More cautious excitement as Microsoft opens .Net

Originally posted on Meshed Insights & Knowledge:

The Microsoft news is coming thick and fast. A few days ago we discussed Office for iPad, Microsoft’s confession of unethical behaviour and its release of MS-DOS code under a prohibitive license. This weeks news seems even bigger: open source for .Net and $0 pricing for mobile Windows. There’s cause to be excited, yet as ever caution is required.

The excitement comes from the .Net news. The formation of the .Net Foundation and the hosting of 24 projects within it should liberate developers to innovate in a way that seemed impossible under previous leadership. This move has seemed an obvious one for the open source community for a long time, as it offers a new lease of life for .Net through contributor innovation and should help create a rich, monetisable market.

The caution relates to the news that Windows for mobile will be free of charge. Whilst unarguably a big move…

View original 71 more words

Parody Finally Made Legal In UK

Simon Phipps:

We thought this was never going to happen. Seems clean and clear but I will be interested to read expert analysis.

Originally posted on Meshed Insights & Knowledge:

Draft regulations have been published in Britain that will finally end the anomaly where quotation, parody, caricature and pastiche are considered breaches of copyright. If approved by Parliament, they will come into force on June 1st, finally closing the loophole in copyright law that allowed copyright owners to chill criticism and stifle research in cases that are otherwise reasonable.

Using the “fair dealing” concept, The Copyright and Rights in Performances (Quotation and Parody) Regulations 2014 both limit the scope for these literary forms infringe copyright, and also invalidates contract terms that claim to forbid them.

(1) Fair dealing with a work for the purposes of caricature, parody or pastiche does not infringe copyright in the work.

(2) To the extent that a term of a contract purports to prevent or restrict the doing of any act which, by virtue of this section, would not infringe copyright, that term is unenforceable.

View original 38 more words

Crowdsource vs Open Source

Simon Phipps:

I have frequently pointed out that crowdfunding means no stake and that crowdsourcing is not open source. People still get surprised each time things turn out differently to what they expected though.

Originally posted on Meshed Insights & Knowledge:

The acquisition of virtual reality company Oculus Rift by Facebook was  announced this week  to mixed reactions.  Most negative  were those who had enabled the VR goggles to be created in the first place — the  backers on Kickstarter  who provided nearly $2.5m to see the dream become reality. One prominent backer, the founder of Minecraft creators  Mojang , was especially upset, deciding that Minecraft will not collaborate with Facebook. In a  blog post  he wrote:

I did not chip in ten grand to seed a first investment round to build value for a Facebook acquisition.

View original 309 more words

2014: Year of the Linux Desktop

Originally posted on Meshed Insights & Knowledge:

For those thinking that the supremacy of the Linux desktop is closely tied to the success of GNU/Linux distributions like Ubuntu and the downfall of Windows, this headline might come across as bizarrely fantastical. The reality we live and work in though, is one in which Google Apps adoption, the growth of Chrome OS and the unstoppable tide of Android and Android based devices, mean that Linux servers are powering the large majority of what goes on on our desktops.

View original 202 more words

Bitcoin exchanges need to get their act together

Originally posted on Meshed Insights & Knowledge:

Sometimes it seems as though bitcoin is a required fixture in the news. The recent collapse of Mt Gox is just the latest in a string of headlines that may have you wondering why people even bother. Bitcoin itself though remains a powerful idea and its transparent, open source approach have enabled it to stand up to scrutiny and criticism with head held high. Not only does it hold a lot of potential in its own right, it also stands as a shining innovative example of the potential for distributed, peer-authenticated ledgers. Far more problematic are the “exploitative ad-hoc businesses” which have grown up around it.

Over the last six months Simon’s been trying out a selection of different bitcoin services and exchanges. The different results he’s encountered generally reflect badly on this admittedly young industry and suggest that they have yet to really find their feet. In particular he claims…

View original 43 more words

OSI, FSF and the end of software patents

Just as we did in the case of CPTN’s threatened acquisition of Novell’s patent portfolio in 2011, the OSI and FSF have once again collaborated to file a briefing — this time in the key software patent case CLS Bank vs Alice Corporation, which is being appealed at the US Supreme Court. From my article in InfoWorld today:

I endorse and welcome this joint position calling for firm clarity on software patents. With 15 years of history behind us, there’s far more that unites the FSF and the OSI than divides us. We’ve each played our part in the software freedom movement that has transformed computing. Now all of us in both communities need to unite to end the chilling threat of software patents to the freedom to innovate collaboratively in community.

Two other notable amicus curiae briefs are one from Red Hat and one from the American Civil Liberties Union - especially interesting as they are not obviously an interested party until you read their argument and see how they make an appeal to free speech. They say:

Because Alice’s patent claims monopolize knowledge, thought, and speech, they are invalid as a matter of patent law, which can and must be construed to avoid the constitutional problems that would otherwise arise if the patents were upheld

While I expect the court to remain as cautious as ever, this is an important opportunity for them to undo the harm that allowing patents on abstract ideas has caused, chilling innovation both by enabling direct assault on innovators and by introducing friction into the open collaboration of communities.

Input To UK Government

My input to the UK Government consultation on document formats:

I believe it is imperative to have a single document format standard used as the benchmark for corresponding with the UK Government, rather than a named software package or a choice of formats. That standard must be capable of complete implementation by any party using only the specification without needing a relationship (such as a license) with a specific vendor or community. Among the existing full implementations there must be one which is both open source and available to citizens without charge (and depending only on other software such as an OS that is without charge). To take any other approach is to tacitly promote the business of a preferred vendor and to restrict access to government to an elite able to obtain the preferred vendor’s offerings.

I believe the proposal above is a reasonable, balanced and effective expression of these principles and I wholeheartedly endorse it.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 6,675 other followers

%d bloggers like this: