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FTA Announce #21: FTA Courses and FKI/FTA infrastructure renovation

Introduction

Over the last years the Free Knowledge Institute has been building up a server infrastructure. Now has come the moment to restart.

We'll be moving the most important parts to an archive and set up new systems at new servers. Read below the details! We have new courses starting in January: about cloud computing and how to set up your own cloud services. And the GNU/Linux Basic and Advanced courses.

NEW FTA Course: Personal cloud computing with Free Software

This course aims to provide the knowledge and skills necessary to build personal cloud services from scratch with Free Software and open standards. Cloud computing for individuals and small organisations, in the form of centralised, free of charge services like Gmail, Facebook, or Dropbox is extremely convenient. This type of cloud computing, however, also has severe limits and drawbacks.

On one hand, providing complete portability of users data is against the interests and needs of the companies providing the service. Therefore, as soon as that company goes out of business or simply out of fashion, or as soon as a user finds a better provider, she will need to rebuild at least part of the content, contact lists and other data in the new cloud.

On the other hand, amassing all the data and metadata of many individuals in the same cluster of servers, owned and managed by just a few players who can then analyse and correlate them as they want, creates a huge potential for abuse, such as mass surveyance and over-invasive advertising.

Free Software and open standards can contribute a big part of the solution to these problems, if used to build personal clouds: bundles of Free Software that provide personal blogging, social networking, email and other services. Members of this course will study and document how to perform these activities. The course is under development and therefore participants are expected to help evolve it to the next level.

Read more about the course: http://wiki.freeknowledge.eu/index.php/FTA:Personal_Cloud_Computing_Course

Revamping the FKI server infrastructure

The FKI and FTA have been running their services on two physical machines hosting a number of virtual machines. This infrastructure has a number of drawbacks that we plan to overcome with a more flexible architecture.

The first action is to migrate all services to hosted Virtual Private Servers to skip one layer of complexity and reduce our maintenance costs, both in time and money.

The second is to update both content and applications across our infrastructure. We have come to the conclusion that a total reset would be the most convenient for most. Here follow the concrete actions:

  • migrate the FKI public wiki and the FTA Campus wiki to an archive at archive.freeknowledge.eu
  • migrate the FKI and FTA website to a new server at the latest Drupal installation
  • set up a new wiki at wiki.freeknowledge.eu for both wikis, where FTA will be a subcategory and start to write the new content structure afresh
  • one server will host all email services
  • ne server will host all websites (Drupal), MediaWiki and initially also the FTA Campus (Moodle)
  • other platforms and services can be added later.

You'll feel the message: back up any of your stuff and join us in making the new set up a reality. Post a message at the FKI discussion mailing list: discussion@freeknowledge.eu

Second session: January, 2014-March 2014

GNU/Linux Basic STARTS on 20/01/2013

GNU/Linux Advanced STARTS on 20/01/2013

Instructor for both courses: Marco Fioretti

ENROLMENT

Enrolment for the courses is already open. To enrol, please follow the instructions at http://ftacademy.org/

Subscription for these courses is open, they will start on 20 January 2014 if at least 10 persons sign up. Otherwise we're too few to make meaningful work. Help us spread the word, inform your network!

About the FTA Campus

All courses provided by the Free Technology Academy are conducted entirely online at the FTA Virtual Campus. The FTA learning methodology allows learners to define their own study schedule: asynchronous communication tools, few deadlines and activities that can be joined at different dates and times. This model allows for anyone to join FTA courses, regardless of their location and job, as long as they have regular access to the Internet.

About the Free Technology Academy

The Free Technology Academy offers an online master level programme with course modules about Free Technologies. The FTA is hosted by the Free Knowledge Institute (FKI). The founding partners are the FKI and two European universities: the Universitat Oberta de Catalunya (Spain) and the Open Universiteit of the Netherlands. The Associate Partner Network adds to the founding base with a widespread network of organisations that share a common interest in offering courses in the area of Free Technology.

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