A Day Filled With Inspiration and Gratitude

Today has been a day to cherish at the All Things Open 2023 conference. Lunch at the speakers’ lounge with Jen, Lauren P., Lauren M., David, Bryan, and Jason B. was an invigorating reunion. One of the day’s highlights was the delightful conversation with Rikki Endsley. Our discussion on the first day at the conference was a perfect kick-off; I got to meet the members of the Open Source Initiative, with whom we will be working closely as we transition to writing at Opensource.net.

I met Aaron Prisk in person, though our love of all things open source began nearly eight years ago. Today, I saw my friend Jason Hibbets, who invited me to my first All Things Open in 2014. There have been lots of changes in the past nine years.

The warmth of this community filled my heart with joy, reminding me of the beauty of enduring connections. Moments like these are the essence of life’s blessings, leaving me immensely grateful.

This experience at All Things Open has been a transformative part of my journey, and being part of this remarkable conference in the heart of Raleigh is a testament to the positive direction my life has taken. The ambiance of the beautiful hotel where I’m staying amplifies the experience, adding to the overall sense of gratitude and contentment.

The mentorship of the Opensource.com team has been instrumental in my growth as a writer and individual, and their presence continues to inspire me.

While exploring the conference, the Apereo booth caught my attention. Gathering information about their open-source program for higher education ignited a spark within me. The prospect of sharing this knowledge with professionals in higher education inspires me to continue to work towards an open source future in education.

The day’s sessions were equally enriching. Emily Freeman’s opening keynote on the human touch in a GenAI world resonated deeply, reminding us of the significance of humanity in a rapidly evolving technological landscape. Gwyneth Peña-Siguenza’s insights on leveraging AI and GitHub Copilot opened new avenues for exploration, reflecting technology’s limitless possibilities.

James Quick’s talk on navigating career challenges was a guiding light for those who were stagnant professionally. His practical wisdom provided a reassuring perspective on overcoming obstacles and pursuing growth. Similarly, Barton George’s presentation on Project Sputnik and the valuable lessons learned emphasized the power of community-driven innovation within large corporations. Bryan Behrenhausen’s presentation on the Open Organization was impressive and reminded me of conversations we’ve had along those lines in the past. The last session of the day where we met to discuss what licensing should govern the use of open-source artificial intelligence, was very engaging and left me in awe.

As the day ends, I find myself brimming with inspiration and gratitude. All Things Open 2023 has been an event and a catalyst for personal and professional growth, reminding me of the significance of genuine connections, learning, and the continuous pursuit of knowledge and self-improvement.

The Freedom of Linux: A World Beyond Hardware Restrictions

In the ever-evolving world of technology, software updates often bring excitement and anticipation as they promise new features and improvements. However, with operating system updates for proprietary operating systems, the excitement can be tempered by stringent hardware requirements that leave many users facing the inevitable need for a new computer. Fortunately, an alternative,  the Linux kernel which powers the many Linux distributions and open source, allows users to embrace the latest software without hardware limitations.

A Diverse Landscape of Compatibility

Unlike proprietary operating systems with strict hardware prerequisites, Linux distributions offer fresh air. Whether you choose Pop!_OS, Fedora, or Linux Mint, Linux’s open nature ensures compatibility with a wide range of hardware, even aging systems. This remarkable flexibility is a testament to the power of open-source software.

Take, for instance, the case of the Darter Pro laptop from System76, acquired in early 2019 with Pop!_OS 18.10 pre-installed. Despite the years that have passed, this hardware continues to support the latest versions of not just Pop!_OS but also Ubuntu, Fedora, and Arch without breaking a sweat. Such an upgrade would be an unattainable dream if one attempted to install Windows 11 on the same machine. Likewise, the closed ecosystem of MacOS locks users into a world where they can only experience the latest software if they invest in Apple’s proprietary hardware.

The Hidden Treasure of Open Source

Regrettably, many people remain oblivious to the hidden treasure trove that is open-source software. Beyond the Linux kernel that forms the foundation of countless distributions, a vast ecosystem of applications thrives, often outperforming their proprietary counterparts. This abundance of high-quality, open-source software is built on principles prioritizing user freedom and choice.

For instance, consider the MarkText application, a tool I use to craft this article. It’s an exemplary testament to the capabilities of open-source software. With abundant features, a user-friendly interface, and an active community of developers and users, MarkText competes toe-to-toe with proprietary alternatives without any vendor lock-in or hardware mandates that plague proprietary systems. This is the essence of open source—a realm in which the user controls.

Breaking the Chains of Vendor Lock-In

Vendor lock-in is a pervasive challenge in the technology world. Proprietary software and hardware vendors often design their products to ensure consumers remain captive to their offerings. This strategy serves the interests of these companies. Still, it can be detrimental to the user, who may be in a never-ending cycle of purchasing new hardware to stay current.

In contrast, Linux and open-source software operate under a different ethos. They empower users to take control of their technology. With the freedom to choose software and customize their experience, users are no longer chained to a specific vendor’s roadmap. This approach breaks the cycle of forced obsolescence and keeps hardware relevant for years, ultimately saving users money and reducing electronic waste.

A Sustainable Approach

In an era of increasing environmental consciousness, the longevity of hardware takes on added importance. The “throwaway culture” of rapid hardware turnover is financially wasteful and environmentally unsustainable. By embracing Linux and open-source software, users can extend the lifespan of their hardware, contributing to a more sustainable future.

Additionally, the open-source community fosters collaboration and innovation without the limitations of proprietary systems. Developers worldwide work together to create secure, stable, and feature-rich software, often outpacing the development cycles of their proprietary counterparts. This collaborative spirit ensures that Linux users can access cutting-edge technology without the need for frequent hardware upgrades.


In the world of technology, where operating system updates often come with stringent hardware requirements, Linux stands as a beacon of freedom and sustainability. Its compatibility with a wide range of hardware, commitment to open-source principles, and freedom from vendor lock-in make it a compelling choice for those who wish to break free from the shackles of constantly upgrading their hardware.

As we navigate an ever-changing technological landscape, let us remember that there is a world beyond hardware restrictions, a world where Linux and open-source software offer an oasis of choice and longevity. In this realm, the user is king, and technology serves their needs, not vice versa. So, next time you hear the siren call of a new operating system update, consider the boundless possibilities of Linux and liberate yourself from the cycle of forced obsolescence.

Five Open Source Writing Apps

AbiWord: AbiWord is a free and open-source word processor software. It is written in C++, and since version 3, it is based on GTK+ 3. The name “AbiWord” is derived from the root of the Spanish word “abierto,” meaning “open.” AbiWord is openly licensed. It is available on Windows and Linux.

Joplin: Joplin is an open-source note-taking and to-do app that allows you to organize your thoughts and ideas efficiently. It supports markdown and syncing across devices and offers various features like tagging, searching, and encryption. Joplin is available on Windows, MacOS, Linux, iOS, and Android. You can take notes on your mobile platform and edit them when you get home on your laptop or desktop using Joplin Cloud or OneDrive. Joplin has a AGPL license.

Calligra Words: Calligra Words is a free and open-source word processor part of the Calligra Suite of office productivity software. It is available for Linux and Windows. Calligra Words uses the Open Document Format (ODF) as its default file format. Many different office suites support ODF, a vendor-neutral format. Calligra Words has a GPL v2 license.

Etherpad: Etherpad is a real-time collaborative document editor that runs in your browser. With Etherpad, you can write articles, press releases, to-do lists, and more with your friends, fellow students, or colleagues. Everyone can work on the same document simultaneously, and your changes will be reflected instantly. Learn more about Etherpad. Etherpad is open source with an Apache 2.0 license.

LibreOffice Writer: is a full-featured open-source word processor that offers a wide range of tools and features for writing documents. It supports various file formats, provides a familiar interface, and includes features like spell-checking, formatting, and document collaboration. LibreOffice has a Mozilla License.

When considering a writing application, it’s essential to think about how you will use it. Joplin, a Markdown editor designed for note-taking, is available on multiple platforms and has many features that make it well-suited. Joplin also has a built-in web clipper and a sync feature that allows you to sync your notes between multiple devices.

No matter what your decision, all of these applications are open source, and all support open document formats that ensure that your created work is in a format accessible to you and those you share with.

Get Publii – static site generator

Are you looking for a static website generator that’s easy to install and use? Then you need to check out Publii. It’s a GPL v3.0 static site generator that is the best I’ve seen. I have installed and used Jekyll and Hugo and while they are interesting they cannot hold a candle to Publii. Download and install Publii for your operating system and get started having some fun designing your own static CMS. Publii was easy to install on Linux Mint. I downloaded the ‘.deb’ file and easily installed it on my laptop.It also comes in ‘.rpm’ for Fedora users and as an app image if neither of those packages works for you. Download files for Windows and MacOS users are also available.

Publii is menu-driven and you can easily create a rich site on your computer and use it there or upload it to Gitlab, Github, Amazon, Netlify or any other hosting site you would like to use. The menu interface is very intuitive. Entering text is easy and users can choose a WYSIWYG, Block or Markdown editor.

You can see from the graphic that it’s easy to add posts, add tags, add menus, and authors. You can easily change the theme, some of which are provided or choose your own iteration. The settings menu lets a user select the name of the site and choose the language of the site, with many language choices represented. The server menu selection allows users to choose where the site will be hosted and the protocols used.

Publii introduces a novel approach to web development with its innovative concept—a desktop static website CMS, a first of its kind. Engineered with user-friendliness at its core, Publii caters to beginners while offering many advanced options and functionalities, empowering seasoned web developers to implement intricate customizations. By utilizing Publii, crafting secure and high-speed static websites becomes remarkably streamlined, eliminating unnecessary complexities.

Publii serves as a desktop application that empowers you to develop, revise, and enhance your website offline. Subsequently, you can effortlessly synchronize the alterations you’ve made to your site with your server by simply clicking a button. The versatility of Publii extends to accommodating various upload methods, encompassing traditional HTTP/HTTPS servers, Netlify, Amazon S3, GitHub Pages, Google Cloud, and SFTP, among others. Publii also includes software to backup your site, view log files, and import ‘wxr’ files.

You can easily examine Publii source code You can support the project easily too. Documentation is readily available and is menu driven too. If you are a developer Publli has help for you too.

Open Source Software: A Cost-Effective, Secure, and Flexible Option

Open source software is developed and distributed under a license that gives users the right to use, modify, and redistribute the software. When you purchase proprietary software, you don’t own it. In many cases, proprietary software is effectively leased to you for a set period. Many companies force their customers to upgrade to newer versions to continue to have access to their creations. That is not the case with open source software. Open source software is the best value in the market, and here are five reasons why that is so.

1. Lower costs

One of the most significant advantages of open source software is its low cost. This can save businesses a significant amount of money on software licensing fees. I am writing this blog with MarkText , a simple yet elegant editor that’s available for Linux, MacOS and Windows.   It saves my work by default in MarkDown, which is an open source format. I can export the file to HTML or PDF or I can copy and paste it directly into LibreOffice Writer or into my WordPress blog. In all cases, I own my work without needing a license for the software.

2. Flexibility

Open source software is often very flexible and customizable. This means that businesses can tailor the software to their specific needs. Businesses and individuals can modify their software or move from one application to another with compatible formats. One of my clients had files written and saved in a proprietary format that was no longer accessible because the proprietary software was no longer on the market. I was able to open and save the person’s files using LibreOffice Writer because it had the filters built into it that allowed that to happen. You can imagine the delight my client felt when her work of many years was made freely available to her in a format that was accessible using a free product.

3. Community support

Open source software often has a large and active community of users and developers. This community can provide support for the software. These communities are responsive to the needs fo users because they have a share interest in the success of the software and are part of a caring community committed to the development of quality software and the maintenance of the communities, many of which are governed by codes of conduct which ensure respect for the users.

4. Security

Open source software is often very secure. This is because the software is constantly being reviewed and audited by a large community of users and developers. This helps to identify and fix security vulnerabilities before attackers can exploit them. An adequate number of eyes on a project ensures that bugs in the software are quickly identified and quickly fixed.

5. Innovation

Open source software is often a source of innovation. By its very nature open source software frequently leads to rapid innovation as communities form around projects of common interest. With a quick look at Github and Gitlab one can easily find new projects or forks of older projects that are leading to new solutions. The development of the Linux kernel and the subsequent proliferation of nearly six-hundred different distributions, each one customized for its community, is but one example.


There are many good reasons to use open source software. These reasons include lower costs, flexibility, community support, security, and innovation. If you are looking for a cost-effective, flexible, and secure software solution, then open source software is a good option to consider.

Here are some additional resources about open source software:

I hope this blog post has been helpful. If you have any questions, please feel free to comment below.

Introducing Whisper

I love interviews. It’s a great way to get to know a person and it’s often a great way to learn. One of the most challenging aspects of interviews is capturing exactly what the interview subject had to say. I have used my mobile phone to capture a subject’s voice. I have also used Audacity. In both cases, I am left to transcribe that content into written form. Now the paradigm is changing with the advent of Whisper which is an openly licensed program developed by OpenAI. According to OpenAI’s website introducing Whisper, “Whisper is an automatic speech recognition (ASR) system trained on 680,000 hours of multilingual and multitask supervised data collected from the web.”

It’s an amazing software and easy to install on Linux which is my daily driver. I used Pop!_OS but you can easily install Whisper on Fedora-based distributions also. You need to make sure that Python is installed and you can easily test that by entering the following command.

$python3 –version

In my case the result was

Python 3.10.6

Then install a Python virtual environment.

$ sudo apt install python3.10-venv

Next, you need to install Python pip3

$ sudo apt install python3-pip

Initialize the Python virtual environment for Whisper with

$python3 -m venv whisper

I changed into the ‘whisper’ directory with

$cd whisper

Finally, I installed ‘whisper’ with

$ pip3 install whisper

Now I am ready to use this amazing new tool to transcribe mp3 and mp4 files into easily readable text. If you don’t have any and you would like to try out Whisper you can point your web browser at Librivox and download a free book or part of one. I chose Robert Frost’s ‘Mending Wall’

I can use ‘whisper’ from the command line to convert the mending wall mp3 to text

$ whisper 04_mending_wall_frost_bc.mp3 –model base

In a little over a minute ‘whisper’ has converted the ‘mp3’ to text that can easily be read. The conversion outputs 5 files. One of them is a text file with the text of the ‘mp3’. Here are the first few lines taken from 04_mending_wall_frost_bc.mp3.

“Mending Wall by Robert Frost, read for libravox.org by Becky Crackle, November 16, 2006, Canal Winchester, Ohio. Something there is that doesn’t love a wall that sends the frozen groundswell under it and spills the upper boulders in the sun, and makes gaps even too can pass abreast. The work of hunters is another thing. I have come after them and made repair where they have left not one stone on a stone, but they would have the rabbit out of hiding to please the yelping dogs.”

As you can see the results are accurate

You can create a Python script to automate the process.

import whisper

model = whisper.load_model(“base”)
result = model.transcribe(“04_mending_wall_frost_bc.mp3”) print(result[“text”])

Using the Python script provides a much cleaner output.

“Mending Wall by Robert Frost, read for Librevox.org by Becky Crackle, November 16th, 2006, Canal Winchester, Ohio. Something there is that doesn’t love a wall that sends the frozen groundswell under it and spills the upper boulders in the sun, and makes gaps even too can pass abreast. The work of hunters is another thing. I have come after them and made repair where they have left not one stone on a stone, but they would have the rabbit out of hiding to please the yelping dogs. The gaps I mean, no one has seen them made or heard them made, but at spring-mending time we find them there. I let my neighbor know beyond the hill, and on a day we meet to walk the line and set the wall between us once again. ”

Whisper has an MIT license

Learning Git

I’ve had a GitHub and GitLab account for a number of years and I even have some code and other files on those sites.  Now I’m finally learning how to use Git. I’m part of a writers group that will soon be publishing our content using Git and I figured that maybe I ought to learn how to contribute to the content properly. Yesterday I found a really great video at LearnLinuxTV which provided me with a great introductory lesson and piqued my curiosity about learning more. I watched “How to Setup Your First Repository and Use Version Control.” I’m amazed at how useful Git is. I don’t know why I waited so long to learn the fundamentals.

How Creative Commons Licensing Can Help Build Your Brand and Reputation

Creative Commons licensing is an excellent way to share your creations with others while still retaining control over how they are used. There are many benefits to using Creative Commons licensing, some of which we’ll explore in this article.

First and foremost, Creative Commons licensing allows others to use your work without having to ask for permission. This can be especially useful if you want your work to be used in a specific way or for a specific audience. For example, you might want your work to be used for educational purposes or in a nonprofit setting. With Creative Commons licensing, you can specify exactly how your work can be used and under what conditions.

Another benefit of Creative Commons licensing is that it can help you to build your brand and reputation. By allowing others to use your work, you are increasing exposure to your brand and helping to establish yourself as a thought leader in your field. This can be particularly valuable for small businesses or independent creators who are just starting out.

Creative Commons licensing can also help to foster innovation and collaboration. By sharing your work with others, you are providing a platform for others to build upon and improve upon your ideas. This can lead to new innovations and collaborations that might not have been possible otherwise.

Overall, there are many benefits to using Creative Commons licensing. By sharing your work with others and allowing them to use it in a specific way, you can build your brand, foster innovation, and contribute to the greater good of the creative community. So if you’re looking to share your work with others in a meaningful way, consider using Creative Commons licensing as a tool to help you achieve your goals.

From Windows to Linux: My Experience Helping a Friend Switch to Linux Mint

Yesterday I helped a friend restore two laptops to good working order using Linux Mint 21.1. My daily driver is Pop!_OS but my friend is new to Linux and I thought Linux Mint with a Cinnamon desktop would be a good place for him to start his Linux journey.  I saved his files from the first laptop on a USB drive and then began the install of Mint from another USB drive that I had prepared for that purpose. The candidate was a three year old Hewlett-Packard Laptop with a lightweight AMD processor and 4 GB or RAM. The computer had really gotten slow and was showing signs of a malware infestation when I suggested to my friend that he let me help him give Linux Mint a try.

The install of Mint went very well and we were done in about fifteen minutes which included adding updates and restoring his word processing and image files from the Windows 10 operating system that had existed on this laptop just a few minutes before. My friend was so excited by the results and the new life in his laptop that he invited me to try Mint on an extra Acer Aspire laptop that he had in a cupboard in his home. The Acer was a great candidate. Eight gigabytes of RAM, i5 processor and 250 GB SSD drive. My friend is quite happy with his two laptops now that they are running Linux Mint. I am always delighted when I can share the gift of Linux and open source software with anyone.

Handbrake to the rescue

Recently my son asked me if I could locate a video of him scoring 35 points in one half of a high school basketball game. The game happened about eighteen or nineteen years ago. Fortunately many years ago I transferred the VHS-C format video to a digital format and created DVD’s of each of the games from his senior season. Thank goodness my wife is much more organized than me and she remembered where the DVD collection was. Now the problem was moving from the DVD format to digital video that could be loaded onto our son’s iOS device for playback. That’s where Handbrake came to my rescue. If you’re not familiar Handbrake is a great tool for video transcoding. Add to that it’s open source too.

My daily driver is a System76 Darter Pro and it’s currently running Pop!_OS 20.04. I had to install Handbrake which is easy from the command line, $ sudo apt install handbrake. After that I attached a USB connected DVD drive and in about thirty minutes I created a video which can be uploaded to my son’s iPad. Open source software is an incredible bargain and tools like Handbrake are great. You can run Handbrake on Windows and MacOS if you don’t have a Linux computer.