Who doesn’t love Free Software?

walrus-valentines-day_i-heart-free-softwareI Love Free Software Day 2015 is landing upon us like a giant walrus in just 2 days, so I hope my vast and extensive blog readership is ready to celebrate.

The Free Software Foundation Europe (FSFE) has organized this holiday to encourage people to send some love back to all of the people who develop, test, design, translate, and document the Free Software that makes our digital lives possible. There are many ways to celebrate the day, including sending e-mail or snail-mail to the people or projects that you can’t live without, taking photos of yourself with the Free Software that you use (be creative!), or just giving a donation to one or more projects.

As all 4 of you readers undoubtedly know, I spend much of my time working on the marvelous Free Software office suite, LibreOffice, as well as promoting the use of LibreOffice, other Free Software, and free/open file formats in the US and abroad. If you feel so inclined to toss gold, bitcoin, valuable cats, or other forms of currency at LibreOffice, you may do so on this page. If you wish to contribute directly to the project (which takes more time, but is often more satisfying!), just point your navigator of the high seas Internet to our ‘Get Involved’ page.

Of course, there are many other Free Software projects that need your kind care and love (monetary or otherwise). The picture at the top of the page I made in Inkscape using several images from Open Clip Art. (Credits: bow and arrow, wings, heart, and Free Software developer)

So get out there this Saturday and let people know that you’re grateful for the work that they do that makes our whole community possible. Getting positive feedback will make their day!

P.S. All you Free Software hackers/contributors out there, listen up! I know that we tend to get laser-focused on our work and forget about vaguely important things such as our {girl|boy}friends, spouses, etc.., so this is the perfect opportunity for you to send a postcard to those important people to let them know that there are things more important than computers, even if it doesn’t seem that way 364 days out of the year 😉

Fossetcon was amazing!

Following the LibreOffice Annual Conference in Bern, Switzerland, I headed to Olando, Florida for Fossetcon. This was my first trip to the Sunshine State, and I got a very warm welcome from all of the Fossetcon team.

When I arrived at the airport, Vernon Singleton was kind enough to pick me up and give me a ride over to the Rosen Plaza Hotel. Situated along a strip of various hotels and eateries, the Rosen Plaza was an all-in-one venue, providing lodging, conference space, and a few different dining options. In addition to my regular QA Engineer work, I was spending the week learning how to be the Release Engineer for LibreOffice, so I spent a fair amount of time glued to my computer, but did find time to run out to eat and use the pool.

WARNING: Floridians don’t know what crosswalks are. They will run you over. The same thing will happen in Dallas, TX, and perhaps in any other city in the South. Just wait until there aren’t any cars within a hundred feet or more, and then cross.

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Time to empty my pockets for FOSS projects

I’m still hesitant to call it any kind of ritual, but as I’ve done it for a few years it has become a bit of a habit for me to compile a long list of projects and groups and to then dole-out money to all of my favorite freedom-loving FOSS and Open Content organizations.

I try to get my donations in by the 1st quarter of the year, but as this year has been so hectic for me, moving offices around and such, I had to push off the ritual until May. Okay, fine. Maybe it is a ritual for me now!
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Can’t find Jim Whitehurst’s post on software patents? Hack it.

Speaking of software patents, it appears that there’s an interesting article up on opensource.com about software patents and 20th century vs. 21st century business models written by RedHat’s president and CEO, Jim Whitehurst.

Except I can’t show it to you. But not for the usual reasons…

Update: I’ve found the full text and included it at the bottom of this post.
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Routing around software patents: Be specific!

I was chatting with some friends the other day about patents and software and how the twain should never have become such good friends, when an idea popped into my head about software patents.

Software patents, as you might assume, are patents that cover software. These patents don’t cover a particular implementation of an algorithm or series of algorithms, as one can with a copyright, but instead cover the algorithm itself….implemented on a general purpose computer.

“What, what?,” I hear you saying “but how can this be? Algorithms and math are not patentable in the US.” And while you are correct when you say that math and algorithms are not directly patentable in the US, you have missed a most devious and ridiculous loophole, first allowed by the US Patent Office, and then later perpetuated by the courts. An otherwise unpatentable algorithm, when loaded on to a “general purpose computer“, suddenly becomes part of a patentable whole.
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Outdoor Movies: Kicking it off with “Duel of the Tough”

When was the last time you went to a drive-in?

For me it must have been at least 3 years ago. There’s a drive-in over in Fairlee, VT, and during the summer season they show double features for $8 per person. It’s a lot of fun to pile in a car and head over there, hoping for clear skies.

The Fairlee Drive-in also has a motel, and the rooms are situated such that you can open the curtains on one of the walls and watch the movie. It’s kind of a fun gimmick.

Last night I kicked off my career as a projectionist with the spectacular film Duel of the Tough, originally titled Shen tui mi zong shou. We’d had a BBQ over at my place and Cyrus stayed around to poke at the fire when I had the epiphany that I had finally acquired all of the pieces necessary to project movies outside.
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Digital Document Management at Dartmouth: We’ve a long way to go

Last week was rather busy for me. Right after I got back to the Dartmouth campus from a tour of the composting facility I had to hightail it to Carson (the “pseudo-building” glued to the side of Berry Library) to attend a class in Digital Document Management (DDM). Over the course of two hours, Dartmouth Records Manager Wess Jolley [PDF] described some of the ideas and theory behind DDM and presented analysis of the progress Dartmouth has made towards transitioning from paper-only offices to largely DDM-only offices.

Although the management of documents at Dartmouth is very large and complicated — Jolley described us like a “small town” in terms of document diversity — the College is making steady progress towards bringing DDM to the various departments. As Dartmouth doesn’t even have DDM software selected yet, and given the hurdles associated with transitioning and retraining employees to use a digital system, it will likely be several years before a majority of the departments are wholly switched to a digital document management system.

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