ClipGrab- A Simple Way to Grab YouTube Videos On Linux

ClipGrab is a simple open source, free software application that makes grabbing and converting videos from sites like YouTube on the fly very simple. Simple open the application, enter the url of the video you want to download and configure your parameters for conversion. Hit grab.

You can also search for the videos right from the application and download them. Supported video sites include YouTube, Vimeo, DailyMotion, Clipfish, Collegehumor, MyVideo, MySpass, Sevenload, Tudou. You can convert the download videos to MP4, OGG Theora, MP3 (audio), WMV and OGG Vorbis (audio). HD videos can also be downloaded provided they are supported by the video service.

ClipGrab can be very useful if you find the new mode of copying flash videos on Linux unnecessarily tedious. You can install ClipGrab on Ubuntu thus

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:clipgrab-team/ppa
sudo apt-get update && sudo apt-get install clipgrab

OER Commons – Find and Share Open Educational Resources

OER Commons is a place where both students and teachers alike can find and use freely available educational resources for all levels of education.

Open Educational Resources (OER) are teaching and learning materials that you may freely use and reuse, without charge. Open Educational Resources are different from other resources a teacher may use in that OER have been given limited or unrestricted licensing rights. That means they have been authored or created by an individual or organization that chooses to retain few, if any, ownership rights…OER often have a Creative Commons or GNU license that state specifically how the material may be used, reused, adapted, and shared

OER Commons features among others

  • Full university courses, complete with readings, videos of lectures, homework assignments, and lecture notes.
  • Interactive mini-lessons and simulations about a specific topic, such as math or physics.
  • Adaptations of existing open work.
  • Electronic textbooks that are peer-reviewed and frequently updated.
  • Elementary school and high school (K-12) lesson plans, worksheets, and activities that are aligned with state standards
I personally find this site very useful and has come in handy in both my personal and academic capacities. Registration very simple and once registered, you have access to a whole new world of knowledge repository without needing to worry so much about licensing issues.

Free Software- To sell or not to sell?!

This post from the the FSF has helped to clear a misconception that myself, and I believe lots of other people have about Free Software. In case you also have some nagging questions about the sale of Free Software, I hope this post will help clarify things for you as it did for me.

Many people believe that the spirit of the GNU Project is that you should not charge money for distributing copies of software, or that you should charge as little as possible — just enough to cover the cost. This is a misunderstanding.

Actually, we encourage people who redistribute free software to charge as much as they wish or can. If this seems surprising to you, please read on.

The word “free” has two legitimate general meanings; it can refer either to freedom or to price. When we speak of “free software”, we’re talking about freedom, not price. (Think of “free speech”, not “free beer”.) Specifically, it means that a user is free to run the program, change the program, and redistribute the program with or without changes.

Free programs are sometimes distributed gratis, and sometimes for a substantial price. Often the same program is available in both ways from different places. The program is free regardless of the price, because users have freedom in using it.

Nonfree programs are usually sold for a high price, but sometimes a store will give you a copy at no charge. That doesn’t make it free software, though. Price or no price, the program is nonfree because users don’t have freedom.

Since free software is not a matter of price, a low price doesn’t make the software free, or even closer to free. So if you are redistributing copies of free software, you might as well charge a substantial fee and make some money. Redistributing free software is a good and legitimate activity; if you do it, you might as well make a profit from it.

Free software is a community project, and everyone who depends on it ought to look for ways to contribute to building the community. For a distributor, the way to do this is to give a part of the profit to free software development projects or to the Free Software Foundation. This way you can advance the world of free software.

Distributing free software is an opportunity to raise funds for development. Don’t waste it!

In order to contribute funds, you need to have some extra. If you charge too low a fee, you won’t have anything to spare to support development.

Will a higher distribution price hurt some users?

People sometimes worry that a high distribution fee will put free software out of range for users who don’t have a lot of money. With proprietary software, a high price does exactly that — but free software is different.

The difference is that free software naturally tends to spread around, and there are many ways to get it.

Software hoarders try their damnedest to stop you from running a proprietary program without paying the standard price. If this price is high, that does make it hard for some users to use the program.

With free software, users don’t have to pay the distribution fee in order to use the software. They can copy the program from a friend who has a copy, or with the help of a friend who has network access. Or several users can join together, split the price of one CD-ROM, then each in turn can install the software. A high CD-ROM price is not a major obstacle when the software is free.

Will a higher distribution price discourage use of free software?
Another common concern is for the popularity of free software. People think that a high price for distribution would reduce the number of users, or that a low price is likely to encourage users.

This is true for proprietary software — but free software is different. With so many ways to get copies, the price of distribution service has less effect on popularity.

In the long run, how many people use free software is determined mainly by how much free software can do, and how easy it is to use. Many users do not make freedom their priority; they may continue to use proprietary software if free software can’t do all the jobs they want done. Thus, if we want to increase the number of users in the long run, we should above all develop more free software.

The most direct way to do this is by writing needed free software or manuals yourself. But if you do distribution rather than writing, the best way you can help is by raising funds for others to write them.

The term “selling software” can be confusing too

Strictly speaking, “selling” means trading goods for money. Selling a copy of a free program is legitimate, and we encourage it.

However, when people think of “selling software”, they usually imagine doing it the way most companies do it: making the software proprietary rather than free.

So unless you’re going to draw distinctions carefully, the way this article does, we suggest it is better to avoid using the term “selling software” and choose some other wording instead. For example, you could say “distributing free software for a fee”—that is unambiguous.

High or low fees, and the GNU GPL
Except for one special situation, the GNU General Public License (GNU GPL) has no requirements about how much you can charge for distributing a copy of free software. You can charge nothing, a penny, a dollar, or a billion dollars. It’s up to you, and the marketplace, so don’t complain to us if nobody wants to pay a billion dollars for a copy.

The one exception is in the case where binaries are distributed without the corresponding complete source code. Those who do this are required by the GNU GPL to provide source code on subsequent request. Without a limit on the fee for the source code, they would be able set a fee too large for anyone to pay—such as a billion dollars—and thus pretend to release source code while in truth concealing it. So in this case we have to limit the fee for source in order to ensure the user’s freedom. In ordinary situations, however, there is no such justification for limiting distribution fees, so we do not limit them.

Sometimes companies whose activities cross the line stated in the GNU GPL plead for permission, saying that they “won’t charge money for the GNU software” or such like. That won’t get them anywhere with us. Free software is about freedom, and enforcing the GPL is defending freedom. When we defend users’ freedom, we are not distracted by side issues such as how much of a distribution fee is charged. Freedom is the issue, the whole issue, and the only issue.

Error messages in Haiku?

Imagine instead of cryptic text strings, your computer produced error messages in Haiku like this…
A file that big?
It might be very useful.
But now it is gone.
Yesterday it worked
Today it is not working
Windows is like that
Stay the patient course
Of little worth is your ire
The network is down
Three things are certain:
Death, taxes, and lost data.
Guess which has occurred.
You step in the stream,
but the water has moved on.
This page is not here.
Out of memory.
We wish to hold the whole sky,
But we never will.
Having been erased,
The document you’re seeking
Must now be retyped.
Rather than a beep
Or a rude error message,
These words: “File not found.”
Serious error.
All shortcuts have disappeared.
Screen. Mind. Both are blank.
The Web site you seek
cannot be located but
endless others exist
Chaos reigns within.
Reflect, repent, and reboot.
Order shall return.
ABORTED effort:
Close all that you have.
You ask way too much.
First snow, then silence.
This thousand dollar screen dies
so beautifully.
With searching comes loss
and the presence of absence:
“My Novel” not found.
The Tao that is seen
Is not the true Tao, until
You bring fresh toner.
Windows NT crashed.
I am the Blue Screen of Death.
No one hears your screams.
A crash reduces
your expensive computer
to a simple stone.
Error messages
cannot completely convey.
We now know shared loss.
Source: Salon

The WordPress Foundation is born today.

Matt Mullenweg, the founder of the world acclaimed WordPress blogging and CMS platform, has announced the birth of the WordPress Foundation. The foundation aims to promote the core tenets of WordPress which is to make the very art of publishing as open as possible or better put “to democratize publishing through Open Source, GPL software.”
“The point of the foundation is to ensure free access, in perpetuity, to the projects we support. People and businesses may come and go, so it is important to ensure that the source code for these projects will survive beyond the current contributor base, that we may create a stable platform for web publishing for generations to come.
“As part of this mission, the Foundation will be responsible for protecting the WordPress, WordCamp, and related trademarks. A 501(c)3 non-profit organization, the WordPress Foundation will also pursue a charter to educate the public about WordPress and related open source software.”
The Foundation seeks to make online publishing as free as possible, citing the Mozilla Foundation who are making the web better with Firefox, the Free Software Foundation who are the vanguards of software freedom and OSAF, the creators of Chandler as sources of inspiration. In short, the WordPress Foundation seeks to apply the GPL to the WordPress and allied projects to the letter.

Cuba preparing to quit Windows in favor of GNU/Linux.

Cuban authorities are seriously preparing to quit the Windows operating system and use the GNU/Linux free software instead, thus avoiding any sanctions for using this computer system by the Windows’ owner, the giant Microsoft Corporation.
More than 3800 technicians have been already trained in the country, and Ciego de Ávila, located in the mid eastern part of the Island, is a good example of this. In that province, there are around 600 people taking intensive 4-month courses to learn about the use of Linux and replace the Windows operation system.
Its a measure aimed at breaking the dependence on programs that are under the control of US owners and also anticipating any claims by the patents owners for the use of this system in Cuba, which cannot be paid because of the US commercial embargo, among other reasons.
That is why the Cuban authorities have decided to train their specialists by delivering the Linux and the Computer Operator for Linux courses that started at the end of 2005.
Last Sunday, September 9th, the country celebrated the 20th anniversary of the foundation of the so-called Computer Club for the Young; and idea that was promoted by the Cuban president Fidel Castro.
On Saturday, the Cuban leader sent a message of congratulation to this IT organization, which has thousands of members across the country, as well as state-of-the-art equipment and professors that teach about the different digital techniques.
Linux came out as a free alternative to the Windows program created by the Bill Gates‘ company, and it provides users with the freedom to access its source codes and to modify them, thus enhancing the privacy of information. And its all totally free of charge.
The software was created in 1991 by a Finnish student called Linus Torvalds. Among other advantages, it allows compatibility with the equipment we have in the country and its immune to the majority of  computer viruses, says the newspaper.

Great resource for Linux newbies

One of the greatest impediments to the wider adoption of Linux has always been the lack of a simple resource that is written in everyday language for new users. Most people are stuck to Windows because despite all of its flaws, it is still relatively user friendly to the everyday, normal average Joe and also uses normal simple language.
It is in this regard that the Linux for Education site sponsored by the OpenSuse Education Project is a very wonderful move and one that needs commendation from all those in the FOSS world. It has a wealth of resources and learning modules including  collections of useful courses to help you better use the applications found on the Linux distributions. There are also forums, chatrooms, courses, and help materials at your disposal. 
This is a great resource I recommend to all newbies to the World of GNU/Linux and Open Source. More experienced users also will find lots of resources to enhance their knowledge base. Go on register and learn to use GNU/Linux.