<![CDATA[Collective68 Blog]]>http://blog.collective68.tech/http://blog.collective68.tech/favicon.pngCollective68 Bloghttp://blog.collective68.tech/Ghost 2.0Wed, 21 Oct 2020 12:31:55 GMT60<![CDATA[Sharing stories of women in the media industry using FLOSS and Creative Commons content]]>http://blog.collective68.tech/sharing-stories-of-women-in-the-media-industry-using-floss-and-creative-commons-content/5ea6b259ee0eb06da2e22644Mon, 27 Apr 2020 19:31:55 GMT

We are happy to announce our involvement with a project a little bit different than usual. In collaboration with Social Contract Institute, we worked on the production of a series of podcasts for the project "Në të njëjtin zë" (Under the same voice).

This series of podcasts consists on women and couples working on the media field in Albania who share their experience from a social and professional perspective. They describe their daily challenges, what motivates them, how they have made it so far in their career and how they were able to keep a healthy family and professional life. These podcasts are also heavily focused on the current gender balance issues in Albania and worldwide. By sharing their personal experiences, the journalists and media professionals who were part of this project, share some success stories of people who were able to built a successful career for themselves while also supporting their partners to advance in their career as well.

Suela and Romir, Fjodora, Evis and Nolian, Anila and Vangjel, Anisa and Mentor, Fjona and Sokol, Juli, Brikena, Erilda and Masion, Neraida and Koloreto, and Arjola, all share their personal stories, and the many difficulties they faced, including gender gap issues, misrepresentation in decision-making posts, long working hours and more.

This production was an initiative of Social Contract Institute, and we were happy to support them during the recording process, editing and production of these podcast series. For various weeks in a row, we welcomed all the pod-casters and collaborators of this project at our office, and through many intensive hours we went through recording, editing, getting feedback, adding music background, until we made it to successfully complete this project. The process was quite fun, with a DIY recording setup and we actually learned a lot from everyone involved.

Sharing stories of women in the media industry using FLOSS and Creative Commons content
Moments from the recording sessions.

Using Open Source tools for editing

Being users for open source tools for a long time came handy in this process, because what software could be better then Audacity for audio editing? :)
Audacity is an easy-to-use, multi-track audio editor and recorder and we highly recommended it. It includes great features, and makes your audio-editing experience quite easy.

Sharing stories of women in the media industry using FLOSS and Creative Commons content
Audacity editor interface

Using Creative Commons licenses

We also advised our partners on the licensing of their productions and everything was published under a Creative Commons license. Sharing knowledge and creativity empowers others to build upon it, and everyone is free to use, edit and remix these materials if they have a better idea on how to put them in use. Furthermore, we used music published under a permissive license for the editing process. This podcast production is now online and at the time of writing this blog post the material is also being used by radio stations based in Tirana.

Thank you!

A warm thank you goes to Olda, Brikena, Elona and all the nice people that were featured on the podcast episodes during the recording sessions. Also, many thanks to Jora for the photo sessions. It was of great pleasure to do something a bit different then usual, though we still were there talking about the importance of using open source tools (all roads lead to Rome) and the importance of copy left licenses.

<![CDATA[The Albanian House and our commitment to the Open!]]>http://blog.collective68.tech/the-albanian-house-and-our-commitment-to-the-open/5df9fd9b3ca3c205a0278a90Wed, 25 Dec 2019 19:20:39 GMT

For a long time, we have been speaking on the importance of open source, open collaboration and how licenses that enable free distribution of content and materials can foster creativity and encourage collaboration. We have been emphasizing this repeatedly ( hopefully without getting annoying) on various events, talks in conferences, and even in personal conversations with friends. One of the goals that one can achieve through such efforts is to raise awareness on a specific topic. Another greater goal which can be achieved, is to actually see in practice the concrete results of such efforts, to make people look at things in a different perspective. To become more concrete, we want to share with you a story, a website and a project we have been involved with. The Albanian House is an initiative of our friend Jora, who didn't put thought only on the architectural elements of this project, but also thought on making it open, free to access and collaborative, and we hope to have given our contribution on this approach.

The Albanian House - a platform which consists on the documentation (descriptive, visual and geographical) of the most representative and characteristic houses of the main Albanian cities and villages. It represents research on the main architectural features of these dwellings, their history, the changes they've gone through, over the years and their current state.

Through a very simple structure, thealbanian.house provides visitors with different types of data and lots of information. On the left side of the page, you can see the map of Albania where every pin on the map represents a typical Albanian house. By zooming in, more pins will appear, so you just have to navigate through the map to check the different typologies of houses in different cities of Albania. By clicking on a pin, a photo of a villa will appear on the map, and on the right side of the page you will be provided with it's history and some more information on the current state of the building.

The Albanian House and our commitment to the Open!
TheAlbanian.House website homepage

This effort provides the public with a good resource of information on the characteristic Albanian houses, but more importantly, it has a great value in the long term, since many of these houses are not currently under maintenance and it's probably a matter of time that they get fully destroyed. Having a digital documentation of their history, geographical data and good quality photos is a big contribution to our cultural heritage.

You can read the full details of this project on the About page on the website: https://thealbanian.house/about

What our team loved the most, was the "open approach" of this project. Instead of using a closed source website, copyrighted photos or content, it instead features all the opposite of that:

  • an openstreetmap based map;
  • CC BY-SA licensed content;
  • All the house's photos uploaded on Wikimedia Commons;
  • AGPL-3.0 licensed code for the website;
The Albanian House and our commitment to the Open!
All photos of the project were published on Wikimedia Commons

The details on the licenses can be found on this dedicated page on the website: https://thealbanian.house/license

Our team was involved with the  implementation of the website and we also provided consultation on the licenses which were used. As we consider "working on the open" highly important, we totally enjoyed being involved with this project.

On December 16th there was the first presentation to the public of the idea, scope and journey of implementing The Albanian House and we were happy to be present in the event. Jora and Sonia, the people behind the implementation of this website, shared with the audience their journey on making this project possible. We want to emphasize that this 'closing' event, in our point of view, is just the beginning of this initiative, since everyone can reuse the tools used, can collaborate with the initiators, make suggestions and provide information to enrich the platform.

The Albanian House and our commitment to the Open!
Moments during the presentation of The Albanian House

To get updated with upcoming news on The Albanian House, you can check their blog: https://medium.com/@thealbanianhouse
To contribute and get involved with the project, you can check the GitHub page.

Thank you for reading! If you liked the article, we would be glad if you share it on social media. Also, feel free to give us a feedback on Twitter.
To learn more about Collective68, visit our website: collective68.tech

<![CDATA[Our partnership with Coko Foundation makes total sense!]]>http://blog.collective68.tech/our-partnership-with-coko-foundation-makes-total-sense-2/5dbee3ac0565f804e098a228Sun, 03 Nov 2019 15:01:00 GMT

This autumn has been a very exciting one for our Collective. We have launched Cloud68, our office got bigger and we are working on some projects that are 100% in our area of interest. One of these interesting projects we are generously excited to work on started with an email of a good friend of ours introducing us to Adam who was searching for potential open source folks to join his project. We had a call and since we found out he was in the region we kindly asked him to visit Tirana. This was the second time Adam was visiting our city after presenting at OSCAL almost two years ago. After a warm visit at the local hackerspace we had a very productive discussion on a potential collaboration between Coko Foundation and Collective68.

But, before we get to that, let us go briefly through the amazing work Coko is doing. Previously known as the Collaborative Knowledge Foundation, Coko’s mission is to evolve how knowledge is created, produced and reported. The foundation is building open source solutions in scholarly knowledge production that foster collaboration, integrity and speed. Coko envisions a new research communication ecosystem that gives rise to wholly unique channels for research output. One of the most well known toolkits of the foundation is PubSweet - a free, open source framework for building state-of-the-art publishing platforms. This framework enables users to easily build a publishing platform tailored to their own needs. Here you can find a long list of publishing platforms built with PubSweet.

And one of these publishing platforms build with PubSweet is Editoria, the community-led Open Source Books Production platform, the development of which Coko is looking forward to continue further in the near future. And here is where the connection with Collective68 comes in again.

Through this collaboration we will support and facilitate the further development of Editoria and (soon) of other (open) publishing platforms as well. Already, two members of the team, Sidorela and Danjela will be working on the further development of this project and on adding new features, while other members will be on board soon.

Our partnership with Coko Foundation makes total sense!

Danjela has quite some experience on web development. As she has been a frequent user of open source technologies for a long time, now she is thrilled to be starting her journey as a contributor and developer of an open source project. Sidorela on the other hand is a long-time contributor in various open source and open knowledge projects. She is an active member of the local OpenStreetMap community in Albania and has been contributing in different capacities in other projects such as LibreOffice and Wikimedia. She will support the development efforts of the Editoria project on a junior JavaScript developer capacity.

Along with the Sidorela and Danjela, the whole Collective68 team will engage in promoting the use of such open source solutions in book publishing and facilitate the process of promoting them at a local level. Collective68 will engage new contributors who might be willing to join the Editoria community or any of the other projects powered by Coko.

As the first step of our collaboration we organized the Editoria Developers Meetup in Tirana this weekend with Christos Kokosias and Giannis Kopanas from the Coko team flying from Athens to facilitate the event. Saturday we 'invaded' Open Labs hackerspace (many thanks) to have an introductory session on the Coko Mission, technologies followed up by a detailed presentation of Editoria and other technology stack used by Coko development teams located in different parts of the world. Many thanks to the students and JavaScript developers that joined the event - happy to also see some of the participants join mattermost.coko.foundation.

Our partnership with Coko Foundation makes total sense!
Moments from Editoria Developers Meetup in Tirana

On Sunday, we choose to gather at Innospace Tirana (many many thanks for the hospitality!) for a long hands-on session where Christos and Giannis answered all the technical questions we had and also followed up the discussion from the Saturday session.

Our partnership with Coko Foundation makes total sense!
Moments from Sunday working session

Overall, meeting with our new friends form Athens really helped our team have a better understanding of all the tech stack Coko is developing and most important it was quite the ideal way to jump start our partnership.

What we love the most about this collaboration is the product itself - open source, supporting open standards and bringing a whole new philosophy in book publishing. We find it hard to explain how much we want to see such products grow and how excited we are about this development. Through this collaboration we will also support the further outreach of the Coko products in the local scene, but not limited to that. And we also love the idea of collaborating with people who are working in in our area of interest and who share the same ethics and values as we do.

We ride on the wave of free software, and having friends and partners on board makes the journey even more beautiful. Actually, it makes sense and makes the whole process organic!

<![CDATA[Announcing Cloud68 - reclaim your data with open source instances.]]>Online Collaboration tools are proven to have a great added value on increasing the team productivity, optimizing business processes and increasing efficiency. This is hardly a matter of discussion any longer and businesses and professionals have been using many of these tools to help them work better. Various tools and

http://blog.collective68.tech/announcing-cloud68-reclaim-your-data-with-open-source-instances/5d93c7ba0565f804e098a20bThu, 03 Oct 2019 14:51:10 GMT

Online Collaboration tools are proven to have a great added value on increasing the team productivity, optimizing business processes and increasing efficiency. This is hardly a matter of discussion any longer and businesses and professionals have been using many of these tools to help them work better. Various tools and platforms such as Google Drive, Dropbox, Slack, Gmail etc have become quite popular and massively used. Most of these tools usually come for free, or, well at least you don't pay them with your money. But, as this article states, these "free'' services are much more expensive that most people realize.

As a team who have been active for a long time now on the issues of Online Privacy and Free Libre Open Source Software, we really wanted to come up with a solution that would enable our friends to get back control over their data, while also working on an area we love and are really passionate about. There are many people and professionals with little technical know-how, but who still care about their privacy and where their data goes, and there are small and medium enterprises (SMEs) as well who want to stay focused on their business operations while having their productive and privacy oriented tech infrastructure up and running.

Cloud68 - a ready2use open source cloud infrastructure will enable you stay in control while working with cutting edge technologies.

About the service

Cloud68 is basically ready2use open source cloud infrastructure. No technical skills needed - you sign up for your service with your instance(s) of choice and our tech ninjas will take care of the rest. As a customer you will have a variety of platforms to choose from, starting  with Nextcloud for the moment.

What makes Cloud68 different?

By using Cloud68 your data stays in YOUR control. We only use open source instances whose code is publicly available and trustworthy in terms of data privacy. Last but not least: you will receive Human Support - we have spent months before launching the service on improving our support life-cycle. We take the process of support seriously and do the best we can to help you.

Reclaiming our data - we gotta take our data back!

We live in times where personal data is being sold for profit, where people are being treated just like numbers by AI algorithms, where ethics is just one more word and where and big tech is converting online privacy into myth, open source software can come to a rescue. We need to wake up from the passive role we have and take our power back!

Through self-hosted open source solutions we can gain control again over our data. That's why all the cloud instances we are offering are open source and you can host them on your own as well. If on the other hand you don't want to worry about IT systems, have a small team, and just want to use the software without making a big commitment, we are here to make that commitment for you.

Next steps

Cloud68 currently provides Nextcloud open source instances for you to choose from. Our goal is to include other open source software solutions which we consider important in fulfilling business or organizational needs, improve collaboration or platforms which solve a specific problem. Other instances are under testing and documentation phase and will be included gradually on the Cloud68 package. Spoiler Alert - some of them involve: Mattermost, Discourse, Ghost, Mastodon, MediaWiki, Zammand, GitLab, managed WordPress and many others are to be added soon.

We are also testing the waters on launching the Community Support Program soon, which will provide major discounts or full support for independent professionals, activists or NGOs who are working on internet freedom or similar social challenges we as a society are facing these days.

Last, but not least

For us at Collective68 HQ, Cloud68 is considered to be our next big challenge. As we are more then excited for our new journey, we are also doing our best to provide the best possible service to you. On the way, we are learning and improving, so we invite you to share all of your thoughts and feedback with us, we are taking notes and sharing cookies (not the one the track you of course) with those who helped :D.

Curious to see what is all about? Visit cloud68.co.

<![CDATA[OSCAL 2019 - we were there!]]>http://blog.collective68.tech/oscal-2019-we-were-there/5d160eb6e5fb367be60bb0a0Fri, 28 Jun 2019 19:41:01 GMT

As a team entirely influenced by FLOSS culture, events like OSCAL are the best party we could be invited. We couldn't hide the excitement to attend Open Source Conference Albania - one of the grass roots FLOSS events we care a lot about.

So, what is this local event that everyone from the Albanian community was making so much noise about?

OSCAL (Open Source Conference Albania) is the first annual conference in Albania organized to promote software freedom, open source software, free culture and open knowledge, a global movement that originally started more than 30 years ago. The 6th edition took place at 18 & 19 May 2019 in Tirana to gather free libre open source technology users, developers, academics, governmental agencies and people who share the idea that software should be free and open for everyone.

OSCAL 2019 - we were there!
Photo by Andis Rado under CC-BY-SA 4.0 license

We <3 local communities

For us, Collective68, it is of a high importance to be in such events. We really value local communities because it is where we come from, and have grown also as open source professionals. Events  like this are also a place where we meet old (and new) friends to share thoughts and experiences, and discuss on the "hot topics" of the open source world. People from cool open source projects and initiatives such as LibreOffice, phpList, FSFE, Fedora and openSUSE to mention a few, where also there. We have been supporting such projects for some time now and it was great interacting with people from their respective communities.

OSCAL 2019 - we were there!
Photo by Anis Rado under CC-BY-SA 4.0

This edition of OSCAL was held at OFICINA, a very friendly space where people could follow the sessions which where held in various tracks quite nearby with each other. They could also enjoy a lovely garden during the two sunny days, which was nice for socializing as well. OSCAL is organized by Open Labs Hackerspace, the local community which for 7 years has been putting so much efforts to bring free open source software and culture in a local and regional level, and from where we proudly come from.

OSCAL 2019 - we were there!
Group photo. (Photo by Andis Rado, under CC-BY-SA 4.0)

Collective68 @ OSCAL

Collective68 was present at the event with a talk by Redon, who hosted a session on "Open source cloud for Solopreneurs  and small and medium businesses". Redon spoke on the importance of SMEs understanding the risks associated with sharing their data with proprietary software and services belonging to frightful tech companies that have a monopoly in the market.  The goal of the talk was to share some tips on how people and/or SMEs could choose a Software as a Service provider to reclaim their data, regain more freedom, privacy and interoperability.

OSCAL 2019 - we were there!
Redon talking about the importance of having an open source infrastructure for your organization/company (Photo by Andis Rado under CC-BY-SA 4.0)

In addition, we were happy to launch our Cloud service - the ready2use open source cloud infrastructure for SMEs, start-up and freelancers. We also gave away significant discount coupons for one of the instances we provide to participants at the event.

Supporting FLOSS communities

OSCAL was also the ideal event to announce our community support program, through which we support with our services organizations and projects who are focused in making open source software better for all of us, but also organizations focused on digital rights, online privacy issues, free access on the internet etc. You will hear more on this program on upcoming blog posts or through our newsletter.  

It was another successful OSCAL and we are looking forward to the next one! Many thanks to the organizers, amazing volunteers and companies and organizations that sponsored the event.

<![CDATA[Working on LibreOffice community engagement microsite]]>http://blog.collective68.tech/whatcanidoforlibreoffice-libreoffice-microsite-floss-community/5c8f622d826ad004e2cc3296Wed, 05 Jun 2019 19:00:22 GMT

One of our favorite free open source initiative at C68 is LibreOffice, a project we are actively engaged on several levels. For us, obligations on FLOSS communities are essentially crucial, but it ain't a secret that LibreOffice is one of our most favorite projects and one of the platforms we are happy to contribute due to the fantastic community.

LibreOffice is a free and open-source office suite, a project of The Document Foundation. The LibreOffice suite comprises programs for word processing, the creation and editing of spreadsheets, slideshows, diagrams and drawings, working with databases, and composing mathematical formula. It is available in 115 languages. LibreOffice uses the international ISO/IEC standard OpenDocument file format (ODF) as its native format to save documents for all of its applications. It is the most actively developed free and open-source office suite.

Contributions on visual communication issues and being part of the core organizing team of the annual LibreOffice conference in Tirana, are only some of the recent contributions we have been doing for the community.

In the framework of those contributions, and by the experience on open source culture, we have realised some major obstacles for beginners who want to contribute on open source software, and probably one of the most frequently self-asked questions from potential first-time contributors is From where should I start?

Our challenge is to make LibreOffice accessible and reclaimable to everyone, not only to FLOSS hacktivists and tech geeks. We are confident by understanding in depth the project, not only by providing services that have a direct impact to the community and the ecosystem; we are committed to building an infrastructure of open source culture without boundaries for the beginners.

Inspired by the microsite whatcanidoformozilla.org and excessively motivated by young FLOSS enthusiasts we met at LibOCon last year, we proposed to the community a similar idea: WhatCanIDoForLibreOffice, a micro-site for beginners who want to contribute in the LibreOffice community.

Working on LibreOffice community engagement microsite

The core idea of the project is simple: a static page, with a clear view of an area of interests where everyone can funnel their own contributions, regarding categories like Documentation, Advocacy, Communication and Marketing, Testing Software, Translation and Localization, Design, Infrastructure, User Support, and Development. You can see full sitemap here.

The feedback we had from LibreOffice community, made our enthusiasm legal. As always, they widely appreciated our initiative and get ready to improve the WhatCanIDoForLibreOffice at the very first stage, especially by senior members. Only one week after we share the micro-site to LibreOffice Marketing Mailing, it gets translated into Italian.  

Working on LibreOffice community engagement microsite

We would like to invite to join LibreOffice community, and why not to make some improvements or even translate the content in your language? 👇

Cover image: Andisrado on Wikimedia Commons / CC BY-SA 4.0 License.

Join the community image: Kleidi Eski/ CC BY-SA 4.0 License

Thank   you for reading! If you liked the article, we would be glad if you   share it on social media. Also, feel free to give us a feedback on Twitter. To learn more about Collective68, please visit our website: www.collective68.tech

Working on LibreOffice community engagement microsite
This article is published under a CC BY-SA 4.0 License.
<![CDATA[Once more for the Copyright Resolution]]>http://blog.collective68.tech/copyright-resolution-article-11-13-15-17-european-parliament-eu-vote-elections/5ca39c3f3171f356b69b731cWed, 10 Apr 2019 22:47:30 GMTWe demonstrated that the Web had failed instead of served humanity, as  it was supposed to have done, and failed in many places.
— Sir Tim Berners-LeeOnce more for the Copyright Resolution

This March, the World Wide Web made 30 years from its establishment, and it ain't seem to be as Sir Tim Berners-Lee wished: universal, decentralized, free and open to everyone. “What was once a rich selection of blogs and websites has been compressed under the powerful weight of a few dominant platforms [...] This concentration of power creates a new set of gatekeepers, allowing a handful of platforms to control which ideas and opinions are seen and shared [...] We demonstrated that the Web had failed instead of served humanity, as  it was supposed to have done, and failed in many places”, argued Berners-Lee in an early interview. The commercialization of content, the raise of surveillance, fake news emissions, and electoral interventions from and in countries like USA and Russia, make World Wide Web a dystopian place caused by big corporations, and unsafe for humans.

On the other hand — as so far problems aren't enough — European Parliament is serving the censorship as the ultimate solution. On Tuesday 12 March, MEPs voted in a 348-274 vote in favour of the cybersecurity act which aims to improve the European response to the increasing number of  cyber threats by strengthening the role of the European Agency for Network and Information Security (Enisa) and establishing a common cybersecurity certification framework, is written. Meanwhile, hundred thousands European activists and citizens filled the streets of EU countries, protesting against the Copyright Directive, and asking their local MEPs to vote against the directive. Although the Copyright Directive is voted in European Parliament, they are encouraged to stop this resolution in every possible democratic method, in coming sessions.

But, what does this resolution mean?

Long story, short:

According to the Article 11 of this resolution, the member states of EU have to establish a whole new law for intellectual property; where of  for any link you use in the website, will have to get a license. This is  non-sense for any sort of wiki, and entirely inconsistent with the  principle of open knowledge.

According to the Article 13, the  websites are directly liable for the content what they are sharing, punishes any site that fails to block copyright infraction. In other words, this article makes companies directly liable for the content of their users. Therefore, this resolution will push the companies to censure their users, otherwise the companies will be fined. The instruction of this article for prevention of the copyright is obviously absurd: an intelligent machine which can select the material before it is uploaded(!) The implementation of this article will have catastrophic consequences for small businesses and startups [like us] around the  Europe, and it will empower the big corporations like Google and Facebook [since only them have the resources to build] to make “better  their own duty”: surveillance of a limitless amount of personal data.

We are only one of millions subjects against Article 11 & 13, and one of 240 businesses who have joined the initiative of Nextcloud to sign an open letter against this spiteful resolution. Article 11 & 13 are extremely problematic by design. They cannot improve the environment of WWW; in contrary, they will be the last nails on the WWW's coffin. Also, there are a lot of preventative measures for a better WWW, but Article 11 and Article 13 of Copyright Directive aren't ones. The fight for an open web for companies like yours and ours continues!

What's next?

On 15 April, the text of Copyright Directive (Now Articles 11 and 13 are Articles 15 and 17) — will be voted by the Council in Ministerial level. Also, for EU voters, it's the moment to penalise by popular vote on 23−26 May those parties who signed the destruction of internet freedom. If it this directive is not objected by the vote of the Council, then, we will have to protest, agitate, raise awareness and fight with every democratic instrument to abrogate the Copyright Directive for two years, until it will take the power of an official law. Obviously, a hard long struggle for a World Wide Web as Sir Tim Berners-Lee predicted, awaits us ahead.

Cover image: Christian Wiediger on Unsplash  / CC BY-SA 4.0 License.

Thank you for reading! If you liked the article, we would be glad if you  share it on social media. Also, feel free to give us a feedback on Twitter. To learn more about Collective68, please subscribe to our newsletter: collective68.tech/newsletter.
<![CDATA[Why you should use open source and self-hosting platforms for blogging]]>http://blog.collective68.tech/open-source-self-hosting-platforms-blogging-writing-publishing-medium-write-as-ghost/5c9898f23171f356b69b7300Thu, 28 Mar 2019 10:33:04 GMT

Medium is an online publishing platform for writers and readers. Its nice interface, intuitive user experience, easy access on metrics for blog posts, the mix of collaborative software and reading experience, or the potential for high traffic, make Medium preferable for first-time bloggers and brands which are looking to expand their reach to a built-in audience. As a dedicated reader [and less as a writer], for a few years, I've been really enjoying the free content offered in Medium. A lot of writers and publishers have appreciated Medium, too. But apparently, it's not happening anymore.

Now, Medium is paying higher attention to their membership feature. Every day, Medium is becoming more commercialized and centered around blog stars and influencers. There's no place for indie publishers and communities in Medium. The platform is going to be divided into two main categories: the well-branded writers and readers who have to pay for what they read.

The content about design seems to be the most affected by this alteration. The overwhelming part of all design content is written on Medium, and they have slowly pushed everybody behind their paywall. Therefore, you cannot find free qualitative design content online, anymore.

The big losers

Since the content of writings is purely commercialized via paid membership policies, writing on Medium does not have the same worth, as it used to be. I am one of million users who has enjoyed the experience on Medium, but I don't like to be forced to pay for articles I read, I don't pretend to earn money for what I write, and I don't think that paying and claps make an article great. It's OK to earn from your writings, but you can find a lot of free and open source thingies online, which are great too.

A business model like Medium creates a perception on writers that if they are good enough, they have to be monetarily rewarded. Unfortunately, this benevolent premise works only on paper. Once the readers are forced to pay for what they read, they will consider leaving Medium. The decrease of readers' number on Medium will directly affect the blog post's metrics, which in long term will shrink the success of the authors. Also, you have to keep in mind, that a successful writer is not always the one who earns from what they writes, but the one who is read and popular by everyone, even by them who are excluded by membership policies of Medium.

The sad truth, is that Medium is just another San Francisco tech darling that’s taken millions of dollars in funding and is now accountable to their shareholders rather than its community and what do shareholders want? Growth. And growth is a tricky thing to manage. This fact is further compounded because growth itself and building community are often at odds with each other, sometimes even incompatible. In other words, Medium is growing so much that it’s starting to eat its own tail.
Conor, one of my favorite [independent] writers on Medium

Apart from being a good tool for promotion, currently, the problem with Medium is a problem with proprietary platforms in general: in early stages of funding from venture capital, those platforms tend to create the community of users, and while they achieved optimal growth, they recall the community that it is not needed anymore. This mantra of open source culture is recently noticed even by Hacker Noon and Signal v Noise — two of lots well-known publishers which are leaving Medium.

New alternatives: self-hosted and open source platforms

Ghost is a wonderful open source suite of publishing tools with a fully managed PaaS and stewarded by a non-profit organisation. It is used by some prominent costumers like DigitalOcean, Mozilla and DuckDuckGo (ough, migrated from Medium). We are more than happy with Ghost for the opportunities we have to publish and focus for creating content, and we suggest it to every business or organisation which is looking for a blogging platform to launch their statements, thoughts or ideas. The variety of the nice themes and the simple CMS, make Ghost accessible by everyone.

Write.as is an other open source, minimalist writing platform, oriented on privacy. The shortage of notifications, streams, likes, and commentary makes readers to focus on words. All you need is just a clear mind and a beautifully simple space to write your thoughts on Write.as. Differently from Ghost which fits perfectly for brands, Write.as is heavily focused on personal blogging. It is a great tool for journalists, writers, bloggers and content creators who need a truly independent place for their articles.

Why you should use open source and self-hosting platforms for blogging

Through our collaboration platform, we can help SMEs and organisations to be independent of the big tech monopolies using Ghost or Write.as, as their main blog platform. Indeed, this service is not free, but we at Collective68 have discounts for people from Medium who are looking for a new independent home, and free and open source initiatives. Together we can properly create a sleek online environment and a World Wide Web as it supposed to be — free and not centralised. Ghost and Write.as have given us a good example, now it's our turn to help you and your organisation to get self-hosted and open source blog platform.

Cover image: Patrick Fore on Unsplash  (edited) / CC BY-SA 4.0 License.

Thank you for reading! If you liked the article, we would be glad if you share it on social media. Also, feel free to give us a feedback on Twitter. To learn more about Collective68, please subscribe to our newsletter: collective68.tech/newsletter.

Why you should use open source and self-hosting platforms for blogging
This article is published under a CC BY-SA 4.0 License.
<![CDATA[Collective68 at FOSDEM 2019]]>http://blog.collective68.tech/fosdem-2019/5c5b3dba3b5612055b512237Thu, 21 Feb 2019 12:53:00 GMT

As there is a growing number of events dedicated to Free Libre Open Source Software, FOSDEM in one of those you don't want to miss out, especially as a company fully dedicated to providing FLOSS solutions.

FOSDEM is a two-day event organised by volunteers to promote the widespread use of free and open source software. Taking place in the beautiful city of Brussels (Belgium), FOSDEM is widely recognised as the best such conference in Europe. — https://fosdem.org/2019/about/

As a contributor, at FOSDEM you get to experience two extensive days where you can check out various open source projects, old and new, as you can also get in touch with the amazing people behind these projects. You can hang out at the various info-booths, talks or just meet free software friends at the campus cafeteria and chat.

As a company, it is great for sharing the news on what you are working on, you can closely talk to potential collaborators, share thoughts and get ideas. FOSDEM 2019 was our first year there as a company and we were happy to arrange very productive meetings which resulted in more consolidated partnerships, on which we will update you in our upcoming blog posts.

Some personal experiences

Boris, our sysadmin ninja, had his first presentation on FOSDEM, and oh boy was he nervous before the happening. Can't blame him as the topic was not an easy one. More specifically he shared his thoughts on the webXR and how it goes beyond demos and games. He also raised the question on XR just being a trend. And of course he asked the same question with all the good guys at X-Files: is there more to it than just a trend? We were quite surprised, to be honest! Didn't know our fella was onto these things.

Our teammate Redon, involved with business development, had various meetings with our current partners, upcoming ones, and people we are collaborating with. He was also helping out at the OpenSUSE booth, so you probably met him while getting your beer there. We have already done our first steps in developing a partnership with openSUSE and SUSE and meeting the openSUSE team and contributors at the booth were quite productive in this direction.  

In a very crowded place, with talks and workshops rooms where you had to wait for an hour in the queue to get in, we managed to check out some great talks we were interested in, and also attend various community meetups. Honestly, it brings us joy to see how open source culture, community and business environment is growing everyday, while also identifying the challenges ahead. As a company which provides only FLOSS solutions, it's important to be updated with the latest news on this market in order to provide the best solutions to customers, and we are dedicated to doing so. Thank you for the beers and see you in the next edition!

Cover image: Geertivp on Wikimedia Commons (edited) / CC BY-SA 4.0 License.

Thank   you for reading! If you liked the article, we would be glad if you   share it on social media. Also, feel free to give us a feedback on Twitter. To learn more about Collective68, please subscribe to our newsletter: collective68.tech/newsletter.

Collective68 at FOSDEM 2019
This article is published under a CC BY-SA 4.0 License.
<![CDATA[Our work for ‘Valbona Speaks Out’ online campaign]]>http://blog.collective68.tech/valbona-valley-albania-online-campaign/5b903701f8db241d7f11adabMon, 18 Feb 2019 11:17:00 GMT

We are proud to continue helping activists in different countries to run campaigns trying focused on different social issues that we, as a society, face everyday. It's not news anymore: technology is the best tool you can use today, if you want your voice to be heard and this is what we did once again when we worked onValbona Speaks Out’ online campaign, presenting the complex issues surrounding hydro-power development in Valbona Valley National Park, in Albanian Alps in Northern Albania.

Some context: everything started in 2016 when locals discovered that three companies have concessions to build up to 14 “small” hydro-power plants along 30 km of the Valbona River. Since then, a growing number of local people, with TOKA — a local non-governmental organization, and supported by activists and artists both Albanian and international, have been fighting together to stop the project. Construction of the first small HPP started in 2014, with two more plants beginning construction in September 2016.

How did we help?

This campaign presents the complex issues surrounding hydro-power development in Valbona Valley National Park. By presenting information in a question-and-answer format, Po Flet Valbona creates an atmosphere of discussion, moving from simple concepts to more complex questions. The ‘Po Flet Valbona’ materials have been produced by TOKA [The Organization to Conserve the Albanian Alps] as part of a project ‘Për Valbonën, Për Shqipërinë’.


We wanted to give our contribution related to this issue and helped out by building the website for the campaign. Our goal was to built an easily accessible website, user friendly, bilingual [in Albanian and English] and most important we wanted people to be able to contribute to this effort. This is the reasons why the website is hosted in GitHub, using GitHub Pages and released the code and content under an open license.

Our work for ‘Valbona Speaks Out’  online campaign

Do you want to join the campaign? Check the Call for Action on the website

Us — the Collective68 members — will always stand for the causes we support. We are a collective of people who have been working with technology for a long time, and we want this experience and work to also have an impact on our society, we want to use technology to build a better world for all of us. This is why we will always be there and support activists, groups or individuals who are fighting for their ideals and believes, and are risking a lot just to see a little difference the next day. Do not hesitate to reach us out, if you have any issue or thought you want to share with us.

You are invited to check the code of the website on GitHub, and feel free to share your thoughts with us.

Cover image: Gisinb on Wikimedia Commons (edited) / CC BY-SA 4.0 License.

Thank  you for reading! If you liked the article, we would be glad if you  share it on social media. Also, feel free to give us a feedback on Twitter. To learn more about Collective68, please subscribe to our newsletter: collective68.tech/newsletter.

Our work for ‘Valbona Speaks Out’  online campaign
This article is published under a CC BY-SA 4.0 License.
<![CDATA[Secure open source cloud from C68 and Nextcloud]]>http://blog.collective68.tech/nextcloud-consultancy-hosting-service/5bbcf4b03b5612055b51214cMon, 04 Feb 2019 15:26:09 GMT

For the last two years, members of our team have been contributing to the development of Nextcloud, the self-hosted open source cloud solution.

Nextcloud is a suite of client-server software for creating and using file hosting services. It is functionally similar to Dropbox and Google Drive, although Nextcloud is free and open-source, allowing anyone to install and operate it on a private server.

During this time frame we have contributed to community building, software localization/translation, and advocacy. Being also part of our local hackerspace, Nextcloud community has helped us share knowledge with others and grow our technical expertise in cloud services, system administration, and client relationships. Nextcloud has a strong commitment to FLOSS and has more than 140 public repositories on its GitHub site.

Today, after a lot of engagement at a community level and in coordination with the Nextcloud team we are proud to announce that starting from March 1st 2019 Collective68 is offering professional Nextcloud services: collective68.tech/nextcloud.

Why Nextcloud?

Nextcloud is fully recommended if you need a new collaborative cloud platform, but having your data private and secure is something of high importance to you. One of the reasons might be the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) or one of the many security risks any organization is facing today. In contrast to proprietary services like Dropbox, the open architecture of Nextcloud allows added functionality to the server in the form of applications and enables you and your company to have full control of your data.

These are only some of the reasons Nextcloud is trusted by the German Federal Administration, Max-Planck-Gesellschaft, TU Berlin, Siemens, Windows, macOS, Linux, Android, iOS, and a lot of tech giants.

Secure open source cloud from C68 and Nextcloud
Nextcloud in your workspace.

Looking for a professional cloud solution?

With Collective68 open source cloud Platform as a Service (PaaS) solution you receive a dedicated Nextcloud account with the latest security updates and professional support in case you need it. We will do the set up for you and voilà, in less than 24 hours you will be able to have your own open source cloud solution hosted in your servers, or our fully encrypted solution that will keep your data safe. Beyond cloud services for your organization files, you can use Nextcloud for all kinds of data: contacts, calendar, browser-based text editor, streaming media, URL shortening, etc.

Convinced? Just contact us!

Time to have your own Nextcloud instance? Just reach out to us with your contact information to discuss specific requirements. Our team will get back to you in less than 24 hours with the best set up for your company, organization or institution.

Secure open source cloud from C68 and Nextcloud

Cover image: rawpixel on Unsplash (edited) / CC BY-SA 4.0 License.

Thank  you for reading! If you liked the article, we would be glad if you  share it on social media. Also, feel free to give us a feedback on Twitter. To learn more about Collective68, please visit our website: www.collective68.tech

Secure open source cloud from C68 and Nextcloud
This article is published under a CC BY-SA 4.0 License.
<![CDATA[More accessibility at Social Good Summit 2018]]>Social Good Summit is an event organized globally by United Nations Development Program (at a local level by UNDP Albania) in the framework of the Leave No One Behind project.

It is a yearly event and quite an important one for the Development program of the United Nations. The topic

http://blog.collective68.tech/social-good-summit-2018-osm-wheelmap-undp-albania-pogradec-2030now/5bbcfa0f3b5612055b51214eFri, 18 Jan 2019 12:29:00 GMT

Social Good Summit is an event organized globally by United Nations Development Program (at a local level by UNDP Albania) in the framework of the Leave No One Behind project.

More accessibility at Social Good Summit 2018

It is a yearly event and quite an important one for the Development program of the United Nations. The topic for 2018 was #2030NOW, which aims to shape the world via civil involvement, democratic partaking and technology as we want it to be in 2030. In the official statement, Social Good Summit is described as below:

[...] The intersection of technology and new media has redefined our understanding of human progress. In the midst of this rapidly changing world, the Social Good Summit focuses on where we’re headed. Held annually during the United Nations General Assembly week, the Summit  unites a lively community of global citizens and progressive thought  leaders around a common theme: #2030NOW. A dynamic exploration of the  world we want to live in by 2030, the Social Good Summit will focus on how we can unlock technology’s potential to make the world a better place.

But how can we reach a major objective like this? It goes without saying that it is more than a challenge and more than a persistent and generative work in local level. Initially, we demand data to have a clear evaluation of the actual conditions of a certain social group or social structure. The very first thing we have to do, is to address our work of progress toward quantitative analysis based on available data. The challenge in such situation is: what happens when there are no data available?

This definitely sounds intriguing especially for a team like ours, where open technology and social issues are essentially part of our mission as a collective. During many of the conversations between us, we always talk about how we started falling in love with open source technologies and the reasons why we work in this field. There is always a common understanding that we got involved in FLOSS (Free/Libre Open Source Softwares) platforms mainly due to the participatory character, the public domain, and knowledge sharing. In this context, it made sense for our team to get involved in this year's local edition of Social Good Summit, in Pogradec, Albania.

Although a lot of work has been done at grassroots level, the application of FLOSS technologies is still not so popular in Albania. Nevertheless, hard work of individuals and collective contributors has produced the first results, which in our opinion are quite apparent. For example: in Tirana you can notice a remarkable improvement in OpenStreetMap, from 2007 to 2017, which is the direct outcome of  a persistently cohesive crowdsourced work.

More accessibility at Social Good Summit 2018
The state of Tirana on OpenStreetMap, from 2007 to today / Screenshot by OSM Than And Now / CC BY-SA 4.0 License.

Preliminary research and mapping before the Summit

Ten years is a relatively big amount of time, but you can behold the exponential progress of accessibility of OSM in Tirana, the capital of Albania, but also in the smaller city of Pogradec. In terms of buildings, the city was in-existent in OSM in 2007, it had a basic pickup in 2017 and another point of growth in 2018 right before the summit due to mapping from Collective68 members.

More accessibility at Social Good Summit 2018
Volunteers mapping the city of Pogradec via Wheelmap App / Photo by Margrethe Rosbach / CC BY-SA 4.0 License.

When we checked out around the city for the state of the wheelchair accessibility via Wheelmap app, we realized there was info only for two buildings. By the passionate work of some local talented youngsters and mentorship from our crew, more than 93 objects were added on Wheelmap along the main boulevard Dëshmorët e Pojskës. A result achieved only  one day of field work.

More accessibility at Social Good Summit 2018
Points of Interest (POIs) showing wheelchair accessibility status on OpenStreetMap. Data were added from young volunteers using Wheelmap app during Social Good Summit 2018 / Screenshot by wheelmap.org / CC BY-SA 4.0 License.


After the mapping session with the youngsters we managed to map the accessibility levels for 95 objects in total. More specifically:
• 18 objects (19%) resulted fully accessible;
• 13 objects (14%) resulted partially accessible;
• 64 objects (67%) resulted not accessible.

Those results would be technically unreachable and our efforts would be in vain if it wasn't for the engagement of the local volunteers. Since the beginning of the summit, we realized those guys were not accidentally part of the team. Their fast-learning abilities, desire for learning and their proactive actions generated the best paradigm of the youth that could make the world a better place to live in 2030. Their commitment also should be pure inspiration for every FLOSS activist.

Impressions from our young mappers

“This activity should be organized more often in all the cities of Albania, especially in tourist destinations. One suggestion from me for the organizers, would be to present its purpose and pursuit in high schools of the cities, to raise interest among young people. This would have a lot of positive impact and increased participation in other activities that will be developed,” — said Dea, one of the local girls who participated in Social Good Summit. She appreciated the initiative and is committed to use Wheelmap App and OpenStreetMap in her daily routine to map the buildings of her city of wheelchair accessibility.

Kesi, another talented young girl who was part of the team, expressed her inclination in community contributions in every moment of the activity. When we were having some small talks about the city, we asked her why did she join the team for this Social Good Summit? “I like to help others as much as I can. I like to be active and attend the community”, answered Kesi, remembering us once again that sometimes in countries like Albania the human capital is underestimated.

More accessibility at Social Good Summit 2018
With volunteers, mapping the city of Pogradec via Wheelmap App / Photo by Margrethe Rosbach / CC BY-SA 4.0 License.

During the mapping session even the boys' camp was not behind. A great job was done by Argi and Skerdi, — a duo of two close friends who told us that they were very interested on activities like this, and there going to use Wheelmap and OSM more often. As we may know, friendships are human relations established on the common interests. And when one of those interests are such sublime as helping people with special abilities — in the case of Argi and Skerdi, — the friendship is authentically blessed.

Very good impressions we have even from Sara, a fast learner and of course a team-player. Sara showed off a very high level of motivation for the Social Good Summit. “I'd like to get engaged in activities like this. I'd like to help people who really need our support, like people with special needs... which should also have accessible places for them”, she said genuinely.

The second day of the summit

More accessibility at Social Good Summit 2018
In the Municipality of Pogradec, talking about open data, FLOSS technology and announcing the work results. / Photo by Margrethe Rosbach / CC BY-SA 4.0 License.

In the second day we had to announce our work to the Municipality of Pogradec, in the presence of municipal officials, local experts, stakeholders and citizens. They appreciated the work done by us and volunteers, and considered it an innovative work for which municipal officials have to do further hereafter. Part of the discussion were even representatives of the association of the blind people. They urged the necessity for the application of similar technologies in support of the blind people. Their intervention made the all participants to reflect the ability of being equal, and to understand that today, the accessibility is still a luxury only for some people.

In conclusion

Social Good Summit in Pogradec was a very productive project where our team, in a fruitful collaboration with the UNDP Albania team, worked with local youngsters to co-map the city in OpenStreetMap and to add wheelchair accessibility information to 95 buildings in the city with the perspective to continue our work in close collaboration with local institutions, organizations and active citizens.

Cover image: Collective68 / CC BY-SA 4.0 License.

Thank you for reading! If you liked the article, we would be glad if you share it on social media. Also, feel free to give us a feedback on Twitter. To learn more about Collective68, please visit our website: www.collective68.tech

More accessibility at Social Good Summit 2018
This article is published under a CC BY-SA 4.0 License.
<![CDATA[The multidimensional importance of local open data]]>Jump starting the development of portal of Korça Municipality

Open Data is one of the tech related thingies which has risen the attention not only to data scientists and decision-makers but to every citizen due to it's importance to transparency and its applications that use these data. As a concept,

http://blog.collective68.tech/opendata-goldbook-korca-municipality/5c0c6fc23b5612055b5121a5Thu, 20 Dec 2018 13:13:30 GMTJump starting the development of portal of Korça MunicipalityThe multidimensional importance of local open data

Open Data is one of the tech related thingies which has risen the attention not only to data scientists and decision-makers but to every citizen due to it's importance to transparency and its applications that use these data. As a concept, it is a sui generis scientific tool which provides a practical access to tools that offer democracy, directly. Though still a genuine paradigm of simple policy making and public infrastructure, open data demands the combination of several scientific disciplines and human knowledge as statistics, economy, social sciences, geography, etc.

The multidimensional importance of local open data
Open data FAQ / Open Data Goldbook

Of course, there are some definitions for Open Data, but most of them converge in accessible and machine readable statistics by everyone, collected together for reference or analysis. Open data can be used by everyone under a free license, in diversified ways, for different purposes. We are fascinated by the fact that there are thousands and thousands of communities of contributors, users and especially decision-makers who are generating and using open data around the world and we have not even seen the full potential of the use cases of OD yet.

This world wide movement shares a lot of features, principals and goals with free open source software (FLOSS) communities, open knowledge, open government, open source education, etc. Hence, our collective is highly involved and has the required expertise in this area to implement OD related projects with a holistic approach.

Also getting started from the previous good experiences, this is the reason why UNDP Albania distinguished our team to work on an ambitious project: the implementation of an open data portal for the city of Korça, located in the southeastern part of Albania. In this context, our team has to materialize the technical expertise and principles for contributions to the public domain.

The multidimensional importance of local open data
Museum of Education in Korça / Photo by Idobi / CC BY 3.0 License.

Introducing: Open Data Goldbook in Albanian language for Korça Municipality

After an extensive research on a local and international level, we found out that there is a lack of documentation in Albanian language related to anything 'open data' related. That's why, before jump starting the technical elements of the project, we translated in Albanian Open Data Goldbook, event if it wasn't one of the requirements.

Open Data Goldbook is a publishing of European Data Portal, which in our view is quite a solid document for anyone interested in holding, managing and using data. This translation was not easy for us, notably when you we realized the leak of technical terminology in the Albanian language. In this translation, we were dedicated to adapt literally the most of concepts in Albanian, according to the principles for local context and local contribution.

Getting involved

The product is the result of a collective work. We divided the work into chapters and after the first translation, we had to check out the translation of other teammates in a rotation and vice versa. As we know from the experience, rectification is quite crucial in a collective work.

We know that refinement couldn't be always perfect. This is why we decided to push further the democratic process of participation by publishing the material online and ask for contributions and engagement from the local community. That's why...

... we invite everyone to contribute with the translation and  graphic elements in Albanian language. It's easy, just visit the links below:

Our team has already reached for local free open source and open data enthusiasts to get involved in the localization process and we really can't wait to see the results. The involvement of the local community is also an important element for the production of OD Goldbook as an e-book and web format. But this is a theme for another blog post, so stay tuned.  

Cover image: Stephen Dawson via Unsplash / CC BY-SA 4.0 License.

Thank you for reading! If you liked the article, we would be glad if you share it on social media. Also, feel free to give us a feedback on Twitter. To learn more about Collective68, please subscribe to our newsletter: collective68.tech/newsletter.

The multidimensional importance of local open data
This article is published under a CC BY-SA 4.0 License.