rebus newbie, activist, coder

  • i swore i would never join another forum based on discourse, but this site makes no mention of the platform it is built on.

    i really like what the rebus community is doing, and ive already gotten useful information that made the signup worthwhile.

    that said, this platform is based on discourse, isnt it? if not, it seems to match the features (and style) 1:1.

    i catalogue oer and other free culture works, as well as free software works.

    i also teach coding and create small software tools.

  • administrators

    @figosdev Hi there, welcome to the Rebus Community! The forum is actually built on NodeBB. :)

    I’m so glad to hear that you’ve already found some helpful information within your first few days of joining and going through the sites. It’s great to see that you’ve begun interacting with other members of the community.

    I’d be keen to hear more about your cataloguing work, and the kinds of tools you’ve created!

  • @apurva well the thing about the cataloguing work is, its something ive started more than once. in each iteration, it used javascript.

    originally, i fell in love with projects like tiddlywiki and the more minimalist wiki-on-a-stick, because i loved the idea of self-contained wikis in a single file. i approached this two ways-- one with a wiki you could edit in a text editor, and the other where the js wiki was built using python and plaintext source.

    now im using something built less around the idea of a wiki in one file, but other than that its the same concept-- the more html you have to edit, the more tedious it is. so minimal things that technically require javascript, but are absurdly easy to parse, for example, if youd rather create a script that works from the command line (where js support is less common.)

    as to what im cataloguing, its basically a small, growing library of free software and free cultural works. some of the software is mine, but thats hardly the point-- i want people to contribute links and works, and its happening. note this started (in its present iteration) in july this year.

    i consider (its a bit anachronistic, but umbrellas arent always top-down in that order) free software and oer and free hardware to all be aspects and examples of free culture, though im aware that lessigs concept of free culture is based on the free software concept. i do both.

    i also consider the free culture movement a little too weak, it needs more drive, but as for oer, i think oer is the strongest cornerstone of free cultural works. without the oer example, i dont know if free culture (as it stands today) would even hold together.

    im also interested in making both coding and free software operating systems accessible to people who arent familiar with either-- and thats been a focus since before systemd found its way into debian.

    im also a pretty big fan of olpc/sugar. the concept, and some aspects of the implementation. if i taught at university, i would be certain everyone took a little time to familiarise themselves with it. free/libre hardware is in its infancy, but olpc (which isnt free hardware itself) provides a glimpse, i believe.

    having used the site for a few days, it seems a bit faster and more reasonable than discourse. i had no idea that nodebb had so many features. im a fan of stripped-down nodebb forums already, but i would recommend it to anyone over using discourse. you dont know how happy i am, to find a more reasonable alternative to it that i can recommend. thanks.

  • administrators

    @figosdev Really cool to hear all the different projects and tools you’ve tried out!

    What’s the process like for people to contribute to your catalogue?

    im also interested in making both coding and free software operating systems accessible to people who arent familiar with either

    That’s something excellent to strive towards! If you were interested, Dave Braunschweig is putting together an open textbook on programming fundamentals (more info in Rebus Projects), and there might be ways for you to collaborate, or for him to collaborate on your project!

    having used the site for a few days, it seems a bit faster and more reasonable than discourse. i had no idea that nodebb had so many features. im a fan of stripped-down nodebb forums already, but i would recommend it to anyone over using discourse. you dont know how happy i am, to find a more reasonable alternative to it that i can recommend. thanks.

    I’m glad to hear it! Happy to have helped :)

  • @apurva said in rebus newbie, activist, coder:

    What’s the process like for people to contribute to your catalogue?

    well, it is pretty open. anywhere a suggestion can be made, publicly or privately, it will be considered. the catalogue is curated, like a real library. i used to hang out at the public library and suggest items to add on a regular basis-- some of them would find their way into the collection.

    the concept of the organisation is a bit unconventional. there is an official charter:

    and the charter represents the backbone of the organisation. the entire thing can be thought of as a free software application-- it has an official home, though it can have unofficial support forums and fansites (where you can make suggestions for the catalogue. for example, if you made your suggestions here, they would count.)

    ultimately this is about building a library, and a broad, multi-faceted community (even a meta-community to network related communities) through the concept of expanding free culture/software/hardware.

    it is a vehicle for everyone who wants to get more involved, there is no fee for joining, no dues, its 100% volunteer and the purpose is to bring more people together and create more awareness / education around (like i said) free culture/software/hardware. oer certainly counts.

    unlike creative commons, the focus is away from nc and nd licenses. one goal is to strengthen the public domain, and thus cc0 is heavily promoted (but so are cc by and by-sa, as well as the gpl 2 and 3, lgpl, x11-type licenses and apache 2. the list of recommended licenses grows, but slowly, since license proliferation is a real problem.)

    there seem to be basically zero practical (dedicated) free hardware licenses at this time, though the gpl could be used for that. so could cc-by, whether it is really ideal for the purpose or not. so the lack of a free hardware license doesnt necessarily mean a lack of free hardware.

    to understand all this, it does help to think of the organisation as a free software application. no matter how many times you fork openoffice (and i would say libreoffice is the better of the two, though i use both) openoffice is openoffice-- theres something official to it, it has leaders and it has processes associated with it as a project.

    but at the same time, anybody (technically speaking) can take the entire thing and create a competing version. most forks dont persist, but the possibility is always there. and theres freedom in that. the goal of the organisation is to lead, perhaps-- but ultimately, the role of the organisation is a servant to the purpose of promoting the 4 software freedoms-- as applied to software and not only just software.

    i have watched similar organisations for so many years. if they were doing exactly this, there would be no need to do it. i can think of practically nothing wrong with oer for example, though its focus is mostly textbooks and school materials-- which is fine. but if you want a music library, oer perhaps isnt what you need.

    another nice thing about creating applications is that if you have a great idea, other people can incorporate that idea into their own application-- so if we do something people love enough to import to their own organisation, great-- that means we improved a related project without necessarily even having direct involvement. thats great too.

    as i said, ive watched related organisations for years. this effort, which continues to grow in members and contributions (founded in july) does the things that arent being done, or that are being done and people dont know about.

    theres a heavy educational aspect to it. for example, one member is a coder and very familiar with free software-- and had never heard of “free culture” at all.

    ive made richard stallman aware of it. the approach is sometimes critical of free software, but less antagonistic to the fsf than “open source” often is. still, this goes beyond individuals and organisational identity-- the roots are in concepts, ideas and action. certainly, there is time for reflection and for talk, but the library is a vital, practical component.

    it includes or will include software, hardware designs, art, music, tutorials, textbooks, essays, prose, etc.

    If you were interested, Dave Braunschweig is putting together an open textbook on programming fundamentals (more info in Rebus Projects), and there might be ways for you to collaborate, or for him to collaborate on your project!

    it would be wonderful indeed to have him associated with what we do-- i was, in my many travels to find items for the library-- actually evaluating first the book he is using as the foundation for his work, (i was already familiar with the c++ version) and i have already evaluated his edition as far as the point where the work has reached the original (it is a writing in progress, as you know.)

    my feelings about the book so far are-- great idea, good implementation, accessible, and i would be happy to add it to the library in its current state if a couple people (such as you and dave) suggest it.

    apart from that happening, i would monitor the progress from time to time and add it when its further along, but i could be talked into it early if everyone loves the idea.

    i tend to release ebooks in a draft state-- theyre usable and can be adopted and remixed, but when im teaching i just point people to the resource as-is and then frequently custom-tailor things to that individual, as much as possible.

    because every time you do that, you might create a new resource. which sounds good to me.

    the (regularly updated) library is here: i try to find the best things to add before i add the rest, but im very open to suggestions.

    i frequently explain that you do not have to be a member to “donate.” what donations do we take? free works, and links to free works, and names of free works. thats what it is all built from. joining helps too, and it is very easy to do (outlined in the brief charter.)

    how do we represent our members? first, by listening and interacting. second, by giving everyone the equal opportunity to join. third, by making it easy to help “run” the thing, by participating for the most part, in your own way. its a wild idea, but a long time coming.

    note that i was pushing for students for free culture to rename themseves the “free culture foundation” a long time before they did so. im not saying i had a hand in that-- i dont know who made the decision, or why-- but i was aware of them even then, and very pro-free-culture-foundation even when they werent called that yet.

    but i think their goals are just too narrow, and without the need to be. how much does the fcf promote oer? i dont know, but my organisation is already bringing free culture to new people who havent even heard of “free culture” before.

    you can also propose items for the catalogue by giving it the tag freemediaalliance (all one word) on a blog. thats an easy option for users.

    the whole thing (even the concept) is partially decentralised. it has some centralisation, which is beneficial (because network effects.) it is partically decentralised, which makes contributing more trivial-- and it gives each individual a bigger say in the future of the concept. but when theres any doubt-- thats what the charter is for. the sha256sum of version 0.2 is 6f6ae2e88424712c40ee0ea1af4f2d9d040560481eb8b9c7f7401ac9883c52a0.

    the ultimate goal of the free media alliance is to enhance and promote software freedom and free culture-- both for the movement itself, as well as every user and learner. thats a very big task that a lot of people can participate in by continuing to do pretty much what theyre already interested in doing. it helps if they tell us about it, but like with daves book effort-- it was already being (and is still being) evaluated to go right on that page.

    will it scale? ultimately, the internet archive has the resources to make it able to scale. i spend a lot of time using the archive. a friend of mine has archived over 1000 versions of puppy linux there.

  • administrators

    @figosdev Thanks for the additional links to the charter. I like how there are so many different avenues to submit/share, and that there are no expectations/asks from members and the focus is to bring people together, form communities, and foster sharing.

    Your goal to strengthen resources in the public domain is an admirable one, as are your larger goals for the alliance and movement! It’s great to hear that you are thinking beyond education, and into other kinds of resources.

    We definitely share sensibilities in that releasing/sharing books in draft/not final states is still valuable, and that in the act of tailoring a resource for your own need, you create a new one that others can build on!

    Regarding Dave’s book, I’m sure there will be a new addition to be made soon, once he is done working through the next set of changes following peer review on the book. :)

    Thanks again for all the info. and looking forward to hearing more over time!

  • @apurva @offray-luna @sujones (a mention to sujones in particular: used a number line and mentioned cartesian graphs early in the book)

    i am trying to demonstrate a learning philosophy by talking about it and delving into computers in a book i started recently about computing / coding / education.

    i am nearly ready to showcase that here. i am pointing this out to you three to make one point perfectly clear:

    this book is entirely, 100% open. it is cc0-licensed, and can be released here as cc by 4.0 (the cc0 parts will always be cc0, but changes/additions made here would be cc by 4.0 per rebus policy/best practices/etc also its not a bad license) but the licensing is a side-point.

    what i mean is that it can take whatever direction this community wants it to. i would put it into your hands. move it around, ax a chapter or two, rewrite half of it if you want to, or just repurpose one of the chapters.

    if this community can use it, that would please me. if not-- well, maybe it will be too “far out” for the present state of oer. or maybe im imagining that, and it will prove very useful.

    either way, is this the place for a tryout run? i mention this to luna and sujones because ive talked to them and this could (perhaps) inspire math and computing chapters in some way. sujones could have a chapter on digitisation, perhaps.

    im not trying to single anybody out though-- or say that some people are more welcome than others. if this piques anyones interest then great, i want this to find people who want to use part or all of this to transform (or refine) the work.

    openoffice opendocument text (66k) available here: (i tried the local upload feature, it didnt work.)

  • administrators

    @figosdev Thanks for sharing this resource! I’m sure there are a few members in the community who will find this valuable and may want to add to or repurpose it in some ways.

    I appreciate your pointing out that the local upload feature did not work. We’ll run some tests and see why that might be!

  • @apurva it mentioned that i didnt have the permission to do it or something like that. hey, lets try it again, i can give you the exact error:

    [0_1536095476250_holog.odt](Uploading 100%)


    {“path”:"/post/upload",“error”:“You do not have enough privileges for this action.”}

  • administrators

    This is very helpful, thanks @figosdev !

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