I’ve always tried to pick web sites that run Free Software, such as phpBB forums and preferring ibiblio.org/webster or Wiktionary, but it’s not really been as part of a conscious decision. I’ve never sat down and thought that I’m only going to use web sites that run Free Software, but recently I’ve started to realise this issue’s importance.
That was one of the reasons I moved this blog from Blogger to Blogsome. You can see some of my thoughts at the time in my "Blog Move" post. It was also behind my recent decision to move my web mail from GMail to ippimail.
I’ve been guilty of using the convenient web services, such as Google, but I want to start putting that right.
For that reason, I’ve decided to write this series of posts, called “Free your web”, which will look at what Free Software web services are out there. I’ll also go into some depth about web search and some ideas about what can be done to make a competitive Free Software search engine.
Thinking about web software in the same way as desktop software, there is no doubt in my mind that it should be just as Free. For that reason, I’m giving this blog a freedom audit and some things are going to change.
You know that I want this site to generate some income so that I can spend time developing Free Software; well, I’m going to have to find some different methods.
I use AdSense contextual advertising, and links to products on Amazon. Neither of the corresponding sites are running on Free Software. Until I find suitable replacements, advertising on this site is suspended.
I use Google Analytics to handle the statistics for the site, so I can see which posts are popular, but that will have to go.
I provide a link with each post to enable readers to ‘digg’ it; but digg isn’t Free Software so that too will go. That one’s more of a shame because I’m grateful for those who have ‘dugg’ posts in the past, and it has generated traffic. However, I shall talk about alternatives to digg (and del.icio.us) quite early in this series, so I hope you’ll try them out.
As mentioned above, a good part of this series will talk about web search and some ideas of how a competitive search engine could be made, but these are some of the issues the earlier posts will cover:
- Why should we care?
- Is Google the enemy?
- Business models for Free Software sites.
- Alternatives to digg and del.icio.us.
I hope you’ll stick with this. I think it could be one of the most important issues facing Free Software at the moment.