We are video conferencing day-in day-out now. Small conversations via video call are a regular part of remote work. In times of restricted travel and polluted air, this is excellent. It also works pretty well for two or three people. With 6, it gets difficult to manage who speaks. Above ten, things get tricky both from a technical as well as a social perspective. We have all been in this call where there was an echo that blew everybodies ear’s off, except for that one person that did not hear it (it was him). I have collected a few technical tips and practises over time that may help make video conferences easier and more enjoyable.
The OpenForum Academy held its second 2019 workshop in Brussels this week. OpenForum Academy is a European-based independent think tank which explains the merits of openness in computing to policy makers, industry and communities across Europe. This workshop series aims at being a forum for practitioners, academics and policy makers to collaborate on various topics of openness and freedom. It is organized by OpenForum Europe, enabling it to bridge between the abstract academic world and policy discussions at the European Commissions. We set out to explore focus topics to answer current challenges to openness that the academy will develop insights and recommendations for. These topics will shape the work of OpenForum Academy for the near future.
Today, Microsoft and Open Invention Network (OIN) announced that Microsoft has become a member of the OIN community. OIN is the largest patent non-aggression community in history with over 2.600 community member companies. It’s mission is to protect core Open Source technologies from patent litigation. It shapes the norms of collaboration as Open Source becomes more industrial and the edge between free and proprietary software becomes increasingly important. Many key innovators license their patent portfolio through OIN, including Google, IBM, NEC, Philip, Red Hat, Sony, SUSE and Toyota. Until now however, one party was missing from the community that became an increasingly important contributor to Open Source technologies, and that was Microsoft. This gap closes today. I believe this is a historic moment that will encourage innovation and dramatically reduces risks for the wider Open Source community.
As part of the research project on “The Interaction between Open Source Software and FRAND licensing in Standardisation”, a workshop was organised by the European Commission, Joint Research Centre (JRC) in collaboration with Directorate General Communications Networks, Content and Technology (CONNECT) to present and discuss the intermediate results to date. The workshop took place in Brussels on September 18, 2018. I presented a set of observations from the research on the case studies performed as part of the project that are outlined below. Other speakers where Catharina Maracke on the issue of legal compliance between Open Source and FRAND licenses, Bruce Perens on “Community Dynamics in Open Source”, and Andy Updegrove on “Dynamics in Standardisation”.
Free Software communities produce tons of great software. This software drives innovation and enables everybody to access and use computers, whether or not they can afford new hardware or commercial software. So that’s that, the benefit to society is obvious. Everybody should just get behind it and support it. Right? Well, it is not that easy. Especially when it comes to principles of individual freedom or trade-offs between self-determination and convenience, it is difficult to communicate the message in a way that it reaches and activates a wider audience. How can we explain the difference between Free Software and services available at no cost (except them spying at you) best? Campaigning for software freedom is not easy. However, it is part of the Free Software Foundation Europe’s mission. The FSFE teamed up with Peng! Collective to learn how to run influential campaigns to promote the cause of Free Software. The Peng Collective is a Berlin based group of activists who are known for their successful and quite subversive campaigns for political causes. And Endocode? Endocode is a sponsor of the Free Software Foundation Europe. We are a sponsor because free software is essential to us, both as a company and as members of society. And so here we are.