☞ Freedoms

  • It’s just two weeks away, get ready to join in!
  • Meshed WiFi in every Linux device? Yes please!
  • Listening to the “special interests” who worry about freedom of speech and breaking the Internet? Well, that makes you just as much a criminal as they are.

    Don Henley of The Eagles really does need to think more deeply about this and recognise that the 20th century’s music business winners are the problem that needs solving, not the solution that needs defending.

  • There’s a depressing ring of truth about this WSJ article. Hopefully it will turn out that there is indeed adult supervision at HP, but since the only corrective they appear to have taken is to reorganise the PR team, maybe not.

☞ Who’s On Your Side?

  • I’m not sure what offends me most about Google’s idiotic approach here; the patronising parochialism that says they are the arbiters of what a “real” name is and how it’s constructed, the heavy-handed use of Terms of Service to bully individuals, the disregard for the established privacy strategies of so many people or the “talk to the hand” strategy when it’s all questioned.
    Whichever it is, it’s offensive and I have no idea why the anonymous person who has decided to pick this fight and call in air-cover to protect them is being allowed to burn Google’s karma by being digital rednecks.
  • It’s no surprise to see proof that the USA was heavily engaged in diplomacy on behalf of one of its richest corporations, and the documents certainly have the ring of truth.
  • This new Ward Cunningham project looks both fascinating and brilliant. For those who were looking at what “innovation” might mean today, look here.

☆ The Social Media Chorale

Chatting with Jill earlier, I ended up watching this TED talk by composer Eric Whitacre:

Which led me to his Virtual Choir project, which I found exceptionally beautiful and moving:

and to this year’s Virtual Choir 2.0, which drew together an astounding pool of global talent:

I’m moved by both works, by the beauty of the music as well as by the grace of the gathering together of strangers to create that beauty. I think I’ll enjoy the CD that contains both works (I’ve ordered it from Amazon UK; also on Amazon US).

The Value Of Social Media

Both of those Virtual Choir videos are the product of social media, downloading and peer-to-peer systems. Groups of people have voluntarily contributed their own voice and performance to collectively create a larger work beyond the scope of any one – or even any group – of them locally. When legislators lash out blindly at “social media” or “downloading” it harms not just the underclass they are briefed by lobbyists to envisage but also the creative energy of a meshed global society.

We saw during the London riots that social media was the vehicle for the expression of cohesiveness and contribution as well as for frustration and destructiveness. Here we see social media as the vehicle for creativity and beauty in an area we are being told it’s only used to “steal” and damage.

The truth is that tools are amoral (which does not automatically imply immoral), producing whatever the hands that hold them intend. We already have plenty of laws in our society which deal with malicious intent. I remain unconvinced we need new laws to deal with its modern expressions through new technology.  We need to tell our political representatives that banning social media, downloading, peer-to-peer and other technologies because they have only heard about the bad uses is wrong.

⚡ UK Public Holiday Monday

Just in case you’re not aware, the UK* has its end-of-the-summer public holiday tomorrow so none of your UK contacts will be at work (unless they’re hiding out in the office to avoid something…)  See you Tuesday!

*Except Scotland, who do things differently

☝ The Entrepreneur’s Dilemma

Following on from my Road To (Software) Freedom posting, I’ve written today about why I think the need for contributor agreements is a matter of choice and not necessity for a software business today. It’s over on ComputerWorldUK.

☞ Classifications

☞ Clarion Call

  • Stallman is right to call the alarm on unitary patents. We need to resume the defence of the barricades against the pro-patent lobby. It’s worth noting, however, that the reason the pro-patent lobby pulled the plug last time (as Stallman says) was not because of the street protests themselves but becuase of the targeted lobbying they permitted. Now would be a great time to consider a donation to the Open Rights Group or FSFE to make sure there will be people in a position to do that direct engagement with legislators this time round; the people who did it last time are no longer available.
  • Nokia’s journey to open source seems to have run off the road at stage 3. This bit of history from Bradley is worth reading.
  • The Document Foundation and LibreOffice take their next step forward. I’m pleased to be able to contribute in a small way by serving as the Elections Officer so that all the other leaders there are free to stand for election.
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