The document liberation project

The project: they believe documents and contents belong to their creators, not software vendors. Open and free standards are required to achieve long term accessibility of data. Until vendors support open standards, open source must support closed formats.

Their mission is to figure out how to extract data from closed formats. They will read closed files, but not generate them. The are part of the open document format ecosystem.

These guys have a lot of libraries for parsing. And some generator libraries. They generate text files and some image files. And some introspection tools.

American fuzzy lop prevents the system from crashing on badly formatted files.

Updates on the project: more formats are supported. Many more formats.

They deal with a very wide variety of types of formats.

They are accepting code. Or you can try to decipher formats. Or you can generate documents.


What about DRM?

They scrupulously follow the law

What about stitching projects?

Sort of.

Color hug plus

He makes something called the color hug, which is a device that does a spectrograph.

Displays are now very different to each other. Mobile phones show advertising really well, but are crap with your photos.

Other devices are either closed source or unsuitable for displays.

The color hug plus is the third version. It will illuminate stuff, so you can measure paper.

This is a hobby for him.

The hardware and software are both open source.

Teaching design libre in the global south

By Renata Ribero

She is located at a university on the countryside in Brazil. Universities moved to rural areas to promote sustainable development. Many of the students are from large cities on Brazil. 10%are African.

The uni was founded in 2006. She is on the digital design course, which is new. They are doing Moodle development.

They use free software for student projects. Work is hosted on the uni website.

The students went on a visit at the local hacker space for a project showcase. Students are collaborating with the hacker space now. This have the students ideas as well.

The kids prefer free software now.

Students decided their projects should reflect the community. Some of their work was about how they might do startups. Now they are working on websites and branding.

Only a tiny minority thought unis should only free software, but the vast majority more think floss is really important. More than 70%think it’s important to contribute to floss development.

They want to learn concepts more than tools.


Will this experiment continue? Was language an issue in tutorials and documentation?

The language barrier is an issue. They all want to learn English, bit it’s not taught in state schools, so they’re just starting. Students are also z seeking a regional identity when joining user communities. They are now doing peer learning groups, which is helpful.

Participatory Design & Floss: How can co-design work with libre graphics

By Paula Graham and Lisa Haskell

Fossbox is more about participatory design than libre graphics.

Fossbox seeks to change the world through technology. They ran Flossie, which taught a lot about working with diversity, which is important working with end users.

Ux design is core for teaching end users. It’s important to work with end users to discover what they need. If code is poetry, interface is interactive art.

Fossbox stated out doing floss advocacy with NGOs and community groups. They found that free software and arts groups get on well, but diverse groups had some political friction. This is partly a clash between libertarian floss and socialist NGOs.

Some political decisions undertaken by developers are not well communicated to end users, who may disagree with them.

You must meet users on their own terms. Flexibility is important. Compromise is necessary. This may mean, say, recording to non-free formats.

Users may expect undeliverable things, so that has to be communicated.

Be prepared to shift your paradigm.

Developers must collaborate with designers.

Working with a community is a project. Be aware of scope creep.


Why is ‘agile’ too techy?

Fossbox collaborated over 3 years with a disability organisation in East London. Most workers do front line work.  Agile methods of users stories and springs didn’t help communicate with users. The users were support busy and they approached them on their own terms.

Q: I don’t think floss is a libertarian monoculture!

Globally, floss is extremely diverse. In Anglo-American it is libertarian. Floss developers have free time and education and are privileged in every culture. In Anglo-American culture, this means white men. Floss is profoundly  homosocial and in order to include women, changes must be made.

Q: Don’t put me in a box!

Owning the means of production, is good. People should own the technology that shaped their lives. But ai algorithms are enormously complex. To own that technology, is need a lot of kit and skill, unless we change our understanding of ownership to one of democracy. How do we deal with citizen, user control of enormously complex systems otherwise?