Make a difference in 2009

As we wave goodbye to 2008 I thought now seemed as good a time as any to look back at the work done by the Free Software Foundation over the past year.

The FSF celebrated the 25th anniversary of the GNU Project this year with a breakthrough film from the English comedian Stephen Fry, who gave us an important reminder of the alternative vision for the technology we use, a vision where people don’t trade freedom for convenience but instead support development of tools that create a better society. More than 1 million people have watched the film and it has been translated into 32 languages.

Current campaigns include:

  • ACTA — the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement is an imminent threat to the distribution and development of free software. 
  • FSF’s campaign to eliminate Digital Restrictions Management (DRM). is a broad-based anti-DRM campaign that is targeting large media companies, unhelpful manufacturers and DRM distributors. The campaign aims to make all manufacturers wary about bringing their DRM-enabled products to market. DRM products have features built-in that restrict you and spy on your activities. These products have been intentionally crippled from the users’ perspective, and are therefore “defective by design”. We aim to make it clear that DRM is an anti-social technology and practice.
  • FSF’s campaign to promote Ogg, a free alternative to proprietary formats like MP3 and AAC
  • Today, there are many questions that the free software community needs to tackle — Does your employer or school require you to use Microsoft software? Are you required to use proprietary formats to interact with your bank or local government? Are your children being trained to use Microsoft or Apple rather than learning how to be in control of the computers they use?

    If you would like to support the FSF in 2009  — become a member or make a donation.

    I would like to wish you all a Happy New Year.

    Brisbane internet censorship protest

    Went to the Brisbane internet censorship protest yesterday, the video below from the ABC says that there was around 200 people there. It was a very hot sunny day. Overall I think everyone had a good time, the speakers were good and the crowd was getting behind them, occasionally people made internet geek jokes, it was cool to be around such a large crowd that actually get those jokes. Good work by the volunteers and protesters. I took a whole bunch of photos you can see below, hopefully people will add comments to those photos so we get a better idea of whos who. Thanks Jack for getting involved in the protest and helping with the photos. Some of the signs were funny, my favourites are the lolcats, fail whale, leet speak and of course don’t censor my dofollow links.

    One of the more serious speakers was Kieran Salsone , he gave a good short talk, and asked who was a member of the EFA, only one person raised their hand and then Kieran said something like “ok just one, well the rest of you may as well go home” and also said something about playing with the big boys. He really did resemble tom cruise in tropic thunder which kind of made me chuckle. I do know he was very serious and passionate about what he does, when he stepped down after his talk you could see his adrenaline pumping. Anyway I’ll join the EFA, its only $41 a year for individuals, they could learn a few things from the FSF and Bradley Kuhn about how to increase their membership, I guess thats if they’re interested in getting more support from “small fry” people like me.

    The only other thing I did was print some flyers on banner vinyl and gave them to Varg Narseth from DLC. They are pretty much the best quality stickers you can get so it was nice to contribute something to those guys.

    They say a picture tells a thousand words so check out my 31000 words below, I’m sure a lot of academics wished it worked like that.

    Also check out Janet Hawtins Designs.

    Edit: I’ve updated this article thanks to comments on flickr and this post. Thank you everyone for helping me piece this together.

    33 Second video featuring David Jackmanson speaking then looking around at the crowd early in the day.

    ABC Brisbane — ‘Net Censorship Protest

    Check out this article “Hands off our internet, say free-speech protesters” in the brisbane times.

    Act Now! Stop Censorship in Australia

    On Saturday the 13th of December throughout Australia, activists will take to the streets to demonstrate against the governments proposed censorship of the Internet.

    The Electronic Freedom Project, which describes itself as “dedicated to protecting the freedoms of Australians on-line”, is staging a protest at Sydney’s Town Hall Square on 13 December, starting at 12pm.

    Protests will also be held at Brisbane Square, Brisbane at 11am; State Library, Melbourne at 12pm; Parliament House, Adelaide at 12pm; Stirling Gardens, Perth at 12pm; and Parliament Lawns, Hobart at 11am.

    I implore anyone reading this to get up from behind your computer screen and stand up and be counted on saturday, its one thing to write about how we all find this filter proposal to be so ludicrous but it is imperative for all Australians to act now!

    I was reading Bill Kerr’s blog earlier and it really helped to clarify in my mind just why the filter is so very wrong for Australia, and indeed any nation whom values its freedom of speech.

    So once again I say…when Saturday comes, rise to your feet, get out from behind your computer and fight for the rights which you may soon lose.


    GetUp is an independent community advocacy organisation which aims to give every Australian a voice with regards to political and governmental issues.

    They have started an online petition ‘Save The Net’ to try and put a stop to the proposed internet filter, if you want to have your say then here is your chance.