A Hohner Marine Band blues harp. What a lovely instrument. (Image by David King.)
Welcome to freeSoftwareHacker();, my blog about Free Software/Culture, music, politics, and law. I am Patrick Niedzielski, a programmer, musician, and Free Software enthusiast. This is my personal blog, which I maintain for the fun.
I am an avid harmonica player of various blues styles, from heavy rock blues to light and southern Piedmont blues. I play a Hohner Marine Band Crossover harp, one of the best I have ever played. I use a Hohner Marine Band Special 20, and I am looking into buying a chromatic harmonica. I may someday put videos on this website or YouTube.
Humm and Strumm
At the moment, I am a developer of the Humm and Strumm Video Game Project, a Free Software adventure game in a psychedelic and humorous world. This is my not-so-little pet project. Look around the site, and be sure to subscribe to the feed for (relatively infrequent at the moment) updates on the status of the game. I also give more personal observations and non-official updates on here on my blog. Any help is appreciated.
Causes I Support
- Traditional codecs such as MP3 or WMA are limited by patents of technologies. MP3, though an ISO standard, has numerous patents on it. The companies which own these patents require a licensing fee to use them. As a result, just anyone can't write their own MP3 decoder. As a result, we can't have a legal Free Software MP3 decoder. The audio format Ogg Vorbis is like MP3 in that it is a lossy codec, but unlike the MP3 format, it is Free, and not restricted by patents. The standard is open for any implementation, which supports the spirit of freedom.
- End Software Patents
- Defective By Design
- Browse Happy
Things You May Be Asking Yourself Now
What exactly do you mean when you say "Hacker"?
Unlike most people, I use hacker in its earlier, lesser-known sense: (from Wikipedia)
a hacker is a member of the computer programmer subculture originated in the 1960s in the United States academia, in particular around the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)'s Tech Model Railroad Club (TMRC) and MIT Artificial Intelligence Laboratory. Nowadays, this subculture is mainly associated with the free software movement. Hackers follow a spirit of creative playfulness and anti-authoritarianism, and sometimes use this term to refer to people applying the same attitude to other fields.
Yes, the usual sense of the word is someone who breaks into computer networks. The correct term for this person is a cracker. I did an entry on this distinction, I'm a Hacker, are You?
What exactly is Free Software?
Free Software refers to both software that gives you more rights in your usage of the programs on your computer and the movement of people that support it. The "Free" aspect of Free Software does not refer to its price (in fact, Free Software may, ironically, not be free in this regard), but rather to the freedom it provides for the users. This idea began in 1983, which marked the founding of the Free Software Foundation, an organization which campaigns for the rights of software users. It defines the four essential freedoms of Free Software as follows:
- The freedom to run the program, for any purpose.
- The freedom to study how the program works, and change it to make it do what you wish. Access to the source code is a precondition for this.
- The freedom to redistribute copies so you can help your neighbor.
- The freedom to improve the program, and release your improvements (and modified versions in general) to the public, so that the whole community benefits. Access to the source code is a precondition for this.
I Have a Question for You...
Great! I love to hear feedback from readers. I will respond as soon as I can. To communicate with me, you can use the following methods:
- The Comments Section: If you leave a comment here, make sure it is related to the blog and in response to it or another comment. Don't be afraid to ask questions, make a statement, or downright disagree. No off-topic discussion, please, though.
- The Contact Me Form: Available here, you can write me a private message, which will be emailed to me. This is a good way to ask general questions or to suggest a topic for a new post (which are always welcome).
- Twitter: If you enjoy using Twitter as your primary form of communication, you can Tweet me at @fshackerblog.I'll do my best to respond to you quickly, but I may miss your tweet for a few days.
This blog is my personal blog with my thoughts on a variety of topics. Though I try to do my research, I give NO WARRANTEE to the validity or truth of the statements within this site. I will usually, however, link to the articles from which I get my information.
These posts represent my views, plans, opinions, and ideas, not those of any organizations to which I belong. The opinions are solely mine.
I would love to hear responses and feedback in the comments on my articles. Please, state your opinion, whether agreeing with or contrary to mine, but state it nicely—the comments section is for discussion and debate, not flaming or arguing. I reserve the right to delete any comments if they are off-topic, flaming, rude, abusive, or otherwise inappropriate.
All of the images on this blog I either created, have a license to use in this manner, or are trademarks which I use under U.S. Trademark law. For a comprehensive list of rights you have in using a trademark in a noncommercial and commenting or criticizing work, please see the article Using the Trademarks of Others.
I may quote or reference other works on this blog. I have either created these works, have a license to use these works in this manner, or am using the works under the U.S. Fair Use exception. All works are properly attributed by their full title and a URI to them if applicable. For more information on Fair Use, please see the article Fair Use.