Freeing the Cloud, One Service at a Time

Cloud Computing
Location: D139/140
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As more and more computing moves into someone else’s data centre (i.e. the Cloud), users and companies are losing direct control over their data and processes. The risks they used to be able to mitigate by using Free and Open Source software are starting to become apparent.

So what can be done to continue to enjoy the software freedom that we have come to appreciate in the desktop computing world? Just like the task of building a completely FOSS operating system in the 1980s looked like an impossible dream, having a completely free online life appears to be quite a big task. Thankfully, many people are now tackling this problem and starting to build freedom-respecting options, one service at a time.

This talk will discuss an approach to building free network services and introduce Libravatar, a Django based project to provide a federated alternative to the Gravatar profile image hosting service, a centralised web service used by a very large number of social sites around the world.

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Francois Marier

Catalyst IT

Francois has been involved in Open Source communities for more than 10 years. In addition to being a contributor on a number of Open Source projects, he is the lead developer of Libravatar, the author of two small Open Source applications (safe-rm and email-reminder), a licensing volunteer for the Free Software Foundation and a Debian developer.

Currently working for Catalyst IT in New Zealand, Francois enjoys introducing people to the ideas behind Free Software and discussing the intricacies of Open Source licenses.

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Francois Marier
08/06/2011 3:39pm PDT

Slides and audio recording also available from

Picture of Francois Marier
Francois Marier
07/30/2011 2:28am PDT

An MP3 recording of this talk is available from