How to find your candidate in the Finnish municipal elections 2017

What is it all about?

Finland flag map

Finland is divided into more than 300 municipalities. You live in one of them. For example, Helsinki, Espoo, Vantaa, Tampere — all these cities are four different municipalities. And the upcoming elections are called municipal which already gives you an idea what is in their focus.

Why shall I bother?

The tasks of municipalities are HUGE in Finland. You can find the list in Wikipedia but I will mention just few to make the importance of municipalities clear:

  • Education (schools, libraries, adult education centers)
  • Social services and healthcare
  • Public transport, roads, zoning, infrastructure
  • Regional economic development

If you want your opinion heard, take a little bit of effort — select you candidate and party and vote!

Whom do I elect?

The highest decision-making body in a municipality is a council elected at the municipal elections. You can vote only for one candidate. Not a party he or she belongs to but a candidate. There is a huge—huge—huge BUT — you absolutely do need to check the party he or she represents. OK, at least in most of the cases.

Why? Because the votes are counted for the parties first. Too complicated? I try to explain it in simple English.

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Course "On the Road to the Free Digital Society" is available in Moodle and IMS Common Cartridge formats now

If you are interested in launching your own instance of the Stallman's course "On the Road to the Free Digital Society", I have good news for you. I have published the course in Moodle Backup and IMS Common Cartridge formats.

The files are available in the "Download" section of the course website.

I will be happy to hear your feedback about the course!

Don't forget that we need your help in several areas:

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#FSF #Stallman #freesoftware

How to incorporate external utility scripts into Logstash Pipeline


Logstash is a great tool to process the logs and extract valuable data from them. There are many useful Logstash filter plugins which make it easy to process the raw log data. However, sometimes external utilities are required to process the data in a more complicated way than existing filter plugins can.

It's possible to code your own filter plugin in Ruby but what to do if you already have the filter implemented in some other programming language and want to reuse it in Logstash?

In this case it's easier to communicate with this external filter from Logstash. This article demonstrates the simplest way of incorporating external applications into the Logstash pipeline:

  1. Logstash launches external program and delivers the input data to it through command line arguments and stdin
  2. External program writes results to stdout in any format understood by Logstash filters (e.g., JSON)
  3. Logstash parses output of the external program and continues to handle it in the pipeline

It's needless to say that it is not the very best approach in terms of performance. E.g., if startup time of the external application is significant, you may consider to launch this application once (as a daemon/service) and communicate with it using ØMQ or other high-performance message queue.

Detailed explanation and usage example are stated below.

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#elasticsearch #logstash #ruby

Copyrighted monuments in Finland. Why Finnish works of art are not widely represented in Wikipedia

What are you talking about?

Monument to Tapio Rautavaara in Åggelby (Oulunkylä) It can be a huge surprise for most of Finns but a lot of statues and monuments installed in public places in Finland are copyrighted. Unfortunately this is not only a curious fact. It has serious affect on the rights to publish photos of these works of art.

I have recently faced this problem when I shot a photo of the beautiful Tapio Rautavaara's statue installed in Åggelby in the capital area and uploaded it to Wikimedia Commons (this repository hosts most of the images used in Wikipedia articles). My contribution was almost immediately marked for deletion. In fact, Wikimedia has a lot of deletion requests based on the same reason.

This was a surprise and pushed me to investigate the situation deeper. At the end, I managed to find a way to publish my photo in Finnish Wikipedia (but not in Wikimedia).

I hope my findings can be useful for others facing similar issues in Finland and other countries which lack "freedom of panorama". Besides all, it is a good illustration that even Europe is still on the way to a free digital society.

This article is written in English because it's content (as I believe) can be beneficial for the foreigners who visited Finland and want to contribute their photos to Wikipedia.

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#Finland #IPR #copyright #photo