Radical media, politics and culture.


Free and Open Source Software Series from Pakistan

FOSSFP Technical Essays Series on Free and Open Source Software


"FOSSFP Technical Essays Series" is part of our commitment to share Free and
Open Source Software knowledge for benefiting the society. The technical
essays are researched and compiled by the FOSSFP Research & Development
Division on a regular basis. Currently the following technical essays are
available for download under Open Content Terms & Conditions:

Technical Essay 1 Title: "Some Common Commercial Software and their
equivalent FOSS options"

Document Ref no: fossfp/tech/001-9-2005 Version 1.0
Dated: 21-09-2005


Technical Essay 2 Title: "Graphic Design Tools — Free and Open Source
Software Alternatives"

Document Ref no: fossfp/tech/002-10-2005 Version 1.0
Dated: 17-10-2005



Fouad Riaz Bajwa

General Secretary

FOSSFP: Free & Open Source Software Foundation of Pakistan
FOSSAC ' 2006 Secretariat

Punjab University College of Information Technology

University of The Punjab, Allama Iqbal (Old) Campus

The Mall, Lahore-54000, Pakistan

Phone #: 92 (042) 111-923-923 Ext: 27

Cell #: 92-333-4661290

e-mail: bajwa@fossfp.org


URL: www.fossfp.org


URL: www.ubuntu-pk.org

Philadelphia to Be City of Wireless Web

Arshad Mohammed, Washington Post

Philadelphia yesterday announced a plan to build the biggest municipal wireless Internet system in the nation, the latest of a growing number of cities to treat high-speed Web access as a basic municipal service like water, electricity and trash collection.

Philadelphia said Atlanta-based EarthLink Inc. will fund, build and manage the 135-square-mile network, which will offer low-income residents service for as little as about $10 a month and could threaten the profits of telephone and cable companies.

Full story: here.

Chavez Says Venezuela Will Produce "Bolivarian Computers"

Associated Press

CARACAS, Venezuela — Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez said Tuesday
his government will manufacture "Bolivarian computers" affordable to
all Venezuelans — the latest initiative in honor of a Latin American
independence hero that inspires his leftist revolution.

"We will begin producing computers in Venezuela ... the project of
the Bolivarian computers," Chavez said in televised remarks.

Chavez says he is leading his country toward a socialist revolution
inspired by Simon Bolivar, a 19th-century independence hero who
sought to unite South American nations.

The Venezuelan leader, who is a fierce critic of capitalism, said
that brand name computers are too expensive and that the project
seeks to make computers more accessible to all Venezuelans.

The Bolivarian computers will sell for anywhere between 900,000
bolivars and 1 million bolivars, Chavez said.

Under his "Bolivarian Revolution," Chavez has launched a range of
socialist-inspired initiatives, including free education promoting
leftist ideology at campuses across the country and deals to supply
oil on preferential terms to Venezuela's neighbors as part of a
"Bolivarian Alternative" trade pact.

A new company will be created, Technological Industries of Venezuela,
that will form a joint venture with China's Lang Chao International
Ltd. to produce the computers.

Venezuela will provide an initial investment of 17.2 billion
bolivars, Chavez said.

The company is expected to begin production before the end of the
year and plans to produce as much as 80,000 computers in the first
year, said Chavez.

A total of 100,000 should be produced during the second year of
operations and as much as 150,000 during the third year, according to
the president.

The president said the new computer company will eventually
manufacture laptop computers and cell phones as well.

His announcement comes about a week after Massachusetts Institute of
Technology researchers unveiled the design for $100 laptop computers
being developed for children in developing countries. The durable
machines' AC adapter would double as a carrying strap, and a hand
crank would power them when there's no electricity, the researchers

Anonyous Comrade writes:

"Tunisians Conduct Online Protest"

Andy Carvin

Right now there's an extraordinary online protest coming out of Tunisia. The website, www.Yezzi.org, is a collection of photos of Tunisians holding up signs in various languages, each with a message directed to Tunisian President Ben Ali.

Though the phrase they use, "Yezzi, Fock!," may appear to be a misguided attempt to curse out a certain swear word in the English language, it roughly translates to "General Ben Ali, enough is enough!" in Tunisian Arabic. In the words of the protest's organizers:

"This expression in Tunisian dialect intends to transmit a clear message to the dictator in order to give up power, because we consider it is enough. For us Tunisians, who are always banned from freely reaching independent information and who are violently forbidden from any peaceful demonstration; this kind of demonstration is a new form of peaceful protest."

The site, launched yesterday, contains dozens of photos of Tunisians venting their frustration at President Ben Ali. They note that free expression is technically protected under Tunisian law, though not in practice, so they're using the website to exercise that right:

"[T]here's no Tunisian legislative provision prohibiting the right to express our opinions. Absolutely not, this demonstration is covered by the fundamental guarantees provided as well by the Tunisian Constitution as by the International Conventions ratified by Tunisia. All the demonstrators on Yezzi.org make use of their right to express an opinion in saying to the General Ben Ali 'It is enough!'"

The Tunisian authorities, not surprisingly, see the matter differently. They've already started blocking the site, so only those of us outside of Tunisia can see it. One can only imagine what might happen to these cyber dissidents if they were caught by the Tunisian police. No matter the response, though, it serves as another reminder of the ackwardness of having the World Summit on the Information Society hosted in Tunisia.

Google to Put Copyright Laws to the Test

Tony Sanfilippo is of two minds when it comes to Google Inc.'s
ambitious program to scan millions of books and make their text fully
searchable on the Internet.

On the one hand, Sanfilippo credits the program for boosting sales of
obscure titles at Penn State University Press, where he works. On the other,
he's worried that Google's plans to create digital copies of books obtained
directly from libraries could hurt his industry's long-term revenues.

With Google's book-scanning program set to resume in earnest this fall,
copyright laws that long preceded the Internet look to be headed for a
digital-age test.

The outcome could determine how easy it will be for people with Internet
access to benefit from knowledge that's now mostly locked up — in books
sitting on dusty library shelves, many of them out of print.

"The Art and Politics of Netporn"

September 30 & October 1 2005

De Badcuyp, Amsterdam


For more information: nieke@networkcultures.org/ 020 5951866

Supported by: Amsterdam School for Cultural Analysis and Interactive Media, Hogeschool van Amsterdam.

In the weekend of September 30 and October 1, the ‘Badcuyp’ in
Amsterdam will host the first conference on Internet pornography, entitled ‘The Art & Politcs of Netporn’. This international event, organized by the Institute of Network Cultures, will include
presentations from a broad selection of artists and researchers from all over the world. All of them have been researching the subject of Internet pornography in their own individual ways. The event’s grand finale will be a ‘porn pour porn soiree’, a festive night with
various performances and screenings. The party will kick off with a presentation of Katrien Jacobs’ new book ‘Libidoc’, about her quest for sex artists all around the world.

Even in this modern age, Internet pornography is a subject that makes most people uncomfortable. The common image isn’t pretty, since the subject is mostly related to raunchiness, exploitation, ‘strange people’ with awkward sexual preferences, and dubious networks and practices. The Art and Politics of Netporn wants to draw attention to the other side of this phenomenon by focusing on the political and economical implications of netporn, as well as to the ethical and aesthetic aspects of digital communities (i.e. weblogs, chat groups, mailing lists and webzines). These relatively new forms of
communication enable people to meet up anonymously, form communities, or present themselves while having creative control over the process of communciation.To provide us with an alternative view on netporn, the conference organization has also invited artists whose work
reflects different ideas on sexuality and who have appropriated the language or specific qualities of Internet pornography. The Art and Politics of Netporn challenges the visitors to discuss the current social climate of heightened control over information processes and the power of censorship. Who gets to decide what we are allowed to see, and what are the limits to our freedom?

"Endless, Multilayered, Super-Fast and Infinitely Complex Boredom: Hooray"

Matthew Fuller

What makes software jump? What words, what
styles of thought do we need to understand
running code and the multi-layered compositions
it is part of, and how, if at all, does software
establish relations with what might termed
freedom? Such questions, of how to act in and
understand complex technologies and live
situations are not unique to technology, and for
a figure by which to understand them, it is often
useful to start from the wrong place, not with
software, but with a frog. In his book Lifelines
the biologist Steven Rose describes the way in
which a number of his workmates might, whilst
sitting at the edge of a pond, compete to
describe the leap of a frog. By trade, they are a
physiologist, an ethologist, a developmentalist,
an evolutionist and a molecular biologist. Each
sets their particular disciplinary scale of
perception against those of the others. The
frog, responding not to the nattering of the
knowledge workers but to a snake spotted on a
nearby tree splashes elegantly into the safety of
a pond. The representatives of their disciplines
each in turn ascribe the 'jump event' to: the
interaction of nerves, muscles and bones
containing and releasing structured patterns of
energy and movement; learned or grown behavioural
responses; the result of the particular pattern
of growth of the organism; the action of an
inherited genetic imperative; or the biochemical
properties of its muscles.

As the ripples in the pond spread and interact
with other movements in the water, Rose's
argument is to encourage equally multivalent ways
of thinking a non-reductive biology of
life-patterns. Whilst, in his experiments on the
physiology of memory, there can be few people in
the world who have scissored as many heads off
hatchling chicks, Rose's appetite for a wet,
complex, living biology is something from which,
with all necessary irony, our understanding of
software can learn. The trick for biology as a
whole, he suggests, is to find a way of engaging
both the volition to detail entrained by
disciplinary approaches, which are in turn geared
to particular constituent scales of reality,
those of the gene, the molecule, the organism and
so on, whilst at the same time recognizing the
radical interweaving of such scales.

"Bush Administration To Keep Control
of Internet's Central Computers"

Gary Younge,
The Guardian

The Bush administration has decided to retain control over the principal computers
which control internet traffic in a move likely to prompt global opposition, it was
claimed yesterday. The US had pledged to turn control of the 13 computers known as
root servers — which inform web browsers and email programs how to direct internet
traffic — over to a private, international body. But on Thursday the US reversed
its position, announcing that it will maintain control of the computers because of
growing security threats and the increased reliance on the internet for global

Alternative Servers Attacked:
"Not a Private Question:
A Question of

Indymedia Bristol

Two alternative servers have been attacked by the police: The Italian independent
non-profit server Autistici and the server of Indymedia Bristol, a local
alternative media project.

On Monday, June 27th, Indymedia Bristol's server was seized by the police. Last
week, police demanded access to the server to gain the IP details of a posting. The
alternative media outlet is receiving advice from civil liberties organisations and
the NUJ. Before being legally forced to hand over the server, Indymedia Bristol
stated: "We do not intend to voluntarily hand over information to the police as
they have requested".

Italy-based server Autistici found out that the authorities have copied the keys
necessary for the decryption of their webmail a year ago. Since
then, the authorities potentially had access to all the data on the disks.
Autistici's provider did not inform them about this. Apparently, this is connected
to the same investigation as the one that caused an international law enforcement
operation in London last October: A few days before the European Social Forum,
Indymedia servers in London were seized, prompting a wave of solidarity statements.

Note: Indymedia UK is preparing to provide grass-roots non-corporate coverage for
the forthcoming G8 protests and events. Additional http mirrors would help with
increased traffic and external disruptions. If you can offer a mirror, mail
imc-uk-contact@indymedia.org. Donations can be sent here.

This has been given yesterday to the EU embassies
in Sofia. The initiative is of the
(Free Software Society)

The "Bulgarian Declaration" of IT

We, Bulgarian IT companies, declare:

In the near future, The European Parliament will vote on a
directive that will, in fact, legalize the patents in the

As citizens of a state that soon will be an EU member, we are very embarrassed by this development. It contradicts directly with the interests of EU and the European IT business. And, since these interests are ours, too, we are concerned.


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