FLOSS Media Centers - Collecting Data

What is the State of the Art in current FLOSS Media Center projects?

To answer this question, we picked the 10 most prominent MC FLOSS projects and we're now asking for your help to collect as much information as possible about their functionality and support.

The 10 selected projects were: XBMC, MythTV, Boxee, Elisa, Neuros OSD, Freevo, My Media System, Entertainer, CenterStage+Plex and MediaPortal.

Because of our limited resources, we can't afford creating a Lab to run and test all 10 media centers. So we are relying on the community collective intelligence to gather all data necessary to provide a broad view on state of the art work in FLOSS Media Center projects.

There is one webform available for each project. The forms are very easy to compile and we invite Project Leaders, Developers and Power Users to actively participate, to provide the most accurate information we need.

You can find more information and links to the web forms in this page.

PopoloBue Ads are on the (web) streets!

That's right, a few days ago we started a web marketing campaign using adwords to promote and get feedback on our pilote website www.popolobue.tv, an italian franchise of MediaCow TV.

Stay tuned on your favourite video sharing, technology or videoblog websites. Sooner or later you may find one of our ads on your way:

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Why citizens should fully control certain telematics services, and how they can actually do it!

It is not enough for citizens to be told to have certain rights as users of a given telematic service, under a license (such as FLOSS), or a legislations (such a national and global privacy protection regulations) or under a contract with the service provider (such as Terms of Use). To actually control a telematic service, or a web service, a user needs reasonable practical means to verify the software AND the hardware of all servers which run at and beyond the point of decryption of his communications with such service (or “end servers”).

 

If such “end servers” interact with other external network services, he will know - by having access to the code of the “end servers” - which services, and all the details and conditions of such interactions.

It is not at all feasible, nor necessary for most user scenarios, to control servers and networks in between the client device and the “end servers”, as we can extensively rely on decades-old tested encryption protocols and FLOSS software to secure from third-party interference through software, hardware and cables in between. True, there is a possibility that even those protocols may have been broken by some powerful third party through undisclosed computers and alghorythms, but it is a "very" remote possibility for a host of reason. We therefore advise it's use, even in the political arena, except for governmental elections and primaries.

In fact, the communication could be intercepted in between, but the content could not be read. It could be stopped or deviated in between, but there is free software that, installed on both client and server can certainly verify that it did happen.

This is not new. Democracies, for centuries now, have always provided citizens with reasonable means to verify that key constitutional rights were not widely abused. When I go to vote, I do not simply have the right that my vote be secret and fairly counted, but I rely on a good number of other citizens, randomly selected or with conflicting interests, which prevent the bad guys to put in place large scale abuses of such rights. There are also a number of process regulations, such as recounts, that further prevent such frauds.

In fact, in order to provide such concrete control over telematics, server rooms (or “cages”) hosting a such “free” telematic service could be physically managed applying those same (or enhanced) physical security provisions that are currently applied to ballot boxes during an election. In practice, physical access to such server room would be enabled only while 4 or more randomly selected or elected users (or citizens) are physically present.

According to this model of telematic service provisioning, anyone could deploy a “free” telematic services, by developing new software or freely installing or extending any publicly available FLOSS software, and running those according to such hosting requirements.

Anyone can do this, without breaching any FLOSS license, by requiring the signing of a copyright assignment, or similar statement, whenever users, or anyone, wants to access the software source code.

Here is a practical example of how a foundation or government can do that. We have in fact deployed such Code Access Policies for our telematics service for democratic organizing at do2gether.com.

Lista Partecipata

Following the example of the Demoex experience in Vallentuna, Sweden, a group of 8 committed members of the Roman chapter of the Association of Direct Democrats has started campaigning for the next Rome Province Council Elections 2008 in order to present a "Lista Partecipata per la Democrazia (LPD)" (participated candidates' list for democracy), to be controlled through an ad-hoc temporary organization of citizens. The actions of the councilor that would eventually be elected would be completely controlled by the majority of voters who have also become members before the election. They do so through the web, through proposals, comments and votes expressed through the web, telephone and/or via the regular in-person assembly.

Registered members can participate in the current Council Agenda by voting, amending or commenting in favor or against each agenda item, and also rating and replying to other users' comments. Proposals can be created and supported, and those will be sent to each councilor a few days before the Council Meeting date via regular mail.

Many features are still in the pipeline, such as email and RSS updates on topics of user interest, quick search for petitions, agenda items and people, sorting and filtering options, blogs, comments and amends for each paragraph on a proposal or agenda item text to focus discussion, phone and snail mail participation for users who don't have access to the world wide web... and much more.

Software capital of the world rules out e-voting

It is great news that California - the software capital state of the world, the economy best positioned to benefit from a worldwide e-voting market, and lead state in many areas of legislation - has decided to de-certify all e-voting systems.
Most, or possibly all, e-voting systems available today are just not at all ready for prime time!

Let’s hope well-intentioned world politicians hear this loud and clear message among the PR noise of e-voting system sellers!

At the very least, this should push back lunatic attempts to have, at present, binding web or sms governmental elections.

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