About Libre-Fan

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The Libre-Fan Web site, written and designed by the author of the same name — in lower-case and without a hyphen — was launched at the time when Mozilla Parties were being set up all over the world back in November 2004, to celebrate the release and success of Mozilla-Firefox Preview and 1.0 versions.

The name and domain-name of this Web site have been changed from “Mozilla-Fan” to ”Libre-Fan” in order not to infringe on Mozilla trademark.

As the MozParty2 Web site invited all and sundry to join in I was tempted to organize a party in a rather remote area in the Cévennes, France — though not quite the backwoods.

The first article to be written, announcing the Cévenol MozParty was meant to remain on its own, and on line only for a short time. Now there are over 100 articles, only a few pulished here though (give me some time) and Libre-Fan is here (or somewhere else) to stay and grow, for better or for worse Icon wink

Change of name but no change of mind

One day The Mozilla Foundation published an application for a licence aimed at people who want to use the first three letters or the whole of the Mozilla trademark name in their domain-name.

I did not feel this site could fulfill part of the fourth and main condition as stated in the application:

The nature and quality of the Web Site must conform to the level of quality historically associated with the Mozilla Marks.

Only the Mozilla Foundation can vouch it is as good as itself.

Language matters

“Libre” in Libre-Fan means “free” like GNU/GPL and like freedom of speech. Finding a good name for a Web site that avoids copyrights problems and is original and inventive is rather difficult. I thought of “DragonStar” to retain a Mozilla echo but a quick search returned a rugby league, a farm, a restaurant, and some more. After all what can be invented in ways of names after splendid Mozilla? I am a fan of the Mozilla name and logo as much as of the Mozilla Suite.

Libre-Fan is written in French because its goal is to reach French speakers all over the world. This is not done out of some kind of jingoism, nor for the sake of the preservation of an endangered linguistic species, nor from a surge of anti-American feeling.

The reason is simply that there is not such a wealth of sites in French as there is in English. Though there are a few major French-written Web sites devoted to Mozilla and Gecko software, there is a dearth of Web pages meant for Mozilla and computer-newbies, but not a dearth of computer-illiterate people in France, even among computer-owners.

Only two articles are translated into English, Libre-Fan? as the one you’re reading, and Mozilla Party cévenole – Compte-rendu as Mozilla Party at the Village Cévenol. There would be no point offering yet another site in English about Mozilla or about computer issues or about GNU/GPL software and projects.

I mainly browse Web sites in English and I like the software I use to be in English. For this site written with my neighbours in mind, and beyond them French-speakers too, I went out of my way to look for links to Web sites in French.

This is how I discovered the French version of MozillaZine, French Mozilla, Mozilla-Europe and the localized French versions of libre portable applications.

Mozilla and beyond

Libre-Fan means to take part in the Spread the Word campaign launched by the Spread Firefox Web site, and therefore is aimed at every one, from computer newbies and Mozilla newbies, to Mozilla users and aficionados who hopefully will enjoy reading this new mozillanesque Web site.

However not Firefox alone is given pride of place.

This site urges every one to turn away from faulty Micro$oft, mainly IE and OE, and other proprietary software, and to discover and use excellent GNU/GPL software for the internet — Web browsers, e-mail client, etc. The sections dealing with Mozilla-Firefox, A Free Navigator’ and with Mozilla, Free Software for the Internet are about just that.

The aim is also to enable everyone to enjoy Mozilla and its followers (The Mozilla Suite, Mozilla-Firefox, Mozilla-Thunderbird, Seamonkey, as well as other free GNU/GPL software.

To achieve this goal, it seemed useful to throw some nicely inflated life-belts to beginners, and help them gain their independence. It soon became necessary to explain how to install the software advocated for on this Web site. After browsing these pages and heaving many a disheartened sigh beginners are invited to grapple with the article written for them: Mozilla pour les débutants en informatique (Mozilla for computer newbies).

The Mozilla Suite, Mozilla-Firefox and Mozilla-Thunderbird being browsers and e-mail clients, aren’t they likely to bring along with them a harvest of troubles — cookies, viruses, spybots and spyware…?

Not at all! Nasties are definively not brought about by Mozilla and consorts. Most Web surfers have already come across them simply using Micro$oft software packed with Windoze (sic).

The answer to the question “How can I avoid nasties?” can be found in the section which deals with making your computer safe with the help of GNU/GPL software. In a word, there is no need for any other software than GNU/GPL and Spybot Search & Destroy (M$Windows only) to keep a clean computer safe and sound. Writing these pages I, too, have discovered at least one GNU/GPL software: antivirus Clam AV.

Finally, it appeared that computer jargon is not widely understood, not even by people using computers daily, so I added a glossary of sorts Glo(u)ssaire cum commentaires. Glo(u)ssaire is a kind of pun: glossaire means glossary and glousser means to giggle or to chuckle. The pun is rather unexpected and sounds funny in French, which may be an appropriate way of introducing such a boring subject. I added comments to make it less barren and more informative.

Using GNU/GPL software has made me fairly computer-literate and independent, and has brought me some understanding in an area which is far removed from my literary education — except that being fluent in English has been a great asset and incentive.

All the necessary information can be grabbed free and freely on the Web. I have no theoretical knowledge of computer science which I don’t find attractive at all.

I started with Spybot Search and Destroy under Windoze98SE, then discovered Mozilla 1.0, and am now enjoying GNU/Linux — Debian-based Libranet 2.8.1, a distro from Vancouver, Canada, and a few excusrions (Kaella, Ubuntu) — as a very happy Linux user now using debian, Ubuntu and Xubuntu.This explains Libre-Fan now has a growing GNU/Linux section GNU/Linux librement.

This is no feat — I believe any one is able to move away from M$Windoze (or Mac) to Linux, and enjoy the experience. What’s more there’s no reason beginners should begin with M$Windoze. On the contrary they’d be well-advised to start directly with Linux. But of course you’ll be told Windows is so much easier for non-techie people which is not quite true of course. Well, you’re free. Icon razz

To sum up, Libre-Fan is about freedom, independence, and computer-literacy for every one who has access to a computer — not everybody does though.