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12.29.19

2019 Was a Strong Year for Techrights

Posted in Site News at 9:57 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

The President of FFII has helped activism against software patents in Europe. He speaks at CCC in two hours.

FFII activism

Summary: Alliances with sites and a relationship of trust with various sources have helped us produce important stories throughout this year

THE Web site Techrights bears a motto/byline inspired or suggested by Richard Stallman almost a decade ago. “Free Software Sentry – watching and reporting maneuvers of those threatened by software freedom” it says. Stallman was inspired by a publication of Jehovah’s Witnesses if I still remember this correctly (the term “Sentry” in particular). Techrights basically watches and reports on threats to software freedom and if that freedom is under attack, then it’s only likely that interest will grow. Techrights is of course cheering for freedom (and for rights; it’s even in the site’s name), but when things go awry we try to be objective about it. We remain honest and totally upfront. We don’t ‘perfume’ things. There’s no point if this reduces trust, which is our core asset other than independence (nobody can phone us and successfully threaten us into censoring a story).

“In the earlier days of this site the articles were put together a lot more quickly and they lacked depth.”The number of people involved in Techrights — both publicly and behind the scenes — is much greater than it has ever been. People contribute not only stories but also code and other input. We generally do investigations and we carefully conduct research that can take many hours. We break (as in exclusively cover) many stories and we try to give a voice to unique angles; that’s the priority right now; it’s about quality and accuracy, not quantity. In the earlier days of this site the articles were put together a lot more quickly and they lacked depth. But we’re improving over time. Sources increase in number; not only European Patent Office (EPO) sources but also Microsoft sources. Without their leaks and tips we’d have not much to report that’s actually new and unique.

“Without their leaks and tips we’d have not much to report that’s actually new and unique.”Our IRC channels are growing and improving. Around Christmastime we improved their public presentation (as in published logs) and we’re still working on that. We’re tweaking things with the aim of making our operations easier to watch, follow, and participate in. We’re as welcoming as ever, we’re still boasting a 100% source protection record, and we’re well connected to sites with shared goals, broadening our reach and the ability to produce stories, campaigns etc. In a few hours from now the President of FFII will give a CCC talk about UPC and software patents.

We’re very conscious of the dangers (or risk) associated with smear/whisper campaigns, including ridiculous ad hominem attacks that go something along the lines of, “I ignore what this site says because I dislike the font or the colours or [enter something about Russia!]”

“In a few hours from now the President of FFII will give a CCC talk about UPC and software patents.”People who are dismissive of things we publish need to put together an argument of substance, not personal insults. Thankfully, we barely ever see complaints of substance about things we publish. The most ludicrous and outlandish smears we saw this year insinuated that we’re somehow “like Trump” — a claim so easily refuted by anything we publish every single day.

A couple of days ago we set up our self-hosted Git server, which we might very soon make public.

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