Android – a smartphone amongs others?

There are a lot of smartphones out there and each one of them fulfills a different need. Android is, in my opinion, an unique operating system when it comes to them used in mobile devices. What makes this so unique then? Is it the diversity of apps that you can download? No, not in my opinion. It is that it is free/open source software. Unfortunately, there are vendors that distribute proprietary programs among the Android os itself.

But there are some hope for those of us who want a completly free Android system. FSFE has launched a project called “Free your Android” and the aim is just to take away the proprietary software from your Android device. There are two different Android based projects, CyanogenMod that is not fully “Free as in freedom” and Replicant OS that is fully free as in freedom. Accordingly to fsfe, CyanogenMod is also the most popular aftermarket distro of Android.

So, in my opinion, you should choose Replicant OS if you can. The major drawback with it, is that the supported devices are slim.

Another thing that is worrying when it comes to free software in Android is the source of all apps. In Android market you are bound to have an account at Google if you want to download apps, and the source does not tell you if the software is free or not. Neither does it tell you which license the software is bound to. But there is good news here, too.

F-Droid is a repository containing only FOSS software for your Android device. You can browse through the apps and choose between different versions of the programs.

So, if you would like a completely free Android, there is hope!

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More active blog

If you are interested in computers and philosphy about the mind and free will, I could recommend you to visit another blog that I and my friend are writing. He, like me, is interested in computers and also likes to talk about more “heavy” philosophical stuff, such as “is the world deterministic?”. You can visit us here. And I guess it will be more active than this, since we are two people writing on that blog.

First steps to take ACTA away

The EU International Trade Committee has recommended the EU parliament to wote down the ACTA treaty. I have earlier stated that ACTA is not a good thing since it can harm our freedom and integrity on the net in a more negative way. The swedish MPs for the Pirate party, Amelia Andersdotter stated “This shows that citizens can make a difference and that there are institutions that listen when citizens have spoken. It is great for democracy” according to dn.se.

The thing with ACTA has been that it was initially negotiated behind closed doors. It is a “trade agreement” but what it actually does if it is agreed it could make the ISP (Internet Service Providers) some kind of police force. Young citizens could be forced to court when they download music and films home for private use. ACTA states, that if you download a “commercial scale” of music you will put into penalty. But what “commercial scale” exactly means is not defined in the agreement.

Another thing that is mentioned about this is the pirated medicine. Well, I would not be a fan of pirated medicine but I also would not be a fan of putting people that downloads copies of sofware in jail. I think that it is a bit like comparing pears and apples. Medicine is very important to make people live longer (while this is not always the case) And in the matter of music and films are culture that is not as important as medicine but still the makers could feel better if they got paid for their work. But I feel that it is more drastic to send a man/woman in prison for copying a file if you compare it to those making humbug medicine. In my case the ones making medicine that do not work is a big crime rather than a person that justs wants to listen to music or watch a film. Just my opinion =P

Free alternative to MS-office

Lets say you need a free office suit, that can write documents and spreadsheets (and other things also) as an alternative to MS office. Then you could install LibreOffice, which is a multi-platform office suit. You can install it on Microsoft Windows, Mac OS X Tiger or newer, and Gnu/Linux operating systems based on the 2.6.18 or newer kernel. You can save your documents in .doc, .docx, .pdf and in .odf format. The latter is also the standard format in which the word files are saved. The programs included are:

Writer is the word processor, similar to Microsoft Word. You could use it to make a memo, or write a book with it. It is simple to use but has many nice features in my opinion.

Calc is the spreadsheet program, tha is similar to Excel. Calculate your budget or manage data. Rich in features.

Impress is the presentation program, like MS Powerpoint. Make a nice presentation with 2D or 3D clipart, and convince people with it.

Draw is an”All-Purpose Diagramming and Charting Tool” as described in their website.

Base is a database tool, similar to MS Access.

Math is the formula editor in Libre Office.

I myself use Writer and Calc and am very happy with those applications. The best part is that the software is Free/Open source software (it is licensed under the LGPLv3 license). It means that the users has the freedom to do whatever the users like with the software including sharing it with friend. Or sell it. As long as you give every end-user the rights you were given.

Give it a go, and you maybe will like it. If you do not like it, then just to uninstall it. Piece a cake.

Yes, I like the summer…

…but I really hate my pollen allergy. And I prefer coldness rather than heat (except for saunas). I guess it is in my genes, since I am a finn. And I guess that saunas is our “thing”. And fishing. And summer cottages at a lake. That sums up a rather typical finnish summer to me, visiting my relatives and hang out in the sauna after a long day of fishing.

All the past summers me and my family have gone visiting our relatives in Finland (we live in a neighbouring country) and just hung out and relaxed. For me, that would be a day long fishing trip, probably some berry-picking (you can freely walk around in the forest there, without the landowners permission) and a good sauna bath after that. A complete, ideal summer day for me.

Unfortunately, I can not travel to Finland this summer. But I do not mind, there will be other chances for me. Instead, I can hang around with my friends here, visit them or they can visit me. And it could be a good experience to be at home one summer. Well, now I have to go “fetch a sauna”, if I can. Otherwise, I will “fetch the shower”.

Just wondering

I must say that I am rather bad in blogging (or I do not make posts as often as I think I should). I have mostly other things to do, but I have also started another blog with a friend of mine now. I believe that the other blog will be more active thanks to my friend who I know has a lot opinions and likes to debate.

But I hope that you do not mind that I probably write as little as I do. However, there will be a lot to read in the other blog also. To read that, please click here.

Free software – why it is better

First of all, I will define what I mean with free software, before I start to say why free software is better. By free software, I mean software that is “free as in freedom of speach, not as in free beer”. There is four essential freedoms (as published from FSF):

  • Freedom 0: The freedom to run the program for any purpose.
  • Freedom 1: The freedom to study how the program works, and change it to make it do what you wish.
  • Freedom 2: The freedom to redistribute copies so you can help your neighbor.
  • Freedom 3: The freedom to improve the program, and release your improvements (and modified versions in general) to the public, so that the whole community benefits.

I think that software that respects the users freedoms is better than software that only is gratis. Of course you can get many programs, that is free in the matter of liberty for free and in the matter of price. I am assuming that you have a computer with internet access, so that this could be gratis; some examples would be Trisquel, a GNU/Linux operating system, LibreOffice, an office suite and Bash, a command-line shell, to name a few.

I have been mailing with a friend quite much lately about this issue. We have had quite much discussions about what is of the most weight; if it would be the price (gratis software) or if it would be the freedom. Free software, as I define it, would always guarantee that you can help your neighbors, and probably their granny. But this you cannot do with a program that is gratis; you must have the permission from the copyright holder(s) to give a copy to your neighbor and their granny.

Of course, there are people who would think that gratis is good, because no one would be left outside without the programme. But the real problem would be the permission from the copyright holder(s). You must hold a permission from them to use the program. This is granted and guaranteed by a free license, such as GPL (for an example).

And I think that programmers would be thankful if you gave them some money for the time that they have spent making the program. I know that I would, and by GPL amongs other licenses that is approved free software licenses this would be ok. It would also be ok for you to make a copy to all of your computers and your friends if you would have bought the license to use the programme.

Please, feel free to comment about this!