Free Software needs to do its part to fight climate change and resource depletion

December 8, 2006

I just returned from berlin for a meeting of the fsg/lsb on packaging. The meeting was good and informative and I think some good things will come out of it. However, my flying to berlin from north carolina was not one of them. A bunch of us flew in from the US, stayed for 4 or 5 days then flew back. In some cases it was 2 or 3 short-haul trips followed by one long-haul trip and then wash-rinse-repeat the whole thing for the return.

Air travel consumes an enormous amount of fuel and produces a massive amount of carbon dioxide. If we want to maintain a sustainable environment and a sustainable free software movement we need to adapt, now, to a changing world.

Suggestions:
1. make better use of video and voice teleconferencing to have face-to-face meetings across the net
2. make better use of online whiteboard applications to share and collaborate from half a world away.
I know how much we do benefit from the face to face and the informal communication over drinks at a pub, but we won’t always be able to convene together to do it.

4 Responses to “Free Software needs to do its part to fight climate change and resource depletion”

  1. Blubb Says:

    To be honest: the whole Open Source community missed the opportunity to fully integrate voice teleconferencing into all kinds of apps:
    When Google released Jabber’s jingle extension everything which was needed to provide a real cool voice experience on op of jabber was there. It could have been integrated into the current IM apps as well as into development frameworks to let the developers communicate directly.
    And the foundations were also provided to extend that capabilities into video conferencing.

    However, no one really seemed to be interested. Nothing really happened: there are only few IM apps around able to deal with jingle, and especially the big ones (Gaim/Ekiga for example) are not able to use it, or just have experimental support (kopete). And no one used the opportunity to really integrate it into the desktop or some development frameworks, for example to provide a first idea of a collaboration framework.
    Nothing like that happened – the opportunity is now lost. Sure, in some distant future there will be some kind of VoIP in the desktops, telepathy comes to my mind, but that is still months or even years away.

    And there was enough time: on the 17th there will be the anniversary of the jingle release, and i retrospect this year will be nothing else than disappointing.
    Xgl and AIGLX are not around for such a long time, and were quickl adopted by everyone!

    So, to make a summarize: I completely agree with you, the Open Source/Free Software community could really use such tools – but we are quite alone with this point of view, or, said idifferent: there is no one with enough development capacities interested, so don’t hope for such stuff.

  2. Jeff Ollie Says:

    How well does the whiteboard feature of Inkscape work?

  3. Jeff Ollie Says:

    And the answer is, not very well… Are there any other whiteboard apps out there?

  4. Blubb Says:

    Just want to add one thing: check out Coccinella, it provides Whiteboard functions as well as VoIP based on jingle. So it can satisfy at least some needs…


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