On FLOSS Weekly this week, Jono Bacon told us all about the Ubuntu Phone. I’ve summarised the most interesting points on InfoWorld today, but the key take-away for me was they are focussing on the carriers and handset vendors yet don’t appear to have a strong plan to build a developer marketplace around the device. As Sir Humphrey would say, that’s a brave choice.
Want to get hands-on with Ubuntu for Android? I heard recently from Richard Collins at Canonical that he would like some help with user testing Ubuntu for Android. He tells me they are looking for some folk in or around London who would be willing to visit them in Southwark and help them with end-user testing.
They are looking for business people comfortable with technology, rather than for developers. Previous exposure to Ubuntu would be useful but is not essential. It will take a few hours in central London and they will provide a pleasing thank-you gift. Contact him <email@example.com> if you’d like to volunteer.
As a reminder, here is my video interview with Richard about the project:
Despite a panic caused by a misleading headline, not only is Java not being removed from Ubuntu, but the Java reference implementation is actually a package in the main repository. My article today on ComputerWorldUK has the details.
The last week has provided a number of interesting – and perhaps surprising – case studies in corporate engagement with open source. This Monday’s Link Post takes a look at Microsoft and Silverlight, Symbian, Oracle and Java and Canonical and GNOME, over at ComputerWorldUK.
In my interview in this episode, I focused on digital liberty issues, which I believe to be hugely important and becoming more so every day. If you’re ready to find out more about the issues I discussed, here’s a quick guide along with hints on taking action. I mentioned writing to your MP and MEP – there’s an encouraging guide to read if the idea makes you nervous.
Driven no doubt by ‘input’ from their suppliers, the BBC have requested permission from the regulator OfCOM to be allowed to add digital restriction measures to their digital TV broadcasts. Many groups – including OSI – are concerned about this. OfCOM are seeking input on how to respond to this request. If you are a UK license-fee payer, you should write to OfCOM today and tell them how you feel about this. The Open Rights Group have everything you need to get started.
Digital Economy Bill
The Digital Economy Bill (or “#debill” to the Twittering classes) is a legislative pastiche covering a wide range of issues. There’s no doubt that the issues it addresses are important to British citizens. But the Bill seems to have been very heavily influenced (albeit with care) by lobbyists from media industries and lacks adequate protections for the rest of us.
It has been framed along the lines of “stop pirate downloaders robbing Cliff Richard of his pension” but it contains many badly considered measures that will affect our digital liberty. Worse, there has not been time spent in Parliament considering this problem. Worst of all, the Bill looks certain to be waved though on a nod and a wink following an inadequate second reading on April 6th in a big rush to avoid the election.
So what can you do?
- The best and first thing you can do is to contact your MP using WriteToThem and ask them to sign Early Day Motion 1223.
- Donate to the 38Degrees campaign to purchase advertising.
- Follow campaign news at the ORG blog.
ACTA is the so-called Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (although it covers far, far more than just the creation of counterfeit goods). This is a big topic I’ve written about here a few times. The best primer on ACTA is probably the Wikipedia page. My illustration about fungus came from a blog post of mine a while back, and you’ll like the LQN summary and the blog by Michael Geist I mentioned.
To take action, start with the action summary I suggested after my visit to FLOSS Weekly.
As political issues become more and more technology-dependent, it’s important that we ask out political representatives to get educated and pay personal attention rather than just listening to lobbyists. They are, after all, supposed to be representing us human citizens and not the interests of abstract legal-fiction corporations. Both DeBill and the surveillance society in the UK come from listening to to too many lobbyists and not enough voters. They need to know that geeks vote too.
What can you do?
- Why not join in with the Vote Geek community? There’s no better way to focus attention on digital democracy than to ask informed questions about it.
- Upload election leaflets at The Straight Choice to help create transparency over election tactics.