☞ Long Live The Web

  • Important article from Tim Berners-Lee that needs to be brought to the attention of legislators globally. Key quote:

    Given the many ways the Web is crucial to our lives and our work, disconnection is a form of deprivation of liberty. Looking back to the Magna Carta, we should perhaps now affirm: “No person or organization shall be deprived of the ability to connect to others without due process of law and the presumption of innocence.”

  • Looks like they plan to run SuSE as a business unit. The acquisition is partly facilitated by selling unidentified assets to Microsoft. Hopefully that won’t mean the UNIX copyrights, if SuSE is still a going concern – maybe it means WordPerfect, which would be a logical conclusion to the long-running legal fights between Microsoft and Novell.

☂ O Artigo “Tipos de Comunidades” Agora Disponível em Português

O artigo “Tipos de Comunidades” está agora disponível traduzido para o Português na seção Essays. Muito obrigado a Ana Whitby por doar seu tempo.

☞ Effective Authentication

  • Interesting proposal for a lightweight mechanism for authenticated personal identity on the internet using existing web mechanisms.
  • “Does the TSA Ever Catch Terrorists? If they do, for some reason they won’t admit it.”

☞ Hidden Purposes

  • I’ll believe it when I see it. The whole point of outsourcing in government contexts (and not just IT – think of military security in Iraq) is to push the dirty business of actually getting things done behind a contractual firewall where they can safely shelter under the cover of “commercially sensitive” and avoid being questioned.
  • “The war on terror is over. We lost.” — the weak-minded direct-causal thinking that’s driven the west’s entire response to the educated, layered and cunning strategy Bin Laden has been executing to destroy non-Islamic society has indeed led to the result Bin Laden wanted, as fear has overwhelmed justice and justice has overwhelmed mercy.

☂ Artigos em Português

Iniciando um esforço de disponibilizar o conteúdo dos artigos do Webmink em outras línguas, começamos hoje a postar as traduções para Português Brasileiro. O primeiro artigo, Liberdade de Software Significa Benefícios para as Empresas já está disponível.

Em breve, outros artigos serão disponibilizados!

☝ Private Agreements Harm Communities

I pointed yesterday to an interesting comment about contributor agreements attached to a report about Michael Meeks speech a LPC. Another comment to the same article by Meeks himself casts light on another, much more serious issue for open source communities; bilateral agreements.

Read on at ComputerWorldUK.

☂ Essays Now Creative Commons Licensed

I had a request on Identica to make one of my essays available under a Creative Commons licence so it could be translated. I thought that was such a good idea I’ve now applied a Creative Commons licence to the whole Essays section. I’d welcome any translations and will gladly post them alongside the originals with attribution.

Sharp-eyed free-culture mavens will note I have used CC-BY-SA-NC. I’m actually perfectly happy for commercial uses, but past bad experience with a certain commercial user exploiting my work in a way I regarded as unethical have left me wanting to check each commercial use in advance. It’s entirely possible I can be talked out of this, but the distaste for that episode remains strong.

☝ Contributor Agreements Say You’re Not Welcome

The conversation around LWN’s coverage of Michael Meeks’ talk at the Linux Plumbers Conference (sadly paywalled until now but available today and worth reading all the way through) provoked interesting comments. The subject of the discussion is LibreOffice and the code ownership issues which provoked the fork. But what caught my eye was a comment from Josh Berkus describing his consulting experiences.

Read on over at ComputerWorldUK.

☞ Policy Issues

  • They should certainly budget to obtain service and ensure they pay the companies and people that make the software upon which they depend, whether they need support or not. If they don’t, it might not get updated again. And I like the idea of budgeting a minimum amount for this. But I’m not so sure abstract “giving to the community” is a good idea. Experience shows that a community selectively paying community members to participate demotivates everyone else.
  • Another valuable EFF action, this time protecting “safe harbour” for service providers. Robust legal protection for common-carrier-status is a vital part of enabling innovation and growth.
  • The most important aspect of this is that India requires royalty-free (and not RAND) licensing for patents in standards.

☝ RAND: Not So Reasonable

Fair, Reasonable, Non-Discriminatory – surely that all has to be good stuff?  RAND sounds so good. It shows up in the negotiation of licenses for patents that apply to standards, and it stands for “Reasonable And Non-Discriminatory“, excellent words that it’s hard to criticise. Sometimes it shows up as FRAND, with “Fair” in front making it sound even better, or as RAND-z, with the Z indicating that whatever the license terms are they will have a zero pounds price ticket attached.

Great though it all sounds, it has sinister consequences. Read more on ComputerWorldUK

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