Final push for Ubuntu @ Anime Boston

Thanks to all of you who've made tax-deductible donations so far. We're so close! We still need help to reach and, better yet, push past our fundraising goal. This is the most important time for this project as our deadline is almost upon us. We have a lot we're excited to announce once we finish fundraising, so stay tuned and thank you so much for your generous contributions.

We have a first draft of one side of our tri-fold flyer by Martin Owens and we'd love to hear what you think of it! We want to do the best we can to showcase Ubuntu and promote free culture, software, and content, to people who might not understand the benefits of being able to edit code when they're not coders.

Lastly, we're in need of a couple more volunteers who would like to help us out at the booth. If you're interested, please get in touch.

Yo Frankie! to be available for the masses in Ubuntu Lucid

I excitedly blogged about Yo Frankie! once before when i said it was "available to the masses" in Karmic, but it still had to be acquired through PlayDeb. Now, thanks to the attention we've raised to get Yo Frankie packaged, all the legalities (sorting out the licensing) have been dealt with and we managed to get it in Lucid just in the nick of time. This time i'm excited to let you know that the availability of this game has increased once again. 

This is an important title for free and open source gaming, and those of you weighing in on the "can FOSS games work?" debate should pay close attention. Although this is not a game i would recommend for a non-FOSS gamer, it does debunks the main arguments against the viability of FOSS games. It's currently the best example of what can be done, even in such a small time frame with a handful of team members, because they had a solid development structure including proper art direction and a sound funding model. 
It's currently perhaps the most beautiful FOSS game available, and it was created entirely with FOSS tools. Yo Frankie! is the product of the Blender Foundation's first Open Game Project, one of many of their open projects organized with the goal of stimulating the development of Blender and providing quality examples of what can be produced using only free and open source software. It has successfully funded itself and the development of Blender, while validating FOSS game, tools, and content. The Morevna Project has similar goals for creating a full-length anime film using entirely FOSS tools to be released as Free content. The Blender Foundation has taken the important first step, or leap, proving that such projects can be successful and providing one funding model among others that can work for similar projects. 

If you're a free culture advocate, you already know that software and content (and games just happen to be an intensive mix of both) should be free, and there are many examples like this that prove they can be free, and the only thing missing is more people working on projects like this. We're getting there. It's all happening. 

The Morevna Project: Free and Open Source Anime

Regardless of your feelings towards anime, any free culture advocate should appreciate this effort. The Morevna Project is working towards the creation of a full-length anime film using only free and open source software to be released as free content. Similar to the Blender Foundation's Open Movie (and Game) Projects, the Morevna Project aims to promote FOSS tools and ideals, test and improve the FOSS tools used for production, validate the use of FOSS tools for professional use, and finally, to provide free content for others to share, use, and build upon. They will be using various tools to produce their futuristic adaptation of the Russian fairy tale “Marya Morevna”. 2D animation is being done with Synfig, who we'd like to thank for supporting us with a banner, along with Pencil. 3D modeling and animation is of course being done with Blender. Finally, GIMP and Krita are being used for static bitmap images and Inkscape for vectors. We will absolutely be promoting the Morevna Project and as many of these tools as possible when we showcase Ubuntu @ Anime Boston.

The anime community is the most far-reaching group sitting in such a perfect position to embrace the free culture philosophy. They are more ready than most and this could help revive their hurting industry as well as validate the viability of free content for creators around the world.

A  CLI-tan by chrislnew
Already, the japanese anime and manga community is highly participatory with the creation of anime music videos (AMV), fansubs, and dōjinshi (self-published fan works), so they should be extremely receptive to the concepts behind the free Culture movement. Getting them to try FOSS tools should also be less difficult because the anime fandom tends to be geekier and more open minded. This group, so incredibly passionate and tight-knit that they have huge conventions around the world and are known for cosplay (dressing in costume), can really help free culture ideals spread virally through their global community. I can think of only two things that might require stressing: dispelling the myth that copyright restrictions are about due credit when in fact plagiarism is plagiarism regardless of copyright, and most copyleft licenses still require attributing credit; and that non-commercial (NC) is non-free.

In addition, we could be a big help to the anime industry. Although generally permissive of derivative fan works, they retain copyright which makes the legality of such works questionable. On top of this, the industry is hurting from their reliance on traditional media distribution and reluctance to embrace new technologies. We should be demonstrating the potential behind embracing their participatory culture and using the internet as a distribution platform in combination with funding models like that of Blender's Open Projects or the threshold pledge system and/or using micropayment services like Flattr. Accomplishing this could both help revive the anime industry as well as the validate publishing free content as beneficial for creators and sustainable for business.

The state of (high definition) video editing on Linux

Video Editors

We have extremely promising open source media editing applications for Linux like the Jokosher audio editor and PiTiVi video editor, both built on the powerful GStreamer framework, reaching a point of maturity where the focus can shift from making sure the underlying infrastructure of the application is solid to adding all the cool features that everyone's been waiting for. These apps will make multimedia editing simple and easy yet still fully featured. Projects like the recently announced VideoLAN Movie Creator (you know, from the people behind the VLC media player) and OpenShot are certainly cool projects which show that FOSS video editing is really progressing, but PiTiVi will still be my NLE of choice. VLMC is sure to be a great product, but being cross-platform drives the focus away from our OS of choice, and OpenShot while perhaps adding as many features as quickly as possible, lacks the same focus on proper design that PiTiVi has.

In short, PiTiVi's development has a strong focus on doing everything "the right way" before adding extra features, and using the GStreamer framework is an important choice. The result is better integration with the Ubuntu, GNOME-based desktop, a consistent user interface, and clean, modular code that will help development progress faster as we enter the stage of expanding the feature list. It's an exciting time for open source video editing on Linux, and hopefully more developers can hop on board to bring these advancements sooner.

High Definition Video

A snapshot camera that produces .mts files
While things may be looking up, one shortcoming is an ever increasing problem that deserves some more serious attention. There is a lack of proper MPEG-TS support which is used for HDV and AVCHD camcorders and as such, Linux users need a way to easily play, edit and see thumbnails of these videos. Video editing on Linux can't get very far when the de facto standard for high-definition video isn't well-supported especially as more and more cameras are HD out of the box, and the prices for such camcorders are falling.

PiTiVi is one of many multimedia apps lacking proper .mts support
I have a camcorder that happens to produce these .mts/.m2ts files and in order for me to be able to make use of them, I would have to convert it to another format using ffmpeg. This should not be necessary. New users should not need to look up how to convert their video, and they should not need to re-encode the file and lose the original quality of the video. This bug will hold back video editing on Linux and generate a lot of angry users who cannot reliably play or edit their video files.

Hopefully some developers will address this mostly overlooked bug before it becomes a bigger issue and turn it into something to brag about. In the big picture though, this bug isn't huge, and it's sure to get fixed at some point; the question is whether it'll happen sooner or later. Either way, the more developers working on GStreamer and video editors like PiTiVi, squashing these bugs and adding new features, the better.

Why should Google build a fiber to the home network in Boston?

Google is gearing up to launch an experimental ultra-high-speed broadband network to provide 1 gigabit per second Internet access to up to 500,000 people. I'd like to nominate the City of Boston, and I'm sure my fellow Bostonians, and any ex-Bostonians can understand why. I'd like to share a draft of my nomination and ask for any feedback you might have. Google also asks for a link to any supporting material and encourages YouTube videos and other creative submissions, so please respond in the comments if you know of something good. If you'd like to submit your own nomination, check out the project homepage:

Image from Wikipedia
Boston is a beautiful city on so many levels. I challenge anyone to live here and not fall in love. The area is rich in history, and it's easy to guess where the , The Cradle of Liberty, comes from. The vibrant, diverse culture is overflowing with creative and intelligent minds who have earned us our title of The Athens of America. This is the hub of many brilliant and forward thinking minds, as well as groups who work to change the world for the better. It's hard to live here and not feel a sense of community.
This city has so much potential still waiting to be tapped. I ask that Google roll out its fiber-to-the-home (FTTH) network to at least the underpriveledged areas in Boston because it will show how investing in them, and investing in the internet can help similar communities improve, and in turn boost the entire city. This is surely something Google wants to show, and Boston will absolutely make the investment worthwhile!

Tell me in the comments, why do you love Boston? 

New Ubuntu @ Anime Boston buttons and banners

The Ubuntu @ Anime Boston fundraiser is coming along well, and we realized the one button we provided might not work for many websites. To fix this, i'm adding a bunch of different graphics by DoctorMO you can use if the original wasn't a good fit. I'll should have more to announce soon, so stay tuned!

If you'd like to help support the project, please use one of these images below:






My question for Professor Noam Chomsky

I got Reddit to set up an interview with Noam Chomsky, prolific linguist, cognitive scientist, philosopher, activist, and modern day anarchist thinker. The man is a genius, and really knows his politics. He'll be answering the top ten questions submitted by users in a video interview, so feel free to ask him anything, or vote on existing questions you'd like to hear answered. here's my question: 

What are some of your criticisms of today's Anarchist movement? How to be as effective as possible is something many anarchists overlook and you are perhaps the most prolific voice on this topic so your thoughts would be very influential.
Being an anarchist is very fulfilling for people, and most seem to get lost in self-fulfilling work. Many spend their time learning all they can only to get lost in philosophizing and not take any real action, and there are also many others who are very active but, as helpful as their services are to the community, don't really enlighten any new minds.
In addition, there is the ethical dilemma of living in a capitalist system. Is it better for an anarchist live the way they believe everyone should, even though in this case it makes it harder to convince other people to do so, or to temporarily compromise some ideals in order to reach out to more people? It is easy for anarchists to spend most of their time avoiding capitalism in as many aspects of their life as possible.
Perhaps we just need more Noam Chomsky's in the world. Any advice for those who aspire to be more like you is appreciated! Thank you so much for taking the time to answer our questions, and you're always welcome in the Reddit community if you ever want to join us
Please vote it up, participate in the discussion, and catch the interview when it goes online! 

Navigation: Home | 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13 | 14 | 15 | 16 | 17 | 18 | 19 | 20