Tools / Politics
Although I can work with a wide range of people, my politics are not separate from my work.
The organisations that I’ve worked for and projects I’ve been a part of tend to have an environmental justice, public interest technology or social justice kaupapa , and I will continue to focus in these areas.
F/L OSS & Open Licensing
Since 2012 I’ve used Free/Libre Open Source software (F/L OSS) for my work, from elementary OS instead of Mac or Windows, through to Blender & Inkscape rather than Adobe. I do this because I love being involved in the communities developing these tools, because I can freely tweak things as I like, and I can easily install the software on any computer, or set up friends and colleagues with awesome tools to try out.
The tools and applications I use change depending on the project, but these are some that I can’t live without:
- Blender (Grease Pencil) 2D animation
- Inkscape Vector graphics illustration
- SVGOMG SVG optimization (GUI )
- SVG Path Editor (GUI)
- pastel CLI color conversion/analysis
- FFmpeg CLI video/audio conversion/analysis
- git CLI CLI version control system
- Firefox web browser
- Elementary operating system
F/L OSS programs also provide me with more long-term security in the availability of the tools I use - I’ve had bad experiences with proprietary software that I relied upon being changed, sold or dropped due to business interests, rather than user needs.
The lack of upfront cost for F/L OSS tools is not the primary driver for me (I donate money to them every month anyway) but it is important to have high-quality free-of-cost tools available, to allow many more people to express themselves creatively with technology.
Despite the cliché, technology is not 'neutral'. The context and creators of tools imbue them with their own perspective and biases. F/L OSS is far from perfect, but I like it - it's a hint of a world where not everything is transactional and capitalistic, where collaboration is the norm, and people who use a particular tool can be empowered to understand it, help shape it, or adapt it to their needs.
My own work and much of the work I do with clients (where possible) is licensed under Free Software licenses, Creative Commons (BY
), or the Anti-Capitalist License.
I appreciate when others do the same, but acknowledge that working in the open and using open licenses is not always possible for many people and organisations, and in some cases (e.g indigenous knowledge) may even be harmful and contribute to further exploitation.
I’ve learned a lot and been influenced politically by design, art, activism and technology organisations like
- Allied Media
- And Also Too
- Libre Graphics Meeting
- Open Source Design
- Open Source Publishing
- Manufactura Independente
- Solarpunk Magic Computer Club
- my fellow Mozilla Fellows
...and many others.
I’m a member of People Against Prisons Aotearoa, and the Green Party of Aotearoa NZ. I aim to embody the Design Justice principles in my work, to support tangata whenua -led projects, and I won’t work on projects which further impede tino rangatiratanga for Māori (promoting Police or Corrections for example).