May 31, 2015

The GNU project

Alfred M. Szmidt: GNU inetutils 1.9.3

The GNU inetutils team is proud to present version 1.9.3 of the GNU networking utilities. The GNU Networking Utilities are the common networking utilities, clients and servers of the GNU Operating System.

The following is new in this release:

  • ftp

    An old inability to allow other names than the canonical name has been corrected. This means that a machine entry in the .netrc file will now be used as expected. Previously any alias name was replaced by the corresponding canonical name, before reading the .netrc file.

    The internal command ‘hash’ accepts a suffixed letter to the size argument, like ‘12k’, instead of 12288. Made a minor change to the syntax of the command itself, allowing size changes independently of activation of hash markings. After a transfer the summary gives the speed as ‘Mbytes/s’, ‘kbytes/s’, or ‘bytes/s’.

    The .netrc file can be overridden by the environment variable NETRC. Of even higher precedence is the new option ‘-N/–netrc’. The access to the resulting file, whatever method, is now denied unless it is a regular file.

  • ifconfig

    Better command line parsing on BSD and Solaris systems. Touch only changeable flags on all systems.

  • logger

    The ability to use numerical facilities is restored to full range.

  • ping, ping6

    The ability to specify a pattern as payload is corrected.

  • syslogd

    A new switch ‘-T/–local-time’ makes the service ignore a time stamp passed on by the remote host, recording instead the local time at the moment the message was received. As a short form of ‘–pidfile’, the switch ‘-P’ is new.

    In common with other syslogd implementations, rsyslogd and sysklogd, there has for a long time existed an attack vector based on large facility numbers, made public in CVE-2014-3684. This is now mended in our code base.

  • telnetd

    The ability to autologin a client, without using authentication, is now functional in the expected manner, i.e., the prompt for a user name is suppressed in favour of an immediate password prompt.

    In a setting where the client is using a UTF-8 encoding, it was common to observe strange characters in most responses. This was caused by the server daemon, due to incomplete purging of internal protocol data. The issue should now be resolved.

  • whois

    Improved cooperation with servers like ‘whois.arin.net’, ‘whois.eu’, and ‘whois.ripe.net’.

May 27, 2015

Annamaria Monteverdi

Angela Di Tomaso aka AiDiTi Vision: Light painting e audiovisual works

ANGELA DI TOMASO aka AiDiTi Vision Multimedia artist  (Isernia, Italy 20/01/1988). Angela began studying art at a very early age, she always mixed different artistic disciplines in her work: drawing, painting, photography and graphics. Her interest in live video, projection mapping and motion graphics was fuelled during her Erasmus exchange in France where she lived for one […]

by annamaria monteverdi

Marco Donnarumma “Corpus Nil” at NIME-New Interface for Musical Expression

Sketches for body-machine configuration: Corpus Nil From Marco Donnarumma’ Website “Brewing in studio is a new body performance for sound, light and biotechnologies entitled Corpus Nil. Through a choreography that strains the edges of muscular tension, limbs torsion, skin friction and equilibrium a non-human body of flesh struggles to take form. The sound of the […]

by annamaria monteverdi

May 26, 2015

Annamaria Monteverdi

CORPS EN SCÈNE : L’ACTEUR FACE AUX ÉCRANS (Paris, 3-4-5 Juin)

Depuis une vingtaine d’années, l’apport des nouvelles technologies a modifié en profondeur la scène théâtrale et avec elle, le jeu de l’acteur. Désormais les corps de chair y côtoient fréquemment les corps synthétiques ou hybrides, créant des corporéités mixtes, «mi-chair, mi-calcul» (Couchot) dont l’équilibre varie selon les choix esthétiques des artistes (metteurs en scène, acteurs, […]

by annamaria monteverdi

Ulf Langheinrich

IMMERSION selected works A retrospective of artworks created between 2005-2015, including a special creation for this solo exhibition, and two tetraptychs painted in 1991. NO LAND IV © Ulf Langheinrich MOVEMENT Y © Ulf Langheinrich KUNSTRAUM FLORENZ Florenz-Strasse 1e 4023 Basel (Switzerland) 5 June – 3 October 2015 Wednesday – Sunday: 2 – 7pm during Art Basel […]

by annamaria monteverdi

ROMAEUROPA FESTIVAL festeggia 30 anni!

RomaEuropa 75 giorni di festival | oltre 300 artisti | 50 appuntamenti | 14 spazi | 13 incontri con il pubblico | 12 opere e 4 performance a Digital Life-Luminaria 23 settembre | 8 dicembre 2015 Teatro, danza, circo contemporaneo, arte e tecnologia, e soprattutto la musica attraverseranno i 50 appuntamenti del Romaeuropa Festival n. 30, […]

by annamaria monteverdi

A HEAP OF BROKEN IMAGES GORIZIA 1915-1918 BY KARMACHINA/TEHO TEARDO

KARMACHINA (Vinicio Bordin, Paolo Ranieri, Rino Stefano Tagliafierro)  A HEAP OF BROKEN IMAGES GORIZIA 1915-1918 Expanded video di KARMACHINA Musica dal vivo di TEHO TEARDO che si terrà  venerdì 5 giugno 2015 alle ore 21.30, presso Piazza della Transalpina a Gorizia – Nova Gorica, in occasione della prima edizione di In\Visible Cities Festival. http://invisiblecities.eu/ Una […]

by annamaria monteverdi

The Next Layer

The Incomplete Paradigm Shift

June 18th 1999

This chapter takes a bird-eyes' view of history, locating the developments of wireless community networks within a historical transition from industrial to information society. Following the thesis that this paradigm shift has become stuck, creating serious obstacles for realizing the emancipatory potentials of information society, the conclusion can only be that those obstacles need to be overcome in order to realize “Society in Ad-hoc mode” as a positive, really existing utopia.

The historical context of the problems and issues regarding wireless community networks is what I call an incomplete paradigm shift. The term “paradigm” is used here in a specific and well defined sense. While the paradigm has been introduced into the scientific language by Thomas Kuhn's seminal book The Structure of Scientific Revolutions1, it has been given new meaning by the Innovation School in economics who, building on Kuhn's work, coined the term “techno-economic paradigm”2. Christopher Freeman and colleagues at the Science Policy Research Unit (SPRU), a semi-independent research institute connected with the University of Sussex, developed a theory of innovation in industrial societies. They claimed that technological progress since the beginning of Industrial Revolution did not occur in a linear way, but in bursts and bouts, followed by periods of only incremental change. Influenced by the Austrian economist Joseph Schumpeter and by the Russian econometrist Nikolai Kondratiev, they argued that technological innovation was linked to the business cycle. It had long been known that economic activity in capitalist economies followed patterns of expansion and contraction. There is a short term cycle of 3 years, and a medium term cycle of 10 years, which Marx had already observed and commented on, but it has been Kondratiev, studying long term price developments of staple foods such as grains who found out that there were so called “long cycles” of 50 years, which could be separated in two parts, an upswing of 25 years, followed by a downswing of roughly equal length. Those time periods are not mechanical but research since Kondratiev has confirmed the existence of swings in economic activity of approximately between 40 and 60 years.3

The period of a downswing, especially in its later stages, is usually experienced as a severe economic crisis. Schumpeter's contribution has been to show that such a crisis can only be resolved by clusters of innovations. In order to resolve a crisis of a paradigm in decline, a new paradigm has to come into place. This new paradigm will typically consist of new “leading technologies” but also new business models and new ways of working. It is never just the technology alone which allows a paradigm shift to happen, but without technological change it would also not be possible. However, in order for this technological change to happen, mindsets of people also need to change, new laws need to be made, a wholly new business environment needs to be created. That explains why it takes such a long time, 25 years, a whole generation, for a new paradigm to come into place.

The Venezuelan economist Carlota Perez, who also worked with Freeman and SPRU, has developed a stylized model of paradigm change, which gives this whole development some further plausibility. According to Perez, the new paradigm develops inside the womb of the old one.4 Perez has divided the 50 years of the long-cycle into 4 quarters, divided by an interstice. The first quarter is when innovation gets started, usually by forward looking people, inventors, entrepreneurs, risk taking financiers, but also, I would add, artists, activists, and independent technological innovators. Once they have been able to show the feasibility of an innovation, others jump on the bandwagon and an investment frenzy starts. This will lead to an over-investment and a first crisis – an interim period of uncertainty. Once those insecurities are overcome, the paradigm reaches maturity stage. In this stage, all innovations made before are becoming fully relevant on a societal scale. This is the roll-out phase of the paradigm, when knowledge about new business processes and new patterns of behavior gets widely shared. Once this is achieved, however, the benefits of the new technologies, new business models, new ways of working, start to decrease. Since everybody now knows hos to do it, the competitive advantage is gone, and the paradigm enters its fourth and last stage, saturation.

The key point, however, that Perez makes, is that during maturation and especially during saturation phase aspects of a new paradigm are already developed, albeit not yet widely recognized. While the benefits of the existing paradigm can still be exploited, something new is already breeding under the surface. At this stage, however, it is hard to say what the new paradigm will really be made of.

It needs to be pointed out the theories about techno-economic paradigms have serious weaknesses. They imply a quite mechanistic way of historical development, and as such suggest a depoliticized view of history. History is always defined through human struggles which have many aspects, be they of a political, cultural or religious kind. Work under the title “Technopolitics”, initially undertaken by Brian Holmes and Armin Medosch, meanwhile more widely shared by a Technopolitics working group in Vienna, has widened the scope and perspective to not just look at techno-economic but also techno-political paradigms. History is not only defined by economics and technology, but also by politics, which implies raising the fundamental question how we want to live, as individuals and as social groups or classes.

The economic innovation school appears to almost willfully exclude such a political perspective, implicitly suggesting that capitalism itself will continue forever, in one way or the other. But as recent years have shown, the struggle is exactly also about that aspect of the argument, with new social movements in the European and global South suggesting a different type of economic model, often based on commons-types of economic activity where cooperation plays a larger role than competition.
It is now not so difficult to apply those theoretic concepts to recent history. According to Freeman, Perez and other scholars, the fourth long-cycle had been defined by the industrial mass production of consumer goods, in particular cars, by communications technologies such as radio and television (which relied on a centralized “broadcast” structure), and on cheap energy based on oil and other fossil fuels and nuclear energy. This paradigm reached maturity during the first decades after the Second World War, when it allowed for a long boom of economic expansion, lead by the United States. It was successfully copied by nations who had been defeated in that war but now had become the biggest American allies, Germany and Japan, as well as other states in Europe. This industrial paradigm is often referred to as Fordism, after Henry Ford, who invented the core production technology supporting it, the assembly line.

However, it is very important to point out that this paradigm also had an economic and political aspect. Because of the economic, political, or simply human catastrophes of the first half of the 20th century, and because of the existence of the Soviet Union proposing itself to be an alternative socio-political model, capital was willing to compromise and find a way of co-existence with labour. This manifested itself in concessions to organised labour, such as the right to form trade unions and the agreement to collective bargaining. These institutional arrangements guaranteed rising wages and rising living standards in the USA, Western Europe and Japan for 25 years. In the 1970s, however, for a combination of reasons this model entered a crisis, and the new technopolitical paradigm, information society began, at first under the surface of what was then called “Post-Fordism.”

The 1970s were a period of crisis and transition, when the new paradigm had been kickstarted by the mass production of microprocessors by Intel in 1970-1 making computing small and cheap. This was at first only recognized by an avant-garde of techies, intellectuals, financiers, people who met, for instance, in the Homebrew Computer Club, or worked in research labs such as Xerox Park, where the first GUI was created. Yet by the end of that decade, the first Personal Computers (PCs) were brought to market, and the electronic and digital world started to capture popular imagination through video games and films such as Tron. Now, rather than continuing with such a chronological narrative, I would like to point out that by the early 1990s, information society was established, and with the opening of the Internet, an investment frenzy started, at the time known as the New Economy. It first hit the headlines of newspapers globally, when the browser company Netscape received 2 Billion Dollars for its initial public offering (IPO) at the stock market.

When we now take a look at the old paradigm, Fordism, and the new paradigm, information society or “informationalism,” we can see that in many aspects it has turned to completely the opposite of what had been in place before. Had the old paradigm depended on hierarchical chains of command from top down to the bottom, the new paradigm fostered much flatter hierarchies and cooperation. This found its most pronounced expression in the leading sector, ICT, where “commons based peer production” became the new norm. This term, coined by Yochai Benkler, suggests a new cooperative type of production, pioneered in free and open source software.5 People decide themselves on which projects they want to work and freely associate themselves with software projects. These projects are then often not organised in a completely egalitarian way, sometimes there are so called benevolent dictatorships. But the core issues is that it is free cooperation, and that the results of that cooperation are entering a digital commons, a pool of resources which can in principle be used by all.

I could continue now with a much longer list of transitions from the old to the new paradigm, but would rather restrict it to a few core examples. Another important point is the type of media used. Fordism relied on a centralized model of broadcast media, with electronic media such as radio and television sending out their messages to people. “Feedback” was provided mainly through viewer statistics but also focus groups used in product marketing. The informational paradigm is characterized by “pull”-type media, where people either communicate with each other directly, through the Internet, or use “on demand” platforms to watch what they want, when and where they want it. This would seem in principle to foster a much more egalitarian media culture, a “read and write” media culture, as Lawrence Lessig, advocate of the Creative Commons licenses for free content, has called it.6.

The problem at which I wanted to get through this rather lengthy parenthesis is that all those great ideas and innovations have somehow become stuck halfway. It is true that in principle free cooperation has become much more important than hierarchical top-down structures. However, hierarchies have not gone away, and command structures have become established on another level. It is true that the combination of cheap computing power, laptops and the Net has enabled a much more egalitarian media culture. At the same time, however, new centralized media powers have arisen which did not even exist 20 years ago, companies such as Google and Facebook who have acquired a centrality compared to which Henry Ford's business empire pales.
One aspect of this paradigm change which has not been mentioned yet, must be added quickly, which is “financialisation” and “neoliberalism.” Financialisation describes a process where ever more areas of the economy were reshaped according to principles stemming from high finance and finding their most potent expression in computerized, networked stock markets. This means that even companies who on the surface still mass-produce consumer goods, now act according to a new set of principles. While in the old paradigm, the Fordist multinational corporation had been hierarchically organized, subsuming under one company all kinds of activities – development, production, marketing, catering, cleaning – in the financialised economies of now corporations have been broken up and shed all those parts which do not promise a maximum of profit. Production typically happens abroad, in so called low-wage countries, while things such as cleaning or catering or transport and logistics are outsourced to companies exposed to breakneck competition.

This system has arisen in tandem with the neoliberal economy. We can say that while financialisation is the “mode of production” of information society, neoliberalism is its political ideology. It suggests as the best way forward a scaling down of the state and its functions, while everything should be ruled by market mechanisms. This, it needs to be said, is an ideology. The reality is different. In neoliberalism, the markets are not free and the states have an important function, but this is rarely ever said. Neoliberalism is now the ruling ideology, and as such it does not have to care about reality. It has won the argument, at least as far as business circles and politicians are concerned, and as a consequence, many rights and achievements of the labour movement have been rolled back. This has led to a much more uneven economic development, with a rising gap between rich and poor. Even the OECD, which itself is a kind of neoliberal think tank of the most developed countries has recently conceded that never before has income inequality been as pronounced as now.

As a result, the paradigm shift has remained incomplete. As Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels had already observed in the mid 19th century, capitalism is innovative technologically. This would create the condition which would theoretically enable a new type of society. The informational paradigm has this potential to enable a knowledge society, a cultural society, where sharing, learning and the creative realisation of the self become core aims. These beneficial aspects and potentials of the liberal technological utopia are constantly undermined by capitalism's need to maintain current social relations. It has to catch the surplus amount of freedom in order to maintain the political status quo. Thus, you have “Störerhaftung”, data retention laws, surveillance, Big Data, the rule of the financial markets, the command of capital.

The bigger sweep of history shows that there is a structural analogy between the distributed or decentralized structure of the Net and the ideals of the revolutionary sixties. The global revolts of '68 were against the docility induced by one-directional, one-dimensional societies of mass production, where TV organized the consciousness of the worker-consumers. The drive for decentralization has come from many corners, but has its origins in the social movements of the 1960s. The foundational technologies of the Internet were developed in the late 1960s, by staff and students at public universities, who made the result of their research public, thus creating the foundations of the digital commons. Inspired administrators such as J.C.R. Licklider were driven by visions of networked digital public libraries.7

Information society has inherited those ethical values which have also become embodied in the structure of digital technologies in general and the Internet in particular. From this point of view, the Net as it exists today is a mesh network, and it is free and neutral, at least on the level of protocols, as I have written in the first chapter. Information society as such, however, has only been established in core nations in the 1980s and 1990s, and not everyone loves its decentralizing, horizontal, participatory groove. So there are those continuing tensions and contradictions going on, between those forces who still defend their privileges and sources of incomes, but also patterns of thought of the old paradigm, and those who propagate bottom up social self-organisation, and a free culture of sharing and cooperation. Advocates of free culture need to be careful, however, not to become victims of their own ideology.

As this article on Rhizome has pointed out, there is a connection between mesh networking and decentralization in general, but this opens the danger of a re-centralization. In an article in 2004 I speculated about similar issues, regarding a “Society in Ad-hoc Mode.” We have to be careful not to be carried away too much by those technological and political analogies. A mesh network can also be used by the army, well, the first mobile ad-hoc networks were developed by the US army. The social version of the ad-hoc mode may have liberating potentials, but we do not need to forget that neoliberalism is the political economy of informationalism, and that means that ever more areas are exposed to financialisation. The plutocracy of global finance uses prefers “ad-hoc” structures such as the G7/8/20 conferences, however they like it, rather than more democratically legitimate structures such as the UNO. Globally important decisions are made by ad-hoc committees rather than more democratically legitimized multinational structures. The allocation of the means of social production – and that's what finance is – is regulated by stock markets which are increasingly networked and automated, rather than by considerations about the well-being of people, animals, plants and the sustainability of natural resources. Decentralization can become a dangerous ideology when detached from actual social content. On a political layer, it is then either a form of libertarianism or anarchism.

The negative effects of financially driven globalization have been countered by new global protest movements that emerged as a specific new political culture of the net in the 1990s. As the old class politics were replaced by a newly constituted “working class” which has become rechristened as the “multitudes,” new forms of networked protest were pioneered in the 1990s. With support of the Association for Porgressive Communications https://www.apc.org/ during the Chiapas uprising in 1994, messages from Subcommandante Marco were smuggled out of the Lacandona jungle via the Net and triggered a global campaign of solidarity which stopped the Mexican army from carrying genocide of the descendants of the Maya people.

The increasing financialization during the era of the New Economy peaked in protests against the financial centers and free trade such as June 18th and the Battle of Seattle in 1999. The multitudes got together on the streets, organized in a decentralized way, via the net. It is no coincidence that June 18th and Seattle were foundational moments for Indymedia. However, those were early high-points of a new form of networked protest that has received various names, from the Arab Spring to the Indignados to Occupy – movements for the right to democratic self-organisation supported by a variety of DIY network technologies.

All major protests against G7/8 meetings after Seattle had independent media centers, IMCs, which in some cases were attacked by the police. Ad-hoc networks for mobile devices carried by crowds could make uncensored communications possible, even when mobile phone networks are shut off. The ad-hoc mode, the power of self-organisation has become part of a wider epistemological shift in information society. Starting in the 1980s but intensifying in the 90s, there was a flood of terms such as emergence, complexity, self-organisation, which were spilling over from techno-science into common language. These are all terms which come from a second order cybernetics, the cybernetics of cybernetics and form an epistemological framework for network society. In some cases they have become mixed with other terms from the social sciences and philosophy, such as “spaces of flow” and “lines of flight”. In some cases this is just old-fashioned philosophical idealism in a new dress-up. In the worst case, this can become part of an ideology, where neoliberalism, libertarianism (or anarchism) high-tech and finance meet to create new ideologies of power and domination, for which the best example is still Kevin Kelly's book Out of Control.8

Against this backdrop, I have advocated, already years ago, a political understanding of the term self-organisation. One of the few coherent concepts for self-organisation was developed by the philosopher, psychoanalyst and political activist Cornelius Castoriadis.9

Castoriadis' ideas centre on autonomy (self-determination) as opposed to heteronomy (outside control). In his view, self-organisation is not simply a better model for organisation or management, serving instead as a principle for “the permanent and explicit self-institution of society; that is to say, a state in which the collectivity knows that its institutions are its own creation and has become capable of regarding them as such, of taking them up again and transforming them.”10 Castoriadis went back to the direct democracy of the Greek city state in order to find out how democracy should reinvent itself today. This vision could also be achieved by using self-organising technologies such as mesh networks. What is dangerous, however, is any belief that automatically links the technological with the social level of self-organisation.

The protest movements of the late 1999s and the concepts and ideas of free software have inspired new ideas regarding the possibility of self-organisation. In the 1990s this has led to a lively discourse, first, about the digital commons, then about the notion of the commons in general. The rise of information society enabled an avant-garde of software developers to create the digital commons. As I have described in much more detail in my article “Shockwaves in the New World Order of Information and Commmunication”11 the success of the digital commons has then been transposed into other areas. People such as Michel Bauwens of the Peer-2-Peer Foundation are propagating the idea of the commons as a new social model that could be applied in all areas. After the financial crash of 2008, the commons movement internationally has taken up steam. Electoral victories by protest movements in Greece and Spain signal, that a political change has started which could lead not just to a new techno-economic but also to a different political paradigm in which the commons and social justice play a greater role.

While I do not insinuate that every member of the free network movements shares leftist political ideas, I propose to consider such a larger socio-econommic environment. The self-organising mesh network could thrive much better in a self-organising society. Currently we live in an ongoing era of insecurity. The new paradigm is not yet in sight, its shape remains to be determined. I think that, without this being a foregone conclusion, commons of all types, technological, social, political, could play a much greater role in the next 25 years, while at the same time we need to be cautious regarding the ideology of information society which has made a language of self-organisation, emergence and complexity its own, while actually building new hierarchies and new forms of domination and repression.

  • 1. Kuhn, Thomas S. The Structure of Scientific Revolutions. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1962.
  • 2. Freeman, Christopher, and Luc Soete. The Economics of Industrial Innovation. 3rd revised. Cambridge Mass.: MIT Press, 1997.
  • 3. Goldstein, Joshua S. Long Cycles: Prosperity and War in the Modern Age. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1988.
  • 4. Perez, Carlota. Technological Revolutions and Financial Capital: The Dynamics of Bubbles and Golden Ages. Cheltenham, UK; Northampton, MA, USA: Edward Elgar Publishing, 2002.
  • 5. Benkler, Yochai. The Wealth of Networks : How Social Production Transforms Markets and Freedom. New Haven [Conn.]: Yale University Press, 2006.
  • 6. Lessig, Lawrence. Free Culture: How Big Media Uses Technology and the Law to Lock Down Culture and Control Creativity. London: Penguin Books, 2004
  • 7. Waldrop, Morris Mitchell. The Dream Machine : J. C. R. Licklider and the Revolution That Made Computing Personal. New York: Penguin Books, 2002.
  • 8. Kelly, Kevin. Out of Control: The New Biology of Machines, Social Systems, & the Economic World. New York: Basic Books, 1995.
  • 9. Cornelius Castoriadis took part in the attempted Communist coup in Greece in 1944. This experience turned him into an opponent of Stalinism and he went to France, where he joined the Trotskyites, soon leaving again due to their authoritarian tendencies. He then founded the group “Socialisme ou barbarie” and the publication of the same name. In his work with this group, he developed his ideas of self-organization, using the example of wildcat strikes, among others. He was one of the first radical socialists in France at the time to publicly criticise Stalinism, as well as publishing critiques of Marx’s historical determinism.
  • 10. Castoriadis, Cornelius. The Castoriadis Reader. Oxford; Cambridge, Mass.: Blackwell Publishers, 1997. 30
  • 11. in: Blackwell Companion to Digital Art. Paul, Christiane, ed., Hoboken, NJ: Wiley-Blackwell, forthcoming

by Armin Medosch

The GNU project

FSF Events: Richard Stallman to speak in Rennes, France

This speech by Richard Stallman will be nontechnical, admission is gratis, and the public is encouraged to attend.

Speech topic, start time, and exact location to be determined.

Please fill out our contact form, so that we can contact you about future events in and around Rennes.

videogame confessional forum

kaira villanueva

So I'm actually in the process of changing my first name. You know me by Fatima, but I'm changing it to Kaira. One reason for that would be the common mispronunciation and one would be me feeling...

by people who played games

May 24, 2015

Annamaria Monteverdi

Dutch National Opera presents the complete version of Alban Berg’s opera Lulu by Kentridge

Dutch National Opera presents the complete version of Alban Berg’s opera Lulu for the first time in National Opera & Ballet, in a co-production with the Metropolitan Opera New York and English National Opera. The Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra takes its place in the pit. IN SHORT Alban Berg wrestled with Lulu his entire life, leaving […]

by annamaria monteverdi

Museum Haus Konstruktiv Zurich presents William Kentridge

4 June to 6 September 2015 Museum Haus Konstruktiv Zurich presents William Kentridge (b. 1955 in Johannesburg), one of the most highly regarded artists of our time in a comprehensive solo exhibition for the first time in Switzerland. At the center of his presentation is the 8-part video installation “I am not me, the horse […]

by annamaria monteverdi

I resti di Bisanzio, film d’arte di Carlo Emilio Schirinzi a Torino, Invisibili Province#

INVISIBILI PROVINCE #1 Presenta tra i migliori film del 2014 secondo Filmcritica ed Alias/il Manifesto I RESTI DI BISANZIO di Carlo Michele Schirinzi Torino_CINEMA CENTRALE_mercoledì 27 maggio, ore 19:30 / presenza dell’autore I resti di Bisanzio non è un ritratto del Salento, tanto meno della Puglia, non vuole essere una strizzata d’occhio al sud d’Italia o del mondo, non si […]

by annamaria monteverdi

ETYMO FOR MORPH OLOGIE

Headhuntress

There is a noose that runs down from the top of my brassiere
Made of silk and cashmere and above it is a lightweight bodice
Lace in fine camel yarn, now if you pull that noose you still
Need to unravel the length of lace round beneath my breasts
And the loop that goes over the back of my neck you must untie
Before I am naked golden and my nipples push against camel
Laces you must lift over my head, licking my breasts so shy
So tender and sore for you, sucking makes me gasp and turn
My ardent gaze towards the window and the balmy morning
Light swells the pleasure of your tongue, your brilliant lapping.

My skirt is long sheer silk printed in verdant colours and around
It is wrapped tightly a beautiful songket of purple, orange, gold
Of fine cotton, hand-dyed and dipped in gold, woven on a loom
Made of bamboo, have my songket unfastened so you may hold
Me, the silk between us now, the silk between your fingers and
My warm wetness, lift my silk, take my cashmere noose, look upon
The Mangosteen of Maluku, taste the white fragrant flesh ripened
And nurtured within three or four degrees of latitude of the equator
To consumate its luscious and intoxicating wine, how terra firma
Turns purple when a white man’s head decorates my Orientalia!

Fatima Lasay, San Roque
Sunday, May 24, 2015

by fatima

May 23, 2015

Pix and bits

#Amsterdam #Atlante

Walking the walks of code, from the sources to the rivers.

The post #Amsterdam #Atlante appeared first on Pics and bits.

by jaromilrojo

ETYMO FOR MORPH OLOGIE

Victoriana

At the end of polite dinner conversation there is sometimes this
Appetitive where brutish behaviour manifests typically in coitus
And related rituals, yes, the cool diplomatic regard with which
Men and women of high pedigree consider one another puts
Delight in brutal fucking and burlesqueries, surely it heightens
The pleasure when there is restraint and so you must take
Your time, come not until after the midnight hour lengthens
Into dawn and we have teased each other, me whore you rake
And other such verbal abuses, self-deprecating performances
Rubbing your cravat between my legs, your teats in my laces.

It wasn’t difficult pinning him to the floor, if he had any teeth they
Would have been broken by the impact, and when he came to he
Was already fastened, naked, his cravat stuffed into his mouth, way
Inside his anus an enormous anal plug of ivory and pearl inlaid
He screamed mutely as I carved my husband’s insignia on his back
In blood that caked my breasts; all of his body markings belong
To me, scarifications of a strange love that hides us in a crack
Upon the delicate glaze of respectable society and whispers low
Beneath aperitifs and opera we never take seriously, the walls in
The drawing room are adorned with their anti-masturbation devices.

Fatima Lasay, San Roque
Saturday, May 23, 2015

by fatima

The Next Layer

Towards the Network Commons (Conclusions)

This draft chapter summarizes my findings. Based on a recent trip to Germany, where vibrant new communities have triggered discussions about what makes the essence of Freifunk, I am suggesting that the future of wireless community networks lies in the notion of the Network Commons.

In the course of this book project, I have studied wireless (and wired) community networks trying to establish the current status of this movement. Two main research questions have guided my inquiry. First, I wanted to look if and how wireless community networks connect with larger questions such as communications freedom; and second, I wanted to find out if those networks can play a role regarding the democratization of technology. This second question has two aspects. One regards the development of technology itself. Wireless community networks are not just consumers and users of technology, they are also actively developing it. My question was, if technologies, developed by a community, are fundamentally different from technologies developed by companies and what would make such a qualitative difference. The second aspect regarding the democratization of technology concerns the role and function the respective technology plays within a community of users. In informational capitalism, technology in general and ICT in particular are key social agents. They are not just neutral tools but connected with wider social issues. Intricate knowledge of technologies, however, is restricted to narrow strata of society. The gap between high-priests of ICT and users, for whom it is a black box, goes across society and political divides. My assumption is that a lack of knowledge also furthers other inequalities, economic and political ones. If wireless community networks thus further knowledge about network technologies, because the development and application is embedded in a wider community, then it could be said that they further the „socialization of technologies.“

When starting this study, I soon became aware that any proper method applied to the research question would require vast quantities of empirical research which, due to the limitations of this project, I would be unable to conduct. It would require, for instance, to gather comprehensive empirical evidence about who participates in those networks, what their backgrounds are and which ways of participation exist. That would mean to engage in field work doing hundreds, not dozens of interviews. My work has been supported by an EU grant in the context of the CONFINE project. I was employed by Verein Funkfeuer, Vienna, on a part-time contract of less than one working day per week for 14 months. I thus soon decided that I could only do qualitative research. My main methodology used was participatory observation, conducted through interviews, research visits, websites, and mailinglists. I conducted about 20 interviews of different lengths and intensity.

By and large I think that my research questions have been validated. Those were interesting questions to ask and they merit further attention. However, the nature of my research questions does not allow for a yes or no type answer, any answer would necessarily be a complex assessment of a complex matter. My main case studies were Freifunk, Germany, and Guifi, Spain. In both projects, people are at work who share a certain ethics and their goals coincide with my research questions. They are building wireless community networks with the aim of furthering communications freedom, free speech, access to knowledge and information. This answers the first main research question, whereby important qualifications are to be made. The second question regarding the democratization of technologies yields more mixed results. The intention of the communities involved, in principle, is to further the democratization of technology, but there are divisions how this is best achieved. As I have analyzed in the previous chapter among some members of the developers and activists community, mesh network routing protocols are idealized as a technological fix to all problems of wireless community networks. There is a widely shared belief that once there exists firmware that is really easy to install which also uses mesh routing protocols, then nothing can stop wireless community networks. This type of firmware now more or less exists. Quick Mesh Project and also the latest releases of the Freifunk Firmware meet those requirements to a large degree. However, this still leaves open the question how easy it is to install and configure such software. And even if that part becomes solved, there are other issues regarding installation of antennas, energy supply and so on and so forth – technical hurdles are bound to continue to exist. Therefore, the main question regards the nature of participation in these projects, in particular the relationship between the core of activists, those people who participate in the network and society at large. I have been trying to find out, to which degree developers consider demands arising from the community and to what kind of extent a knowledge transfer happens between techies and users. As I was lacking the means to answer those questions through a broad scientific study, which would require a different project with a significantly higher level of funding, I can only address those questions as an observer, participant and interpreter.

The Dispositif of the Self-Organizing Network

On May 14th 2015 I was invited to give a talk at the OpenTech Summit in Berlin. This was followed, on 15th and 16th, by the Wireless Community Weekend at c-base, also in Berlin. At the OpenTech Summit I presented the summary of my findings. What I said, was about the following:

In my view, ideas about wireless community networks in Europe were first raised by initiatives such as Consume and Free2air.org in London, around the year 2000. While there existed other initiatives as well, nobody else made such a concerted effort, not just technologically but also ideologically, intellectually, in furthering those ideas. As I have described it in the first chapter, Consume produced a dispositif of the network commons, an idea, but also material support structures and a set of methods which enabled the building of a network commons. I am aware that I am slightly misappropriating this term by Michel Foucault. Foucault's notion of the dispositif is largely concerned with how power distributes in society. The dispositif of the network commons is concerned with the distribution of a type of network that is free from hierarchical power relations as far as possible. Consume's “model 1” was the idea of a network where each node is owned and maintained by its users. There is no centralized entity, neither technologically speaking (no supernodes which can become control points), nor organizationally – there should not be a company or other type of organization which runs the network. The network would be created through a process of social self-organisation. An important aspect of self-organisation would be provided by organizing workshops in regular intervals and having local meeting points which allow people to come together and share ideas, knowledge, skills, technologies.

The dispositif of the network commons traveled over the English channel and found support in Germany. In Berlin, a group of people came together and started, first, a regular meeting at c-base, called Wavelöten, and soon Freifunk (free radio), an initiative to build network commons, first in Berlin, later all over Germany.

Independently of Freifunk a similar initiative had started in Austria, called Funkfeuer (radio beacon). Funkfeuer had the advantage of being able to start on the basis of an existing installation. In the late 1990s, early 2000s, the provider Sil had been one among the most innovative Internet companies in Europe and Worldwide. As I have written in my article “Kreative Milieus” (2012), Sil was the result of a creative milieu, of the coming together of artists, hackers, designers and an entrepreneurial spirit. The company was one among the first in Europe to offer fixed leased line broadband Internet via ADSL for competitive prices through a partnership with two other small providers called Vienna Backbone Service (VBS). In the late 1990s VBS/Sil was looking into ways of consolidating its success by moving into the wireless medium. The artist-engineer Franz Xaver, while working for Sil, created Funkfeuer, a wireless network on the rooftops of Vienna, built to professional standards. But that proofed too costly for Sil, which was, after all, a commercial company. Sil abandoned the effort and for a while the antenna and router installations lay silent. Then a new initiative formed around the young computer technician Aaron Kaplan to revitalize Funkfeuer. He had actually read an early draft of my first, German book on Freie Netze which gave him the idea. Initially, Funkfeuer also operated a free WiFi hotspot in Vienna's Museum Quarter, in cooperation with the NGO Quintessenz. The hotspot served the purpose of showing that an open public Wifi access point could be operated without submitting to regulations regarding mandatory data retention. To cut a long story short, Freifunk and Funkfeuer became a resounding success.

Both networks initially grew rapidly. Freifunk in Berlin was propelled by the lack of availability of affordable broadband in certain areas. In former East Berlin, after German reunification, German Telekom installed a fiber optic network called OPAL. The same story was replicated in towns and regions across the former GDR, in cities such as Leipzig. Because of the OPAL fiber network, those areas could not receive cheap ADSL broadband access. Freifunk has had a strong argument. By joining Freifunk, people could gain fast Internet access almost free of cost. In Leipzig, Freifunk soon had 900 nodes, in Berlin at one point more than 1000. At the same time the German and Austrian free network communities were fervent developers of mesh network routing protocols. At first, OLSR was adopted, then BATMAN was developed out of the heart of the community. Freifunk and Funkfeuer also developed organisational ideas of their own which went beyond what Consume had dreamed up. It can thus be generalized that they did not just adopt the dispositif of the network commons, but contributed to it significantly. One key difference was that Consume was very British in a certain sense, that it had a strong libertarian or anarchist ideology at heart, which at some point becomes impractical when it comes to organizational issues. Those ultra-liberal instincts amount almost to a fear of doing anything that may be seen as prescriptive or normative. The ideology of Consume was that the network had to grow by itself. But the reality was that the moment key protagonists of Consume withdrew from publicly advocating it, it stopped developing at all and then fell apart. Since around 2006-7 Consume stopped being a publicly recognizable entity. Freifunk and Funkfeuer, on the other hand, soon founded a “Verein” each. A Verein is a registered non-commercial association which allows doing things collectively without running a business. Freifunk Germany from the very start was adamant that “Förderverein Freie Netze” was no umbrella organisation under which all other Freifunk initiatives had to be subsumed. And most importantly, the “Verein” was not to be mixed up with the function of a provider. Its role was merely to give the movement a kind of backing by doing fund raising and giving it a voice also publicly, when talking to politicians and regulators.

As I have already told in previous chapters, while Freifunk was growing rapidly throughout the 2000s, German law – or rather “legal practices” always had maintained a threat to the movement through so called “Störerhaftung.” This means that if a private person offers an open WiFi hotspot this person can be made responsible for infringements committed by users. There had been precedents in German law where people were made responsible for illegal filesharing over their open WiFi. This, however, was not even the main source of the problem for Freifunk. The real trouble is that there are law firms in Germany which make it their business model to send threatening letters to everyone suspected to have broken the law. They send out mass letters to people supposedly running open WiFi routers threatening to sue them unless they settle out of court by paying a certain sum. It is very rare that such a case actually comes before a court because this is not really the intention of those law firms. Their intention is to scare people so that they will give in and pay them money. Such practices discomforted Freifunk activists. Therefore, the Förderverein Freie Netze created a workaround, the Freifunk Freedom Fighter Box, a Wifi router configured in such a way that it creates a VPN (a secured virtual private network) which routes Internet traffic via a provider in Sweden. In that moment that no data packet hits German ground, German legislation does not apply. This created a lot of publicity but also adversity. Elements of the German press accused Freifunk of a lack of patriotism by going through a Swedish provider. Thus, Freifunk diversified the method. It also found German providers who allowed tunneling to them. In that moment when access is provided by a bona fide provider, “Störerhaftung” does not apply because providers, like telecoms, are not liable for violations of other laws by their users.

Providers, however, have other obligations. It has been only relatively recently, in April 2014, that the EU data retention directive has been brought down by a decision of the European Court of Justice. Member states are keen on reinstating a similar law which forces providers to store communications data for later usage. This would be in total opposition to the values held by the free networks community, I would assume. Anyway, the issue I want to get at is that there is no ideal solution. Following the example of Förderverein Freie Netze, many local Freifunk initiatives also formed a Verein and attained the status of an Internet service provider which made them exempt from liability for the actions of their users.

The New Ideological Divide

In my presentation at the OpenTech Summit I argued that the belief into mesh networking technology as the “golden bullet”, the magical solution to all problems, was mistaken. While techies believed that technology would provide the fix for all problems, the real problems were of a social and political kind and not easily solvable through technology alone. I presented this with a punchline. I said that while hackers in the past had told newbies always RTFM, which stands for “Read the Fucking Manual” I am now telling hackers my own version of RTFM, which in my case stands for “Read The Fucking Marx” (whereby Marx does not just literally mean Marx but all Marx inspired social theory and critique). I honestly expected to get booed when I would say that, but actually I was cheered on. Later I was to find out that my speech had touch on open points of lively ideological discussions going on inside the Freifunk community.

As I found out through discussions around the barbecue at the Wireless Community Weekend (WCW) on the following day, Freifunk had gone through a specific curve in its development. After growing rapidly almost throughout the 2000s, German IT infrastructure providers had upgraded their infrastructure, which meant to remove the OPAL obstacle to broadband via ADSL. As the obstacle for getting broadband was removed, the incentive for joining Freifunk was lessened. At around 2009 it started getting quiet around Freifunk. But then the Snowden affair kickstarted a new wave of free wireless networking. As people realized, through the revelations of whistleblower Edward Snowden, how widespread snooping on their communications habits was, both by the state but also by private companies, it was realized that the “free” in Freifunk had other connotations as well rather than just cheap Internet. A range of new initiatives started, especially in former Western Germany, where Freifunk had not been that strong during its early years.

For instance, it was only in 2011 that Freifunk Rheinland was founded (Freifunk in the Rhine valley). In 2013 it celebrated its 100th node, in May 2015 it had more than 1000 nodes https://freifunk-rheinland.net/ . Freifunk Rheinland understands itself as a loose connection of local networks in currently 42 towns. It has servers at major Internet exchanges and is also member of RIPE (regional Internet registry for Europe). In the vicinity of it, there is also Freifunk NRW (North Rhine Westphalia). Actually, it calls itself https://vfn-nrw.de/uber-den-verein/ “Verbund freier Netzwerke” which insinuates that it is an actual umbrella organisation which represents all the smaller networks belonging to it. This is a hierarchical organisation which is not in the spirit of the original idea, is claimed in this Forum post https://forum.freifunk.net/t/freifunknrw-weiterhin-irrefuhrend/3448 which created 254 responses so far.

However, to take things further, having a web based forum is something that is anathema to most Freifunk people of an older generation. Some new initiatives are presenting themselves to the public in a way which is not in the decentralized spirit of the original model at all. There are initiatives which present themselves and act as a kind of alternative Internet service provider. This goes deep into the way how technology is used. There is a new version of the Freifunk Firmware, called Gluon, which allows software updates from remote. Freifunk Munich recently proudly informed its members about the successful upgrade of the firmware of 300 routers from remote. Remote software upgrades of this kind fly in the face of the network commons dispositif. Some other people have even opened a Freifunk shop http://freifunk-shop.net/ where you can buy hardware which has the Freifunk firmware pre-installed. Freifunk Firmware, by the way, now exists in two main versions and more than 40 flavors.

The bottom line is that there is a new generation of activists who do not share the same set of values at all. It seems that they see the building of a Freifunk type of network as some sort of sport, proudly announcing when they break another quantitative landmark (1000+ nodes!). There is quite a variety of those new initiatives and one should avoid generalizing too much. Some initiatives are actually very close to the ideas of the original dispositif of the network commons. Others have barely hidden commercial aspirations. And others again, whilst operating under a non-commercial “Verein” and subscribing to the basic set of values, have condescending views of the people who participate in their networks, whom they see as end-users. Some of those differences may be based on a generation gap. Whilst it is always dangerous to classify a whole generation under this or that label, just because they have been born at around the same time, what seems obvious is that younger people have grown up within neoliberal information society. They are net-savvy and naturally use the techniques of Net 2.0, but they have also been shaped by consumer society and a certain competitive attitude prevalent in the neoliberal age. This sort of edginess makes itself felt in forum postings which are outright hostile to Förderverein Freie Netze.

The Verein created in Berlin in 2003 which has done so much for the network commons gets denounced as an obstacle to growth. Its set of values – which can be summed up in the slogan Decentralize! – is even considered “dogmatic” or “fundamentalist.” They call Freifunk Berlin the “legacy” organization, as if this was an obsolete version of Freifunk, insinuating that the new model is better adapted to the contemporary landscape and has more efficient ways of growing networks.

Jürgen Neumann and Monic Meisel of Förderverein Freie Netze try to counter those tendencies in a measured way. In those cases where the Freifunk logo and name are clearly abused for commercial ventures, they are working with lawyers to fight against that. The ideological differences they try to work through by raising a discussion about the original values.

Memorandum of Understanding

At the Wireless Community Weekend (WCW) 2015 a “Memorandum of Understanding” http://blog.freifunk.net/2015/memorandum-understanding was released which summarized the original ideas of Freifunk and called for an open debate. At the same time a national “Advisory Council” was formed which should serve as supervising instance in disputes about domain names and related issues. If that will help is not clear. In the week after WCW the general mood seems positive, as the new initiatives were received positively by the community. The Memorandum of Understanding and the Advisory Council are part of a larger change in strategy. Förderverein Freie Netze does not necessarily advocate the foundation of a Verein for each local initiative. They now say any group of people can make a Freifunk initiative, recognizing that the structure of those “Vereine,” so well known in Germany, tends to attract the wrong kind of people who are experts in that type of community organizing. A negative example is provided, unfortunately, by Funkfeuer Vienna. This has become a tightly run organization, very inward looking, and barely communicating with the outside world. It seems significant also that Funkfeuer is stagnating, the number of nodes has roughly been the same for years, and the website has hardly any new content. While Freifunk and Guifi.net communicate with the world through thousands of channels, Funkfeuer oozes the spirit of self-contained nirvana of nerd. The prevalent attitude is similar to those of HAM radio amateurs, a tightly knit group of males who like to experiment with latest technology. Benefits to society may arise in times of natural disasters, but apart from that it is not evident if or in which ways this once so vibrant initiative participates in wider social issues.

Freifunk, on the other hand, as Elektra remarked with a laugh, has arrived in the mainstream of German society, with all pros and cons. In the region of Franken, in the south, Freifunk has been adopted by the local branch of the CSU, the Christian Conservative party. Local and regional newspapers are full of articles about Freifunk, not always positive. It seems that Germany is a more politicized society, where issues such as surveillance, privacy, network freedom and communication freedom are of concern for a growing number of people.

All those things were debated hotly at the WCW. The spectrum of opinions stretches from those who think that routers with pre-installed firmware, serviced and maintained from remote by experts, are the way forward. Others think that this is a consumerist ideology which has nothing in common with the original idea. They insist that the transfer of knowledge between core activists and users is an important facet, that there should be no Freifunk shops, no pre-installed software. If that implies that growth is much more slowly or even stalls, than that's the price They are convinced that upholding the original idea is much more important than quantitative success, expressed in numbers of routers flashed. But is there such a thing as the original idea? Hasn't the idea of what a free network is already changed? Has not the very success of Freifunk and Guifi shown that the idea of Consume was a tick too Utopian, that it needed a less fundamentalist, slightly less de-centralized approach? On the other hand, a centralized structure such as Funkfeuer, based on a Verein and a close community of males with an affinity for technology, can create a network which functions as a commons for its participants but appears as a closed network to the outside world. While being a closed community, Funkfeuer can still make important contributions to the development of experimental network technology.

Conclusions

After considering all evidence, it seems a proven fact that community networks make unique and important contributions to communications freedom and the democratization of technology. Major European networks such as Guifi and Freifunk are growing at exponential rates which creates all kinds of stresses and problems, but this is in turn just a sign of their vibrancy. Community networks have also demonstrated that they can make invaluable contributions in poor and thinly populated areas. Those success stories, however, are precarious, always threatened by the general tendencies of neoliberal information society. The course of development of information society, which has been characterised by an incomplete paradigm shift, is itself not yet a foregone conclusion. The combination of computer networks and computational devices has potentials for emancipation and empowerment, but also repression, exploitation and disenfranchisement. Within that scenario, the relation between society and technology is a key issue. Wireless community networks have the potential of closing the digital divide and furthering knowledge about ICT in society, creating more sensibility about how people can make better use of those technologies. But this social aspect is not universally shared by all activists. Even in the world of free networks, where free and open source software is used, elitist attitudes sometimes prevail, which only reinforce other social divisions of wealth, class, education, gender. Therefore, the dispositif needs to be fundamentally revised. It needs to be spelled out what a free network is.

In my view, and this is my real conclusion out my engagement over more than 10 years, it is more productive to ditch the notions of Free networks and wireless community networks and speak of the Network Commons. The Network Commons is not a solution that already exists, but something which yet needs to be defined. The attempts at defining the free in free networks in the past centered on the so called Pico Peering Agreement. But this was very minimalistic, overly determined by English anarchic-libertarianism. What is now needed is a definition of the Network Commons in a strong and normative sense, something that can be read as a kind of constitution and even be turned into a legally binding and accepted license, such as the Creative Commons license package. The idea of the network commons stood at the beginning of this book and also at its end. It is not a ready-made solution but an open horizon to be explored.

by Armin Medosch

May 22, 2015

The GNU project

FSF Blogs: Asking Obama to protect encryption, and why that's not enough

In addition to civil society organizations like the FSF, the letter* was signed by some of the most important cryptologists in the world, including the inventors of many of the key technologies behind modern encryption.

The letter is a response to recent requests from the US Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and other agencies for laws requiring that backdoors and attack vectors be built into any encrypted system made by US companies. These backdoors would be specially created to allow law enforcement to snoop on the personal information of the company's customers. Even if you trust the government not to misuse your personal information, this is very risky; any backdoor created for the government will significantly weaken software against other attacks as well.

While free software advocates may not all agree on the details of how narrow government surveillance must be to keep civil liberties intact, we must draw a line at surveillance that prevents effective whistleblowing on corporate and government misbehavior. Mandatory backdoors would definitely do that. Whistleblowers exist outside the NSA—people must be able to expose (as hypothetical examples) inappropriate influence by Apple on US congresspeople, or secret patent intimidation by Microsoft against free software distributors. Without strong encryption, such sources will know that their identity can be easily discovered, providing a serious deterrent against doing the right thing.

Another unacceptable result of government-mandated backdoors is that they would effectively make it impossible for US companies to use free software encryption in systems that handle customers' information. The laws requiring specific unmodifiable anti-features would prevent both companies and users from exercising freedom 1 of the Free Software Definition, the freedom to study how a program works and change it so it does your computing as you wish.

We are strongly opposed to government-mandated backdoors and are supportive of this letter's intent, but we signed it with some trepidation. This is because the only real victory in control over our software lies not in petitioning the government, but in moving away from proprietary software. Free software can be much more difficult for centralized entities—either government or corporate—to control, because any backdoors or other vulnerabilities added to a given version can be reversed in another version and spread to everyone using the program (I wrote more about this resilience in a 2013 article, How can free software protect us from surveillance?). Conversely, proprietary software is never guaranteed to serve our interests—even if we are assured by the developers of the software that they have not built in a backdoor, we can't verify this because we can't see the source code.

Let's keep pressuring our government to resist any requirement to deliberately install backdoors in our software, but not put all our eggs in that basket: to really have freedom and security, we need to use our own solutions that we control, from the source code up. A variety of such free software, encrypted communication tools already exist. Systems like GnuPG (learn how to use it here), OpenSSL, and the rest in the Free Software Directory's encryption category are easily available and new ones are being created every day to meet changing needs. There are even new, free software-based, decentralized, surveillance-resistant systems that we hope will someday replace the massive restrictive corporate systems that government agencies so desperately want complete access to. If we're successful, we'll eventually reach a point where we won't need to petition leaders to protect our privacy in this area, because we'll be able to protect it ourselves.

*The letter uses the term "free and open source," but the term "open source" misses the point of free software. Read more about the two terms on gnu.org.

videogame confessional forum

ben judd

I'm not going to give you my full name because I hate my middle name with a passion, and every time I hear my middle name I feel like my mother is yelling at me. So. My name is Ben Judd. I've been in...

by people who make games

The GNU project

FSF Events: Richard Stallman to speak in Frankfurt, Germany

Richard Stallman's speech will be nontechnical, admission is gratis, and the public is encouraged to attend.

Speech topic to be determined.

Please fill out our contact form, so that we can contact you about future events in and around Frankfurt.

Decentralized Citizen Engagement Technologies

The D-CENT Freecoin Toolchain

Writer: Marco Sachy, Dyne.org

The experimentation on the Digital Social Currency Pilots in D-CENT can be conceived as an open-source approach to decentralized complementary currency design, which becomes ever more relevant where pilot communities are already actively designing tools for collective engagement and decision making on monetary economic matters affecting their communities.

D-CENT is going to prototype the Freecoin Toolchain as a set of features that are apt to advance the state-of-the-art in two domains of social innovation: complementary currencies governance systems and decentralized trust management systems.

Marco Sachy Dyne.org

Marco Sachy Dyne.org

The basic tenet is to consider social currency as reputation management that can inform the money supply of a complementary currency in terms of tolerance to credit risk. Secondly, since both trust – or a ‘promise to pay’/IOU – and codebases are virtual, running trust management on a blockchain is remarkably worth a try. Finally, trust management can be seen as a symbol-based automation of social decisions related to trust, where social agents instruct their technical representations how to act while meeting technical representations of other agents.

The three pilots experimentations in D-CENT can be summarized as follows:

1. Iceland: a blockchain enabled municipal currency inspired by the case studies from Libra Circuit or the SoNantes (France), and coupled with use-cases like the HullCoin (United Kingdom). Iceland is offering the best suitable social environment for a Lean UX development of the currency software toolkit in D-CENT. We aim to facilitate the usage of cryptographic blockchain technologies by co-designing Social Kronas, a reward system for political participation integrated in Betri Reykjavik in collaboration with the Municipality of Reykjavik.

2. Spain: the Eurocat complementary currency has already been launched in Barcelona on April 2014. We conducted an in-depth research on the status of the project, acknowledging that Eurocat needs a digital decentralization strategy to secure its resiliency and the reliability of its digital commons. We intend to envision and facilitate the evolution of its existing technical architecture to foster stewardship of shared data among participants. The aim is to decentralise the storage and distribute the responsibility of service hosting and data custody.

3. Finland and Italy (Milan): a decentralised social remuneration system that can reward the contributions that members of Helsinki Urban-Cooperative Farm perform to the common interest of the cooperative, i.e. Multapaakku. This model will be also piloted in Milan, at Macao, an HUB for cultural workers of the city.

The common characteristic of the different pilots is the need to strengthen the democratic debate necessary to consolidate and preserve the management of economic transactions, especially those with a social orientation and impact, inside the local monetary circuit.

Indeed, it is only through a democratic and participatory deliberation system that citizens can collectively define bottom-up their social needs, also in terms of monetary needs, and inform the choices made not only on resource allocation, but also about investment in social objectives and ethical criteria, i.e. digital social currency experiments to foster direct democracy across Europe.

We experiment in a scenario whereby human decisions deeply influence the behavior of algorithms and not the opposite. Contrary to what happens in most crypto-currency design approaches, which tend to privilege the role of software and marginalize human contribution to a mere servomechanism – see the ‘machinic economy’ manageable only by an elite of engineers or the myopic limitation of the money supply to fixed numbers of coins that creates structural inequality and entry barriers in a white male dominated environment – the Freecoin Toolchain puts humans back at the centre of the currency creation stage, without color, gender or social status distinctions.

http://dcentproject.eu/wp-content/uploads/2015/05/D4.4-final_v4.pdf

http://dcentproject.eu/wp-content/uploads/2015/05/D4.4-final_v4.pdf

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

How? The literature review on the blockchain technology, its bio-political critique and promising implementations for the social good, make emerge a new way to look at the relation between the participatory democratic process and the blockchain technology in the context of the governance of complementary currency systems. Within the scope of the D-CENT project, the Digital Social Currency pilots will experiment and test a new notion of proof-of-work: the Social Proof-of-Work, which is roughly the proof that a member in the system is endowed with coins as a reward to an action in the real world while abiding to community rules and enhancing collective values.

Beyond inflation and deflation, the Freecoin Toolchain is an experiment in decentralized digital currency design that aims to contribute to the development of a self-adjusting money supply by harnessing the inputs of users of a currency system. By linking democratic deliberation with currency creation through the Social Proof-of-Work, systems can be designed to enable a flexible currency supply set in real time at the light of users trust management dynamics.

Exploitation of the Freecoin tools and features ranges from use-cases that may run in parallel with new governmental innovations for the recovery of national economies such as Greece
(FutureTax-Coin) or the trust management dynamics shaping the governance structure of the financial services industry at the aggregate level.

From a technical design point of view, we believe that even beyond the span of this research and its application to pilots it can be of great interest, both for business and social potential, to develop and document a Freecoin Toolchain software kit based on Bitcoin Core 0.10 and capable of bootstrapping the genesis of new ad-hoc blockchains, integrating the work done in the e-democracy D-CENT pilots and the Social Proof-of-Work concept,therefore implementing a more desirable – read democratic – mode of operation of the blockchain, also environmentally sustainable.

Marco Sachy is the currency designer of the Dyne.org foundation, Ph.D Candidate and Graduate Teaching Assistant at University of Leicester School of Management. His research focuses on the nature of money, currency design and banking engineering in order to proactively expand the representational horizon and the modes of conducting the bottom-up resistance against the unfolding violence of financial capitalism. Sachy works for Dyne.org in the D-CENT project doing research on Social Crypto Currencies and geo-localized market places.

D-CENT interview: Marco Sachy from D-CENT on Vimeo.

by Kaisa Eskola

The GNU project

FSF Events: Richard Stallman to speak in Frankfurt, Germany

Richard Stallman's speech will be nontechnical, admission is gratis, and the public is encouraged to attend.

Speech topic to be determined.

Please fill out our contact form, so that we can contact you about future events in and around Frankfurt.

gxmessage @ Savannah: gxmessage 3.4.1 for GTK3 has been released

gxmessage is a GTK based alternative to xmessage.

This is a maintenance release keeping up with changes in GTK3, and updated using the latest GNU tools.

Also, I'm pleased to announce a new mailing list for gxmessage users:

https://lists.gnu.org/mailman/listinfo/gxmessage

gxmessage @ Savannah: gxmessage 2.20.2 for GTK2 has been released

gxmessage is a GTK based alternative to xmessage.

This is a maintenance and minor bug-fix release of the GTK2 based version of gxmessage.

Also, I'm pleased to announce a new mailing list for gxmessage users:

https://lists.gnu.org/mailman/listinfo/gxmessage

ETYMO FOR MORPH OLOGIE

Sorry I Don’t Masturbate on Webcam for Boyfriend

Wistful, I was awake when the alarm went, and, I, watched
The two dots, blink, switched off after the first beep, then took
The time to appreciate the glow of dawn, first light, snatched
A towel and washed, primed myself a bit for that dreamy look
That morning ritual with the webcam at my bedside; smile, he
Says hello and the glowing image of his breasts on the screen
Turns me on, turns the throbbing light on, the voltage of his
Watchful eyes behind the electron veil, the deep of night seen
Beneath the shadow of his side of the world, and his hands
Hidden somewhere beyond the frame of slowly shifting sands.

The sand dunes on the sea coast whirl in the wind, their grains
Slip and he rocks the shy boy in his hands, a slow rhythm like
A ship on the water, and soon the boy’s body turns rigid, strains
And bobs in and out of view from God’s eye, so I just might
Witness and begin to feel the tip of his phallus in my throat
Lodged between breathing and ecstasy, to feel his wrinkled
Scrotum against the soft of my fingers, dirty, unwashed, uncouth
Unreachable and deliciously so, his tobacconated tongue licked
As he begged me, spread for me, please, he begged me but he
Moaned and gushed as I held my dunes to his twisted face.

Fatima Lasay, San Roque
Tuesday, May 19, 2015

by fatima

May 21, 2015

The GNU project

parallel @ Savannah: GNU Parallel 20150522 ('Nepal') released [stable]

GNU Parallel 20150522 ('Nepal') has been released. It is available for download at: http://ftp.gnu.org/gnu/parallel/

No new functionality was introduced so this is a good candidate for a stable release.

Haiku of the month:

Many jobs to run.
Idle cores is not your thing.
Use GNU Parallel.
-- Ole Tange

New in this release:

  • Security: After further security analysis the issue fixed in 20150422 also fixed the problem for --tmux.
  • Bug fixes and man page updates.

GNU Parallel - For people who live life in the parallel lane.

About GNU Parallel

GNU Parallel is a shell tool for executing jobs in parallel using one or more computers. A job is can be a single command or a small script that has to be run for each of the lines in the input. The typical input is a list of files, a list of hosts, a list of users, a list of URLs, or a list of tables. A job can also be a command that reads from a pipe. GNU Parallel can then split the input and pipe it into commands in parallel.

If you use xargs and tee today you will find GNU Parallel very easy to use as GNU Parallel is written to have the same options as xargs. If you write loops in shell, you will find GNU Parallel may be able to replace most of the loops and make them run faster by running several jobs in parallel. GNU Parallel can even replace nested loops.

GNU Parallel makes sure output from the commands is the same output as you would get had you run the commands sequentially. This makes it possible to use output from GNU Parallel as input for other programs.

You can find more about GNU Parallel at: http://www.gnu.org/s/parallel/

You can install GNU Parallel in just 10 seconds with: (wget -O - pi.dk/3 || curl pi.dk/3/) | bash

Watch the intro video on http://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL284C9FF2488BC6D1

Walk through the tutorial (man parallel_tutorial). Your commandline will love you for it.

When using programs that use GNU Parallel to process data for publication please cite:

O. Tange (2011): GNU Parallel - The Command-Line Power Tool, ;login: The USENIX Magazine, February 2011:42-47.

If you like GNU Parallel:

  • Give a demo at your local user group/team/colleagues
  • Post the intro videos on Reddit/Diaspora*/forums/blogs/ Identi.ca/Google+/Twitter/Facebook/Linkedin/mailing lists
  • Get the merchandise https://www.gnu.org/s/parallel/merchandise.html
  • Request or write a review for your favourite blog or magazine
  • Request or build a package for your favourite distribution (if it is not already there)
  • Invite me for your next conference

If you use GNU Parallel for research:

  • Please cite GNU Parallel in you publications (use --bibtex)

If GNU Parallel saves you money:

About GNU SQL

GNU sql aims to give a simple, unified interface for accessing databases through all the different databases' command line clients. So far the focus has been on giving a common way to specify login information (protocol, username, password, hostname, and port number), size (database and table size), and running queries.

The database is addressed using a DBURL. If commands are left out you will get that database's interactive shell.

When using GNU SQL for a publication please cite:

O. Tange (2011): GNU SQL - A Command Line Tool for Accessing Different Databases Using DBURLs, ;login: The USENIX Magazine, April 2011:29-32.

About GNU Niceload

GNU niceload slows down a program when the computer load average (or other system activity) is above a certain limit. When the limit is reached the program will be suspended for some time. If the limit is a soft limit the program will be allowed to run for short amounts of time before being suspended again. If the limit is a hard limit the program will only be allowed to run when the system is below the limit.

Vlax

#Sudan #Last #Mal...

#Sudan #Last #Male #Northern #White #Rhino #Endangered #Species #Wildlife #Conservation #Rhinoceros #Animals #Africa #Our #World

A picture of loneliness: you are looking at the last male northern white rhino

The image of Sudan the rhino, surrounded by the armed guards who protect him from poachers, shows how little humans have learned since the ice age

Tuesday, 12 May 2015 / By Jonathan Jones

What is it like to look at the very last of something? To contemplate the passing of a unique wonder that will soon vanish from the face of the earth? You are seeing it. Sudan is the last male northern white rhino on the planet. If he does not mate successfully soon with one of two female northern white rhinos at Ol Pejeta conservancy, there will be no more of their kind, male or female, born anywhere. And it seems a slim chance, as Sudan is getting old at 42 and breeding efforts have so far failed. Apart from these three animals there are only two other northern white rhinos in the world, both in zoos, both female.

It seems an image of human tenderness that Sudan is lovingly guarded by armed men who stand vigilantly and caringly with him. But of course it is an image of brutality. Even at this last desperate stage in the fate of the northern white rhino, poachers would kill Sudan if they could and hack off his horn to sell it on the Asian medicine market.

Sudan doesn’t know how precious he is. His eye is a sad black dot in his massive wrinkled face as he wanders the reserve with his guards. His head is a marvellous thing. It is a majestic rectangle of strong bone and leathery flesh, a head that expresses pure strength. How terrible that such a mighty head can in reality be so vulnerable. It is lowered melancholically beneath the sinister sky, as if weighed down by fate. This is the noble head of an old warrior, his armour battered, his appetite for struggle fading.

http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2015/may/12/last-male-northern-white-rhino

DYNDY - Imagine the Future of Money

The Freecoin ToolChain

The experimentation on the Digital Social Currency Pilots in D-CENT can be conceived as an open-source approach to decentralized complementary currency design, which becomes ever more relevant where pilot communities are already actively designing tools for collective engagement and decision making on monetary economic matters affecting their communities.

D-CENT is going to prototype the Freecoin Toolchain as a set of features that are apt to advance the state-of-the-art in two domains of social innovation: complementary currencies governance systems and decentralized trust management systems.

The basic tenet to consider is social currency as reputation management that can inform the money supply of a complementary currency in terms of tolerance to credit risk. Secondly, since both trust – or a ‘promise to pay’/IOU – and codebases are virtual, running trust management on a Blockchain is remarkably worth a try. Finally, trust management can be seen as a symbol-based automation of social decisions related to trust, where social agents instruct their technical representations how to act while meeting technical representations of other agents.

The Pilot experimentations in D-CENT can be summarized as follows:

1. Iceland: a blockchain enabled municipal currency inspired by the case studies from Libra Circuit or the SoNantes (France), and coupled with use-cases like the HullCoin (United Kingdom). Iceland is offering the best suitable social environment for a Lean UX development of the currency software toolkit in D-CENT. We aim to facilitate the usage of cryptographic blockchain technologies by co-designing Social Kronas, a reward system for political participation integrated in Betri Reykjavik in collaboration with the Municipality of Reykjavik.

2. Spain: the Eurocat complementary currency has already been launched in Barcelona on April 2014. We conducted an in-depth research on the status of the project, acknowledging that Eurocat needs a digital decentralization strategy to secure its resiliency and the reliability of its digital commons. We intend to envision and facilitate the evolution of its existing technical architecture to foster stewardship of shared data among participants. The aim is to decentralise the storage and distribute the responsibility of service hosting and data custody.
3. Finland and Italy (Milan): a decentralised social remuneration system that can reward the contributions that members of Helsinki Urban-Cooperative Farm perform to the common interest of the cooperative, i.e. Multapakku. This model will be also piloted in Milan, at Macao, an HUB for cultural workers of the city.

The common characteristic of the different pilots is the need to strengthen the democratic debate necessary to consolidate and preserve the management of economic transactions, especially those with a social orientation and impact, inside the local monetary circuit.

Indeed, it is only through a democratic and participatory deliberation system that citizens can collectively define bottom-up their social needs, also in terms of monetary needs, and inform the choices made not only on resource allocation, but also about investment in social objectives and ethical criteria, i.e. digital social currency experiments to foster direct democracy across Europe.

We experiment in a scenario whereby human decisions deeply influence the behavior of algorithms and not the opposite.

 

Contrary to what happens in most crypto-currency design approaches, which tend to privilege the role of software and marginalize human contribution to a mere servomechanism – see the ‘machinic economy’ manageable only by an elite of engineers or the myopic limitation of the money supply to fixed numbers of coins that creates structural inequality and entry barriers in a white male dominated environmentthe Freecoin Toolchain puts humans back at the centre of the currency creation stage, without color, gender or social status distinctions.

How? The literature review on the blockchain technology, its bio-political critique and promising implementations for the social good, make emerge a new way to look at the relation between the participatory democratic process and the blockchain technology in the context of the governance of complementary currency systems. Within the scope of the D-CENT project, the Digital Social Currency pilots will experiment and test a new notion of proof-of-work: the Social Proof-of-Work, which is roughly the proof that a member in the system is endowed with coins as a reward to an action in the real world while abiding to community rules and enhancing collective values.

Beyond inflation and deflation, the Freecoin Toolchain is an experiment in decentralized digital currency design that aims to contribute to the development of a self-adjusting money supply by harnessing the inputs of users of a currency system. By linking democratic deliberation with currency creation through the Social Proof-of-Work, systems can be designed to enable a flexible currency supply set in real time at the light of users trust management dynamics.

Exploitation of the Freecoin tools and features ranges from use-cases that may run in parallel with new governmental innovations for the recovery of national economies such as Greece (FutureTax-Coin) or the trust management dynamics shaping the governance structure of the financial services industry at the aggregate level.

From a technical design point of view, we believe that even beyond the span of this research and its application to pilots it can be of great interest, both for business and social potential, to develop and document a Freecoin Toolchain software kit based on Bitcoin Core 0.10 and capable of bootstrapping the genesis of new ad-hoc blockchains, integrating the work done in the e-democracy D-CENT pilots and the Social Proof-of-Work concept, therefore implementing a more desirable – read democratic – mode of operation of the blockchain, also environmentally sustainable.

by radium

The GNU project

FSF Blogs: Friday Free Software Directory IRC meetup: May 22

Join the FSF and friends Friday, May 22, from 2pm to 5pm EDT (18:00 to 21:00 UTC) to help improve the Free Software Directory by adding new entries and updating existing ones. We will be on IRC in the #fsf channel on freenode.

Tens of thousands of people visit directory.fsf.org each month to discover free software. Each entry in the Directory contains a wealth of useful information, from basic category and descriptions, to providing detailed info about version control, IRC channels, documentation, and licensing info that has been carefully checked by FSF staff and trained volunteers.

While the Free Software Directory has been and continues to be a great resource to the world over the past decade, it has the potential of being a resource of even greater value. But it needs your help!

If you are eager to help and you can't wait or are simply unable to make it onto IRC on Friday, our participation guide will provide you with all the information you need to get started on helping the Directory today!

FSF Blogs: Friday Free Software Directory IRC meetup: May 15

Join the FSF and friends Friday, May 15, from 2pm to 5pm EDT (18:00 to 21:00 UTC) to help improve the Free Software Directory by adding new entries and updating existing ones. We will be on IRC in the #fsf channel on freenode.

Tens of thousands of people visit directory.fsf.org each month to discover free software. Each entry in the Directory contains a wealth of useful information, from basic category and descriptions, to providing detailed info about version control, IRC channels, documentation, and licensing info that has been carefully checked by FSF staff and trained volunteers.

While the Free Software Directory has been and continues to be a great resource to the world over the past decade, it has the potential of being a resource of even greater value. But it needs your help!

If you are eager to help and you can't wait or are simply unable to make it onto IRC on Friday, our participation guide will provide you with all the information you need to get started on helping the Directory today!

ETYMO FOR MORPH OLOGIE

Le Prix du Wank

We were early inhabitants of Usenet, the Internet of chatty things
And because we were colonised and subdued by America we spoke
Their English with proficiency, we learned their vernaculars in films
And soaps, and we sometimes believed that we were white, we broke
Into chatty laughter and displayed uncanny intelligence intensifying
Our feminine allure almost masculine, we silenced the newsgroups
With the simple declaration “I am a Filipina” as if every fetishising
Belonged to us, as if cyberspace were our harem, and the loops
Of connections and pings between networks spasm for a second
So our risqué intelligence may give time for the others to abscond.

But these days of social media, the Internet of depiction and image
Offers us more to see than to think, hence we disappear quietly
Into the backstage of visual effects and some of us carry on dazed
With no dignity, listening to the rants of feminists whilst matriarchy
Dangle from our armpits, seeking to impress white men of various
Colour underpants with our biting cynicism, our no bullshit erotics
And our political minds, prompting a stampede of pricks in serious
Need of masturbatory release preferably Koreana puckered lips
Pink wigs and white breasts, preferably No English Please whilst
Their cyberboyfriends wipe their cocks on their Microsoft Windows.

Fatima Lasay, San Roque
Wednesday, May 20, 2015

by fatima

May 20, 2015

Annamaria Monteverdi

Open Call Festival InShadow: Video, Performance and Technologies

Follow your shadow and apply with your works in the genres of video dance, documentary, performance, installations, animation and 1minute video dance here: http://bit.ly/1tOwEm9 spot: vimeo.com/120149641 Festival description: InShadow – International Festival of Video, Performance and Technologies is an initiative of Vo’Arte, in co-production with São Luiz Teatro Municipal in Lisbon, which has already established itself as a reference in contemporary […]

by annamaria monteverdi

videogame confessional forum

pijus antanavicius

My name is Pijus Antanavicius, I’m, what is it, 25 years old, and I’m in Europe, Lithuania, Vilnius, the capital. And what else was it you were asking, when did I lose interest? How did you come to...

by people who played games

May 19, 2015

Vlax

EFF: Internet.org No Es Neutral, No Es Segura, y No Es Internet

EFF: Internet.org No Es Neutral, No Es Segura, y No Es Internet

  • riesgo real de que los pocos sitios web que Facebook y sus socios eligieron terminen convirtiéndose en un gueto para usuarios pobres
  • la estructura técnica de Internet.org previene a algunos usuarios de acceder a través de conexiones HTTPS cifradas

#internet #privacidad #gobierno #sociedad #libertad #información #neutralidad #facebook #control #datos #comunicación #digital #web #www

Es plausible, y posible, proporcionar un servicio de acceso a Internet gratuito y limitado que sea seguro. Mejor aún si no depende de Facebook y sus socios.

  • Por erigirse en guardianes del acceso libre a (partes de) la Internet global, Facebook y sus socios han entregado una invitación abierta para que los gobiernos y grupos de interés presionen, persuadan o amenacen para que retengan el contenido particular de su servicio, que será mucho más difícil de censurar en la Internet global.

https://www.eff.org/node/85922

May 18, 2015

Defective by Design

Next year's International Day Against DRM: Are you in?

Last week's International Day Against DRM was the biggest ever, with fifteen actions from Guatemala to Bangladesh, endorsement from major ebook publishers, and a chorus of support on social media. Community members shared diverse perspectives on DRM in community blog posts and helped bring new people in to our movement. Together we sent a strong message to the DRM and publishing industries: we will not tolerate digital restrictions. We're excited to build on our success for the coming year and make 2016's Day even more powerful.

Anti-DRM activists hand out flyers in Guatemala City

Anti-DRM activists in Guatemala City

There will be lots to discuss and act on in the coming year. For example, on May 6, the world learned that Keurig Green Mountain's sales fell 23% in the first quarter of 2015 -- and their stock price dropped 10% as a result. Did you see the company backpedal on the DRM-choked Keurig 2.0 once it became clear that people don't want a coffee maker that only brews Keurig-branded coffee? They haven't committed to removing DRM...yet. In fact, they're simply going to allow refillable cups to work in the machine (like their older models) and are working to get more coffee brands licensed as part of their DRM coffee scheme. We need to keep the pressure on them and other companies, and each year, the Day is one of our best opportunities to make a strong statement together.

May 3, 2016 is the next International Day Against DRM and we hope all of you can participate.

We'll use our action alerts list to give plenty of notice beforehand, so you have a chance to get involved. Join now to get low-volume updates. If you think you might like to organize an event of any size next year, feel free to contact us directly at info@defectivebydesign.org and we'll make a note to reach out to you personally leading up to the Day.

This movement is powered by people, but we do need a modest amount of money to pay the bills and keep our organizers fed and healthy. If you can, please donate to help us make next year's International Day Against DRM even better. It doesn't have to be a lot -- many donations of $15 or $25 add up.

PS: Check out new photos from actions around the world in last week's recap post.

by Zak Rogoff

Decentralized Citizen Engagement Technologies

Designing digital democracy: a short guide

Writer: Geoff Mulgan, Chief Executive at Nesta. The original article was published in the Nesta blog.

I’ve written quite a few blogs and pieces on digital technology and democracy – most recently on the relevance of new-style political parties. [1]

Here I look at the practical question of how parliaments, assemblies and governments should choose the right methods for greater public engagement in decisions.

One prompt is the Nesta-led D-CENT project which is testing out new tools in several countries [2], and there’s an extraordinary range of engagement experiments underway around the world, from Brazil’s parliament to the Mayor of Paris. Tools like Loomio for smallish groups, and Your Priorities and DemocracyOS for larger ones, are well ahead of their equivalents a few years ago. [3]

Mulgan

A crucial question is whether the same tools work well for different types of issue or context. The short answer is ‘no’. Here I suggest some simple formulae to ensure that the right tools are used for the right issues; I show why hybrid forms of online and offline are the future for parliaments and parties; and why the new tools emphasise conversation rather than only votes.

Clarity on purpose

First, it’s important to be clear what wider engagement is for. Engagement is rarely a good in itself. More passionate engagement in issues can be a powerful force for progress. But it can be the opposite, entrenching conflicts and generating heat rather than light. The goals of engagement can include some or all of the following: legitimation, or public trust; better quality decisions and outcomes; or a public which better understands the key issues and choices. These goals can often coincide. But there will be many times when they directly clash with each other.

A related question is how direct democratic engagement relates to representative democracy. Sometimes these align – when a political leader or party creates new forums to complement the paraphernalia of elections and manifestos. But sometimes they conflict – with Iceland’s attempt to involve the public in writing a new constitution an important recent test case (the new constitution was drafted by a broad based commission with online inputs from the public, and endorsed by public referendum, but then rejected by a newly elected parliament). One lesson is that it’s wise to involve elected politicians as directly as possible – since they continue to hold ultimate authority.

Clarity on who you want to reach

Second, who do you want to reach? Even in the most developed nations and cities there are still very practical barriers of reach – despite the huge spread of broadband, mobiles and smart phones. Recent experience suggests that engagements which only use digital tools rather than print, radio, TV and face to face, can get very skewed inputs. That’s fine for some kinds of engagement – 1% involvement can greatly improve the quality of decisions. But it’s vital to keep checking that the participant groups aren’t unrepresentative. Even very tech savvy cities like New York and Los Angeles have repeatedly found that participants in purely digital consultations are much more male, young, well-educated, affluent and metropolitan than the population as a whole.

Clarity on what tools for what issues – navigating ‘Belief and Knowledge Space’

Third, even if there were strong habits of digital engagement for the whole population it would not follow that all issues should be opened up for the maximum direct participation. A useful approach is to distinguish issues according to two dimensions.

The first dimension differentiates issues where the public has expertise and experience from ones where the knowledge needed to make decisions is very specialised. There are many issues on which crowds simply don’t have much information let alone wisdom, and any political leader who opened up decision making too far would quickly lose the confidence of the public.

The second dimension differentiates issues which are practical and pragmatic from ones where there are strongly held and polarised opinions, mainly determined by underlying moral beliefs rather than argument and evidence. Putting these together gives us a two dimensional space on which to map any public policy issue, which could be described as the ‘Belief and Knowledge Space’.

belief_and_knowledge_spaces_0

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Public engagement, and the use of digital tools to widen engagement, is possible on all points. But different types of issue need very different tools, depending on how open or closed public views are likely to be, and how inclusive or exclusive the knowledge needed for participation is.

For example, an issue on which there is widely shared knowledge but strongly contested values (like gay marriage) requires different methods to one which is both more technical in nature and dependent on highly specialised knowledge (like monetary policy). A contested issue – in the top left quadrant – will bring in highly motivated groups who are very unlikely to change their views as a result of participation. New fora for debate give added oxygen to pre-existing views rather than encouraging deliberation.

With very specialised issues, by contrast, wide participation in debate may risk encouraging unwise decisions – which will subsequently be rejected by voters (how much would you want the details of monetary policy, or responses to a threatened epidemic, to be determined by your fellow citizens?). So in this, bottom right, quadrant some of the most useful tools are ones which mobilise broader bodies of expertise than the ones immediately accessible to government, but try to filter out inputs based on opinion rather than knowledge or experience.

Another interesting category, however, falls roughly in the middle to top right of the table above. These are issues involving scientific choices that include ethics, some highly specialised knowledge, but also significant public interest. For issues of this kind, open public deliberation may be important both to educate the public and to legitimise decisions. Stem cell research, genomics, privacy and personal data are all issues of this kind. The issues surrounding mitochondrial research are a good recent example.

But the formats need to involve smaller groups in more intensive deliberation and engagement with the facts, before the process is opened up. The challenge then is how to use these exercises to influence a wider public, which in most cases must involve mass media as well as the internet.

I’m sure there are other issues and dimensions to consider and would welcome suggestions on improvements to the model I’ve set out here.

Clarity on requisite scale

Fourth, engagement looks and feels very different at different scales. A small city like Reykjavik can run a fantastic online tool for citizens to propose ideas and comment. There’s a directness and authenticity about the points made. At the other end of the spectrum a nation of 300 million like the US, or 1300 million like India, is bound to struggle with online engagement, since well-funded lobby groups are likely to be much more adept at playing the system. More systematic rules; more governance of governance; and a bigger role for intermediaries and representatives is unavoidable on these larger scales. Democracy isn’t fractal – instead it’s a phenomenon, like much biology, where larger scale requires different forms, not just a scaled up version of what works in a town or neighbourhood.

Clarity on identity and anonymity

Modern democracy allows people a secret ballot (though we sometimes forget that this is a relatively recent idea, sometimes attributed to the Australians, though I think France got there first). But we usually make votes in parliaments visible. The modern internet allows for anonymity which has fuelled some its worst features – abuse, extreme views etc. So any designer of democratic engagement tools has to decide what levels of anonymity should apply at each stage. We might choose to allow anonymity at early stages of consultations, but require people to show and validate identities at later stages (eg. to confirm they actually live in the neighbourhood or city involved), certainly as any issue comes closer to decisions. The diagram below summarises these different steps, and the block chain tools being used in the D-CENT pilots bring these issues to the fore.

d-cent_diagrams

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The 2010s are turning out to be a golden age of democratic innovation. That’s bringing creativity and excitement but also challenges, in particular around how to relate the new forms to the old ones, online communities to offline ones, the democracy of voice and numbers and the democracy of formal representation.

Crowds can help with many tasks. But they are particularly badly suited to the job of designing new institutions, or crafting radical strategies, or combining discrete policies into coherent programmes. This still tends to be the preserve of quite small groups, in intense face to face conversation.

As a result my guess is that the most successful models in the next few years will fuse representative and direct elements. They will be honest that the buck still stops with elected representatives – and that the online tools are inputs and supplements rather than replacements. They will present conversation and deliberation as preferable to relying on occasional elections, and the odd binary petition. But they will also be clear that the 21st century parliament or city council has to be a hybrid too – physical and digital.

[1] The Demos Quarterly on lean democracy brought some of these together nearly 20 years ago (downloadable via demos.co.uk)

[2] See the tools being deployed in Spain and Finland http://preprograma.barcelonaencomu.cat/ and YourPriority https://www.betrireykjavik.is/

[3] A useful overview from Beth Noveck and Arnaud Sahuguet http://www.governing.com/columns/smart-mgmt/col-participatory-democracy-emerging-tools.html

by admin

May 16, 2015

Vlax

Mentiras para hacer verdad, mentiras para hacer Realidad, mentiras verdaderas.

Mentiras para hacer verdad, mentiras para hacer Realidad, mentiras verdaderas.

"A cuántas gentes como yo sabían el cuento de mi amigo sin saber la realidad, que estaba por verse cuántas mentiras decía mi amigo en aquel tiempo. (...) Hasta que un día me topé nuevamente con mi amigo, pero esta vez ya no estaba vestido de humilde chambeador, y ni cargaba mochila pinta y tampoco llevaba jaula de loros.

¿Qué era lo que llevaba entonces? Verán, pues allí estaba mi amigo, mi cuate, todo de negro y café, con mochila y zapatos, y un arma en los hombros. Resulta que mi amigo era un valiente guerrillero y soldado del pueblo. Me quedé sorprendido, y me regresé todo triste y aún sin comprender lo que allí está pasando.

Eso fue mi error, no entender rápido lo que aquel hombre quería.

#zapatista #Galeano #EZLN #México #memoria #cultura #rebelión #historia #pensamiento #pueblo #libertad

Maestro Zapatista Galeano: Apuntes de una vida

http://enlacezapatista.ezln.org.mx/2015/05/02/maestro-zapatista-galeano-apuntes-de-una-vida

"los museos se enmohecen, las redes sociales corren de un lado a otro demostrando que la frivolidad, como el capitalismo, puede ser masiva y simultánea."

"los museos se enmohecen, las redes sociales corren de un lado a otro demostrando que la frivolidad, como el capitalismo, puede ser masiva y simultánea."

-> El Muro y la Grieta. Primer Apunte sobre el Método Zapatista. Palabras del SupGaleano en la Inauguración del Seminario “El Pensamiento Crítico frente a la Hidra Capitalista” « Enlace Zapatista

#zapatista #pensamiento #idea #memoria #resistencia #rebeldía #pueblo #México #EZLN #internet #comunicación #información #filosofía #capitalismo

http://enlacezapatista.ezln.org.mx/2015/05/04/el-muro-y-la-grieta-primer-apunte-sobre-el-metodo-zapatista-palabras-del-supgaleano-en-la-inauguracion-del-seminario-el-pensamiento-critico-frente-a-la-hidra-capitalista

Pix and bits

Foating condo

Walking the walks of code, from the sources to the rivers.

The post Foating condo appeared first on Pics and bits.

by jaromilrojo

May 15, 2015

videogame confessional forum

matthew burns

My name is Matthew Burns, Matthew S. Burns, and I've been in the game industry for about 15 years now. I've worked at AAA companies, I worked on games in the Call of Duty and Halo franchises, and I...

by people who make games

Informatic school is in southwest Cameroon

https://www.linux-friends.igsor.net

It’s the Linux Friends Online. Offering new ways to communicate. To exchange data, experiences, opinions. To collaborate on courses, exercises, projects. To cooperate, discuss and share independent of space and time.

https://www.linux-friends.igsor.net

by admin

May 14, 2015

Instants Suspendus

#twisterP2P: l’essayer et puis l’adopter

Donc tu as créé ton compte sur twister et ta timeline se remplit doucement de plein de micro-messages (le débat sur la limite de 140 caractères n’est pas clos) et il est temps d’explorer l’engin d’un peu plus près.

tl;dr J’essaye ici de détailler l’utilisation du client html, pour répondre aux questions fréquemment posées par les nouveaux utilisateurs et encourager une utilisation plus large de twister; cet article n’est pas pour toi si ta seule obsession est de comprendre comment ça marche ou comment installer ça sur ta machine, ou encore si tu préfères choisir Emacs comme client :p

Options du client html

En haut à droite tu as un menu déroulant dont la première entrée, « options » te permets de faire quelques réglages.

  • Langue
  • Thème 3 thèmes pour le moment permettent d’habiller le client (personnellement j’utilise Nin).
  • Notifications activer ou désactiver les notifications sonores pour les nouveaux messages.
  • Send key c’est la touche pour envoyer le message (ctrl+entrée ou entrée, selon si tu veux mettre des retours à la ligne dans tes messages, ou pas)
  • Postboard displays quels types de posts tu veux afficher, notamment pour les retwists et les posts qui s’adressent à d’autres (commençants par @xxx)
  • Posts display les options pour l’affichage des messages dans la timeline: Line feeds pour afficher les retours à la ligne; Inline image preview c’est pour afficher les images liées au message quand il y en a – par ex. ici Arco a lié à son message une capture du client qu’il est en train de développer:

    Use external links behind a proxy comme son nom n’indique c’est pour utiliser un proxy pour les liens et les images

  • Post editor unicode conversion te permet de convertir automatiquement certains caractères ou suite de caractères en unicode; Split long posts c’est mon option préférée <3: quand tu tapes un message, s'il dépasse les 140c, automatiquement ça t'ouvre un autre champ pour la suite de ton message.
  • Show if a user follows me une petite marque verte apparaît à coté du pseudo des utilisateurs s’ils te suivent.

Si tu as installé twister sur ta machine et que tu utilises la dernière version du client html (ce qui n’est pas le cas sur le serveur fuckgfw.org):

  • tu peux activer/déactiver les notifications de bureau;
  • tu peux filtrer les messages par langue: par exemple tu veux vraiment suivre @chinanet mais tu comprends rien au chinois; tu demandes alors à ce que seuls ses messages rédigés en une autre langue que le chinois apparaissent dans ta timeline;
  • tu peux choisir d’afficher ou pas le top trends et les suggestions de comptes à suivre;
  • tu peux afficher le Twistday Reminder c’est les comptes qui fêtent prochainement leurs anniversaires d’arrivée sur twister

Attention! Les options sont stockées dans ton navigateur, gaffe quand tu vires toutes les données hors-connexion.

Fonctionnalités du client html

Apprivoiser le coté « modal » de la force

Pour le moment Twister html fonctionne en modal. Tu cliques, tu n’as pas une nouvelle page, tu as une boite qui s’ouvre. Point. Quand tu navigues d’une boite à l’autre, tu peux revenir en arrière en utilisant la flèche située en haut à droite de la boite.

Les posts se chargent au défilement (pour la timeline, les profils et les mentions) ou selon leur arrivée (pour les nouveaux posts et les recherches par tag).

La timeline

Elle est très semblable à celle de twitter, et les fonctionnalités sont grosso-modo les même: envoyer un message, répondre à un autre, re-twister (on ne dit pas RT on dit TA, « twist again » ;)), afficher la conversation dans son entier… Tout le monde attend la fonctionalité « Fav » avec impatience.
Attention Twister est in-censurable. Cela veut dire, concrètement, que tu ne peux même pas effacer tes propres messages. Réfléchis bien avant de poster, fautes d’orthographe et grosses conneries resteront gravées à jamais.

Promoted posts

Dans le menu (ou sous forme d’onglet pour le thème Nin) tu peux choisir d’afficher les posts promus. Ce sont des messages générés lorsqu’un utilisateur mine un bloc: pour le remercier d’avoir donné de son énergie, il peut faire passer un petit mot à tout le monde. Une fois toutes les n heures (8 je crois) un post promu apparaîtra dans ta timeline.

Si tu as installé twister sur ta machine, tu peux régler les paramètres de la génération de blocs (message promu, anonyme ou non, CPU alloué à la tâche..) sur la page network.html.

Les profils

Les profils permettent de visualiser l’ensemble des posts d’un compte, mais aussi ses info personnelles (nom, site, adresses TOX et Bitmessage). Le lien « abonnements » permet de voir à qui cet utilisateur est abonné (et le lien « abonnés » ne fonctionne pas).On peut ouvrir une conversation privée ou encore la liste des mentions @ ce compte. Apparaît aussi la listes des utilisateurs connus qui suivent ce compte.
Tu peux éditer ton propre profil sur la page profile-edit.html

Les abonnements

Tu peux t’abonner à un compte de façon publique ou privée. Attention! La liste des comptes que tu suis de façon privée est stockée dans le navigateur, elle disparaît lorsque tu vides les données hors-connexion.

La page following.html te permet de gérer tes abonnements: passer de public à privé, te désabonner, envoyer un message privé…

Installation, documentation et développement

Voilà, pour commencer c’est déjà pas mal :) La suite logique est d’installer Twister pour agrandir le réseau et donc le rendre plus fiable et sécurisé.

Toutes les ressources pour l’installation se trouvent ici: http://twister.net.co/?page_id=23. Les outils pour poster sur différentes plates-formes sont décrits ici et plus généralement le wiki répond à pas mal de questions. Un groupe google existe également.

Twister n’est en beta que depuis quelques semaines… Il y a encore tellement de belles choses à inventer/améliorer… Si tu développes un peu, ou même si tu as juste des idées, viens donc nous aider à le rendre plus accessible!

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by Mylène