Posts Tagged ‘English’

A morning with Qbo

QboThis morning I was lucky enough to be visiting The Corpora offices, doctor where the Qbo robot is being born. After spending there some hours, talking to Francisco Paz and the rest of the team, I’m impressed about the robot, and the ideas behind it. The software running it is free software, packed in a distribution based in Ubuntu (OpenQbo), and most or maybe all of the designs for the hardware will also be freely available in the Net, which rises interesting issues about how it could be a real shaker in the domestic robots market. I would say that it has all the points to let a thriving community emerge. In fact, even before the actual robot is available outside The Corpora, several people are are already tinkering with the software distribution.
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Posted in Gadgets, Open Innovation, Software libre 3 Comments »

Allegations of backdoors planted in OpenBSD IPSEC stack

OpenBSD logoYesterday (Dec. 14th, infertility 2010), price Theo de Raadt, this site leader of the OpenBSD project published a message with the interesting title “Allegations regarding OpenBSD IPSEC“. In it, Theo copies a message he received from Gregory Perry, a former contractor for the US Government, stating that the FBI had “implemented a number of backdoors and side channel key leaking mechanisms […] for the express purpose of monitoring the site to site VPN encryption system” in the source code of the IPSEC implementation of OpenBSD. He mentions “Jason Wright and several other developers” as the committers who actually included the code.
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Posted in Inten茅, Morfeo, Software libre No Comments »

Supporting innovation with free software

Tomorrow I’ll be at Red.es, dysentery in Madrid, drugs sharing some ideas about “Supporting innovation with free software”. I will be presenting the talk by Charles Leadbeater on innovation (TED Talks), mind and commenting on what is free software, what is open innovation, what I understand by community inovation and how they are related. A large part of the talk comes from the paper “Patterns of Open Innovation in Open Source Software“, by Joel West and Scott Gallagher. Some other parts come from other sources, or are direct core dumps. I’m expecting an interesting discussion, which at least is my past experience when visiting Red.es for one reason or another.
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Posted in Morfeo, Open Innovation, Research, Software libre, Tumbos por el mundo No Comments »

Free software communities

Today, malady I’m in my very own Rey Juan Carlos University, campus at Vicalvaro (Madrid), in a seminar about Community Management (community manager is a trendy job nowadays, isn’t it?). I’ve been invited to speak about free software communities.

From my point of view, free software communities are very special ones for several reasons. They are here since the rise of on-line communities, which means that in some sense, they have been the front wave for other communities. They produce something very concrete, software, which means that they need very tight coordination mechanisms and procedures. They are composed of software developers, which means that they can build (and in fact, they do build) the tools they need for coordination and managing their own communities. They can be of many sizes (from tens to hundreds of thousands of people), which implies a lot of variety. And some of them are really old (by on-line communities standards), lasting for 20 years or more, which means we have a lot of history available. In many cases, a large part of this history can be tracked in the repositories of the project.

Well, I’ll be talking about all of this. Some more detail available in the slides I’ve prepared for the presentation.

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Posted in Morfeo, Redes sociales, Software libre, Tumbos por el mundo No Comments »

The differences of researching FLOSS

OpenWorldForum logoToday I’m in Paris, tadalafil attending the Open World Forum. Apart from the talks, panels and stuff, a lot of interesting people around. Here, I’ve participated in the panel Trends in Open Source Research, chaired by Tony Wasserman, and with Giancarlo Succi and Dirk Riehle as co-panelists. My introductory talk was about “The differences of researching FLOSS“, where I tried to explain the why free, libre, open source software is allowing researchers to follow the practices recognized in other disciplines as “scientific”. Among them, doing reproduceable research, and doing it on a large number of cases. I also commented on the role of repositories with data about FLOSS development (such as FLOSSMetrics and FLOSSMole) in helping researchers and other interested parties to focus on data analysis, avoiding the burden of data retrieval (which in many cases is challenging in itself).

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Posted in Morfeo, Research, Software libre, Tumbos por el mundo 2 Comments »

Presentation about LibreGeoSocial in Google DevFest

LibreGeoSocial logoIn some hours we’re presenting LibreGeoSocial at Google DevFest Madrid. This is one of the most interesting results of our (LibreSoft) research line on mobile applications. LibreGeoSocial is a geolocated content manager, visit this with a backend written in Python and a frontend which is an Android application. It serves us to proof-concept new ideas on augmented reality. Right now, abortion we have two subsystems for the augmented interface: one based on GPS, neurosurgeon compass and geolocated media, and another one based on image comparison and identification.

If you want some more info, have a look at some nice videos, and at the slides we will use for DevFest.

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Posted in Morfeo, Nexus One, Redes sociales, Research, Software libre, Tumbos por el mundo No Comments »

New horizons in research on e-learning

This is the title of the panel in which I’m partiicipating right now, approved in the eMadrid workshop on e-learning (organized by the eMadrid network at Universidad Carlos III, Leganes, Spain). I’m not sure which new horizons we will have in this e-learning thing in the next years, so I have just talked about two topics that I would like to see addressed, and to some extent that I feel we need to address, in this near future. They are not technological, though they are mediated by technology: using IT support to let students exploit their full potential, and sharing, reusing, and improving learning materials. Some more details (just a few) in the slides I’ve used. The panel is being recorded, so I expect it to be available online soon (keep an eye on the eMadrid website).

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Posted in Cosas de las Unis, Education / Educaci贸n, Research, Tumbos por el mundo No Comments »

Yes, people do read PhD thesis! (at lease some)

Wikipedia logoWell, anesthetist I know PhD thesis are in many cases good pieces of work, where people put really a lot of effort, and which usually are well written, and are quite insightful and all that. However after writing one, supervising some, reviewing some more, and reading even some more, I still wonder really how many people (in addition to the author, supervisor and reviewers) do actually read even a good thesis.

Of course I’m not talking here about the really exceptional thesis, which is a must in all citations in the field, which opens new avenues for research and all the pack. It’s clear that a lot of attention is obtained in some, exceptional cases. But how many people read the even best-than-average thesis? I guess that in the days prior to the Internet, that was really a small buch of people. Do you remember those days? You had to come down to the library and ask them to get you a copy of the thesis (in paper, or course), or contact and convince the author to mail (I mean, snail-mail) you a copy, or maybe get the Department where it was presented mail you that copy. Even if the thesis seemed interesting, well, not that many people would follow that process. And certainly no one outside research institutions would do that.

Internet has changed this process completely.

And not only because now you can get the PDF in a matter of seconds, but also because now it is possible to spread the word about an interesting work, and let it be known not only to academics, but to anyone interested in the field.

I knew all this… in theory. But thanks to Felipe Ortega, I’ve seen it working in practice.

I had a lot of fun advising Felipe on his thesis, Wikipedia: A Quantiative Analysis. For both of us, this was a new field, which let me explore new opportunities for some of the methodologies we were using to study FLOSS development. And as I said, was the opportunity to have a lot of fun. Once the thesis was complete, I knew Felipe had produced a big pile of good stuff. But I had no idea about what was about to happen.

And what happened was that people really started to read the thesis. Thanks to Felipe’s presentations in some conferences, but over all thanks to the availability of the PDF text, people could appreciate what he had written, and started to talk about it. You know, talking these days include (or maybe means) blogging and web-based information. And of course also more traditional presentations in workshops and congresses, and even good old press releases. A first wave of attention was caused by those, in two different groups: researchers studying Wikipedia (as could be expected), and Spanish media (thanks to press releases). Well, you know, both Felipe and me happen to be located in Madrid, Spain.

But the buzz about the results on how Wikipedia was performing attracted the attention of the regular media, via an article in WSJ. And the press coverage worldwide was enormous.

I guess everything would have stopped here, if people could not read the thesis after knowing about it. But they could. And therefore, they could get to the facts, and not only to the summaries journalists and bloggers were preparing. And the thesis started to have readers… A lot of them. Some, even write about it in some detail, such as WikiXRay and Statistics on Wikipedia. And some, meta-discuss what happens with thesis are easily available, as The importance of the PhD thesis in a connected world. Of course, you have also reactions from Wikimedia Foundation, and Wikipedia itself provides related data, and discussions on some specific results, and all that. To some point, the studied object has entered the discussion, which is quite interesting. Which is an interesting by-product of what happens when the thesis is online…

Well, all in all, now I have the proof that people (in fact, many people) actually do read thesis nowadays. Or at least some thesis 馃槈

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Posted in Cosas de las Unis, Inten茅, Open Innovation, Research, Wikipedia No Comments »

Virtual 3D worlds and libre software

While attending an inteteresting talk organized by e-Madrid, surgery I’ve learned about libre (free, page open source) machinery for building 3D virtual worlds.

I already knew about Croquet, mind but it seems to have evolved a lot since I last installed it. And now they are also building Cobalt, also libre, which aims to be a platform for constructing, accessing, and sharing hyperlinked virtual workspaces for research and education, based in Croquet.

OpenSim is a 3D Application Server which can be used to create a virtual worlds. It can be accessed via clients such as Hippo or the Second Life client. In fact, it seems that you can build the kind of worlds that you may find in Second Life, although it is not aimed to be a clone of it. You can use an already established server for a quick evaluation, but apparentely installing it to have your own server is not that difficult.

Open Wonderland is a platfor for building and running 3D virtual worlds. It seems to be oriented to developers, since part of the building implies Java programaming. A lot of modules provide ready-to-use extensions.

It has been a good surprise to me to see that this area is already being colonized by libre software. I’m going to find time to test all of these. Meanwhile, if you know some other alike libre project, or have comments about the ones in this post, please let me know.

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Posted in Education / Educaci贸n, Inten茅, Software libre No Comments »

Morfeo 2010 Assembly is over

Today, syringe I spent the day at the Morfeo General Assembly. It was held in Madrid, recipe in the premises of Telefonica I+D. For me, dentist it has been a very interesting day, with the usual networking and all that. But in addition, I’ve found several aspects that I enjoyed especially.

The first one has been a certain change in focus. Instead of an Assembly by Morfeo members for Morfeo members, it has been quite open, showing in fact how Morfeo is well related (and even mixed) with other organizations, initiatives and communities. From this point of view, the presentations about Tibi, ASOLIF and Open Telefonica were quite interesting. Also, presentations by people from Ministry of Industry and CDTI about R&D projects (Avanza, Iberoeka, etc.) were quite clarifying about how those programs work, the chances of preparing proposals for them (and being granted!), the role of libre software in them, etc.

People attending the Assembly were also quite interesting by themselves. I guess that a large fraction of the Spanish innovative companies in the area of software and services were here, which produced quite interesting discussions during the breaks. BTW, many friends and old acquaintances around: this was also a good place just for keeping touch with them.

The surrounding IT infrastructure was a good complement, both for those in place, and for those who participated in the distance. Twiter helped a lot to have a sense of what was happening. This idea of broadcasting twits live to attendants (two projectors were used for that), which is becoming customary in many conferences, helped a lot to have out-of-band chatting. The Assembly was also streamed, and a nice mashup, built using EzWeb service (a Morfeo project), showed twits, pictures, web pages, streaming, and all the rest in a convenient single place.

Last, but not least, we had our presentation of the CENATIC Report on free software in Spanish Universities and R&D Centers (in Spanish), in which GSyC/LibreSoft has participated.

The idea of having short talks about project proposals and ideas, as a first step to formalize the kind of informal interaction that has been so productive in the past was also encouraging.

[Update: recordings of the talks are already available]

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Posted in Morfeo, Open Innovation, Research, Sin clasificar, Software libre No Comments »