“Tracking for Freedom”: First trip

Today I went for my first “Tracking for Freedom” trip. Having not used my bike for almost half a year, it was pretty exhausting. I probably should have chosen a shorter distance. The first 20 kilometres were very nice and I didn’t have any problems. After changing from the left to the right riverside of the Danube in Greifenstein, I decided to return to Vienna via the Wienerwald instead of following the right river bank. The climb to Maria Gugging turned out to be quite exhausting and it also lowered my average speed. The following descent however was very nice. Nonetheless, my legs were tired and so the last kilometres from Klosterneuburg back to Vienna were rather painful.

Some figures:

Total distance 58.1 km
Average speed 24.0 km/h
Maximum speed 43.98 km/h
Total climb 312 m
Average heart rate 155 bpm
Maximum heart rate 184 bpm
Time active 02:23:15
Time resting 00:12:09
Energy consumed 2202 kcal

Note: The climb was measured using a non-calibrated barometric altimeter; the amount of energy consumed was calculated from the measured heart rate and physiological parameters.

The GPX file recorded with my eTrex can be found here.

The project: “Tracking for freedom”

With summer coming up and my body weight being far higher that I want it to be, I’d like to start a project that should achieve two things: Reduce my weight and further Free Software. Since I like to go cycling every now and then (especially when the weather is fine), I’d like to combine this sport with fundraising.

I usually track my journeys with my GPS-enabled heart rate monitor (Garmin Forerunner 405) and a second GPS receiver (a Garmin eTrex Vista HCx I originally bought for Geocaching). Furthermore, my bike is equipped with a bike computer that measures the distance without GPS, which is useful in case I lose GPS signal. The measured distances of the GPS devices and the bike computer usually differ very litte, but when moving in narrow streets, the GPS sometimes gets a bit confused.

The idea now is to find sponsors who agree to donate a defined amount of money for every kilometre to FSFE at the end of the bicycle season. If a per-kilometre donation is not an option, everyone is of course welcome to donate whatever he or she thinks fits my performance when the season is over. My estimated yearly performance will probably be somewhere between 300 and 1000 kilometres, since I don’t have too much spare time and I’m not very athletic. Despite that, according to my doctor, my lung is currently reduced to 71 percent of its nominal performance (I’m on low medication because of that, so it will hopefully get better in the next months).

To keep you updated on my performance, I’ll post the GPX files of my trips here on my blog. If I manage to import the data from my heart rate monitor to pyTrainer, I might even be able to post some statistics :-)

I hope to go for my first trip tomorrow or during the upcoming weeks. If you’re interested in becoming a sponsor, please contact me. Of course you are more than welcome to spread my idea to others who you consider possible sponsors!

Happy I love FS day!

Thumbs up! Gollo loves Free SoftwareSince today we celebrate I love FS day, I want to say thank you to everyone who is working for Free Software. It doesn’t matter if you are a developer, a tester, an advocate, a user or whatever comes to your mind. You all rock!

p.s. Thanks to my colleague Martin for taking this extremely professional picture :-)


It’s been a week now since I took my plane from Brussels back to Austria, but since I’ve been on holiday for the rest of last week, my short report on FOSDEM 2010 comes later than it should.
It was my first time at Europe’s biggest Free Software event and I really enjoyed it. Not being a developer myself, I spent most of my FOSDEM time at the FSFE booth. We sold lots of T-Shirts (I also bought some of the new ones myself) and other stuff. We also had a great new tool: an analogue printer (i.e. ball pen). We actually had two versions, which are not yet available from FSFE’s online shop, but should be not too far in the future. Although I didn’t listen to any talks, I learned a lot: I have for example never seen such a professional booth and met so many interesting people in one place. We had interesting discussions on various topics and I also received feedback on different matters, for example regarding the Fellowship.
Of course, I also did a little bit of sightseeing in Brussels. I think it’s an interesting city, although at the moment there are quite a few building sites which confused my GPS navigation a bit :-)
I will definitely come back to Brussels for FOSDEM next year, not only because it’s a great event, but even more because I can again stay with my relatives who I consider some of the greatest people in the world. Maybe my stay will even be longer and include a trip to Paris, as train connection seem to be fast and not too expensive if booked some time it advance.


I know I’m really late with my blog this time, but I finally managed to write about this year’s Free Society Conference and Nordic Summit. I went to Göteborg (I needed some training to pronounce it as the locals do) together with my girlfriend to attend the conference and to do some sight-seeing, which I both enjoyed very much. We arrived on Friday and immediately started to visit some really interesting places, like the Natural History Museum and the christmas market at the Liseberg amusement park. In the evening we went to the IT university, where the conference took place.
I immediately felt comfortable there, because everyone there seemed be very pleased to meet us (and everybody else who arrived). It was really nice to finally meet at least some of the people whom I’ve been working with for quite some time now. As there have already been some reports on FSFE’s activities at FSCONS and how many intersting discussions we had there, so I will keep this short. I think this conference was the best-organised conference I have attended so far and everyone was really trying to his best to make it a perfect event – and in my humble opinion the FSCONS organizers and volunteers succeeded in their efforts. FSFE was presented really well and we got a lot of (positive as well as negative) feedback on different topics (like the Fellowship and others), which I think is very important so we can improve our work and continue to spread the work about Free Software and all the other things we are working on.
My main reason to attend the conference was of course my OpenPGP card workshop which I plan to have again in the future. I think it was well visited (I never expected to have ten visitors or even more at 0900 in the morning) and I had some interesting conversations about the workshop and GnuPG and data security in general after it. Of course we also did some key signing there to strengthen the web of trust. Another noteworthy thing is that Adriaan started a very promising artistic career at FSCONS that will hopefully lead to recognition of FSFE and its employees outside of the Free Software world (although in the very first peace of art, Adriaan missed out one person ;-).
All in all I really enjoyed my time in Göteborg and will definitely attend FSCONS again if money and time allow it.

Software Freedom Party in Vienna

I know I’m a bit late, but I still want to tell you about the Software Freedom party the Vienna Fellowship group organised for this year’s SFD. Although there weren’t to many visitors, the free (as in freedom) popcorn recipe turned out to be real highlight. The recipe and a few pictures from the Metalab, where the party took place can be found on the SFD wiki page.

Geocaching and Freedom

Today I want to write about something that is not really related to Free Software, but to Freedom in another field.
I have a hobby that some of you might know: Geocaching. Short explanation: Geocaching means using a multi-billion Dollar military satellite system to find small plastic boxes in the middle of nowhere.
What you really do is that you get the GPS coordinates of the hiding place, go there and then look for the hidden box. You write your name in the log book in the box and afterwards log your visit on the website you received the coordinates from.
The Freedom-related problem is that the biggest Geocaching website, geocaching.com, has only one goal: get the Geocachers’ money by any means. The website belongs to Groundspeak Inc., the company that also holds the trademark on the name “Geocaching” (although the name was already in use before the company even existed). There a few competing websites, and most of them were threatened with lawsuits by Groundspeak. Also, censorship is rather common in the forums of geocaching.com.
I have to say I really like the idea behind the game, but I prefer having Freedom in everything I do. The problem however is that Groundspeak Inc. has very rigorous rules on where a Geocache may be hidden and thus, every Cache that someone hides is first checked by a reviewer before it is published on geocaching.com. These reviewers sometimes live hundreds of kilometres from the hiding place and have never seen the place before. Still they may tell you to put your Cache 20 metres south of the place you wanted to hide it at – which is impossible in many cases.
On the one hand, I can understand that they don’t want to have 50 caches on 30 sqare metres, but the rules a much more restrictive. This is why have not yet published a cache on geocaching.com. Another problem I have with geocaching.com is that their software is proprietary and they try to prevent that anyone can get their Cache data out of the site without registering and so on.
Luckily, there is an alternative where everyone who is registered can publish a cache that is immediately visible to the whole world: Opencaching.de
The rules you have to obey there are much easier to understand: Don’t break the law, do not put illegal content in your Cache boxes, do not hide the Cache on private property and so on.
The (for me) most important thing however is that Opencaching.de is running on OC-Server, which is Free Software. Everyone can get the Cache data out of the OC-Server via a documented XML interface and there are even more OC-Server features that geocaching.com lacks. For example it is possible to have the Cache description in different languages and you can choose which language you want to see. On geocaching.com, you often have the local language description and below you can find the English one.
What I personally think of as one of the coolest features of OC-Server is that different sites using the software can synchronize their Cache data rather easily. This means that it is possible to have a huge international network of small and local Opencaching websites.
In my humble opinion, everyone who is interested in Freedom and wants to do hide a Geocache himself, should publish it only on Opencaching websites.

Survived! (and enjoyed it)

I know I’m a bit late, since Matthias already wrote about our successful, adventurous weekend, but still I want to to tell you all how much I enjoyed our time together in Vienna. After I almost arrived late a Vienna International Airport’s arriving hall (which was because I was told there were 78 free lots on my floor in the car park, although there were none), everything else (except for the weather on Saturday) went very well.
The meeting of the Vienna Fellowship group was well-attended, although in summer we usually have less participants. I’m quite sure that this was solely because of Matthias’ good Karma. After some hours of interesting discussions, we had late-night dinner (which we have at almost all Vienna Fellowship meetings) and left the Metalab some time after midnight.
Nevertheless, we got up rather early on Saturday to discuss our plans and ideas about the Fellowship and then start our mental preparations for the Temple of Schnitzel. Below you can find a picture of what we found there.
The few heros who had survived Schnitzelwirt then did some sight-seeing in Vienna and bought some traditional Viennese items to pay compensation to Matthias’ “better half”. We also visited Vienna’s most popular Würstelstand and in the evening went to a very nice Karaoke bar. Despite the fact that Peter’s girlfriend Jenny had an indisputable home field advantage there, almost all of us showed more or less singing talent (and skill to make fun of ourselves).
Sunday then was our relaxation day and Matthias left for Berlin again, where I hope to visit him in the near future.

A Schnitzel named Jack

A Schnitzel named Jack

Oh happy day!

Today is a really great day for me, because not only am I running 64-bit GNU/Linux on my Notebook, which I last had back in 2006 (on one of the first AMD 64 X2 processors), but I was also accepted as a member of the European core team of FSFE.
When Matthias asked me if I wanted to be his deputy, I was really happy about the confidence he put in me. When today he told me that all team comments on his proposal had been positive, it made me even more happy. So from now on, I can call myself Deputy Fellowship Coordinator of FSFE.
This means that I will support Matthias in his activities and I hope that together we will make the Fellowship even better than it is already. We have great ideas for the future and I think that our work help increasing the popularity of this great programme. I’m really thankful for the support the Fellows are giving FSFE and I know we are on the right way to more freedom.
Matthias and I will meet on the next meeting of the Vienna Fellowship Group on July 17 (@metalab), where we will discuss our ideas and plans.

My 64 bit notebook "wingback"

It’s better with GNU/Linux

After ASUS decided to turn their back to GNU/Linux (although GNU/Linux on their Netbooks made them famous), they started a “It’s better with Windoze” campaign. If you want a reason to laugh at something stupid, visit their website with NoScript enabled in Firefox: You won’t be able to click at anything, meaning you can’t even watch the movie in which they explain why M$’s OS is better. Shortly after that campaign was started, someone registered the domain itsbetterwithlinux.com, which is not filled with any content yet. The problem is that this site’s domain just doesn’t sound right.
Funny enough, I recently stumbled upon another site that sounded much better: itsbetterwithGNUlinux.com
It’s not filled with much content either, but at least you can find out how to get GNU/Linux there.
I ask everyone of you to add social bookmarks about this site and link it whereever you can. This site definitely needs more popularity.