It is immoral to exclude people from knowledge and from beauty

Eben Moglen with more words of wisdom.

Die Gedanken Sind Frei: Free Software and the Struggle for Free Thought
Wizards of OS 3, Opening Keynote – Eben Moglen – June 10, 2004

Read the transcript and visit this page to download the video or watch it below.

He talks about the history and struggle for the freedom of thought, economic justice and the equality of persons. The struggle against control of education and publication by the universal catholic church , control of printing and censorship of learning by state power, control of knowledge and culture by owners capitalistically motivated and idealogically inclined.

We can eradicate ignorance at the expense of a few, we have to do it. — Eben Moglen

Here’s a poem that was mentioned in the talk.

I think as I please
And this gives me pleasure.
My conscience decrees,
This right I must treasure.
My thoughts will not cater
To duke or dictator,
No man can deny
Die gedanken sind frei.

German 16th-century peasant song

Die Gedanken Sind Frei.
Another quote:

The perpetuation of ignorance is the beginning of slavery — Eben Moglen “

Downes 2.0

Here’s an image of a slide from Downes powerpoint presentation Toward a New Knowledge 2.0 Society, I added 2.0 because thats what he says at the start and I think this 2.0 thing is pretty funny, follow that link for the audio.

For some reason he has a picture of Richard Matthew Stallman on it but he doesn’t say anything about him or include anything on his slides about him or his work. Maybe its something about truth maintenance systems that he didn’t have time to talk about.

The interesting thing I stumbled across on Wikipedia was this.

If there is any additional verification required, please take note, that this, or any of my other material, may be freely used by Wikipedia.

— Stephen Downes

I’ll have to ask him can I license some of his work under GFDL for Wikiversity, that would be a step in the right direction for the Knowledge Society.

FOSS alternatives and video editors

It was a GNU Hurd developer that convinced me that its good to use FOSS on windows, some freedom is better none, even GNU Packages run on windows and most computer users run windows. So here’s a list of links. Some are equivalents to replace software on windows and some are the equivalent on GNU/Linux and some are cross platform so its stupid to call it the “Linux” equivalent. They also make the mistake of saying alternatives to commercial software. The opposite of FOSS is proprietary software.

My friend Archie Moore asked

“Can you recommend any Free (as in freedom) video editing software like premiere.”

I dont know premiere so if its obivous to anyone please leave a comment. All my videos are developed with free software so I think it would better to say “I want to do this, do you know any software that can do that?”

The main one I use is Avidemux, basically you can take a video, chop it all up, apply some filters, resize, crop etc, maybe add some audio and then put it all back together and save it in the format you want. I also use Blender for some things.

I use ffmpeg, ffmpeg2theora and mencoder for converting to different formats. On windows you can use mediacoder.

Probably the most powerful one is Cinelerra but it only runs on GNU/Linux.

The others I look at every now and again are DIva and Pitivi.

Last I heard Archie was in the UK or Europe so I hope he’s having a good time.

There’s also a review of his Depth of Field exhibition, thats the one I checked out.

Background to the Australian Flexible Learning Community

I think its now known as the Australian Flexible Learning Framework.
Here’s the info. “Background to the Australian Flexible Learning Community.” There’s a nice collection of information there.

Check out all these sexy buggers.

I like this idea “Creative, Capable People”.

Its a bit of a shame that they’re not using a free public license. Now that the responsibilities and functions of ANTA have been transferred to the Department of Education, Science and Training (DEST) I wonder if its possible to release that work under a free public license.

I’ve been trying to gain some perspective of local professional online education for adults. Originally its was just a very small group that controlled the web based services offered to public secondary schools here in Qld but as of the beginning of last year all the public schools have the option to use Joomla, sure some teachers complained that they cant update it with frontpage but the main thing is that it killed off that groups projects. Private school people already get way more money than the public schools, its greedy to be funded by the gov to leach even more money from the public schools by providing lame proprietary web based solutions, those solutions cost the schools thousands of dollars and don’t add any value, their like web -5.0. edna online helped change their perspective by using moodle, some of us tried to introduce foss based web solutions before that, but apparently the other techs convinced people that foss is bargain basement crap that never works properly and we’re all a bunch of unpopular political philosophy believers and made all kinds of degrading and derogatory remarks. Thats partly why I moved on to hanging out with teachers, well apart from IT teachers.

From the adults learning online perspective everything is different, some of them are pro-foss, share a very similar philosophy and have done years of research. So why hasn’t much improved for them. When you look at their edna group it becomes immediately obvious. The bulk of the techs in their group haven’t kept up with their research and don’t have the right products, skill set or business model. Worse then that they are rude, idiotic, assholes and bullshit artists. They say things like “our products enforce learning”. I can’t see myself wasting my time reading all that shit. Notice the language, thats another different thing about working with adults.

I ‘ve been discussing web.20, foss and community development with Alexander Hayes, you can read his blog. Capability and independence have always been important to me so we’ll see what happens, hopefully using things like transclusion we can stay on the same page.

Elearning Failure opinion – part 1

Recently we’ve seen Wikieducator make a strong challenge to formal educational institutions using a model of open development with the works of authorship licensed under CC-BY-SA. Its still based around the usual model of “content” development, distribution and support services but in a free and open way, free to use for any purpose. Most educational institutions believe that they are protecting knowledge from being destroyed by restricting access to it. I guess this means protecting their precious malcontent from all the dirty little destructive thieves they would otherwise call users. To them the goal of elearning is to turn a student into a malcontent developer or malcontent “creator” so that someone can pray to them or pay them to give up all their rights to the malcontent they created so it can be locked away in their secret society made up of Learning Malcontent Systems designed to deprive knowledge workers from collaborating to modify and improve their environment.

Then they turn around a tell us thats just the way the world works because they can’t figure out how to put food on the table at least until the “creators” build another artificial learning environment more like an ecosystem. Their ecosystem is designed to make the weak and underprivileged suffer until they become extinct and for learners to take a passive attitude, like here “let me fill your brain up with more of our malcontent, don’t ask why just accept it”, “don’t try to preserve your values, thats not how our ecosystem works” . They should call their social club the failed knowledge society. I’m more productive on a sick day then they are in a year. They discovered our work so give the guy an award and start making up some pop culture pedagogy and give him another award.

One of the things I really like about free knowledge communities is that it encourages and enables civil society to take the initiative and augment the public education system to make a difference collectively, towards a sustainable world. In other words you don’t have to resign to this attitude that this is just the way the world works, you can actively improve yourself and your community and make a better world. This is something you can do right now so don’t under value how much of a difference you can make by sharing knowledge.
FKC Node

Withholding information that could help everyone advance is a form of combat. The caveman knowledge protectors have already lost this battle. So hopefully some of my local networks will free themselves of these horrible burdens and find ways to remain competitive by making their work available as libre knowledge.

Users of libre knowledge are free to

(0) use the work for any purpose

(1) study its mechanisms, to be able to modify and adapt it to their own needs

(2) make and distribute copies, in whole or in part

(3) enhance and/or extend the work and share the result similarly.

Freedoms 1 and 3 require Free file formats and free software as defined by the Free Software Foundation.

Mediawiki the proven best collaborative networked learning resource development platform in the world


Mediawiki is free software, it is famous as the software platform used in the success of Wikimedia Foundation projects, the most widely known one is Wikipedia. The greatest success in the social construction of information in the world. The largest and most successful free knowledge projects in the world and all this free from proprietary contraints. Most educational institutions haven’t even comes close to this success in the advancement of human knowledge, in fact the opposite is true. Not only has it contributed to the success of Wikimedia projects but its also used in many educational projects, like Wikia, a mobile audio encyclopedia, the one laptop per child project, UNESCO International Institute for Educational Planning’s Open Educational Resources Community, wikieducator, wikischolar and many, many, many others.

Mediawiki provides a simple, feature rich environment for editing and contributing. Its ease of use has no doubt been a contributing factor in the growth of human knowledge.

I use Mediawiki for my Wiki, there’s a collection, of hacks, extensions and tools for extending Mediawiki thats constantly improving every day. You can see the details of how I set up my Wiki here.

The Worlds Best Desktop Environment


To enable your computer to play both video (Theora) and audio (Vorbis) files, please select a program from the listings here.

When it comes to designing digital learning environments we need a powerful interactive multimedia system that allows the user to control the experience and pace through self-selected hypermedia. Software Libre operating systems serve the personal needs of the user rather than focusing the user’s attention on the machine. The strengths of the Software Libre desktop for education, research, productivity, or entertainment are that it’s imaginative, making possible various tasks that can not be accomplished in other desktops.

We also need an environment that fosters a culture of cooperation, collaboration and social interaction. The Software Libre learning environment is optimized to provide access to information and communication technologies, express our imagination and creativity, process information which can be freely studied, applied, copied and/or modified, by anyone, for any purpose and distributed through self organising connective knowledge amplification networks for a more productive society and the benefit of humanity.

The video above is a good example of these principles in action, you can:

A big thanks to Noiesmo for his help.

Peaks and troughs

I’ve been lacking the motivation to write something with substance, I think the main factor is that my friends returned to work last week and I’m not really keen to work in the public service anymore, at times I really enjoyed working in secondary schools but things are actually getting worse, they’ve introduced the orange card and I’m not sure whats happening with the pedagogical drivers license, hopefully teachers fully reject it.

I don’t want to turn this into a rant so here’s some thinking music. I set it to autostart because apparently Interactive, collaborative, immersive environments powered by hypermedia engines and artificially intelligent agents like my blog are the future. I thought our children were the future. You might like to know that the Semantic web is a pipedream but only if you own this patent, that actually looks like a step backwards. I remember the first time I tried to write an academic paper.

Anyway I’ll try to get my perirhinal cortex and other medial temporal structures to function properly. Hopefully caffeine will do the trick.


Download Ogg “Red Nebula : cent raisons – Les Yeux Fermés – partie II”
Check out the Album.

Edit: Autostart off



I’ve been spending a lot of time on Wikiversity, not so much working on a course yet though I am trying to get started on developing a course on Digital artwork for kids which would work through the basics of Tux Paint, GIMP and Blender with a focus on digital art, including how to use a digital camera to take a photo for a bloom clock project quiz that gets used to create new stamps for Tux Paint using GIMP. Simple ideas that encourage kids to get out and about and into science like getting them to try and figure out how to take a photo of lightning.

The most useful thing I’ve done so far is show people how to set up a Wikiversity blog and manually create a rss feed for your blog, a fellow aussie Michael Billington wrote a bot to generate the rss feeds but thats still being worked on by a few guys. There’s a lot happening, I’m really enjoying the Wikiversity experience, I’ve met some really good people, here’s my userpage. For instant chat join the Wikiversity-en channel on irc.

I was chatting with Yeoman and apparantly Wikiversity is the worlds first real Metacommunity. So what is a metacommunity?

A metacommunity is a community of communities. The term Community has a predicate form — communicate

Read the whole article.