– Connectivity in one place

March 12, 2011 at 18:38 | Posted in Cool, Free (as in Freedom) Software, site of the week, Tech | Comments Off on – Connectivity in one place
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A while ago I switched to using as my main Chat/Presence server. Since the switch I have come to greatly appreciate the value of their service.

I should probably back up a bit and talk about how I use Chat and presence services. The first thing that I should note is that as a supporter and advocate for Faif (Free as in freedom) software I stick to XMPP chat/presence servers. at first, then the one offered by my mail provider The problem I encountered was that the service offered by was based on an older XMPP server and didn’t play nicely with (more on that in a sec.). The other problem I encountered was that neither of them offered a way to keep in touch with friends who choose to use non-faif servers from a non-faif O/S.

Enter When I switched to not only did it work flawlessly with Which is a major consideration as that is my primary reason for running a chat/presence client these days. It also had an MSN/WLM gateway which I can, and do use to keep in touch with those stuck, for what ever reason, in a non-fiaf world .

It also has an IRC gateway which recently became of great utility to me as I put my N800 on a diet and part of that diet was not installing rtcomm beta which loaded in tonnes of functionality I’ll never use, and as the name suggests is stuck in beta.

So, by using and the basic XMPP client built into my N800 I can keep in touch with:

    My feed
    My friends on other XMPP services
    My friends stuck in Windows/MSN
    Anyone on any IRC server
    People on ICQ – I don’t but I could
    People on Yahoo – I don’t do this either
    Group chats on the server.
    And more even has room for me to grow into. They offer a jingle node that would allow video chat even through NAT routers. They have a Pub/Sub service I’ve yet to make use of, a user directory and other features.

One of the nicest things is that they are responsive to support requests. A while a go they had a minor outage. As this was a major diference then thier rock solid server availability I e-mailed to inquire as to the cause and expected duration of the outage. Their responce was fast,curtious, informative, and accurate. Not only that they even took the time to e-mail me when the server was back on its feet.

So if you are making the move to XMPP, or just moving to a new XMPP server I’d definitely recommend giving a look. They are great no matter what your chat/presence needs.


Is there a place for (not so) Open Source?

October 1, 2009 at 17:41 | Posted in Free (as in Freedom) Software, thoughts | Comments Off on Is there a place for (not so) Open Source?
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With my recent move to a totally free, as in freedom, operating system I find myself wondering about the dominance of Ubuntu. I would gladly see gNewSense jump to the top of the DistroWatch list. But I think this is probably unrealistic.

There is still far too much proprietary hardware (particularly wifi cards) that require binary blob drivers. Certainly people are not going to be happy if they have to have a half crippled computer and loose access to proprietary codecs and applications.

So, What if we think of (not so) “Open Source” software like Ubuntu and many other modern GNU/Linux Distros out there as a middle ground. As a stepping stone on the way to total freedom.

Creating this atmosphere would require a couple of things. A more declarative stance on the part of distros that include binary blobs in their kernel. “Now with an 80% free kernel” and a much stronger declaration every time a user of such a distro installs a non free application.

I personally would like to see a set up in which every non free application throws up a large red warning stating that the application in question violates X,X and X of your essential rights, and goes on to list the possible or in some cases known threats that the closed source software poses (“This application is used to tracks your browsing habits” (Flash-nonfree), “May disclose private information to unknown parties. (we don’t know. We can’t look at the code)” (Skype, etal).

I think in this way that people would begin to understand better what they are doing, what the risks are, and why they might not want to do that. I would also like to see such warnings offer free software alternatives, such as offering Gnash when someone tries to install flash-nonfree with a explanation that Gnash respects your rights and freedoms.

Of course we would also need something to prevent people from just clicking through without reading the important information so perhaps requiring the user to type in “I agree to have my rights violated and my freedoms taken away” in order to proceed.. (well o.k. maybe a check box beside the same phrase.. But really I think having people actually type it would be more thought provoking.)

With steps like those listed above the Murky Source distros could truly claim their place. Not Free (as in freedom). But not as bad as the oppressive tyranny you’ve been living with to date.

A sort of first step out of the dungeon to let people adjust to sunshine, fresh air, and wide open spaces again. These things can be shocking and confusing to people that have been stuck in dark cell for years.

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