Communities that Value Freedom

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I’ve been pretty lazy about posting to my blog regulary, I’m still not sure theres any value in sharing information whose only value to others is speculative. Maybe I just need to loosen up.

A few weeks ago I told some edu folks about the Web browsing and Web Feeds for windows Users guide and one of them pointed out that I wasn’t making it clear to people that they are free to distribute the cover image. When you read the Copyright page, I think it makes it clear. The thing was the cover image was using a Creative commons license and I wasn’t displaying the mark or any info about it. So he was right to point this out. Apart from one cover image all of the content in the guides are licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License which means they are free as in freedom, I’ve been using the word libre. It ensures that once Free, it remains Free. It implies the freedom to learn from, copy, adapt and use it for any purpose, contribute new insights and share these for the common good, you can also use them to do fundraising. It doesn’t mean I lose control of my work, for example if I had the opportunity to put the Australian coat of arms on it, I would be required to use a license that prohibits commercial distribution for that copy.

The thing I dont like about CC licenses is that they don’t require your work to be distributed in a form which is transparent. I like to support the Free Software Foundation and their values so I decided to contact Joe Crawford to ask him about his thoughts on this and whether he would dual license the image. I found the image on the Wikimedia Commons while I was searching for an image of a library, originally I wanted the name of the guide to have something to do with knowledge management. I only knew Joe as artlung but he provided a link to to his flickr album so I was able to contact him.

He gave me permission to use the photo in my work under the GNU Free Documentation License. It turned out that he is a big believer in the GPL and related licenses (and CC as well, for different reasons) and he’s delighted to have me use the photo. That was wonderful news to me, after looking at more of Joes work and chatting I added this message to the guide.

“Thanks to Joe Crawford for the image. He is a web designer and developer who co-founded http://crawberts.com/ and he lives in Simi Valley, California. You can find out more about him at http://artlung.com/

Joe is cool and a really good guy. Joes a Frank Zappa fan, I’ve been listening to some of his music lately, its pretty wild, I wouldn’t mind checking out the Absolutely Free Album. Wikipedia entry for Simi Valley

I usually use Galeon Web browser and recently updated to 2.0.1, when I’m not using libre and open source software on proprietary operating systems I get the full effects of green kryptonite so I’ve also been using firefox and Live Bookmarks and I’m noticing how easy it is to check the latest news, discuss it with people who share similar interests and how much time it saves. Well perhaps I just spend the new found spare time browsing even more web feeds and meeting more people with similar interests. I hope you get time to checkout the guide and find it useful and thanks again Joe.

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3 Comments

  1. “What good is freedom if you don’t have honour?” – Branimir Stulic

  2. Good question, looks like something to do with personal pride, reminds me of the recent censorship and blasphemy issues with those religious cartoons.

    “We cannot be free unless we are free in our hearts, and we cannot be free in our hearts unless the very value of freedom becomes one with who we are, until the very value of freedom is one that guides us, not only through adherence to the limits set out by law and custom, but in our lives, our feelings for each other. We cannot be free unless we have a passion, not only for our own freedom, but for the freedom of all of those around us, a compassion for all of those in society, great and small, and a recognition that without their freedom of quiet enjoyment of their lives, we are lost.” – Steven Downes

  3. Well said. But in a material, greed driven world, the definition of freedom tends to blurr as everyone has a different approach to how it should be distributed or defined. In turn we are robbed of it due to our beliefs, political stands, and the way we view or value life. The majority rules on the basis of “There is more of us, therefore we are right”. One man’s blasphenmy, another man’s right of free speach. Freedom without boundaries seems farfetched when the state of the world is considered, but the change has to start somewhere. Within us.

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