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Call for Participation: FSFE European summit

Enlightening Europe
Enlightening Europe
Imagine a European Union that builds its IT infrastructure on Free Software. Imagine European Member States that exchange information in Open Standards and share their software. Imagine municipalities and city councils that benefit from decentralized and collaborative software under free licenses. Imagine no European is any longer forced to use non-Free Software.

This is the introduction of the Call for Participation of the first FSFE European Summit

Come and be part of an event where local activists gather to change Europe and its politics into using, creating and sharing free technology.

If you like to inspire, sent your submission until May 17

Save the date: September 2 – 4, 2016 – BCC Berlin, Germany
Hashtag: #FSFEsummit – Picture / Logo: http://polr.me/vfc

I love Free Software: How to edit OpenStreetMap in Osmand

ilovefs-osmandI am a traveller, a person who spents his money and spare time to leave home and see the world. That is why I am in need of a good Free Software navigation system. For IloveFS Day 2016 I like to thank all Free Software contributors and highlight my personal favorite OpenStreetMap-based navigation app: Osmand

For me, Osmand is the perfect match between simplicity and complexity. You can choose to use it for a simple map illustrator or as an offline navigation system including voice directions. Also, you can choose to see a simple map or show multiple layers to also see transportation systems, points of interests, hillshades, wikipedia entries and much more. Or you can enable a variety of plugins to customize your application or to enable advanced features. One of them is to edit and contribute to the source of OpenStreetMap.

Since this makes contributes anytime spontaneously to OpenStreetMap very easy, on #IloveFS, I like to thank the people behind Osmand by sharing a how-to add locations to OpenStreetMap with Android (or an Android custom-ROM). It is fun, easy and free.
This way I also hope to inspire other people to take their mobile once in a while and to map the world together.

Please note: this is an updated How to for Osmand version 2.2+. Please read my former Howto, if you run Osmand 2.0 or 2.1.

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About Cartes – the OSM app inside FirefoxOS marketplace

cartes

After my first steps with Firefox OS, this time I looked out for a navigation app because proper navigation is to me among the most important services of a mobile phone. I navigated through Mozillas marketplace and so far there are Cartes, Bing Maps, traffc, Maps Online, Find Me Google, Compass +, zMaps and Easy Taxi. Unfortunately, you do not see which one are Free Software and which not. But, after reading the info-pages inside the market place, I found Cartes to be the only navigation app in the market place so far, that is Free Software. So I gave this one a try.

First, I love a lot that it comes with a very easy-to-use interface that is composed of simply one line where you can enter for example an address that you are looking for. Or two lines in case you look for a route. Basically like openstreetmap.org itself. This interface is so much easier to use than the one from my beloved Osmand, which has a much more complex and unintuitive interface. Actually, every time I look for an address in Osmand, I wish there would be something like an easy “one line interface” to find the address I am looking for …
However, I think the difference in search usability derives from one of the most important features that Osmand offers and Cartes not, at least not yet: Offline maps and navigation. Offline maps are much more powerful than online searches, they are faster and work without any dependency on your internet connection. Which is especially important when you are travelling and like to have a full navigation system without roaming charges – anywhere in the world. Also I have to admit that Osmand~ offers multiple times more features and functionality than Cartes, for example OpenStreetMap editing on your device.

But hey, Cartes is a good start and I would love to see further development to give Firefox OS users easy-to-use freedom to OpenStreetMap for their navigation instead of being tied to proprietary services. And, as I can see from updates, there is already a “First attempt at offline use, now viewed tiles are cached an can be reused offline”. Thanks, Maël Lavault, keep the good work going.
BTW: Interesting to see, that Cartes can display satellite images? Where does it take it from? Bing?

Put Freedom into Firefox OS marketplace

Firefox OS Marketplace logo
Firefox OS Marketplace logo
My main interest towards Firefox OS derives from the fact that it is Free Software and that it is by Mozilla, an organisation that knows about the importance of free software and that fights for an “open web”. They also don’t hide that Mozilla heavily relies on Free Software technologies.

Given this background and the market share of Mozilla software – this leads me to the idea that Mozilla can play a crucial role in spreading software freedom into the mobile world and the world of connected devices. Even more as Mozilla publicly announced that they like to use Firefox OS as a Pivot to Connected Devices to

explore and prototype new use cases in the world of connected devices as an open source project with a clear focus on the user benefit and experience.

I like to argue, that a clear benefit to the user experience would be to easily find and use Free Software inside Firefox OS and therewith support Mozilla’s idea of “Open Web”. With the upcoming “internet of things”, it will be crucial that the people are in control of the technology and the devices that surrounds them. And as one simple but effective step towards that vision, I propose that Mozilla has a clearer information policy inside the Firefox OS market place. Please, add some information or label to make finding Free Software an easy thing. Make the use and the promotion of Free Software a concept inside Firefox OS, it’s market and add-ons. This would be a true benefit for the user.

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OpenStreetMap editing “to go” – adding locations to OSM with Android

Since I realized how easy it is to contribute anytime spontaneously to OpenStreetMap with your Android device, I wrote a how-to add locations to OpenStreetMap with Android (or an Android custom-ROM) in my OSM-profile. It is fun, easy and free.
This way I hope to inspire other people to take their mobile once in a while and to map the world together. This blog post is a duplicate of my profile information:

Installing Osmand~

Get F-Droid, the Free Software repository app. You can download the .apk directly from the home page and need to install it on your Android. If you encounter installation/permission problems, you most probably need to trust “unknown sources” first. Don’t panic : ) no harm involved.

F-Droid is an “alternative market place”, that only offers Free Software (as in Freedom). Others call it “Open Source”. For various reasons, Free Software is to be considered a good thing : )

01-osmand-search-in-fdroid
Inside F-Droid, search for “Osmand”


02-osmand-in-fdroid
and install “Osmand~”.
Don’t get confused by other apps : )


Get an account for OpenStreetMap

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My first impressions using Firefox OS 2.6

FirefoxOS - PR logo
Update: After feedback from the community I updated some information using quotes.

Thanks to @ensowhat, I am now taking part in Mozillas Foxfooding program with a Sony Xperia Z3 and Firefox OS 2.6 by Mozilla. While I am testing Firefox OS, I will share my experiences in dedicated blog posts.

Here is some general feedback after my first hours:

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FSFE assembly during Chaos Communication Congress #32C3

FSFE assembly on CCCamp15
FSFE assembly on CCCamp15
On December 27 to 30 there will be the 32nd Chaos Communication Congress happening in Hamburg, Germany. FSFE will be there with an assembly. This assembly will be a booth where you can pass by, have a chat, inform yourself or get some merchandise. And it will be a space for and by our Fellows, friends and supporters to meet, share and organise. There will be a bunch of self-organised sessions, mainly about specific Free Software projects, about encryption and decentralized, federated social networks. Also, check out our special activities: the Free Software song sing-along and the GNU/Burger. Finally, we will bring all kind of up-to-date information material and the latest merchandise, including our “NoCloud”-Shirt.

About our place:
We will offer an information booth with our promotion material and merchandise equipment. Behind that booth there will be some chairs and tables to meet and discuss. If you like to meet our community, staff and GA members, the FSFE assembly is the best place to do so.

Specials:
It is planned every evening to have 2 hours of “GNU/Burger” – burgers with a GNU brand on top and a GNU FDL-licensed receipt. Pass by and use, study, share and improve it.

On the second day, on Monday 28.12., at 14:00 we will have a spontaneous Free Software song sing-along choir. Everyone is invited to help singing. If you like Free Software, then “join us now and share the so-o-ftware”

Self-organized sessions:
Below is a list of our self-organized sessions as is the state on 20 December 2015. Please check our assembly page for updated information

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#ECS21 – the campaign that did not happen

The economy of knowledge in the 21st century

Our economic and social development has always been based on the freedom to use, study, share and improve common knowledge and information. Since entering the digital era, the freedoms to access and use knowledge is strongly linked with the access to technology and software. Furthermore, access and use of our cultural heritage, economic development, as well as our social and political organisation, is increasingly based on technology and software. In the 21st century, access to software determines how we can participate in our society.

Read more …

This is the introduction text of a campaign I wanted to run for the upcoming General Elections in Spain, accompanied with some theory, how Free Software increases autonomy and helps to grow local economy. Following this background, in the very heart of the campaign there are some clear demands, a “Freedom Pact”, that should help to put theory into practice. Candidates that run for office can sign this Freedom Pact to show that they care and to promise to

  • promote the use of Free Software in all areas of public life, public administration, and public education
  • promote legislation to make Free Software the first choice in public procurement
  • promote policies in favour of Free Software and oppose policies that discriminate against it
  • ensure a legal requirement, that all software developed with public funds is released as Free Software, so other administrations, and the public, can benefit from it
  • promote the widest possible use of Open Standards in the public sector, as well as the publication and archiving of all public data and documents in formats based on Open Standards

The concept is in the family of other Ask Your Candidate campaigns like the European Free Software Pact or the Swiss FreedomVote.

01 eibarUnfortunately, the campaign never came alive and given that the elections will already happen in 4 weeks, the campaign will not get alive for the 2015 elections. However, I think the work that has been done is worth sharing and that is why I aset put a simple wp-page that includes the pact, the campaign texts and the translations we have done:

http://ecs21.3rik.cc

This way, I hope it inspires someone else in the wild to take it up and run a campaign, to share it, to talk about it or to simply do whatever you like. Everything public domain (CC0). The text is available in Spanish, Gallic, Catalan and English.

Finally, I especially like to thank Juan Antonio Zaratiegui Vallecillo for working on the multilanguage page that never went online, to Eukelade for the translations and for Asa Ritz for his contributions.

*

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Call for sessions at the FSFE assembly during 32C3

Spontaneous"Free your Android" session during 31C3
Spontaneous”Free your Android” session during 31C3

From December 27-30 2015, there will be the 32nd Chaos Communication Congress (32C3) in the Congress Center of Hamburg where FSFE is happy to host an “assembly”. Such assemblies are community organised spaces inside the congress and the FSFE assembly will offer an information booth, self-organised sessions as well as a sitting corner for all friends of Free Software to come together, meet or simply relax.

To foil the title of this years CCC (“Gated Communities”), we are delighted to offer our community some self-organised sessions at our assembly and we look forward to your contributions. Depending on your session they will either take place directly at our assembly or in a dedicated workshop room. These sessions can be hands-on workshops, inspiring talks, community or developer meetings or any other public activity.
Topics can be anything that is related to Free Software, from your private project to global communities. We welcome technical talks as well as we encourage to give non-technical talks to address philosophical, economical or other thoughts about Free Software. We also like sessions about related subjects with a clear connection to Free Software like privacy, data protection and alike.

If you are interested in hosting a session, please apply no later than
* Sunday, November 22, 18:00 UTC *

by sending an email to me (eal@fsfe.org) with the subject “Session at 32C3” including a short description and/or slides that you like to use so we have a rough idea what your session is about.

If your session is accepted we happily take care of its proper organisation, publicity and everything else that needs to be done. You are then welcome to simply come and give/host your session : )

BTW: You do not need to be a Fellow of FSFE to host a session. Please feel free to share this message with your friends or your favorite mailing list.

New Palmyra

Palmyra was Syrias best known archeological site, influenced by ancient Greek, Roman and Persian arts and culture. Bassel Khartabil, Free Software developer, started with a 3d virtual reconstruction of Palmyra but is put in prison by the current regime of Assad. In recent months, Palmyra became known around the world due to its deconstruction by the Islamic state, ISIS.

Now the #NewPalmyra project was launched to “create a online community platform and data repository dedicated to the capture, preservation, sharing, and creative reuse of data about the ancient city of Palmyra”
.

The idea is to go on with Khartabils work, to give and use the power of the commons: “3D modelers, archaeologists, artists, curators, developers, educators, journalists, researchers, wikimedians and everyone else is invited to participate and the collected data will be released into the public domain under a Creative Commons Zero license at NewPalmyra.org”.

I was lucky to visit Palmyra before the outbreak of the civil war. Now happy to share my pictures and geo locations with NewPalmyra.org via Wikimedia Commons under CC0. Hopefully helps.

Funeral temple No 86, Palmyra

Columns and tombs in Palmyra

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