Emacs GNU/Linux Free Software & Open Source

5 ways to promote and Open Microblogging over Twitter

On the Free Software Foundation Latinamerica mailing list, there’s been a discussion about supporting and open microblogging and encourage quitting using twitter by setting the example.

The topic about closed network services and its risks is a very important issue that I will cover on a later post with detail or you can read more about it on the website. The following is an english translation of what I posted on the mailing list and I got a request to post it here on my blog. You can read the original email if you read Spanish.

About the discussions generated around the question of weather to use or not Twitter to support and Open Microblogging, I’ll explain some of the ways I’ve been promoting the use of for about a year.

  1. Word of mouth: As part of the free and open source community in Mexico, I get invited to give talks on several events. On my presentations and the material handed out, I always put on the first place and as a secondary link I put my twitter url, and sometimes I omit the second one. And when I talk about this little piece of information I always tell them the clear message: “use instead of Twitter” and I go ahead and talk about’s benefits and advantages. Being on a mass forum I think the message does get across to more than one.
  2. Start with your close ones: When meeting with my friends, collegues or other FLOSS enthusiast (and my girlfriend) I always mention and sometimes “insist” that they use for microblogging, and most of them have done so.
  3. Be positive and pragmaticWhen I mention (laconica) not only do I mention it because its free software, because many don’t care about the freedom issues. I mention the technical advantages it offers like:
    • The XMPP (Jabber) client that Twitter took down and has always offered
    • At the times where Twitter was famous for its downtimes, has been (and still is) very stable
    • Very recently Twitter integrated search, when has had it for a long time
    • has integrated groups and tags, where Twitter has some partial support for tags and no groups yet
    • The groups feature is the one very appealing. Since many use microblogging to ask open questions and expect to recieve answers, if you don’t have a large list of followers from that specific topic you’re asking about, its very improbable that your question gets answered or even heard (read actually). On this gets solved with groups: you send a message to a group or mark it with a tag and all of the people interested in that topic will get the message and most of the time you’ll get answers in seconds. This has worked for me a lot!
    • The fact that you can install your own instance on your server and follow anyone on any other instance of laconica. This way you are not tied up to a single provider and you have total control over your data.
  4. Set examples: I implemented a instance at my previous job for internal communication. Everyone got to see the advantages and features of and some even created accounts on Others just followed people on from the company’s account. This happened because they wanted better communication on the projects progress and were considering using Twitter. I mentioned that it was not a good idea to put internal communication on a third party server and that we could have “our own internal twitter” with free software and it got authorized.
  5. Contribute Lastly, instead of asking, wishing or whining about ways to post or update my microblogging acount, I decided to create the Emacs identica-mode, a way to view timelines and update from Emacs, my favorite application. Identica-mode has had good response from users and it now has more features than the original twittering-mode from which I forked the code. By the way, if you know elisp I could use your help to implement some features like: expand shortened urls to see where they lead (for security), see image links (twitpic, yfrogg, flickr) inline in the timeline list and many more
  6. I hope this could help as examples to promote open microblogging without having “religious” debates with people who do not, and will not, care about the freedom implications of proprietary (closed) network services. This arguments have worked for me to “convert” many to

    For the ones interested in free/libre network services you can read more about the topic at

Emacs GNU/Linux Free Software & Open Source

Emacs identica-mode version 0.7

I’ve finally arranged some time to publish a new version of Identica-mode for Emacs to easily track and post updates to any Laconica installation such as

What’s new

  • Added menu with most useful features
  • Added re-dent (retweet) feature by pressing C-c C-m with pointer on status to re-dent
  • User timeline method now prompts for username, gets own (self) timeline by default
  • Improved console support, only showing icon-mode when using a window system
  • Added code from twitter.el suggested by Pablo Rauzy to save username and password on customizations file
  • Inhibit success and post messages by default

Get it

Download identica-mode hosted at savannah or get the latest development version via the git repository:
git clone

And if you have any suggestions, bugs or patches, please send them to the project’s bug tracking system

Emacs GNU/Linux Free Software & Open Source

Emacs identica-mode with multiple timelines and direct messages

Emacs identica-mode, a way to read and post to microblogging site and any installation from Emacs, now has support for several (friends, replies, public and user) timelines. Also added support to send direct messages.

Some of the changes are:

  • All API calls are now through HTTPS
  • Changed keybinding, pressing “g” on identica-mode buffer now refreshes the buffer.
  • New keybinding “C-c C-r” switches to retrieve replies timeline.
  • New keybinding “C-c C-f” switches to retrieve friends timeline (default).
  • New keybinding “C-c C-d” sends direct message to a given user.
  • New keybinding “C-c C-g” switches to retrieve public timeline.
  • New keybinding “C-c C-u” switches to retrieve user (self) timeline.

Emacs modeline shows which timeline is currently being retrieved on identica-mode buffer.
Its been a while since my last release of identica-mode. This time, rather than publishing frequent but small updates, I waited to release a bunch of new features.

As always, you can download it from the savannah project page:

Or get the latest version from the Git repository:
git clone git://

Hope you like it.

Events GNU/Linux Free Software & Open Source personal

LibrePlanet 2009 at Boston

I had the opportunity to attend to LibrePlanet 2009, the annual Free Software Foundation members meeting that was held in Boston.

It was a great experience and I was very happy to meet lots of FSF members, something I don’t get to see very often here in Mexico. I met with Evan Prodromou, the creator of and he told me that soon will have OAuth authentication, so that OpenID users can access the API. That means that OpenID users can now use Emacs identica-mode to post and access their dents. There was a lot of talking about Free Network Services and hope that soon we’ll be seeing more of this kind of projects getting done.

Met with Matt Lee, Mako Hill, Rob Myers and many others. I also had the great opportunity to meet and chat with Richard Stallman. Not every day you get to chat with a person who has influenced your life.

my photo with Richard Stallman

Met with Alex Oliva from the FSF Latinamerica, and we talked about its current status. I’ll get involved to see if we can reactivate the organization and push it forward.

Unfortunately I couldn’t stay for the unconference day, had to catch my plane back home, but I’ll plan to go next year and stay for the whole event. Definately worth it.

Emacs GNU/Linux Free Software & Open Source

Emacs identica-mode with replies highlighting

Identica mode for Emacs with replies highlighting

Identica-mode for Emacs has been updated with just one little but nice to have feature: replies highlighting.

I usually watch my identica buffer and sometimes I don’t get to see the replies I get from people, so I thought it would be nice to highlight those to grab my attention.

Also I’d like to mention that the git repository is finally hosted on savannah:

And the new download option will be on savannah too:

The savannah project page is:

Emacs GNU/Linux Free Software & Open Source

Fixed error on xml parse in identica-mode

Identica-mode v0.4
Thanks to a contribution from Christian Cheng to denting-mode, another fork of twittering-mode for laconica installations by Carlos A. Perilla, the long standing bug of xml parsing has been fixed. Also, fixed support for tags and groups not recognizing correctly when a dash was in the name.

Get the latest, and now stable, release of identica-mode here. (v0.4)