's strength and sustainability.

Confessions of a Proprietary Software Addict

Thu, 18 Apr 2024

Dear Diary,

I'm hooked on proprietary software. I know, I know - it's the digital equivalent of a dumpster fire. But who can resist the allure of those sleek interfaces and promises of seamless functionality and integration, the comforting illusion of "customer support"? I'm powerless against it. I'm trapped, diary. Utterly trapped.

Breaking Down Barriers: How Proprietary Software Controls You

Wed, 17 Apr 2024

Have you ever stopped to think, do you truly control your computer? It's a question that often goes unasked. We power on our devices, run programs, and interact with the digital world, assuming we're the ones in charge or perhaps not even pondering the matter. But this control we believe we have is nothing more than an illusion, a facade carefully crafted by proprietary software.

Dear Tech Support Hotline

Mon, 15 Apr 2024

Ah, the tech support hotline. A land of unwavering patience (mostly), questionable accents (sometimes), and a shared human experience of utter technological bewilderment. Today, let's delve into the archives of the not-so-fictional Tech Obliteration Industries (TOI) support hotline, where users and their proprietary TOI software battle it out in a hilarious and occasionally tear-jerking display of digital dissonance.

Your Computer, Your Control

Fri, 12 Apr 2024

In today's digital age, our computers have become central to so many aspect of our lives. Yet, how much control do we have over the software that powers these machines? Proprietary software restricts users. This is where the concept of free software comes in, offering a set of fundamental freedoms that empower users and free them from the subjugation of proprietary software.

The Price of Convenience

Thu, 11 Apr 2024

In our fast-paced world, convenience reigns supreme. Some crave instant gratification and effortless "solutions." At the same time, software has become intricately woven into the fabric of our lives. Many tasks rely on software, from communication to entertainment, work to education. A click away lies a universe of information, entertainment, and "services." The allure of convenience can be seductive, and this obsession can lead some down a path of least resistance: We're offered a seemingly perfect "solution," pre-packaged and ready to use.

Raising the Next Generation on Free Software

Sun, 7 Apr 2024

The world our children will inherit is increasingly dominated by technology. In a world driven by that technology, the software woven into everyday devices influences how our children learn, communicate, and think. It has far-reaching implications in shaping their understanding of the digital landscape, ethics, community, and personal empowerment. Proprietary software teaches a world based on control and subjugation. Free software, with its inherent values of ethics, freedom and collaboration, can transform how children learn and their roles within a complex technological landscape. That's why, as parents, educators, and caring members of society, we have a profound responsibility to teach children about free software values to guide them toward a digital world built on ethics, responsibility, and freedom.

Free Software Now Generates Free Energy

Mon, 1 Apr 2024

The Free Software Foundation is thrilled to announce an extraordinary breakthrough that will revolutionize the software and energy industries. Our latest project, GNUnergize, will transform your computer into a free energy device while adhering to free software principles.

The Little Browser That Couldn't

Sun, 31 Mar 2024

This year marks a milestone for Firefox: its 20th birthday, first launched on November 9th, 2004. Back then, it felt like a beacon of hope. It was the challenger, the supposed savior of web browsing - a free software browser taking on the clunky giant and challenging the iron grip of Internet Explorer. But somewhere along the way, Mozilla forgot its mission, and Firefox's fight went off the rails. So, instead of celebrating, I reflect on a story of squandered potential.

If Famous Novels Were Written Like End-User License Agreements

Fri, 29 Mar 2024

Imagine a world where your favorite literary journeys aren't enthralling tales but legal nightmares. Yes, we're plunging into the dark depths of End-User License Agreements (EULA), transforming iconic literary classics into mind-numbing contracts you'd rather avoid than read.

The "Open Source" Trap: Why Language Matters

Mon, 25 Mar 2024

Open source is promised as "higher quality, better reliability, greater flexibility, lower cost, and an end to predatory vendor lock-in," but noticeably absent is the most crucial concept: ethics and freedom.

GNU/Linux Distros: Which Flavor Is Right For You?

Thu, 21 Mar 2024

The world of GNU/Linux distributions can feel overwhelming at first glance. With countless options available, choosing the right one can be challenging. But fear not! The GNU/Linux distributions built entirely with free software that respects your freedom are always the perfect place to start.

The Glitch

Sat, 16 Mar 2024

The sun beat down on Raya's young skin. The harsh light was like a merciless god, reflecting in this wasteland. Around her, bleached sand stretched to the horizon. Skeletal metal claws reached from the endless dunes, creating a scene of desolation that stretched as far as the eye could see. The year was 2142, or so the elders mumbled, their memories fractured by the years since The Glitch, as everyone called the 2038 crash.

You Are Here

Wed, 13 Mar 2024

Moving to a new neighborhood is always a whirlwind of emotions. There's unpacking, settling, and, of course, the inevitable excitement for a fresh start. There's also a touch of anxiety about finding your way, being lost and a little out of your element, and that nagging sense that you'll forever be known as "the new person," both incredibly exciting and a little daunting all at once.

Self-Hosting Isn't as Hard as You Think

Tue, 12 Mar 2024

When the idea of self-hosting personal services like email or XMPP (chat) comes up, sometimes folks I speak with seem to immediately balk at the thought and shut down the conversation. Reasons like this often pop up:

The Impact of Star Trek On My Life

Mon, 11 Mar 2024

Star Trek has been with me for as long as I can remember. In childhood, my first Star Trek adventures were the re-runs of The Original Series (TOS). Even though the show was no longer in production, re-runs filled the airwaves, beaming the adventures of the intrepid Enterprise crew into my eager young mind. I might have missed the original airing, but that didn't hold me back from getting hooked. Something about its spirit of exploration, social messages, and shiny optimism grabbed my young mind.

For Every Excuse a New Strategy

Sun, 10 Mar 2024

This post is intended to provide a humorous complement to the previous blog posts: To Advance Free Software, Learn To Argue, and To Advance Free Software, Listen Differently.

To Advance Free Software, Listen Differently

Sat, 9 Mar 2024

This is a follow-up to my previous blog post, To Advance Free Software, Learn To Argue. While arguing is crucial for advocating for free software, effective advocacy goes beyond just making solid arguments.

A Community I Love

Fri, 8 Mar 2024

I love many things: my fluffy feline overlord, an excellent free software interactive fiction playthrough that keeps me guessing, and boldly going where no human has gone before (thanks, Star Trek!). But today, I want to talk about a different kind of love: the love for a community that inspires me daily - the free software community.

Trisquel Turns Twenty

Thu, 7 Mar 2024

In the Spring of 2004, a new GNU/Linux distro emerged: Trisquel. This distro was built entirely on free software, making it a beacon of freedom. As Trisquel celebrates its 20th anniversary, it's a perfect time to reflect on what I like about this distro.

Contract Law and the GPL: A Risky Mix?

Wed, 6 Mar 2024

I've been thinking much about the GNU General Public License (GPL).

Meanwhile, in an alternate reality...

Tue, 5 Mar 2024

What happens if a moment in tech history turns out differently? What happens if a particular company makes a different call or a specific piece of beloved hardware never gets shelved? I enjoy these "what ifs" as they let my imagination wander. Today, let's dive into the realm of the free software movement with a twist.

Celebrating a Belated Milestone: 35 Years of the GPL

Mon, 4 Mar 2024

Last week, on February 25th, a significant landmark in software history slipped by with surprisingly little fanfare - the 35th anniversary of the GNU General Public License (GPL). While this "coral anniversary" might not be as widely recognized as a silver or gold one, the GPL deserves attention for its profound impact.

HP's Printer Rental: A Dystopian Nightmare

Sun, 3 Mar 2024

In a move that seems ripped straight from a science fiction dystopia, HP has announced a new printer rental that lets you rent a printer for a monthly fee. The most expensive plan costs $35.99 monthly and includes 700 printed pages.

Feeling Off? You Might Be Allergic to Proprietary Software

Sat, 2 Mar 2024

In a world overrun by dreadful EULAs, a silent epidemic is spreading, and the symptoms are more insidious than you think.

Blazing Saddles and the Power of Parody

Fri, 1 Mar 2024

Mel Brooks' hilarious, boundary-pushing 1974 Western comedy Blazing Saddles is a masterclass in the art of parody. But why doesn't it violate the copyrights of the classic Western films it relentlessly skewers? The answer is found within the principle of fair use and the transformative nature of parody.

LibrePlanet 2024

Thu, 29 Feb 2024

I'm so excited to be attending LibrePlanet 2024 in May! The schedule looks fantastic, and there are so many talks that I'm interested in attending. It will be tough to decide which ones to go to, but that's just the hallmark of a great conference, right?

How Star Trek Addressed the Subject of War

Wed, 28 Feb 2024

Everywhere I turn, there's another story about fighting in the news. It reminds me of a concept often explored in the original series of Star Trek. Even in their optimistic way of envisioning humanity in the future, they still found ways to explore the complexities of war.

Repair vs. Liberation: Understanding the Nuances of the Right to Repair and Free Software Movements

Sun, 25 Feb 2024

Two important movements have emerged: the Right to Repair and the Free Software movement. While both are important in their own ways, there are significant differences in their underlying philosophies and goals. In this post, I'll dive into these distinctions and how both movements can collaborate strategically while ensuring that software freedoms aren't sidelined in the process.

Every Nonfree Program Is A Moral Slip, Not A Shortcut

Thu, 22 Feb 2024

As a free software activist, I find the existence of nonfree software, no matter how seemingly innocuous, to be a moral and ethical injustice. It's not a technical matter but a moral one with far-reaching consequences.

Code Behind Bars

Mon, 12 Feb 2024

A troubling truth emerges in a world increasingly reliant on software: governments sometimes act as gatekeepers, dictating where code can roam. These restrictions are implemented as export controls and trade sanctions for various reasons, from claims of national security to foreign policy reasons. Still, the reality is often far more complex and troubling. They usually have a collateral victim by applying a chilling effect to freedoms #2 and #3, the fundamental right to share code freely across borders. The collateral victim isn't just about lines of code; it's about isolating communities and undermining the very freedoms that everyone deserves. Software freedom is for everyone, even those we may not like. In this battle between government policies and digital rights, the ethical dimensions are stark - and the battleground stretches from your keyboard to Capitol Hill.

The Winds of Freedom are Rising

Fri, 26 Jan 2024

Friends and fellow freedom fighters, gather 'round! The winds of freedom are rising, and the scent of freedom hangs heavy in the air. Why? The Free Software Foundation has been on fire lately, and the results are electrifying. The future of free software is looking brighter than a sunbeam bouncing off Richard Stallman's glasses, and it's time to crank the volume on our collective optimism! Let's take a moment to raise a virtual mug of root beer to celebrate the recent victories that have bolstered our ranks and fueled our fire.

The Book of GNU

Thu, 18 Jan 2024

With knowledge of the history of computing, free software, and GNU it's possible to extract some meaning from the verses.

Why SaaSS is the Software Savior You Never Knew You Needed

Sun, 7 Jan 2024

I've previously talked about why dial-up internet is better, and why VHS tapes are better than DVDs and Blu-Ray. Now I'd like to talk about why you should stop running your own copies of software, and why SaaSS is the software savior you never knew you needed.

Free Software Is About Power

Sat, 6 Jan 2024

In software, the concept of freedom and the question about what rights the software users should have often seemed to take a backseat to things like features and functionality, deeming the software to be "powerful" if the software has enough.

'Twas The Night Before Freedom

Sat, 30 Dec 2023

'Twas the night before Freedom, in the cybernetic gleam,
No processor churned, no hard drive did scream.
Monitors slumbered, screens cold and dark,
Keyboards lay silent, no programmer's spark.

The Way Of The Wildebeest

Tue, 26 Dec 2023

Have you ever marveled at the wildebeest migration in a nature documentary? This fascinating spectacle, one of nature's grandest displays, can teach us valuable lessons about resilience, cooperation, and freedom. It's the unfettered journey of more than a million wildebeests across the Serengeti, all pursuing greener pastures. This annual migration is a difficult journey, fraught with danger at every turn. Yet, undeterred, these wildebeests march on collectively because they know this is the way to survival and growth.

Examining Trademark Overreach

Mon, 14 Aug 2023

In a prior post, I discussed Mozilla's trademark policy and its implications for free software. Today, I'm revisiting this subject from a different perspective. My focus is on a particular segment of Mozilla's Distribution Policy, which says: "When distributing, you must distribute the most recent version of Firefox and other Mozilla software." Mozilla's trademark policy refers to this as an "additional guideline", and the mandate carries significant implications for software freedom.

Friends Don't Try To Stop Friends From Sharing

Sat, 24 Jun 2023

Red Hat's been talked about lately due to their recent decision to only provide source code to their customers and not the public. I don't plan to talk about that aspect of it but rather the business model of "if you exercise your rights under the GPL, your money's no good here," and I intend to talk about it in more general terms than that.

Apple Ups Its Attack On Software Freedom

Tue, 23 May 2023

Apple announced a multiyear, multibillion-dollar agreement with Broadcom, further cementing its commitment to the erosion of software freedom and user rights. This collaboration, a veritable assault on free software principles, will see Broadcom develop 5G radio components, all under the iron fist of Apple's proprietary software.

LibrePlanet 2023

Sat, 15 Oct 2022

I wanted to write about my experience with LibrePlanet, and what the theme "Charting the Course" means for me.

Worldwide Public Domain Dedication (WPDD)

Mon, 25 Jul 2022

Back in May 2022 a conversation in the FSF's IRC channel on Libera.​Chat got me thinking that that there may be a benefit to having a version of CC0 that does address patents.

Why VHS tapes are better than DVDs and Blu-Ray

Sun, 24 Apr 2022

Following up on Why Dial-Up Internet Is Better it seemed appropriate for some satire on DVD and Blu-ray DRM, UOP, etc.

GNU Christmas

Wed, 1 Dec 2021

(To the tune of White Christmas by Bing Crosby)

The Future Of 32-bit Support

Tue, 7 Sep 2021

I've received some questions about the future of my 32-bit x86 kernel builds so I thought I'd answer by putting out something public.

Transcending Moore's Law

Sun, 8 Aug 2021

When computer scientist Gordon Moore first formulated his thesis on the exponentially growing speed and power of integrated circuits in 1965, no one at the time could have predicted the prescience of his observations. Moore was the first to articulate the remarkable degree of consistency in the rate at which transistor density was increasing, with the number of transistors able to fit onto a single integrated circuit approximately doubling every 2 years. More than any other factor, it is this rate of exponential growth in the field of microprocessors that has fueled the rise of electronics. With the modern world now fully immersed in digital technology, demand for ever more powerful computing hardware shows no sign of abating.

"Tivoization" and Your Right to Install Under Copyleft

Sun, 1 Aug 2021

Two schools of thought about the purpose of copyleft have been at odds for some time. Simply put, the question is: are copyleft licenses designed primarily to protect the rights of large companies that produce electronics and software products, or is copyleft designed primarily to protect individual users' rights to improve, modify, repair, and reinstall their software?

The Greatest Obstacles to Establishing a Successful Colony on Mars

Sun, 25 Jul 2021

The increasing privatization of space travel has brought renewed interest in the potential for crewed spaceflights to the moon and Mars, with private ventures such as SpaceX and Amazon's Blue Origin setting their sights on some of the most ambitious spacefaring missions humanity has yet attempted. Many leaders in the field of aeronautics have expressed a desire to not merely land on the surface of Mars, but to establish a permanent human presence on the Martian surface.

Stay The Course

Tue, 24 Sep 2019

I have found that I really agree with the ethical and social issues that RMS brings up in his talks about free software.

UEFI Secure Boot

Wed, 7 Aug 2019

My kernel packages for 32- and 64-bit x86 now support UEFI Secure Boot.

Sierra One

Sun, 7 Apr 2019

I've published a science fiction flash fiction story at /git/?p=sierraone.git. It is, of course, freely licensed under GPL-3.0-or-later.

Linux-libre on RISC-V

Mon, 5 Nov 2018

I've started building Linux-libre kernel packages for RISC-V in the freesh repository, starting with version 4.19.1.

Who's afraid of Spectre And Meltdown?

Sat, 11 Aug 2018

Back when I was young, people were taught not to install or run software from untrusted parties, very much like not to accept candy from strangers, or not to let the Big Bad Wolf in. Prevention is better than cure. Then came along application macros and the World Wide Web of Execution, that embed software in data files and web pages, respectively, so that it is automatically executed when viewing the file or the web page. Such automatic execution of untrusted software paved the way for plenty of malicious software, from traditional trojan horses, that, standing as desirable programs or data files, contain executable code that grants malicious third parties control over the computer, to stealthy cryptocoin miners in web pages, that spend users' compute power to surreptitiously transfer wealth to third parties.

Evacuating The Titanic

Thu, 5 Jul 2018
"CQD CQD SOS Titanic Position 41.44 N 50.24 W. Require immediate assistance. Come at once. We struck an iceberg. Sinking."

It's one of the distress calls sent by the Titanic in the early hours of April 15, 1912. Titanic was the largest ship in the world at the time, and seems an apt analogy to Intel's x86 processors.

How Star Trek Advanced the Cause of Gender Equality

Wed, 16 May 2018

The Women's Liberation Movement of the 1960s started a change in society. Prior to that time, women were expected to get married, tend to the house, and take care of the kids. Women with careers were few and far between. Even fewer could expect to have a position of authority in what was considered to be a man's world. While some women worked low level jobs due to financial problems at home, the idea of a woman pursuing a profession was generally scoffed at and dismissed. (Sadly, this expectation persisted long after the 1960s and is still prevalent in some places today.)

Introducing Extended-Term Support

Tue, 23 Jan 2018

I began maintaining my APT repository for Linux-libre, graciously hosted by the Free Software Foundation Latin America, in September 2011.

Introducing Linux-libre-firmware

Sun, 12 Nov 2017

Version 4.14 of the kernel named Linux was released today. One of the changes is the removal of the in-kernel firmware subtree. This, sadly, doesn't get rid of all of the proprietary software inside the kernel but that wasn't really their goal anyway. It's really just a cleaning up of something that wasn't being used anymore.

Technology That Empowers Me

Thu, 11 May 2017

Digital technology seems to be everywhere. In the past, someone might go to a library and check out a book to read. No one else could check out that copy until it was returned. With digital technology that's no longer an issue - there can be an inifinite number of copies - enough for everyone to read - without waiting for a copy to be returned.

Commercial Use

Wed, 29 Mar 2017

Someone recently asked me "in what way the freedoms of the readers/spectators/... of an artistic work are harmed if that work cannot be commercially used?"

Is Secrecy Impossible With The Internet?

Sat, 7 Jan 2017

Occasionally, entire print runs of publications, often thousands of copies, are recalled from bookstores before the public can get their hands on them. Sometimes the publishers do the recall after an eleventh hour threat of legal action by a party citing potential injury from alleged libelous or illegal content. Occasionally a government agency prevents publication, claiming some breach of secrecy or espionage laws. A famous example of this was the case in England in the 1980's of the book Spycatcher by former MI5 secret service officer Peter Wright.


Sun, 16 Oct 2016

I've previously written about things that don't allow modification (aka "derivative works".) This can be implemented in various ways, among any license. One of them that has one particular implementation of this is the GNU Free Documentation License ("GFDL"), which calls them Invariant Sections. These sections can't be modified (or even removed.)

It's Not Copyleft

Sat, 1 Oct 2016

Someone recently pointed me to Jonathan Riddell's blog post "In Defence for Permissive Licences; KDE licence policy update."

My Mother Is On Facebook

Sat, 24 Sep 2016

This is not a happy time: My mother recently got her own Facebook account. I'm not on Facebook. Or am I? I can just imagine what she might be posting there. Information about the family, including tagging people such as myself in pictures. As a result I'm not on Facebook and yet I end up in Facebook anyway.

Why Dial-Up Internet Is Better

Sat, 16 Apr 2016

Dial-up is considered a very obsolete and rather unfavorable way to connect to the internet simply due to its poor connection speed. Why would anybody in their right mind choose dial-up when cable, DSL, and other much faster internet connections are available? Not to mention there were no computers produced in the last number of years with dial-up modems in them. The modem issue is an easy fix: you can get an external USB dial-up modem from ThinkPenguin. There's also the problem of needing a landline phone connection - another thing that's going the way of the dinosaur as more people ditch wired phones in favor of cell phones. But even then, just having a landline doesn't cost very much per month either, even if you choose not to have a phone. That's the benefit of outdated technology/communication: it's cheap!

Supporting Software Freedom Conservancy

Mon, 7 Dec 2015

Software Freedom Conservancy is trying to change to an individual-supported, instead of corproate-supported, model and is doing a fundraising campaign to that end. I'm a Supporter of them and wanted to say why.

To Advance Free Software, Learn To Argue

Wed, 21 Oct 2015

I am sometimes asked how to convince somone to use free software. This article comes at the request of someone on how to do that well. (So yes - I do accept requests on topics. Please feel free to contact me if you'd like to see something.) Doing that is not always easy, and the best method and stragegy varies from case to case but one thing that I think will always help is learning to argue. Indeed, those that see me on IRC will sometimes see me trying to make a good argument for some particular point.

Will you help us save WiFi?

Wed, 2 Sep 2015

For as long as the libreCMC and LibreWRT projects have existed, their core focus has been to bring Free Software to embedded devices, some of which have WiFi chipsets. While the project(s) core goals have not changed very much over the last few years, the landscape of WiFi enabled devices has exploded. Many of the radios in these devices went from being single-purpose radios that can only operate within certain ranges to modifiable SDRs that can be changed. While having the freedom to change one's own hardware is important, it is also important to operate radio equipment within regulatory laws. Because a few have operated devices outside of regulations, the FCC and other regulatory bodies are proposing tighter restrictions on hardware that has WiFi or SDRs. These newly proposed regulations will prevent users from changing the software on their hardware, which means that features can't be added, software can't be audited and security holes will never get fixed. The new regulations won't solve the problem and will only take away essential freedoms to control one's own hardware.

VLC, VP9, Opus & WebVTT

Sun, 26 Jul 2015

I've begun maintaining an APT repository for VLC.

No Derivative Works

Wed, 24 Jun 2015

A discussion on IRC inspired me to write about the problems with licenses that do not allow derivative works.

How Star Trek Addressed the Issue of Racism

Sun, 5 Apr 2015

At LibrePlanet 2015, I agreed with someone by saying "Make it so." One of my friends pointed out, "Your Trekkie is showing." I've enjoyed Star Trek ever since I first watched it, due to the underlying messages. Disguised as a futuristic science fiction series, the classic Star Trek series boldly explored the issues prevalent in the 1960s. This included the most heated issue of the time: racism.

Goodbye, Gitorious

Wed, 4 Mar 2015

I've been self-hosted since 1999, and always push that option when talking to people. I didn't always follow my own advice though and made an exception for public source code repos I put on Gitorious. The announcement of Gitorious's demise motivated me to change that policy so that the rug can't be pulled out from under me again. I spent some time reviewing options and wanted to share my own decisions and rationale.

Spyware: Unethical Business Practice

Sun, 1 Mar 2015

Advertising has come a long way. With the advent of the internet, it became a big money maker. However, this has lead to a sinister turn of events where advertisers track people's progress across the internet in order to gain insight and make even better ads. To some extent this information is obtained through the use of spyware. It is common for people to be completely unaware that their privacy is being violated.


Tue, 10 Feb 2015

It's possible you're going to hear some anti-GPL stuff. I urge you to ignore it.

Trademark Decisions

Sun, 1 Feb 2015

The United Stated Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) defines a trademark as "words, names, symbols, sounds, or colors that distinguish goods and services from those manufactured or sold by others and to indicate the source of the goods." This sounds easy enough but it can sometimes be difficult to identfy all of the trademarks someone might have. McDonald's is a good example: Its first trademark registration was in 1961 but their giant yellow "M" was not registered as a trademark until 1968.


Sun, 16 Nov 2014

It's been a few months since the last time travel expedition where I go dig up ancient game source code and then pull it forward in time so it can be compiled and run on modern systems, so I decided it was time for another.

Beyond The Titanic

Wed, 10 Sep 2014

I realized that I never made a blog post on this topic to share the work done on pulling a classic game forward into the modern world, so here it is.


Sun, 10 Aug 2014

Here's an implementation of version 1.3 of the Skein cryptographic hash function. (To aid in pronunciation the name rhymes with rain and Spain.) It uses the reference implementation provided by Bruce Schneier on his website.

Upcoming GPG Key Transition

Mon, 23 Jun 2014

At the beginning of September I introduced my new GPG key and I've been slowly transitioning everything over to that new key. Now it's time for my Linux-libre APT repository to make the change.

Crowdfunding In Freedom

Sun, 25 May 2014

Crowdfunding has become extremely popular over the last few years. I suspect that most people wanting to start a crowdfunding campaign think choosing a crowdfunding platform is a simple task and decide to go ahead with the well-known options such as Kickstarter, IndieGoGo, RocketHub, Crowdfunder, Crowd Supply, etc. All of these and many others cater to a broad range of projects. Kickstarter is perhaps the most recognizable of all and many people have run successful crowdfunding campaigns there for music albums, independent films, charities, software and lots of other things.

How Crowdfunding Is Changing The World Of Publishing

Sun, 18 May 2014

The publishing world has always been somewhat ruthless on the aspirations of first time authors looking to get their first book or novel printed and onto the shelves of bookstores. The increasing interest in celebrity penned autobiographies and popular fiction has grown especially during these uncertain economic times. The advent of self-publishing gives authors the opportunity to put the publishing process into their own hands, but can be costly not to mention the time needed to market the finished book. However crowdfunding offers authors the opportunity to raise funds to meet the costs of getting the books published and enable effective marketing through the power of social media.

Introducing Non-PAE

Sun, 9 Mar 2014

I received a few requests to provide non-PAE kernels and I'm happy to announce that they are now available. In case you don't know PAE is a feature where 32-bit computers can access more than 4GB of memory. Most modern CPUs support this but older computers don't necessarily do and are incompatible with PAE-enabled kernels.

Trisquel Turns Ten

Sat, 8 Feb 2014

Although he tells me that he doesn't recall the exact date Rubén Rodríguez started the Trisquel GNU/Linux distribution in the Spring of 2004 which makes it ten year old this year. I've been using it for about four of those years now, when version 3.5 (codenamed Awen) was released in 2010. Trisquel versions are named after Celtic gods. The next release, version 7, is codenamed belenos after a Celtic sun god. A shining release seems perfectly named to coincide with Trisquel's tenth anniversary.

Kickin' It Up A Notch

Mon, 13 Jan 2014

I predict that The Pirate Bay's announcement regarding their latest project in development will change the way the war on sharing, censorship, and surveillance is fought. Their new weapon won't end the war, but it will force the enemy to abandon their traditional weapons. Government censors, copyright maximalists, and the puppet ISPs that collaborate with them will find it's going to be much more difficult to restrict access to websites, stop people from sharing, and monitor what they're up to.

Avoiding Surveillance

Tue, 17 Dec 2013

Please note that, although I primarily refer to the NSA in this article, unchecked, rampant surveillance is actually a worldwide problem.

Debian Doubletalk

Sat, 16 Nov 2013

I was recently re-reading the Debian Project's Social Contract. It seems good, until you start thinking about it.

Cisco & H.264

Wed, 30 Oct 2013

Cisco's announcement changes nothing about H.264. It's nothing more than a desperate attempt at grabbing straws. H.264 still patent encumbered. It's still problematic. Cisco doesn't even make an attempt to hide that their motivation is nothing less than getting a patent-encumbered codec selected for use in WebRTC. I urge everyone to ignore it and continue pushing for codecs that are not encumbered with patent problems.

Password Generator

Sun, 6 Oct 2013

A recent conversation on identi.ca prompted me to share this.

New GPG Key

Sun, 8 Sep 2013

For various reasons I have decided to retire my 1024D (SHA1) GPG keys. No attacks are known on them, and they are not compromised in any way (if they were, of course, I would immediately revoke them). Still, to be on the safe side, I am transitioning to stronger RSA keys.

Stop The Hysteria

Sun, 18 Aug 2013

Back in December 2012, Richard Stallman wrote Ubuntu Spyware: What to Do?

Increased Compatibility

Thu, 15 Aug 2013

I began maintaining an APT repository for Linux-libre, graciously hosted by the Free Software Foundation Latin America, in September 2011.


Mon, 1 Jul 2013

This is definitely a thinking person's game!

Online Sharing: An Unstoppable Force

Sun, 2 Jun 2013

If numbers are to be believed, millions of people share file with each other. Everyone's sharing something these days, even the FBI, major record labels, the U.S. government, the Vatican, and even the Canadian police and government. In fact, research published by Jean-Paul Van Belle at the University of Cape Town, South Africa said that only 11% of respondents claimed to have never engaged in sharing with their friends. Even the RIAA admits there's an ocean of sharing going on and there's no end in sight.

Grue Hunter

Sun, 5 May 2013

The Grue has eaten many adventurers. This game gives you a chance to get even.

A Dystopic View Of The Future

Sun, 14 Apr 2013

Jeff was finishing up his undergraduate degree in history at the University. It was difficult to obtain research materials ever since the library closed. Chancellor Pankrat's declaration that all published works were to forever exist only in digital form and also be placed under perpetual and draconian copyright restrictions led to the systematic closing of all lending libraries, music conservatories, and bookbinding factories. Pankrat was not a huge fan of history in general, unless it was his private version of it. Whether they were books, music, movies or games, no one could access them unless they were government sanctioned digital copies encrypted for use with the Digital Restrictions Management (DRM) system that was also mandated to be present on every electronic device used by the public. Pankrat used to work for the largest electronic book publisher in the world. This DRM system, not coincidentally, was developed by that company.

Introducing Long-Term Support

Mon, 1 Apr 2013

I began maintaining an APT repository for Linux-libre, graciously hosted by the Free Software Foundation Latin America, in September 2011.

COBOL Will Live Forever

Thu, 7 Mar 2013

The COBOL programming language is one of the oldest computer languages in existence, yet it's still widely used in extremely significant ways: The average person on the street has nearly a hundred interactions per week with things running COBOL. Even the New York Stock Exchange currently uses numerous mainframe computers running COBOL programs (although various efforts are presently underway to reduce that); and the number of daily COBOL transactions made around the world each day is actually greater than the number of hits all of the websites on the Internet receive.

Tracking User Logins

Sun, 3 Feb 2013

usertracker.pl scans specified log files for information about logged-in users and adds the list of logged users to a file. I had a need to get this information for a system I was working on, couldn't find a program that worked exactly like I wanted, and came to the conclusion that it had to be made. I'm publishing it here just in case it might be helpful to someone else some day.

How I Learned About Free Software

Jan 2013

I've been using computers my entire life. My earliest memory of them involves a TRS-80 Model III while I was in either the second or third grade. I remember that it had an orange reset button in the upper right corner of the keyboard and that the teacher had told us to never press it. I sometimes joked with my classmates about pressing it but never did. Someone eventually did though.

Copyright © 2013 Jason Self. See /license.shtml for license conditions. Please copy and share.

Your own privacy-aware, personally controlled server, part five

Sat, 1 Dec 2012

Based on the previous parts I'm going to assume that you have the hardware you want to use for your server, have registered a domain name that is safe from being be seized, know whether your ISP has assigned you a static or dynamic IP address, and that if you're behind some type of device that hands out private IP addresses to the computers in your home, you have found the manual for your router so as to figure out how to configure it to assign a static private IP address to your server and open any ports htat may be needed.

Outsourcing Your GPL Obligations

Thu, 25 Oct 2012

Version 3 of the GNU General Public License updated a free software license that was, at that point, sixteen years old since version 2 and 18 years since version 1.

The Importance Of Free Firmware

Sat, 15 Sep 2012

I received a request to write something about why you should use free firmware (so yes — I do accept requests for topics) but firmware is really just software and the arguments I was going to make apply equally to all software. However, for the purposes of this article, I will focus on software in the form of firmware.

Your own privacy-aware, personally controlled server, part four

Thu, 23 Aug 2012

This is part four of a series. I'm going to assume that you've already the previous parts. If not they're linked to from the archive.

Your own privacy-aware, personally controlled server, part three

Fri, 3 Aug 2012

This is part three of a series. I'm going to assume that you've already read the first and second parts.

What Can Be Copyrighted and What Can't

Tue, 3 Jul 2012

I've written about copyright before explaining how, in its default state, it's a restriction on society. In this I intend to discuss the scope of copyright restrictions.

The Story Of An Ebook Reader

Wed, 20 Jun 2012

I recently learned of someone selling their ebook reader that ran proprietary software. Who it is and what brand doesn't really matter since the story is about proprietary software and it appears that a number of people have bought (and sold) these devices.


Thu, 24 May 2012

Imagine a book store that sells you a book, but it's scrambled and cannot be read. Descrambling is a prerequisite to reading, but imagine there's a law making it illegal to do that.

Project Glass

Sun, 6 May 2012

Google recently revealed its plan to develop Internet-connected eyeglasses that would combine normal vision with informational overlays. It has named the effort "Project Glass" and built a prototype.

DRM And Free Expression

Sun, 29 Apr 2012

While not the only reason the former Soviet Union fell apart, samizdat certainly played a large role in this.

Will The War On Sharing Ever End?

Mon, 9 Apr 2012

While sharing seems to be in the media spotlight far more than ever before it is far from new. Without a doubt, advancements in technology have certainly made it easier but humans have been sharing with each other since the beginning of time. If statistics are to be believed, more and more people are sharing with each other.

A Slice of Raspberry Pi, Anyone?

Mon, 5 Mar 2012

A new computer system has come out: the Raspberry Pi. It's a computer on a single circuit board. An all-in-one processor, graphics card and memory cache slapped on a board with a few I/O ports and a memory card slot. It won't win any design awards; but then, it's not intended to.

An Empty Promise

Wed, 8 Feb 2012

I was reading about some new "promise" that Microsoft supposedly made, but in reading the details I see it as much ado about nothing. Here are the points they made:

  • Microsoft will always adhere to the promises it has made to standards organizations to make its standard essential patents available on fair, reasonable and nondiscriminatory terms.

Well, duh. This isn't anything more than saying they'll respect the commitment they made in order to participate in the standard-setting process to begin with. The world should expect nothing less, so this isn't anything special. Moving on.

Your own privacy-aware, personally controlled server, part two

Feb 2012

This is part two of a series. I'm going to assume that you've already read part one, and continue.

Your own privacy-aware, personally controlled server, part one

Jan 2012

This is part one of a series.

Apple Launches Attack On Latin America

Tue, 13 Dec 2011

SAO PAULO, Brazil—December 13, 2011—Apple today announced the launch of their latest attack on human freedom by making their iTunes Store available to people various countries in Latin America.


Sat, 12 Nov 2011

The Internet was originally designed to be a peer-to-peer system where each person, or peer, was free to share what ever information that they desired and it was up to other peers to view it or not. In the original concept, each node on the internet was designed to be its own server and the information that was stored at another location could be accessed by each server.

What Is Copyleft?

Sat, 12 Nov 2011

Copyleft is an idea. To understand it you first need to understand copyright.

The Legacy Of Steve Jobs

Sat, 22 Oct 2011

Steve Jobs didn't invent the computer, or the cell phone, or the portable music player, but he did help to make them popular. He wasn't the first to use software to turn those devices into a jail, but he was the first to make it cool to be in jail.

APT Repository for Linux-libre

Wed, 14 Sep 2011

I've begun maintaining an APT repository for Linux-libre, graciously hosted by the Free Software Foundation Latin America.

Mozilla's Trademark Policy Goes Too Far

Aug 2011

I was recently reading the Mozilla Trademark Policy after a discussion on gnu-linux-libre raised questions about whether it makes Mozilla software proprietary.

The (Lack) Of Cell Phone Freedom

Thu, 21 Jul 2011

I've been thinking about cell phones, and there is no cell phone out there that is 100% freedom-respecting.

Calling All Patent Trolls

Mon, 4 Jul 2011

It seems that everything's going downhill in the patent world: The free software community didn't get the result we were hoping for out of the Bilski case, and the i4i case actually made it harder to invalidate patents. The patent system is already such a mess, and these court decisions only seem to make it worse, so I've come to the conclusion that we need more patent trolls.

Free Software And GNU

Jun 2011

You may have heard of "free" software before. One common belief is that it's free of cost. The majority of free software is available without cost, but "free" really refers to freedom not price. Specifically, the freedom to run, study, modify and distribute the software.

DRM And Free Culture

May 2011

I strongly believe in free culture and that all creative works everywhere should be free. Specifically, people should have:

GNU Social And You

Apr 2011

Facebook, Twitter, and other social media outlets have literally revolutionized the way many people in the world communicate. But, is this communication really free? Can you expect that these services will be up and running and that you'll be able to use them, no matter the political climate of the time?