Search Results: "erinn"

10 August 2012

Benjamin Mako Hill: A Model of Free Software Success

Last week I helped organize the Open and User Innovation Conference at Harvard Business School. One of many interesting papers presented there was an essay on Institutional Change and Information Production by Fabio Landini from the University of Siena. At the core of the paper is an economic model of the relationship between rights protection and technologies that affects the way that cognitive labor can be divided and aggregated. Although that may sound very abstract (and it is in the paper), it is basically a theory that tries to explain the growth of free software. The old story about free software and free culture (at least among economists and many other academics) is that the movements surged to prominence over the last decade because improvements in communication technology made new forms of mass-collaboration -- like GNU/Linux and Wikipedia -- possible. "Possible", for these types of models, usually means profit-maximizing for rational, profit-seeking, actors like capitalist firms. You can basically think of these attempts as trying to explain why open source claims that free licensing leads to "better quality, higher reliability, more flexibility, lower cost" are correct: new technology makes possible an open development process which leads to collaboration which leads to higher quality work which leads to profit. Landini suggests there are problems with this story. One problem is that it treats technology as being taken for granted and technological changes as effectively being dropped in from outside (i.e., exogenous). Landini points out that software businesses build an enormous amount of technology to help organize their work and to help themselves succeed in what they see as their ideal property rights regime. The key feature of Landini's alternate model is that it considers this possibility. What comes out the other end of the model is a prediction for a multiple equilibrium system -- a situation where there are several strategies that can be stable and profitable. This can help explain why, although free software has succeeded in some areas, its success has hardly been total and usually has not led to change within existing proprietary software firms. After all, there are still plenty of companies selling proprietary software. In Landini's model, free is just one of several winning options. But Landini's model raises what might be an even bigger question. If free software can be as efficient as proprietary software, how would anybody ever find out? If all the successful software companies out there are doing proprietary software, which greedy capitalist is going to take the risk of seeing if they could also be successful by throwing exclusive rights out the window? In the early days, new paths are always unclear, unsure, and unproven. Landini suggests that ethically motivated free software hackers provide what he calls a "cultural subsidy." Essentially, a few hackers are motivated enough by the ethical principles behind free software that they are willing to contribute to it even when it isn't clearly better than proprietary alternatives. And in fact, historically speaking, many free software hackers were willing to contribute to free software even when they thought it was likely less profitable than the proprietary alternative models. As Landini suggests, this group was able to build technological platforms and find new social and business arrangements where the free model actually is competitive. I think that the idea of an "cultural subsidy" is a nice way to think about the important role that ethical arguments play in movements like free software and free culture. "Open source" style efficiency arguments persuade a lot of people. Especially when they are true. But those arguments are only ever true because a group of ethically motivated people fought to find a way to make them true. Free software didn't start out as competitive with proprietary software. It became so only because a bunch of ethically motivated hackers were willing to "subsidize" the movement with their with their failed, and successful, attempts at free software and free culture projects and businesses. Of course, the folks attracted by "open source" style superiority arguments can find the ethical motivated folks shrill, off-putting, and annoying. The ethically motivated folks often think the "efficiency" group is shortsighted and mercenary. But as awkward as this marriage might be, it has some huge upsides. In Landini's model, the ethical folks can build their better world without convincing everyone else that they are right and by relying, at least in part, on the self-interest of others who don't share their principles. Just as the free software movement has done. I think that Landini's paper is a good description of the critically important role that the free software movement, and the FSF in particular, can play. The influence and importance of individuals motivated by principles can go far beyond the groups of people who take an ethical stand. They can make involvement possible for large groups of people who do not think that taking a stand on a particular ethical issue is even a good idea.

17 February 2012

Andreas Barth: Sch fflertanz

Every 7 years with the Sch fflertanz the end of the Black Death in 1517 is celebrated. After lots of people died, everyone was too scared to go out in the streets again, even after the Black Death was gone. The Sch ffler (cooper = people who traditionally build barrels) started to cheer the people in Munich up with their dance, and made them go on the streets and start their normal lifes again. This is one of the few local traditions that even survived the modern times. The barrel is signed with "Sch fflertanz 2012" and "Zur Erinnerung an das Pestjahr 1517" = "To remind of the Black Death-year 1517", and should remind us that even in the darkest times, there is still hope and life goes on.

8 January 2011

David Bremner: Beamer overlays in highlighted source code

I use a lot of code in my lectures, in many different programming languages. I use highlight to generate HTML (via ikiwiki) for web pages. For class presentations, I mostly use the beamer LaTeX class. In order to simplify generating overlays, I wrote a perl script to preprocess source code. An htmlification of the documention/man-page follows.
NAME hl-beamer - Preprocessor for hightlight to generate beamer overlays. SYNOPSIS hl-beamer -c // highlight -S java -O latex > figure1.tex DESCRIPTION hl-beamer looks for single line comments (with syntax specified by -c) These comments can start with @ followed by some codes to specify beamer overlays or sections (just chunks of text which can be selectively included). OPTIONS CODES EXAMPLE Example input follows. I would probably process this with
hl-beamer -s 4 -k encodeInner
Sample Input
 // @( omit
 import java.util.Scanner;
 // @)
     // @( encoderInner
     private int findRun(int inRow, int startCol) 
         // @<
         int value=bits[inRow][startCol];
         int cursor=startCol;
         // @>
         // @<
         while(cursor<columns && 
               bits[inRow][cursor] == value) 
         // @>
         // @<
         return cursor-1;
         // @>
     // @)
BUGS AND LIMITATIONS Currently overlaytype and section must consist of upper and lower case letters and or underscores. This is basically pure sloth on the part of the author. Tabs are always expanded to spaces.

5 August 2010

Benjamin Mako Hill: My August

I've got a pretty packed August. I just wrapped the Open and User Innovation Conference at MIT -- the academic conference on user and open innovation connected to my research. I organized the program and was MC for the 120+(!) talks and research updates on the program so it's a huge relief to see it come off successfully. On Thursday, August 5th (at 14:30 UTC) I'll be giving a talk on antifeatures at DebConf (the Annual Debian conference). It was accidentally listed as "Revealing Errors" until a few minutes ago -- sorry about that! It will be streamed live (details on the DC site) for those outside of New York City who might want to follow it. As soon as DebConf is done on August 8th, I'm going to head to Kor ula in Croatia to relax, read, and hopefully get a bit of research done, before I head off to Outlaws and Inlaws in Split on the 19th, a sort of piracy and (vs?) free software summit put on by mi2 connected to the recurring Nothing Will Happen where, from what I hear, quite a lot does. I'm going to have to leave Nothing Will Happen a little early to head to FrOSCon on the 21st where I'll be doing an antifeatures keynote again on the 22nd. I tend not to like to do the same talk too many times, or for more than a year, so this might be one of the last times I present on antifeatures in this form. After that, I'm going to head to Italy where I'll be between the 23rd and the 3rd of September. I'll fly and in and out of Rome and plan to spend some time in Rome, Tuscany, and Florence, but don't have a lot of set plans and might travel to Bologna or elsewhere. My schedule is pretty open. As always, I'm interested in meeting up for coffee or a drink with like-minded hackers, Wikipedians, researchers, activists, etc. If folks are interested in organizing talks or presentations, that sounds fun too. I'm keeping a brief description of my schedule updated alongside a bunch of ways to get in touch with me on my contact page. Don't hesitate to drop me a line!

21 March 2010

Robert Collins: LibrePlanet 2010 day 3

Free network services A discussion session led by Bradley Kuhn, Mako & Matt Lee : encouraged to write an API so they didn t need to screen scrape; outcome of the network services story still unknown netbooks without local productivity apps might now work, most users of network office apps are using them because of collaboration. We have a replacement for twitter, distributed system, but nothing like facebook [yet?]. Bradley says like the original GNU problem, just start writing secure peer to peer network services to offer the things that are currently proprietary. There is perhaps a lack of an architectural vision for replacing these proprietary things: folk are asking how we will replace the cloud aspects of facebook etc tagging photos and other stuff around the web, while not using hosted-by-other-people-services. I stopped at this point to switch sessions the rooms were not in sync session time wise. Mentoring in free software Leslie Hawthorne: Projector not working, so Leslie carried on a discussion carried on from the previous talk about the use of sexual themes in promoting projects/talk content and the like. This is almost certainly best covered by watching the video. A few themes from it though: We then got Leslies actual talk. Sadly I missed the start of it I was outside organising security guards because we had (and boy it was ironic) a very loud, confrontational guy at the front who was replying to every statement and the tone in the room had gotten to the point that a fight was brewing. From where I got back: Chris Ball, Hanna Wallach, Erinn Clark and Denise Paolucci Recruiting/retaining women in free software projects. Not a unique problem to women things that make it better for women can also increase the recruitment and retention of men. Make a lack of diversity a bug; provide onramps small easy bugs in the bug tracker (tagged as such), have a dedicated womens sub project and permit [well behaved :) ] men in there helps build connections into the rest of the project. Make it clear that mistakes are ok. On retention recognise first patches, first commits in newsletters and the like. Call out big things or long wanted features by the person that helped. Regular discussion of patches and fixes rather than just the changelog. CMU did a study on undergrad women participation in CS : Lack of confidence preceeds lack of interest/partipation . Engagement with what they are doing is a key thing too. Women are consistently undervaluing their worth to the free software community . Its the personal touch that seems to make a huge difference . More projects should do a code of conduct kudos to Ubuntu for doing it Chris Ball. I found the mentoring and women-in-free-software talks to have extremely similar themes which is perhaps confirmation or something but it wasn t surprising to me. They were both really good talks though! And thats my coverage of LibrePlanet I m catching a plane after lunch :( . Its a good low-key conference, and well put together.

23 December 2009

Gerfried Fuchs: Merry Season Greetings

This poem is only in German language, but I hope you can forgive me to run it in my English language feed nevertheless. I send you the best season greetings, have a nice time, use it well, relax and think about it. :)

Weihnachtsgedicht 2009

Vor ungef hr zweitausend Jahren
glaubt man, wurde ein Mann geboren
glaubt man, dass es Gottes Sohn gewesen ist
glaubt man, der uns alle erl sen sollte

Irgendwann sp ter
dachte man, das w re ein Grund, daran zu denken
dachte man, es w re ein Grund, in sich zu kehren
dachte man, es w re eine besinnliche Zeit

Heute jedoch
stresst man, um nur ja Geschenke f r alle zu finden
stresst man, weil jeder berall mit einem feiern will
stresst man, um sich besonders g tig zu zeigen

Ich w nsche mir, dass
wir helfen, uns zur ck zu erinnern
wir helfen, uns zur ck zu besinnen
wir helfen, wieder ruhiger zu werden

Ich w nsche euch ein erl stes, besinnliches,
g tiges und ruhiges Weihnachtsfest!

10 December 2009

John Goerzen: Being a Dad at Thanksgiving

Over Thanksgiving this year, we took a train trip to visit Terah s family in Indiana. Here s the story of the trip. The Train to Indiana Our last train trip (to Chicago) was in May, before Oliver was born. Jacob always has enjoyed the train, but this time wow. We told Jacob about the trip the day before we were to leave. Several times in the day, he d get a sly smile, and ask, What are we going to do? Terah or I would spell out the day s activities, and when we d get close to the part where I d wake him up at night and we d go to the train station, he d have a big smile. The big hour (2AM) arrived and Jacob woke up while Terah was putting his shoes on. I was there a moment later. Normally Jacob is terribly grumpy after waking up, even more so if somebody else woke him up. That day, I saw a very groggy-looking boy. I asked him, Jacob, are you ready to go to the train station? He answered, YEAH! while rubbing his eyes. Dad, let s go! We had Amtrak s family bedroom for the first time this trip, and it worked out great. Jacob actually slept, despite his extreme excitement. He d been talking about eating in the diner car for quite some time, and was really excited when breakfast time rolled around. We sat down, and he pressed his nose up against the window right away. He counted the freight trains the he saw, pointed out train tracks and crossing guard lights , noticed barns and trucks, and gave us frequent updates on how fast we were going. His voice was high-pitched from excitement, and sometimes we d have a running commentary we could barely interrupt, and other times he d sit there silently just soaking it all in. But he didn t eat. He didn t want to turn his head away from the window for a second to take a bite. I kept reminding him to take a bite, and finally, fearing he d be really hungry as soon as we went back to our room, fed him a few bites for the first time in ages. I don t believe he realized that happened. He just opened his mouth by reflex and once I had to tell him to close his mouth around the fork that was in it. It was much the same story for lunch, and for dinner on the train though less so for dinner since it was dark outside. At dinner, a man sitting across the aisle from us said, If you weren t getting your meal free [since we're in the sleeper], I d buy it for you. Your boys are amazingly well-behaved! I thanked him politely Jacob and Oliver both were doing well but didn t really think it was that unusual. Oliver and Jacob were both big hits on the train. They got smiles from so many people on board and in the stations. Several of the dining car staff seemed to linger at our table longer than elsewhere, looking at them (and especially Oliver). Oliver slept well on the train: img_2240.jpg And here are a couple of typical Jacob photos: img_2244.jpg img_2241.jpg In Indiana I ve got to start this out with one of the family gatherings at Terah s aunt s house. They have a large kids area in their basement, and a swingset with a slide outside. Jacob loved all of this, and spent hours playing with me. Sometimes if I d go upstairs with the adults, I d hear Jacob s voice from the basement a few minutes later: DAAAAAD!!!! Shall you come back downstairs? DAAAD! And, of course, it s hard to resist a 3-year-old that wants to play with me, so I inevitably would. We played air hockey Jacob shrieked with delight whenever anybody scored a goal in any way. At one point, he stood up, looked around, and said, Hmmm. Where are all the trains? Apparently he expected every home to be stocked with toy trains, and this one wasn t. A few seconds later, he was all excited. He ran over to a toy semi, and said, I will use the semi train! Outside the short slide had a ladder going up to it. I held Jacob s hands while he climbed up the first few times, but I knew he could do it himself. I started helping him less and less, and eventually refused to help him at all. He was rather frustrated with that for a moment, but a couple times later, climbed up and said, Dad, I got up here all by myself! A few times later, it looked like he was having trouble, so I tried to help, and got shooed away with, No, dad! I can do it. The best moment of the weekend came during the drive back to Terah s mom s house where we were staying. Terah was driving, and I heard Jacob say, Shall you come closer? Not sure how to do that from the front seat of the car, I reached my hand back there and he held it. He held one or the other of my hands for 20 minutes until he fell asleep in the car. It s funny what feeling needed by a 3-year-old makes a person feel, but that was surely a happy day. Jacob got to see all of his Indiana grandparents on this trip, and loved playing with them. He especially liked using a perfect red train (his words!) he drug home from the nursery at church on Sunday, and a child-sized tent in the basement. I m not sure how many times I heard Gampa Mike! Shall we go to the basement? that weekend. One point he wanted me to come down to see it and play with him, so I did. Then he decided we all needed to be down there, and told me I ll go pick up mom. I ll be right back. Stay downstairs, dad. Fearing that Terah wouldn t know what to do when Jacob attempted to pick her up , I tried to discreetly follow at a distance. That was no match for a 3-year-old. He looked back at me from the top of the stairs, pointed an accusing finger at me, lowered his voice, and said, Dad. Stay. Terah and I spent a day in South Bend and stayed at the Oliver Inn while Jacob and Oliver got some time to themselves with their grandparents. We had dinner at the beautiful Tippecanoe Place, just next door. The Trip Home We had a few hours in downtown Chicago on our way home. We went and ate at a small Indian restaurant. Jacob kept alternating between three things: This food is very spicy! I like spicy food. I need another drink! A little while later, Terah decided we should have some dessert. So she and Oliver stayed in the waiting area while Jacob and I went asporing (exploring) to find something. We walked a block or two to the nearest Dunkin Donuts, then to a Starbucks, and then back. Jacob carried the sack of donuts, guarding them so carefully that I was afraid he might smash them. (They were cream-filled so that wouldn t have been good.) He had a lot of fun exploring Chicago Union Station, and also enjoyed walking in Chicago (though not quite as much; it was all a little too loud for him.) In the train station, he loved the escalators. Up and down we went, whenever we wouldn t get in people s way. I had to eventually drag him away from them as I was getting a little self-conscious at all the people standing around watching us repeatedly go up and down the escalators. Jacob has found a 3-year-old way to express his feelings: he ll pretend to be a kitty, and say the kitty is sad or something like it. All day he had been saying the kitty is hungry. He hadn t had a big breakfast, but he had plenty of opportunity to eat at lunch, and a snack. We were a bit confused, but I think we finally figured it out on the train back to Kansas. We didn t have time to eat breakfast in the diner on the train from South Bend to Chicago, so Jacob missed out on the dining car then, and I think he was disappointed or confused about that. Once we had dinner in the dining car, he was happier. Since we ve been back home, he s been talking about our next train trip. He says which suitcases we ll take, that we ll eat in the diner, that it will be a night train we take, and generally is still very excited about it. It was a fun trip.

10 September 2008

Martin F. Krafft: Republican bickering

I wonder what would have happened if Obama had put lipstick on a pitbull would there be any less of this circus put up by the Republican monkeys? Are we back in Kindergarten? Mom! Mom! He hit me! . Is the next thing we ll see tears on stage? Or some sort of fake emotional outbreak? Anything goes in America, I say Both, Obama and McCain have used the lipstick analogy in the past (see previously linked article, and this AP writeup), so why are the Republican monkeys trying to nail him on sexism? They are (trying to) play the gender card (thanks to Erinn Clark for the link). Sexism surely is a word to grab attention, especially in the Excited States of America. By shifting attention to sexism, the Republican monkeys are not only stealing Obama s show and dragging the short-attention-span media (and populace) away from any Palin-related scandals, they are also covering up that they don t have anything else to say. Finally, sexism is an emotional topic, unlike the other political and policy crap the entertainment-hungry television crowd has to put up with, so hooray for excitement! I am disgusted by this American election circus. And I wish we d get about as much coverage of American news in these times as international news gets airtime on American TV. Even though I hope Obama wins for no other reason than that he s not in the same political camp as George W. International Terrorist and War Criminal Bush, I couldn t really care less and don t have any reason to believe that things will improve when the Democrats move back into the White House. And neither do lobbyists care who s sitting at the top. Idiots exist on every level and all over the globe. The rich will still pull the strings. The capitalist avalanche (euphemistically called the strive for democracy ) doesn t slow down. Other countries political monkeys have tasted totalitarianism and lost their senses, and no US government will get them back on track. And the media, who controls it all anyway, is just cashing in on the whole spectacle, which is why I have to continue to be subjected to it. Which brings us back to the rich I wouldn t be surprised to find the likes of Haliburton in the financial support list of the Republican monkeys. PS: I know and respect many American citizens, and I know most of them think like me. Nevertheless, I feel it necessary to point out that none of the above is an attack on those of you with a clue. I feel sympathy at the same time as I feel the rage expressed in the above, but this rage is solely with the political monkeys, the media, and merciless capitalists. None of those are US-specific, it just happens that you seem to have the most pronounced combinations. NP: Mogwai: Come On Die Young

13 August 2008

Michael Schultheiss: schultmc = old

Tonight was the Debian 15th Anniversary Party and formal dinner over at the alternate hotel. During dinner, Bdale asked helix which Wilson Sister she thought she was most like. read more

11 June 2008

Christian Perrier: [life] Manu en su casa

Yes, Manu Chao was really home yesterday in Paris Bercy. And he was obviously feeling like being home. The concert began at 21:30 and ended up at 00:30. Yes...that makes 3 full hours concert. All that for 25 euros. The crowd support, dance, participation was *amazing*. I often go to concerts in the Bercy arena and never saw the crowd in the upper rows being stood up all concert long. Radio Bemba played their usual tracks first. As usual, the very Manu way to mix songs, themes from all his carreer and mix them up, distord them and make new songs from old ones. This is what always made Mano Negra, then Manu Chao oncerts unique experiences. Just imagine 20,000 people singing Clandestino a capella, most of us not knowing any damn word of Spanish... After about 2 hours of magic without any stop, the very special moments came in. Manu, Gambit, Majiv (what a guitarist when playing rumbas de Barcelona!), Julio (de Barcelona!)...and all others were just feeling like being home with a few friends. So the encores lasted...and lasted...and lasted. They just didn't want to stop (Manu probably said about 3 or 4 times "c'est fini"). Then, they did something I never ever saw in a big 20,000 people concert since my first one back in....long time ago. Manu asked "do you have 5 more minutes?". So, they stopped for 5 minutes to get the guitars re-accorded(sp?)....the crowd just...waited...and the gig re-started again with songs from "Si Sib rie m' tait cont e", the special book-album he made with friends, inspired by the sad winters he spent in Paris in his early years. Soooooo special and, believe me, that *was* special. Seeing all roadies, crew, friends just dancing backstage and partying clearly showed this was not to always happen (this will probably happen again on today's concert). He was just feeling like home. And so were we. Not wanting to leave and shut down the light. Finally, at 00:30, all of us were dead tired and we just hugged around with Manu and left. Just like old friends. I don't know if that will happen everywhere in the upcoming tour (some dates in France, some in Europe, a few in USA....nothing unfortunately in South America as of now)....but if you have the opportunity to go to Radio Bemba concerts, just do it. And (IRC reference), really, Erinn, this was not about "ethnic music for white people" (really wondering where you got this idea...or if you were just kidding me). I dunno what Manu ever did to kill your ears, but just try again and, even more important, go to the gig in your fair city on August 22nd. Radio Bemba concerts will be cheap, about half the price of regular bug size concerts....just use that opportunity.

28 March 2008

Erinn Clark: inarticulate

I always thought it would be interesting to write an essay on why exactly this article is relevant to Debian, but since I never got around to it, I should just share the link: Fetishizing Process.

18 February 2008

Erinn Clark: notes on an elevator

My apartment building is a battlefield. TUESDAY


16 January 2008

Erinn Clark: don't you wish your internets were free like me?

When you quote Voltaire in a discussion about censorship, the likelihood that people will listen to you approaches zero while the likelihood that people will roll their eyes approaches infinity.

26 November 2007

Erinn Clark: To whom it may concern

Dear nerdcore rappers, Stephen Hawking is a quadriplegic not a paraplegic. Please correct your lyrics posthaste. Love,

20 November 2007

Erinn Clark: apt-get moo

My electric company has super cow powers.

15 November 2007

Romain Francoise: More on vi, the Esc key, and Ctrl-[

Many thanks to everyone who sent in their thoughts on my post about vi and CTRL-[. Here's a quick summary of the comments I received on my blog and by IRC/email:As a closing note, a followup question from reader Laurent C.: :wq, :x or ZZ? :)

6 November 2007

Christian Perrier: Pink KDE: yay

Erinn, I got it, thanks to Mohammed. So, dear, now you have to switch to KDE and learn German.

14 October 2007

Christian Perrier: Pink KDE: yay

Erinn, I got it, thanks to Mohammed. So, dear, now you have to switch to KDE and learn German.

13 October 2007

Christian Perrier: No pink KDE?

To make Erinn happy, I'd like to find a nice pink theme for KDE. Dear pink-lover Lazyweb, any hint?

Erinn Clark: Pink offends Gnome users

Actual results: Pink ugliness. That's how I feel about the overtly masculine blue hegemony in almost every website and window manager theme I encounter.