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[Freedombox-discuss] Towards a FreedomBox-powered Semantic Desktop

I've posted before on the Diaspora Dev list from September 2010:
   "Raising the bar to supporting a Social Semantic Desktop"
"Here are some general thoughts about how Diaspora might relate to the
Semantic Web and a Social Semantic Desktop, and how that might make it 
even more awesome to encourage everyone to migrate to it."

A couple of people contacted me privately about that post, so there is 
some basic interest there, but not a lot yet. I would think the same 
sorts of things might apply to FreedomBox in general.

On this list, "paxcoder" mentions a related item here:
"Other, new things are web standards like RDF(a) and SPARQL -
which are semantic web tools for append additional metadata (first and
foremost to things on our websites - whether it be those for social
networking or our own), and for searching for that data respectively. I
would imagine a SPARQL deamon running and responding to querries at any
given time at each freedom box. Tightly integrating RDF(a) into web
pages (and possibly other files) would be a task for the Web team.
However, the question of how to search through the whole FreedomBox
"network" without overloading it remains."

The general issue:
"The Internet, electronic mail, and the Web have revolutionized the way 
we communicate and collaborate - their mass adoption is one of the major 
technological success stories of the 20th century. We all are now much 
more connected, and in turn face new resulting problems: information 
overload caused by insufficient support for information organization and 
collaboration. For example, sending a single file to a mailing list 
multiplies the cognitive processing effort of filtering and organizing 
this file times the number of recipients -- leading to more and more of 
peoples' time going into information filtering and information 
management activities. There is a need for smarter and more fine-grained 
computer support for personal and networked information that has to 
blend the boundaries between personal and group data, while 
simultaneously safeguarding privacy and establishing and deploying trust 
among collaborators."

I wrote a much longer email on this (including a blow-by-blow account of 
frustrations of importing the MailMan archive of the FreedomBox mailing 
list into Thunderbird as an "Exhibit A" example of the general problem 
:-), but I'll put that all aside for now.

But in short, is FreedomBox going to build into or onto our walls the 
old ad-hoc standards that soak up so much of our time already? Perhaps 
dealing with those semantic problems in an adhoc way through email and 
regular wikis and discussion boards and such is just going to make us 
digital slaves to lots of classic time leaches of dealing with lost 
metadata and so on?

Instead, could FreedomBox, by adopting a semantic desktop focus, ideally 
using existing tools somehow, help our culture transition to an entirely 
new and potentially liberating semantic desktop paradigm?

Or, in other words: :-)
Gold Leader: Pardon me for asking, sir, but what good are semantic wikis 
and desktops going to be against [that]?
General Dodonna: Well, the Empire doesn't consider a small cgi script on 
a shared server or desktop to be any threat, or they'd have a tighter 
Commander #1: We've analyzed their attack on Knol, sir, and there is a
danger. Should I have your Golden Parachute standing by?
Governor Schmidt: Evacuate? In our moment of triumph? I think you
overestimate their chances.

--Paul Fernhout
The biggest challenge of the 21st century is the irony of technologies 
of abundance in the hands of those thinking in terms of scarcity.

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