CategoryPerspective

This is my soap box. These articles are more personal and intimate. The best way to describe this category is “the way I see things.”

A reflection: Gabriele Trombini (mailga)

Trigger warning: Grief, death.

Two years passed since we last met in Bolzano. I remember you traveled in for a day to join the 2018 Fedora Mindshare FAD. You came many hours from your home to see us, and share your experiences and wisdom from both the global and Italian Fedora Community. And this week, I learned that you, Gabriele Trombini, passed away from a heart attack. To act like the news didn’t affect me denies my humanity. In 2020, a year that feels like it has taken away so much already, we are greeted by another heart-breaking loss.

But to succumb to the despair and sadness of this year would deny the warm, happy memories we shared together. We shared goals of supporting the Fedora Project but also learning from each other.

So, this post is a brief reflection of your life as I knew you. A final celebration of the great memories we shared together, that I only wish I could have shared with you while you were still here.

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Facilitation, collaboration, and webcams: A story about Principles of Authentic Participation

This is the story about the facilitation of the Principles of Authentic Participation.

This post does not describe what the Principles are (click that link to learn more about them). This post describes the story behind the Principles, and how our Sustain Working Group worked together over three months of virtual facilitation during the COVID–19 crisis to build these Principles.

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FOSDEM 2020, pt. 2: Can Free Software include ethical AI systems?

This post is a follow-up to FOSDEM 2020, pt. 1: Play by play. This post summarizes the talk given by me and my colleague, Mike Nolan, at FOSDEM 2020.


FOSDEM 2020 took place from Saturday, 1 February, 2020 to Sunday, 2 February, 2020 in Brussels, Belgium (shortly after Sustain OSS 2020 and CHAOSScon EU 2020). On Saturday, together with my colleague and friend Mike Nolan, we presented on a topic he and I have co-conspired on for the last six months. What are the intersections of Free Software and artificial intelligence (AI)?

What is a rights-based approach for designing minimally safe and transparent guidelines for AI systems? In this talk, we explore what a Free AI system might look like. Then, taking research and guidelines from organizations such as Google and the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, we propose practical policies and tools to ensure those building an AI system respect user freedom. Lastly, we propose the outlines of a new kind of framework where all derivative works also respect those freedoms.

Freedom and AI: Can Free Software include ethical AI systems? Exploring the intersection of Free software and AI
Video recording from FOSDEM 2020

This post is an abridged summary of the key ideas and thoughts Mike and I presented at our FOSDEM 2020 session.

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Hannah/Honor Loeb: A reflection on death and forgiveness

[tw – death, grief, gender discrimination]

Grief is a strange emotion. One text message read early in the morning can send your day into a long walk down the beach of your own memories. Memories flood back, making us conscious that these lost moments of time were never really lost to us, but locked under deep layers of interlocking memories and contexts that only had to be connected back together, like a broken circuit. Today, my memories and heart are on my former summer camp roommate and friend Hannah/Honor Loeb. (I knew her as Hannah in her life, but at time of death, she identified as Honor, so that is the name I will use for this post.)

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How did Free Software build a social movement?

The Free Software movement is rooted to origins in the 1980s. As part of a talk I gave with my colleague and friend Mike Nolan at FOSDEM 2020, we analyzed how the Free Software movement emerged as a response to a changing digital world in three different phases. This blog post is an exploration and framing of that history to understand how the social movement we call “Free Software” was constructed.

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CopyleftConf 2020: quick rewind

CopyleftConf 2020 took place on Monday, 3 February, 2020 in Brussels, Belgium:

This will be the second annual International Copyleft Conference. Participants from throughout the copyleft world — developers, strategists, enforcement organizations, scholars and critics — will be welcomed for an in-depth, high bandwidth, and expert-level discussion about the day-to-day details of using copyleft licensing, obstacles facing copyleft and the future of copyleft as a strategy to advance and defend software freedom for users and developers around the world.

This event will provide a friendly and safe place for discussion of all aspects of copyleft, including as a key strategy for defending software freedom!

Official conference website

This was my first time attending CopyleftConf. I attended on behalf of RIT LibreCorps to represent the sustainability efforts at the RIT [email protected] initiative. However, I also represented myself as an individual in the Free Software movement. For CopyleftConf 2020, I arrived hoping to learn more about where we, as the Free Software community, are going. I also hoped to gain a deeper ethical perspective about our digital society.

Me excitingly looking up to the main stage, holding my CopyleftConf 2020 schedule, after having bought my ticket earlier that same morning.
Me excitingly holding my CopyleftConf 2020 schedule after having bought my ticket earlier that same morning.

Event reports take many forms. Since CopyleftConf 2020 is structured in a unique format, my event report is structured as follows:

  • At a glance: structure and key takeaways: High-level overview of what CopyleftConf 2020 was like. What the biggest ideas on my mind were at the end of the day.
  • Copyleft adopt curves: what drove copyright adoption then (or now?): Musings on the history of copyleft and movement building.
  • Free Software, but for kids: Children and teenagers are already building open source communities. How do we include the next generation?
  • Where are we going?: Software ethics and copyleft licensing.
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The day open source died: a story about Minecraft, Bukkit, and the GPL

Once upon a time, when I was a teenager, I volunteered in the Minecraft open source community. I volunteered as a staff member of the largest open source Minecraft server today, called Spigot. Spigot is a fork of the Bukkit project.

This blog post is a story roughly covering 2010 to 2014 on the meaning, values, and promise of open source. This story impacted a community of hundreds of thousands of people, mostly adolescent children, teenagers, and young adults. It is a tale about the simultaneous success and failure of the GNU Public License (GPL).

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Throwback draft: An untitled poem

I was cleaning out my saved personal messages on Telegram and found this untitled poem. I wrote this on or around May 27th, 2016.

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Essay response: Interlocking role of media

This blog post is an essay response from a class I took at the Rochester Institute of Technology, WGST-357: Communication, Gender, and Media. This course was taught by Dr. Nickesia Gordon. The essay prompt encouraged us to reflect broadly on the role of media in society. I liked my response and wanted to re-share it on my blog.

(Dr. Gordon, if you find this: I hope you don’t mind, I mean the best!)

What are some ways in which media interlocks with other institutions? What does this interlocking suggest about the role of media in society?

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Maladjusted

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. (1967)
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