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01.26.14

Bringing The H Open/H-Online Articles Back Online Without Help From Heise

Posted in Free/Libre Software at 1:47 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

H Online

Summary: Glyn Moody is beginning to repost his articles from The H, but what about his colleagues, who have been far more prolific and frequent with their coverage there?

THOUSANDS of articles later and after years of valuable research for high-quality reporting, Heise stupidly decided to take it all offline, essentially deleting a huge amount of journalistic work with the simple flip of a switch. FOSS foes must have been cheerful, for a lot of the record about them and against them simply vanished overnight.

We have reached out to three of the regular writers at The H, including the chief editor. Two of them appear to have given up trying to restore the stories based on their reply to us (a a bit cryptic, as they don’t want to disparage Heise) and one of them, Glyn Moody, is now taking the matter into his own hands [1]. He will republish all the articles in his own blog, starting with this Linus Torvalds interview. Moody did not write many articles for The H; some people wrote literally thousands of articles. Will those be restored (published online)? We are still on the case, hoping to combat this gross deletionism by Heise (whose main site is sparingly promoting Apple and Microsoft these days, with two top-level sections for each).

“Stories should not cease to exist when they’re no longer “profitable” or when the proprietor does not agree with them (or is apathetic towards them).”More writers need to defend themselves (pro-actively) against this type of censorship. Recently, a lot of good FOSS sites vanished or came close to vanishing (the domain names were not renewed, whereupon all the stories became totally inaccessible). To name some examples, The Source and MonoNoNo are gone.

Some time later this week we are planning to join Tux Machines to our server, ensuring preservation of the entire site and continued updates too. No site can last forever (one day the Web too will cease to exist), but when copyright and control are left in the hands of writers, then at least for their lifetime’s span they are likely to keep the information publicly accessible in one form or another; anything else is a soft form of censorship and tyranny. Several years ago, after Microsoft had maliciously destroyed Yahoo, my first-ever Web site, a site set up when I was 15, was shut down along with Geocities. Those people don’t value information, they are only driven by greed. Stories should not cease to exist when they’re no longer “profitable” or when the proprietor does not agree with them (or is apathetic towards them).

Related/contextual items from the news:

  1. “The H Open” is Closed and Offline; Here’s What I Aim to Do…

    Long-time readers of this blog may recall that for some years I wrote for the UK Heise title “The H Open”. Sadly, that closed last year; even more sadly, Heise seems to have taken its archive off line. That raises all sorts of interesting questions about the preservation of digital knowledge, and the responsibility of publishers to keep titles that they have closed publicly accessible – not least to minimise link-rot.

    However, here I want to concentrate on the question of what I, personally, can do about this. After all, however minor my columns for The H Open were, they none the less form a part of the free software world’s history, however footling. Of course, I have back-up copies of all of my work, so the obvious thing to do is to post them here. I can do that, because I never surrendered the copyright, and they therefore remain mine to do with as I please.

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