☞ New Economy

☞ Boosters and Detractors 2.0

  • Congratulations to Georg Greve on being awarded a German knighthood for his contributions to software freedom.
  • “What’s remarkable about this entire episode is how decade-old web writings have been used against me in a blog-based smear campaign, which then, after another two years, successfully escalated into a mainstream news publication. This is an eye-opening example of how defamatory information can be spread – all going back to an anonymous smear letter distributed in 2008 – and how helpless and incompetent mainstream media can be when dealing with such challenges.”

☞ Daily Links

☞ Grow Roots In Season

What Does Not Kill Me Makes Me StrongerThere’s been a development in The Netherlands which you may have missed as it has been evolving. Sadly the XOOPS community has not prevailed in court against their former leader in the battle for control of their domain name and funds, losing soundly.

The reason? Despite a case that sounds reasonable, it turns out that they never built the governance structures into their community to ensure that, when the trust basis on which they were founded ended, the community was still run for the general good.

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♫ Saturday Hybrids

It’s Saturday, and we’re sitting around listening to the rich soundscape of the new Hybrid album Disappear Here (there’s a free track from it on Amazon UK). One thing led to another and now we’re listening to their latest dub set (the second one in the list below) on SoundCloud. Blissful.

☞ Fixing Government Procurement

  • The European Commission’s specialist open source unit, OSOR, has finally produced an official version of the procurement guidelines that Rishab Ghosh and colleagues worked on about three years ago.

    This is an important document that needs bringing to the attention of local, regional and national government across Europe (and beyond). It provides a possible answer to the key problem preventing implementation of the many policies that at best mandate and at least permit open source software in government applications. The problem has rarely been the political will; it has usually been that the procurement guidelines in place prevent use of open source.

    That’s a situation no government employee has wanted to fix because of the toxic power of suppliers who don’t want it fixed (just see what Microsoft did in Massachusetts). So we’ve had pro-open-source policies neutralised by the tired bureaucracy. But now procurement teams everywhere can now pick up this publication and use it. Problem solved!

More links: Continue reading

✍ Explaining Freedom

Geeks Vote Too logoWith two weeks to the UK parliamentary elections, digital liberty issues are still almost completely missing from the UK political debate, despite the fact there are so many of them. The political debate is anodyne and assumes its consumers – for consumption, not engagement, is the order of the day – wouldn’t understand that word. I looked through all the major party manifestos and found almost no mention of:

  • the Digital Economy Act and its consequences for WiFi availability and internet filtering,
  • the consequences of widespread data triangulation precipitated by surveillance,
  • the need for open data formats and not just “open data”,
  • the reasons why the publication of the ACTA draft doesn’t clear up many concerns despite the people behind it claiming there are no problems.

Continue reading

☞ White House Does Open Source

It was delightful to see yesterday that WhiteHouse.gov released open source code for its web site customisations. This is another landmark in the acceptance of open source as a mainstream artifact, and another blow to those trying to get the US Trade Representative to use the presence of open source as a DNA marker for badness in foreign governments.

While there are traces of positivity in the Conservative manifest around open source, I see nothing as strong in the UK as this practice-what-you-preach action by Obama’s administration. We need to ask the people knocking on our doors the next two weeks why they are ignoring digital liberty issues.

☞ Power of Change

  • It’s good to see press coverage starting to appear about ACTA – hopefully the release of the current draft today will get more comment flowing. The article notably only includes comment from trade lobbying bodies and not from individual companies. To effectively challenge ACTA, we need to help businesses understand how they will be disadvantaged by it – by the removal of common-carrier status from ISPs for example, or by the probability that an employee error could be the third strike that cuts off the company internet connection – and get their weight behind opposition.
    (tags: ACTA)
  • Article documenting the frustration felt by the OpenSolaris community because of the complete drying-up of the flow of information on the future of the project. There is a strong sense in which this is an episode of coming to terms with the new cultural norms of a new owner, although I’m beginning to also detect a change of strategy that will also feed concern from the highly invested community members who are already engaged. Turbulent times with more change to come.
  • Really excellent use of HTML5 to explain HTML5. Well worth the time just to get an idea of the power of HTML5.
  • The results from a research project exploring how YouTube detects copyright violations. As you’d expect, it makes no attempt whatever to flag potential fair use of works it detects. The result is a system that goes beyond US law, removing the freedom to use works in ways that creatively or critically reuse existing works and giving copyright holders rights that the law won’t.

☞ The Improbable

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