why commercial (proprietary) software sucks

People especially economists compare buying a software with buying a car. But this isn’t true. Actually the purchase is comparable to buy a license to use a special car with many restrictions.

e.g. you can’t

  • install it on as many pcs you want. In contrast everyone you trust and has driver license can drive your car
  • modify it (just a very little).
  • give it away/sell it
  • cannibalize it after it stopped working (a broken car you can strip from useful components)
  • go to a car dealer/repairshop of your choice (there are some movements in the car industry to restrict this either)
  • disable advertisments (in the car world they are optionally for your car)
  • have a choice which car you use. In software world nearly every company tries to lock in the users

One similarity is: you are the product.
Many people live from you by exploiting your nescience (in the car as in the software industry)


using blender as video editor (introduction)

I won’t go into detail. This article should be suitable for a normal computer user who want to edit videos. I will explain from the beginning.

The first thing to do is to download and install blender. If you use a distro which have at least package version 2.5 install it this way elsewise download and install blender from:

Let’s come to the important part. If you start blender you will see a 3-D-Modell. But this isn’t important.
Click on the top bar with content “Default” (press on the symbol left of the writing) and select “Video Editing”.
You will see two timelines (next to some other less important elements).
The bigger one is for including and working with the videos you import the lower, smaller one is for setting the green column (current frame) and adjusting the length of the whole video (the brighter grey area in the big timeline).
Now let’s come to the tools:
Add a video by clicking on the button “add” (beneath big timeline) and choose “movie”. Two stribes will appear in the big timeline.
The green one is sound, the blue one the moving pictures.
Play the movie with clicking on the play button (bottom-middle, triangle pointing to the right).
You will see the green column wandering around and see,  when the green column is passing the both strips, the moving pictures in the right corner.
Stop the playback of the movie with the “pause” button.
The next tool is moving and rearranging the strips:
Select one of them by clicking the right mouse button on the strip (strip has a white frame and a darker color), then press and hold down the mouse button again (still pointing at the strip but not at the little triangles (they are for resizing, not part of this tutorial)).
Now you can move the strip among the lines (higher lines lay over lower lines (just movie stream)) or left and right.
Whenever your hold strip collide with another strip it frame went red. You can’t place it in this state.
Now find a place to place it with the left mouse button.
A last essential tool I will explain before I show how to save (as video). It is the cutting tool.
Control if the strip you want to cut is selected, then move the green column by clicking the left mouse button or playing the movie and stop at the right frame. Be careful! Both timelines use different units. The one in the middle uses seconds, the other uses frames as unit.
Afterwards select “Strip” (bottom of bigger timeline), then one of the cut functions (doesn’t matter which).
Effect: The strip will divide in two parts you can arrange.

The next thing to do is to save this new video (be careful: it has the length of the frames between “Start” and “End”, also every empty space is filled with the 3-D-Modell).
Click at the field with the content “Video Editing” (the field you click at in the beginning) and select “Default”.
Now the ugly part:
Click at the camera symbol and scroll down to “Output”. Select the wished output directory. Go down to the field with writing “PNG” and select between H.264, MPEG, Ogg Theora and Xvid your favourite movie format, click at encoding to open the sub menu, we need now.
Select in the sub menu an audio codec (field right to “audio codec” which has the label “None”) which is supported by the previous selected video format (e.g. H.264 and PCM fit together)
The last thing to do is to render. Open the menu on top named “Render” (if it isn’t there, press the little plus button in the top bar (right to the info symbol)), select “Render video” and watch the the video rendering.