Is Free Software Really Free?

Is Free software really Free? The reason why I ask this is because I recently ran a Indiegogo campaign to help the Orca screen reader get better. Now before I get into my rant I must say there is something I over looked while running this campaign. I should have spoken to the Orca screen reader maintainer before launching this campaign, but I didn’t. With that being said I launched the campaign and everything was going pretty well. I was then contacted by the Orca screen reader maintainer and more or less was asked to stop the campaign. They wondered why I didn’t contact them first before launching the campaign and at first I thought to myself why would i contact you it is an open source project and since it is you can do what you wish with it right? Wrong and you will find out in this post why it is wrong. After sending a few emails back and forth with the Orca maintainer here are a few things that i learned. I was told that i was duplicating efforts with my campaign and it was basicly a waste of time. I replied that i wasn’t duplicating efforts and it was pointed out to me that in the description of the campaign I said that i wanted to help with the performance of Orca. It was then pointed out to me that is what the Orca maintainer was currently doing and that was duplication. Oh so let me get this straight if more than one person is working on the same thing that is duplication? Well we better let Google, Apple, Microsoft and the Linux kernel that they are wasting their time duplicating efforts. But wait a minute they are inovating and progressing with rapid development we wouldn’t want that with the orca screen reader right? I also stated in the campaing that i wanted to fix some of the bugs in orca. The reply to this in a email basicly said that Orca had no bugs in it. This took me by surprise considering there are currently about 247 bugs filed against Orca. I couldn’t beleive I was getting this kind of response for trying to raise money to pay developers to make Orca better. I mean don’t we want accessibility to be better on Linux?

So the question is Free software really Free? I mean one person can decide if they want to take patches and weather or not the project needs help. So one person can control the project and decide its fate? At least with proprietary software you know what you are getting into. i mean at least you know that it is being controled by a person or entity and you have no say about the direction of it. But with an open source project you would not expect this behavior would you? i have to admit I was quite disterbd by this behavior and what I thought Free software was all about was crushed. i now have a different view on it and i’m moving forward with this new view of Free and open source software.

i used to be that person who would bash Ubuntu for doing all of these things outside of the open source projects and doing there own thing. But now i say maybe they have had it right all of these years and i just didn’t see it. Ubuntu wanted to work with Gnome on the shell but Gnome didn’t want any help. So Ubuntu created Unity. Ubuntu created mir instead of working with Wayland. But maybe thats where we are going in open source all of the distros are going to be islands to themselves. Ubuntu will work on what it wants to work on and make itself better and the other projects can continue to do what they feel is right. Take a look at linuxmint they are also creating their own desktop along with a file manager and windowing system. They maintain all of this themselves. So linuxmint is just like Ubuntu maintaining their own packages and keeping to themselves. I’m afraid that this is where open source is going and it is losing the whole upstream philosophy and adopting proprietary mindset. Don’t get me wrong the source code will still be open but what good is it if the people maintaining packages won’t except bug fixes or enhancements. Or if they just flat out don’t want to work with you and are happy in their own little world. I guess with the 4 Freedoms from the FSF one of the Freedoms isn’t you must except patches and enhancements from anyone. So you get lots of people either forking projects because of this or this is why you have 6 video editors because no one wants to work together.

With this being said Sonar is now maintaining its own version of Orca and we will be developing on our own branch and we hope that Orca wil merge our changes and there will be no need for us to maintain our own branch. I really hope that the Sonar version of Orca becomes very different from upstream because then it would constitute a fork. I don’t want the version of Orca on Sonar to be very different from upstream because then that means Orca on Sonar could be possibly much better then Orca on every other distro. This is not what I want but what it has com down to.

northeast linux Fest 2014

The Northeast Linux Fest 2014 was a great success! I must say going into it i was not that confident that it was going to go well. Thankfully i was proven wrong. We first were going to have the event at at MIT. Those plans fell through and then we were going to have it at Harvard even though we had a bad experience last year. Just like last year Harvard tried to pull some fast ones like us agreeing on a price to hold the event and then more than doubling the price a couple of months before the event. So we pulled out of having the event at Harvard. This put me into frantic mode and I thought there was a good chance that NELF wasn’t going to happen. Then i called the Marriott in Cambridge and was able to secure rooms for the event and this turned out to be a blessing in disguise. We held the event at the Residence Inn Marriott and it was fantastic! Everyone at the hotel was great and very helpful. Needless to say we will be having the event there again in 2015. I felt this event besides the problems with locking down the venue it was the best NELF and we had the best lineup of talks put together even Maddog who has been at NELF since the start agrees with this statement.He felt all the talks were really good and was impressed with the speakers and their slides. The way this event went I was shocked and plesently surprised. We should have the talks up soon at the Northeast linux Fest site soon. I hope to see you at the next event.

Droidbuntu is Out!

I would like to announce the release of a side project I’m working on called Droidbuntu. This is a Gnu/Linux operating system focused on Anbdroid development. This OS is pre-configured out of the box with the Android sdk and the development enviroment set up and ready to go. If you are an Android developer or are interested in Android development this is the operating system for you. I hope this will encourage building Android roms and Android applications. Droidbuntu is built off of Sonar so by default Droidbuntu is accessible so blind and low vision users can get into Anbdroid development now. I would like to see this become the Operating system for all of the rom developers. Here is a screen shot. Let all of your Android dev friends know!

Making My Own Dish Washing Solution

I’ve also started making my own dish cleaning solution. It works really great! It is almost like the laundry soap steps. This is a powdered solution.

First you will need 1 cup of Borax
Then you will eed 1 cup of washing soda.
Now you will need ½ of Citric Acid
and ½ cup of Kosher salt. Then n Put all of this in a container and shake well.

voila! You have your own dish washing detergent Thanks again to my friend Tracy for this.

It works really well I highly recommend this. Why bother buying it from the store anymore.

Making My Own Laundry Soap

I’ve started making my own laundry soap and it is awesome! I have to thank my friend Tracy Holtz for giving me the steps to take to make it.This soap works great and I highly recommend it. Here is how to make it.

Take a 5 gallon bucket
next fill up the bucket about ¼ of the way with hot water from the tap.
Now take 1 cup of borax and ½ cup of washing soda and put it in the bucket and mix until it is all disolved.
Now you will take a bar of soap I use a soap called zote from walmart. Take the soap and grate it like you would a block of cheese.
Take 3 cups of water and boil it on medium for about 8 minutes with the shredded soap in the pot. Continue to stir until all of the soap is melted.
After the 8 minutes poor what you had on the stove into the 5 gallon bucket and stir.
Then continue to add hot water from the tap and stir until bucket if filled.
Then let it sit overnight and the next day it will be a little hard stir one more time and you will have your own laundry soap.

You can use ½ of soap per load.

Fedora 19 Is Out!

Redhat has released Fedora 19 and it is looking great! I’m proud to say that Fedora now has a accessible installer that works with the Orca screen reader. With the release of Fedora 18 the installer was about 80% accessible but now with the release of 19 it is 100% accessible. The installation takes a little getting used to it, but you can get Fedora installed no problem. Once you have Fedora installed and reboot you come to a screen that lets you set up your online accounts with various cloud services that you may use. After this there is a short video introducing you to Fedora. I thought this was a nice touch to see for new users of Free software. Now you are at your Gnome 3.8 desktop. I must say I don’t know if it is because of theway Fedora builds their Kernel or if it is because they have less services running but the performance of Gnome in Fedora is very fast! It is faster than Gnome 3.8 running in Ubuntu. I was pleasently surprised to see this performance. I’m thinking of running Fedora as my main distro for a while to see how it works out. I really like Fedora and have always been a fan of how they run their community. If you never have run Fedora i say it is worth your time to check it out and give it a try.

Starting Some Android Development

I’m starting to look into Android development. I will start building roms focused on accessibility geard towards the nexus devices first. The reason for this is because it is easier to get root access on a nexus than some of the other devices. Once I get used to the development process I will then start to look at some of the more popular devices on the market. I will be looking at using Cyanogen and also AOKP. This way I will have an easier time building the roms for the different devices. I’m looking forward to this venture and will be writing about it some more soon.

An Article on me in Network World

So i was contacted the other day and someone by the name of Jon Gold wanted to write an article about me. He said that he wanted to write an article on the up and coming people in Free software. I was shocked that he was even talking to me. I spoke with im for a few minutes and he said the article would be out in a couple of days. Now the article came out and I couldn’t believe what was written about me. I was blown away from the article! Not only did they mention me but they put me at the top of the list of people! It is an honor just to be considered and to be on the list never mind being on the top! I would like to thank Network world and Jon for writing the article and considering me an up and comer in the Free software world. Here is the link to the Network World article

Elementary OS

As you may know I started up my podcast again called Frostcast. I interview developers of GNU/Linux distros. Well this time I was trying to get a hold of the developer of a distro called Elementary OS his name is Daniel. So i got a hold of him and told him that i use Mumble to do the recording for the interview. Here is the response that I got from him in an email.

“Unfortunately Mumble is just too much of a hassle to dedicate that much time to troubleshoot.”

I found this to be interesting. You are a developer of a operating system and you can’t get Mumble set up? I’m blind and I can get it set up. He also suggested that his hardware didn’t work in Mumble but he offered to do the interview in Skype or Google Hangouts. So your hardware works in these but not Mumble…. interesting. Oh well I just wanted to give him a platform to bring attention to his project and possibley get some help. It seems he is developing his own desktop which i thought was really cool but I didn’t get to talk to him about it. Maybe in the future he will figure out his hardware. I hope his developping skils are better than his audio.