☝ Crowdsource is not open source

I’ve heard a few conversations in the last week treating open source interchangeably with crowdsourcing. Despite sounding the same they are very different, and the key difference is the ownership of the outcome. Open source is not the same as crowdsourcing because open source community members are stakeholders whereas crowdsourcers get less than sharecroppers.

Read on at ComputerWorldUK

☞ Hidden Motives

  • Michael Geist shrewdly observes that, far from being the exclusive domain of military diplomacy as might be deduced from coverage, the Wikileaks diplomatic cables uncover the fact that huge numbers of “intellectual property” issues are involved. Many of us have known for a long time that the US acts on behalf of its biggest companies in advancing a restrictive global copyright, patent and trademark regime, and we may well be about to see just how often they bully other countries over strictly commercial matters.
  • Looks like a great way to ensure you receive an “enhanced pat-down” from humourless, over-empowered, unaccountable and underpaid security people who don’t see any kind of joke no matter how cool you think it is.

☞ For Your Safety

  • With WikiLeaks back in the news, this story from 2009 is more relevant than ever. Having rendered WikiLeaks “illegal” last year, it’s now easy to target it without causing a stir. Banning links is simply pointless as it’s easily circumvented and inapplicable outside their jurisdiction. Once someone makes that clear, the next step could be to criminalise clicking on links to banned sites (perhaps as part of the proposed ISP filtering), at which point we’ve got to “thought police” living. This is the web equivalent of “security theatre” and it’s to be despised anywhere it shows up.
  • Excellent article by Bruce Schneier sets the benchmark for any future discussion and clearly identifies the problem as politicians and civil servants covering their backsides instead of making people as safe as possible.
  • The product is amazingly ridiculous, but the “customer reviews” have become a creative writing contest without peer.
  • Very reasonable and balanced commentary from Mark Wielaard calls for the licence terms surrounding JDK7 and 8 to be reconsidered in the light of the need for open source communities to be able to freely work with the specifications.

☞ Science and Sensibility

☞ Tracking Change

  • Lengthy and favourable review of the 451 report on “Control and Community” (which they have very kindly sent to me as well). I agree with Henrik that it’s an excellent report.
  • While this may indeed be a nasty case of synchronicity, the incident serves to prove how ridiculous it is for software implementation in an era of open source and open standards to be patentableThe sooner software patents are put beyond use of any corporation, the better.

☞ Difference of Opinion

  • Henrik Ingo has been a key persuader in the emergence of MariaDB, Monty Program AB and the Open Database Alliance from the consequences of the takeovers of MySQL, so his departure is a big symbolic blow. All the more so because his stated reason for leaving is that MariaDB is apparently not being run in a way that respects the ownership of the trademark. I’m sure there’s more to be understood here, so I am waiting to read it before saying more myself – talking with Monty directly suggests there’s no new news and contact with Henrik actually backs that up to a degree.

☞ Working The System

  • After an unpleasant wake-up call (caused, I am assured, by an administrative error) where their whole community resource was shut down for a week or more without warning, recourse or an end-date, the Hudson community has “rehosted and carried on” independently of Oracle. Yes, I am aware that the java.net migration was expected; but the Hudson move wasn’t, yet.
  • Of interest mainly to UK readers, there’s a campaign in progress to rig the pop charts again this Christmas and once again disrupt the crass self-enrichment of the modern pop svengalis. They were so full of self-righteous indignation last year they missed the whole point, accusing rage Against The Machine instead of seeing how the campaign was critical of their formulaic exploitation of the TV-drugged masses. So this year the Christmas Number One is John Cage’s 4′ 33″ – let’s vote for a Silent Night this year!
  • Prompted by concerns like the ones I expressed, Novell has issued a statement confirming that they will retain the UNIX copyrights they own.
  • The Guardian has an award for open source activity this year. Pity there’s an entry fee, since that clearly excludes non-commercial open source innovations, but at least it’s a start.
  • If you’re using FireFox, there’s really no reason not to install this plug-in by the Electronic Frontier Foundation. It makes sure all your connections to social media sites (and more) are secure, preventing the sort of privacy intrusion FireSheep enables.
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