Tagreflections

Your Software Freedom is not my Software Freedom: A reflection on Chadwick Boseman

Trigger warning: Grief, police violence, death.

This blog post was first written on August 28th, 2020.

Today is a sad day. Chadwick Boseman is dead. At 43 years old, he lost a terminal battle with stage IV colon cancer. As his great light dims, I am left to wonder what loss will happen next in 2020.

But like the ashes of a phoenix, we will rise. His death reminds me of the fierce urgency of now, as said by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. That in the moment of darkness that follows death, a new bright light will emerge. It is just so human for us to cling to the embers of hope, in the fear that we will one day be delivered from suffering.

Boseman was a social leader and source of inspiration for many. His life and many roles championed racial equity on the Hollywood screens. Boseman was passionate about what he did. He led a committed life.

Boseman’s death caused me to reflect on the definition of Freedom in the movement I am embedded within: the Free Software movement. Yet in this community I value, there are seeds of discontent. The fierce urgency of now has revealed that systemic social injustices continue to exist in our society, as they have for centuries. The generational question we must answer as witnesses to this moment is: will we continue to tolerate the systemic faults within our society? Or must we imagine a more fair society? A more just society? I know we can because we have to.

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Tergiversate: El Ten Eleven self-titled debut

This El Ten Eleven article is part of my Tervigersate column on my blog, where I review albums by musicians spanning multiple genres. Articles introduce an album and give my interpretation of their meaning.


El Ten Eleven is a duo consisting of Kristian Dunn on strings and Tim Fogarty and drums. Plus several loop pedals! El Ten Eleven’s debut self-titled album released on September 20th, 2005 (even though Dunn says the album released in late 2004). This makes 2020 the 16th anniversary of their debut album in the twenty-first century post-rock scene.

This entry in Tergiversate reviews the history and background of the album and offers a personal perspective on one of my favorite music albums. Let’s take a look at El Ten Eleven!

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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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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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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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Why FOSS is still not on activist agendas

On December 13th, 2006, author Bruce Byfield reflected on why he thought Free and Open Source Software (F.O.S.S.) was not on activist agendas. My interpretation of his views are that a knowledge barrier about technology makes FOSS less accessible, the insular nature of activism makes collaboration difficult, and FOSS activists reaching out to other activists with shared values should be encouraged. On December 13th, 2019, is FOSS on activist agendas? The answer is not black or white, but a gray somewhere in the middle. This is my response to Byfield’s article, thirteen years later, on what he got right but also what he left out.

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Why did Fedora Modularity fail in 2017? A brief reflection

For the ISTE-430 Information Requirements Modelling course at the Rochester Institute of Technology, students are asked to analyze an example of a failed software project and write a short summary on why it failed. For the assignment, I evaluated the December 2017 announcement on Fedora Modularity. I thought it was an interesting example of a project that experienced initial difficulty but re-calibrated and succeeded in the end. And it is a project I am biased towards, as a Fedora user and sysadmin.

I thought sharing it on my blog might be interesting for others. Don’t read into this too much – it was a quick analysis from a single primary source and a few secondary references.

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Fedora Appreciation Week: Tribute to a legacy

I was reviewing one of my old journals this morning and re-read an early entry from when I was studying abroad in Dubrovnik, Croatia. The entry was a time when I learned more about a man named Seth Vidal by chance. Reading this entry again the week before Fedora Appreciation Week motivated me to share it and add to the stream of stories surrounding his life and passing.

The entry is lifted out of my journal with minimum edits. I thought about fully revising it or updating it before publishing. Many parts I would write in a different way now, but I decided to let it be. It reflects my perspective at that particular moment and time at 19 years old. It is more personal than other posts I’ve published and maybe it’s a little uncomfortable for me to share, but I felt like it was worth doing anyways.

entry002: 2017-02-12

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