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03.26.14

Public Services in Europe Are Increasingly Free Software-Based

Posted in Free/Libre Software at 4:23 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Seagulls

Summary: News about European public sector bodies which are embracing Free software, open standards, and sometimes even GNU/Linux

EUROPE is changing. Some governments have already moved to GNU/Linux (on the desktops, not just the servers) and based on some news from the Canary Islands [1,2] and elsewhere in Europe [3], it is becoming common for public-facing systems to be Free software. Owing to Edward Snowden’s leaks, even the European Parliament may soon move to GNU/Linux [4], following baby steps of local governments and national governments [5] (yes, even the British government is slowly moving towards Free software). We are going through a phase where Free software isn’t just departing from “underdog” status; it is growing to be “dominant”. All that proprietary software giants like Microsoft can do now is sue, lie, blackmail, and bribe. But that too is a failed strategy as it leads to more backlash than benefit.

Microsoft is starting to look like a small/rookie shop that’s delivering/shipping just dozens of products out to individual clients. It’s close to the truth and Microsoft therefore makes simple errors (which mass production is robust to). Remember the type of KIN issues that buyers reported (reportedly just hundreds of buyers existed)? Well, Microsoft can’t even ship products with the correct processor. Yes, it has to be read to be believed. Tablets from Microsoft are a niche market so small that wrong processors are being put inside them! It’s worse than incompetence and in a sense it’s hilarious.

Microsoft is in a state of disarray/mess with many managers leaving, no central coordination, and instead just litigation, FUD campaigns like “Scroogled”, and perhaps even GNU/Linux security FUD campaigns, motivated by looming mass migrations to GNU/Linux, e.g. in highly security-sensitive areas.

Based on inside knowledge, some British businesses and parts of the public sector are quietly moving to GNU/Linux, even on the desktops. Microsoft must already be aware of that because it is reading people's private E-mails.

Related/contextual items from the news:

  1. Canary Islands make Postgres default database

    Postgresql, an open source relational database management system, is now the default RDBMS for Spain’s Canary Islands, it was decided last Friday. Public administrations on the islands will also switch to OpenOffice, an open source suite of office productivity tools. Moving away from proprietary software solutions is in the public administration’s interest, the Canary Islands government’s High Commission for Information Technology explained in a statement.

  2. Canary Islands Goes Free

    The GNU Public Licence and variations cover a lot of FLOSS, like GNU/Linux operating systems. Then there is the database, PostgreSQL. It comes with its own FLOSS licence, allowing, “Permission to use, copy, modify, and distribute this software and its documentation for any purpose, without fee, and without a written agreement is hereby granted, provided that the above copyright notice and this paragraph and the following two paragraphs appear in all copies.” Piece of cake, eh? This is the way to do IT.

  3. Open source gets ‘major role in Future Internet’

    Open source software solutions will play a major role in Internet development research projects that are funded by the European Commission, says Federico Facca a computer scientist involved in the EC’s XIFI project, preparing large-scale test infrastructures for a next generation Internet and smart-cities. “XIFI is committed to open source.”

  4. The Trials and Tribulations of Secure Free Software for the European Parliament

    After months of hearing about their own vulnerability at the hands of intelligence agencies like the NSA and GCHQ, next Wednesday, European Parliamentarians and their staff will have an opportunity to learn about defending Internet communications using strong encryption and trusted hardware and software. Unfortunately, unless the Parliament’s own IT department shifts ground, it will be a theoretical discussion, rather than the practical first steps to a secure European Parliament that its organizers had hoped.

    DebianParl is a version of the popular free software Linux distribution Debian, intended for use in parliaments around the world. It is intended to be bundled with tools to deal with tracking legislation, manage constituent correspondence, and most importantly allow lawmakers to use strong encryption to communicate securely with each other and with external parties.

  5. Should Governments switch to open source?

    Two months ago, the UK Government revealed that some £200 million (US$ 300 million) has been spent on Microsoft’s Office suite alone since 2010. Cabinet Minister Francis Maude believes this figure could have been significantly reduced by switching to open source software.

03.25.14

As Mozilla CEO, Brendan Eich Can Put an End to Mono and Intrusive Ads in Firefox

Posted in Free/Libre Software at 2:32 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

He can also bring back Thunderbird and bake encryption into it

Brendan Eich
Photo by Darcy Padilla

Summary: Mozilla has new leadership — one that can change course and keep the most popular Mozilla projects focused on what really matters

MOZILLA has a new CEO [1,2], who is a very technical guy that cares about the values of Free software. One FOSS proponent/journalist explained “Why Mozilla’s Brendan Eich Is the Right Choice for CEO” [3], but other journalists, who are not so familiar with the area (this one does not know that Android has Linux in it) try to start distracting conversations because Mr. Eich, like many Free software people, is opinionated and is exercising free speech [4] (a common vector for demonising people like Stallman, by littering their profile with irrelevant non-technical stances). The real issues we have right now are not the semi-political/idealogical views of staff like Eich but things like privacy issues in future versions of Firefox, Mono creeping into Firefox (more on that in last week’s news [5,6]. Mind the fact that Unity is infected by Mono, as noted before, and it does not work properly under GNU/Linux [7]), and security issues which all browsers [8,9], especially under Windows, habitually have (Chrome is no exception but it’s patched very quickly [10]). As Firefox 28 is released and Firefox 29 starts being worked on [11-16] we get to discover that Firefox can become a gaming platform with Unreal Engine, not requiring Mono at all [17]. This is the direction Mozilla should aim for. In addition, Mozilla ought to resume Thunderbird development and make encryption part of the core, especially now that NSA and GCHQ are exposed as serious, international privacy offenders. Back in the days when Mozilla tried to reason about abandoning Thunderbird development its chief said that people were heading toward what we now know to be PRISM, including corporate surveillance like Microsoft's. People should self-host and encrypt, but they could use Mozilla to make it user-friendly and quick.

Related/contextual items from the news:

  1. Mozilla hires new CEO who will focus on Firefox OS

    Mozilla, the company behind the popular Firefox Web browser, has been searching for a new CEO since Gary Kovacs, who came on-board in 2010, decided to leave almost a year ago. Mozilla has finally picked a new leader, former CTO Brendan Eich. With him comes change. Mozilla’s job number one will not be its Web browser, but its mobile operating system: Firefox OS.

  2. JavaScript Guru Brendan Eich Takes the Reins at Mozilla
  3. Why Mozilla’s Brendan Eich Is the Right Choice for CEO

    Today, Mozilla officially announced that Brendan Eich will be the new CEO of the open-source organization that produces the Firefox Web browser and the FirefoxOS mobile operating system. Eich is no stranger to the world of Mozilla; he’s been with Mozilla since its inception at Netscape. Eich is also famous for being the inventor of the JavaScript programming language.

  4. New Mozilla CEO is allegedly anti-gay marriage — Firefox developers boycott
  5. Mozilla Working To Port Unity Game Engine For The Web
  6. Mozilla and Unity Take Unity Game Engine to WebGL
  7. Unity 5 Announced With WebGL Exporting, Will They Fix Linux Mouse Woes?
  8. Mozilla Patches Firefox 28 Pwn2Own Flaws, Adds Gamepad API Support
  9. Mozilla patches 20 Firefox flaws, plugs Pwn2Own holes
  10. Chrome OS security holes found, patched

    Linux is very secure. Google’s Linux-based Chrome OS, with its auto-updating and security sandboxing, is even more secure. But, neither is perfect. At Google’s own Pwnium hacking contest and HP Zero Day Initiative’s (ZDI) annual Pwn2Own hacking contest, three new sets of security problems were found in Chrome OS… and then immediately patched.

  11. Firefox 29 to Get New Look, Improved Browser Synchronization
  12. Mozilla is testing out a revamped look, syncing, and more with the Firefox 29 beta
  13. Mozilla updates Firefox Beta for version 29; brings revamped Firefox Sync, customization mode
  14. Mozilla releases Firefox 29 beta for Mac, Windows, Linux and Android
  15. Firefox 28 released: Windows 8 Metro version removed at the last moment because it only had 1,000 users

    Firefox 28 for Windows, Mac, Linux, and Android has been released.

  16. Firefox 28 arrives with VP9 video decoding, Web notifications on OS X, HTML5 video and audio volume controls

    Mozilla today officially launched Firefox 28 for Windows, Mac, Linux, and Android. Additions include VP9 video decoding, Web notifications on OS X, and volume controls for HTML5 video and audio.

  17. Firefox Becomes Gaming Platform With Unreal Engine Support

    You’ll soon be able to stream and play highly realistic three-dimensional video games from within the Mozilla Firefox browser. Mozilla recently announced that the most recent version of its Firefox browser can run games developed with the Unreal Engine by Epic Games, which forms the backbone of many major 3D video games.

03.24.14

Business Software Alliance (BSA) Should Snitch on Itself for So-called ‘Piracy’

Posted in Free/Libre Software at 3:32 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Maze of proprietary licences

License wall

Summary: The BSA helps prove that using proprietary licences is a dumb idea, for even the BSA is not obeying proprietary licences

THE Business Software Alliance (BSA) is a lobbyist against Free software, not just an aggressive enforcer of unethical licences. We wrote quite a lot about the evil actions of the BSA. We have done so for almost a decade (Techrights turns 8 later this year) and focused on its lobbying for software patents, against Free software policies, etc.

“Watch the BSA getting into a mess by illegally (blatant infringement) using a photo and getting caught.”Mr. Pogson explains why he rejected proprietary software when he was a teacher. “I needed to keep track of “stickers” and OS versions when all I wanted to do was use IT in education,” he says. “Is that too much to ask? Then there was the malware. We had to put up with that and pay (blood, sweat, tears, my time) for re-imaging systems every week. The EULA? It wanted to forbid networking of our PCs without a licence for a server…”

Pogson cites this bit of news that says “Microsoft is pledging dramatic improvements to its notoriously complex enterprise licensing, but experts are skeptical about the potential impact of the plan.”

This must be a response to migrations to Free software. It is a lot easier (let alone safer) to procure and manage Free software. The BSA promotes the idea that Free software is somehow “dirty” or “illegal”, but it couldn’t be further from the truth. The opposite is true.

Watch the BSA getting into a mess by illegally (blatant infringement) using a photo and getting caught [1,2]. The headlines say it all: “BSA Caught Using Infringing Image For Its ‘Snitch’ On Your Colleagues Anti-Piracy Campaign” and “Busted: BSA Steals Photo For “Snitch On a Pirate” Campaign” (published today).

Next time, perhaps but quite improbably, the BSA should use non-proprietary stocks of images. Nobody should ever accept draconian licences in the first place, The BSA proves this rather well itself.

Related/contextual items from the news:

  1. Busted: BSA Steals Photo For “Snitch On a Pirate” Campaign

    The Business Software Alliance, a trade group representing Adobe, Apple and Microsoft, has been caught using a “stolen” photo in one of their anti-piracy campaigns. The group is running various Facebook ads to convince people to snitch on pirates, but this effort has backfired terribly.

  2. BSA Caught Using Infringing Image For Its ‘Snitch’ On Your Colleagues Anti-Piracy Campaign

    For many years, we’ve written about the Business Software Alliance’s (BSA) ridiculous snitch program. This is where the organization (which represents a bunch of software companies, but more or less takes its orders from Microsoft, Adobe, Apple and Autodesk) promises to give people large cash rewards for snitching on friends and colleagues who happen to be using unlicensed software. The BSA insists that this is one of their best tools — which they then use to raid small companies for questionable “audits” that often completely destroy those businesses. The BSA forces those companies to pay huge sums of money — all of which the BSA keeps. As for the claims of big rewards for snitches, the BSA is incredibly misleading on that front. A few years back, they started promising “up to $1 million” for snitching. In exchange, we promised “up to $1 million” if anyone could show the BSA actually paying out $1 million. Someone looking into the BSA’s payments found that the highest they’d paid out to snitches at the time was around $5,000 with many getting less than that. In other words, the BSA has never had much of a reputation for intellectual honesty.

Microsoft Says It Will Reward ‘Open Source’ Code That Helps Microsoft Sell Proprietary Software

Posted in Deception, Free/Libre Software, Microsoft at 3:35 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Microsoft behind the mask

Gas mask

Summary: Microsoft’s disdain and intolerance of software freedom continues to be shown, but one must look behind the mask of spin and rhetoric

THE SHAM which is Microsoft “open source”, notably projects that help proprietary software but are described as “open source” (Microsoft’s code hosting sites are notorious for that), continues to exist but not to thrive. We hardly hear about those things anymore (they don’t make the press as much as they used to). We are talking about projects that are portrayed as “open” but actually require .NET, Microsoft SQL Server, or something along those lines. iophk calls it “poisoning the wells,” alluding to the fact that such projects really help dilute the term “Open Source”.

According to this new article, Microsoft takes its deceptive strategy further. The author asks: “Is Microsoft really just still saying that the only valuable open source is that which extends Microsoft products in its own view?”

Yes, indeed.

Adrian Bridgwater writes something to that effect as well. The headline is “Microsoft: open source developers not yet fully recognised by Microsoft MVP Programme,” but this is not true.

Consider Microsoft MVP Miguel de Icaza, who created Mono for Microsoft API infection in FOSS. His company is rumoured to be in the process of becoming part of Microsoft and he was a Microsoft MVP.

“The Microsoft spinner wants to pretend that Microsoft is a friend of Free/Open Source software even though Microsoft is still actively attacking Free/Open Source software.”Looking at where this spin originally came from, it it that annoying Microsoft revisionist Scott Hanselman. The Microsoft spinner wants to pretend that Microsoft is a friend of Free/Open Source software even though Microsoft is still actively attacking Free/Open Source software.

Speaking of the spin, watch how ex-Microsoft manager Neela Jacques frames Open Source as “Collaborative Development”. This is familiar spin that we saw coming from Microsoft itself, reducing Freedom and even Openness to just “Collaboration” or “Choice”. Neela Jacques also frames this as “Freedom from Vendors”, which is a little similar to the “Choice” line. Those who are accustomed to hearing Stallman’s views on Freedom (here is how he put them last month on television) will pick this up easily. Neela Jacques writes: “Do you want free software or do you want supported, enterprise grade software? Many people think that’s the question. It’s not.”

He does not mean Free/libre software, he means gratis software. Sadly, the Linux Foundation put this man in charge. He does not grasp freedom.

“Microsoft hates freedom. It’s not in its business model and not in its ‘DNA’.”Now, let’s look at another new example from Nokia and Microsoft, which are pretending to be embracing Free software through Android but are actually turning it into proprietary surveillance that people can foolishly install to replace Free software with lesser privacy violations. Nokia and Microsoft are trying to make this the norm now [1] and yesterday we saw Microsoft unleashing yet more FUD about Android (the ‘security’ FUD flavour) along with Indiana University, showing of course that Microsoft does not care about Android, except the turning of Android into proprietary Microsoft system (with Microsoft blobs) and patent shakedown against Android vendors.

Do not believe for even one second that Microsoft likes or is willing to change for Free software. Microsoft hates freedom. It’s not in its business model and not in its ‘DNA’. Microsoft’s co-founder Bill Gates makes it clear repeatedly and consistently when he misrepresents and demonises Free software, as he first did back in the 70s, moving us from a world of Free software into a world dominated by proprietary (especially in the 90s).

Related/contextual items from the news:

  1. Nokia tries to lure Android porters with free Nokia X mobes

    Nokia has started encouraging Android developers to support its Nokia X platform. The phones, primarily aimed at developing markets, run a highly customised version of Android and to ensure compatibility Nokia has wound up its developer outreach programme.

Oracle Releases Java 8 and VirtualBox 4.3.8

Posted in Free/Libre Software, Office Suites, Oracle at 2:55 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

The few Sun projects that Oracle did not burn in a fire

3 matches

Summary: New releases of Free software from Oracle help show that the company did not totally neglect Free software

ORACLE really dropped the ball when it comes to Free software. It not only neglected great projects like OpenOffice.org but it also sued Google, liaised with Microsoft on numerous occasions, and generally became the bad guy on the block. Some former Sun staff took advantage of this [1], but it seems as though Oracle did not totally neglect every single Free software project that it had inherited from Sun. Java 8, for example, has just been officially released [2,3] and VirtualBox, one of people’s favourite desktop virtualisation systems (especially on GNU/Linux), continues to be maintained by Oracle [4]. Imagine what the world would be like if Oracle promoted ODF, maintained all of Sun’s Free software projects and perhaps liberated some of its own proprietary software products.

Related/contextual items from the news:

  1. Open source venture that’s profited from Oracle’s actions

    Among the latter group is ForgeRock, an open-source identity and access management company, which was founded in 2010 with very little seed capital. The founders were all part of Sun’s extended community and they decided to focus on Sun’s identity and access management products. One of the four co-founders of Sun, Scott McNealy, is also involved in ForgeRock.

  2. Java 8 Officially Released, Modularity Still a Concern

    Oracle today officially released Java 8, ushering in a new era of development capabilities for the standard-bearer of enterprise IT software platforms. The path to Java 8 has been a long one for Oracle, dating back to at least 2010, when the Java Community Process (JCP) voted in favor of JSR-337, the specification for Java 8.

  3. Reality check: Java 8 finally catches a multi-core break

    Java 8 is important because it’s the base spec for Java Enterprise Edition, as well as feeding the free and open-source implementation of OpenJDK loved by open-sourcers like Red Hat.

  4. VirtualBox 4.3.8 Officially Released with Support for X.Org Server 1.15

    After a couple of development versions, the brand new VirtualBox 4.3.8 release reached the stable channel, replacing the old 4.3.6 version, for which it fixes numerous bugs reported by the community. In addition, it adds many new features and improvements that should have been implemented a long time ago.

03.20.14

The NHS Stockholm Syndrome: Microsoft Receives More Public Money for Abandoning Windows XP Users

Posted in Europe, Free/Libre Software, Microsoft, Windows at 12:23 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: Whitehall (UK) is giving taxpayers’ money to Microsoft, for software that is not even supported anymore; elsewhere in the world migrations to Free software (in the public sector) are happening

The British NHS is reportedly paying Microsoft for Windows XP rather than abandon it and move to GNU/Linux. This makes absolutely no sense.

“The Department of Health and Microsoft are thrashing out a one-year support deal for tens of thousands of NHS PCs running Windows XP,” says the British press. Likewise, based on some reports, banks which still use Windows XP pay Microsoft some more. As a refresher: “On April 8th 2014, Microsoft will no longer be providing those updates, leaving your and my ATM at the bank far more vulnerable than it was in the past. The software was originally installed in 2001.”

There is absolutely no excuse for this. In my daytime job we are moving people away from Windows and XP and into GNU/Linux. It is not too hard, it just takes adaptation and tolerance of change.

According to this new report [1], Vietnam has already begun a migration to Free software, but as we showed before, reasons for slowdown are more to do with malicious Microsoft intervention, not practical/technical barriers. There are similar stories from the United States this week [2,3], even from India [4] and Egypt [5]. Here in Europe it was reported this morning that “European Parliament covets restart Linux pilot” [6] and it is not an isolated report of Free software adoption in Europe [7,8]. Even here in the UK there are reports which suggest a move to Free software is inevitable [9,10,11], in collaboration with political allies. Next week we are going to give an update on Britain’s new ODF- and Free software-friendly policy, which is being ignored by Whitehall on the face of it (based on today’s news report).

Related/contextual items from the news:

  1. Vietnam fails to develop open source software for state agencies

    According to Vu Duy Loi, Director of the Communist Party Central Committee Office’s Informatics Center, in 2004-2005, the office joined forces with Netnam and CMC to utilize open source software for the computer network within the Party’s agencies.

    To date, this remains the largest system utilizing open source software in Vietnam.

    In 2006, the open source software on document management was developed and experimented successfully.

    However, the product has never been put into use because of many reasons, including the lack of the technical maintenance staff.

    “Five or ten years ago, utilizing open source software at state agencies was an impossible mission because there were not enough favorable conditions,” Loi said when explaining the failure of the project on cooperating with IT firms to develop open source software.

  2. US politics going open source on GitHub

    That’s only what you’d expect. The 28-year-old Cole spent years as a software developer before announcing this spring that he was running for Congress from his home district in New Jersey. When we spoke to him last week about his campaign, he downplayed his experience in the coding world, but today, that experience came shining through when Cole released his political platform on the popular software development site GitHub.

  3. Your U.S. government uses open source software, and loves it

    Writing the words “government” and “open source“ in the same sentence feels inherently wrong, almost as if lying. Recent talk of the NSA, Edward Snowden, and PRISM doesn’t make the government seem any more “open”. The government carries the stigma as being on of the least “open” things in the world. If you’re a fan of House of Cards on Netflix, you understand just how “not open” the government is perceived to be. Yet contrary to popular belief, the government is using open source as a tool to improve agencies on the back-end and save tax dollars.

  4. TN state departments asked to switch over to open source software

    With the Microsoft Corporation deciding to stop technical assistance for Windows XP operating system next month, the Tamil Nadu government has advised all its departments to install free open source software BOSS Linux.

    “Consider installing BOSS [Bharat Operating System Solutions] Linux as one of the mandatory operating system,” said an order issued by Information Technology Department. Listing various aspects in support of the software developed by the Centre for Development of Advanced Computing (C-DAC), the order said BOSS Linux, by virtue of being open source software, can be modified to specific needs.

  5. Ministry of Communication adopts open source software strategy

    Developing the Open Source Software industry in Egypt will help in achieving an independent technology, providing space for new businesses and benefiting both public and private ICT consumers, Helmy said.

  6. European Parliament covets restart Linux pilot

    The European Parliament wants its IT department to rehabilitate its Linux desktop pilot. On Tuesday, the EP’s committee on budgetary control accepted a request by MEPs Bart Staes and Amelia Andersdotter to dust off the Linux desktop, which had been shelved in 2012. In their amendment, the MEPs write they regret that the Linux distribution was never promoted among those in the parliament “who would have had an interest in such a project”.

  7. Open source introduces Polish schools to ICT

    Schools across Poland are being approached to use open source to introduce students to ICT and software development, and to build on the success of a three-year pilot involving over 300 school children and 60 teachers. The Polish free software advocacy group FWIOO (Fundacja Wolnego i Otwartego Oprogramowania) is contacting new schools, to interest them in the “Ubuntu School Remix”, a tailored version of the Ubuntu Linux distribution and other tangible results of the pilot, such as teaching scenario’s and practical teaching aids.

  8. South Tyrol to increase use of free software

    The government of the South Tyrol province in Italy will increasingly turn to ICT solutions based on free and open source, Governer Arno Kompatscher announced on Tuesday. The province will use this type of software “where possible”, and expects the move to save about a million euro per year.

  9. Israel and UK deepen digital, open source relationship

    Israel and the UK recently furthered their digital relationship, with officials from the two countries last week signing a memorandum of understanding (MoU) on digital government.

  10. UK and Israel partner on digital government development

    The UK and Israel have signed an agreement that will see the two countries work together on development of digital services within government.

    The memorandum of understanding was signed by UK government chief technology officer, Liam Maxwell, and Harel Locker, director-general of the Israeli Prime Minister’s office, and underlines a commitment to exchange ideas on the use of open standards and open source technologies.

  11. UK, Israel sign agreement on open standards, open source

    UK and Israel have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) which will see greater collaboration to improve digital public services in the two countries.

03.19.14

Reforming Copyrights and Challenging Copyrights Stigma With Free/Libre Software

Posted in Free/Libre Software, Intellectual Monopoly at 4:27 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Freedom revolutionises not only software

Revolution OS

Summary: How the “Revolution OS” (GNU/Linux) and Free software in general help change perceptions around copyrights

LAST NIGHT when watching “Revolution OS” (again) I was reminded of the connection between software freedom and copyrights, more so than patents. In fact, the movie hardly mentions patents at all. This movie, which is in principle copyrighted and is not free to watch, remains on Google’s YouTube. There was no takedown request on the face of it — probably a conscious decision in fact from the makers of a movie that’s centred around Richard Stallman and the FSF’s role, with big mentions (but not too big) of Linux. If it wasn’t immediately available on YouTube, my wife and I would not have watched it. This is one of those cases where copyright maximalism proves to be counter-productive. Permissive copyright policy leads to free publicity and it helps reaching those who have pricing and availability issues (official link for ordering the DVD). The Internet has changed many things, so laws need to adapt accordingly — according to people’s needs that is.

“Public domain means any use allowed,” says iophk about [1], “even distasteful or commercial ones.” What we increasingly find is that copyright law changes, and it typically changes to benefit corporations (very rich people), not 99% or more of the world’s population. This trend ought to change and it all starts with education because there is plenty of indoctrination out there, even in state-funded schools. At Apple, shows a new article [2], the idea that “copying is theft” gets explicitly promoted. This is wrong. And since Apple has been “shamelessly copying” many other companies, according to Steve Jobs himself, that may simply imply that Apple itself if a “thief”, based on Apple’s own standards. If lies are manufactured and promoted as “Truth”, then justice will never triumph.

Right now there is a struggle between politicians who serve corporations’ interests in copyrights (and parrot propaganda [3]) and those who are doing the opposite [4] (yes, they exist, but they are a minority in politics). Earlier this month we saw several stories about censorship using “copyrights” [5,6], where the claims of copyrights themselves were bogus (fraudulent piggybacking on DMCA). This in itself is a breach of human rights and free speech. It’s a serious case demonstrating how broken today’s copyright laws are, especially Hollywood export like the DMCA.

Last week Red Hat dedicated at least 2 articles to permissive licensing that challenge copyrights [7,8]. OpenSource.com itself has just embraced the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0. That’s fantastic. It wasn’t really surprising, however, because wherever Free software goes there tends to be an atmosphere of sharing and collaboration. The licences on text tend to be liberal and minimally restrictive (usually just attribution is needed).

This leads us to the final case of point. Last week we mentioned a new application called “Popcorn Time”. It is basically an application for streaming videos over torrent. Nice idea; friendly to networks (reduces loads on backbones), privacy-preserving, robust, and decentralised. What’s not to like?

What’s not to like? It’s competition for the copyright cartel/monopoly.

Not too shockingly, the developers abandoned the project just days later [9] (reasons not known), but it soon got embraced by other developers [10], only to be portrayed as “Netflix for piracy” by corporate British press the following day [11]. Remember that here in Britain ISPs are now being pushed to block (censor) almost everything which even challenges the status quo on copyrights. Even new sites like TorrentFreak get censored by some ISPs like Sky.

What we really need right now is a challenge to the stigma that torrents are all about copyright infringement, that FOSS is facilitating copyright infringement, and generally that decentralised communication, which makes surveillance difficult for the likes of NSA and GCHQ, is somehow for “terrorists” or “paedophiles”, as the copyright cartel wants people to believe.

After the events surrounding Popcorn Time we should become better aware that copyright law — not just patent law — remains a serious threat to software freedom. We gave other examples of this before.

According to OpenSource.com, “vague patents” are now under threat again because the SCOTUS is taking another look at them. To quote: “You’ve probably realized this by now, but the Supreme Court is having a very busy term when it comes to patent cases. In Nautilus, Inc. v. Biosig Instruments, Inc.—scheduled for oral argument on April 28—the Court will consider whether to hold vague patents to a more exacting standard.” There are other such ongoing cases at the SCOTUS, but when will copyright law, including failures such as the DMCA (widely abused), be challenged at this high level?

Intellectual Monopoly as a whole (“Revolution OS” sparingly uses the term “Intellectual Property”) is a real problem; it is all about protectionism and it retards society.

Related/contextual items from the news:

  1. Sweden Invokes Little-Known ‘Perpetual Copyright’ Clause Against Mercedes Ad

    Sweden has invoked a previously-unknown “Perpetual Copyright” clause against carmaker Mercedes-Benz, who recited a public-domain work by the poet Boye in a recent ad. The legal threat was brought by the Swedish Academy, which is tasked with overseeing the clause. This has severe chilling effect on culture even 70 years past an artists’ death.

  2. Copying is theft of hours and hours of struggle, says Apple’s Jony Ive

    In a detailed interview with the Sunday Times, he said, “Copying is theft … what’s copied isn’t just a design, it’s thousands and thousands of hours of struggle. It’s only when you’ve achieved what you set out to do that you can say, ‘This was worth pursuing.’ It takes years of investment, years of pain.” The sharp views on copying followed when he was indirectly asked about its competitor (read: Samsung) mimicking the work of his team.

  3. Lawmakers Get Caught Parroting Copyright Lobby

    Last year Finland wrote history after it became the first country to vote on a “fairer” copyright law, crowd-sourced by the public. Now that the vote is near, several lawmakers have warned against the disastrous effects of the proposal, by parroting a memo handed to them by the copyright lobby.

  4. Digital Rights and Dismal Governments – Senator Scott Ludlam
  5. Time to Punish DMCA Takedown Abusers, WordPress Owners Say
  6. Chilling Effects DMCA Archive is ‘Repugnant’, Copyright Group Says

    If it wasn’t for the Chilling Effects DMCA clearing house the actions of those abusing the DMCA would go largely unreported. Still, the Copyright Alliance doesn’t like the site, this week describing the information resource as “repugnant” to the DMCA. Unsurprisingly, Chilling Effects sees things differently.

  7. Recording open culture songs

    My friend Mary, a folk singer, stopped by to visit spontaneously this evening. “What are you up to?” she inquired.

    “I’m recording a music video for a new folk song,” I explained. “The Firefox Phone was announced last week, so I need to compose a song about it.”

  8. Opensource.com now using Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International license

    Opensource.com is now using the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International license as our preferred license for all original content. You are still responsible for ensuring that you have the necessary permission to reuse any work on this site.

  9. Popcorn Time Is Dead

    Hollywood won. The open source project called Popcorn Time is dead after just four days. It’s not really surprising.

    “Popcorn Time is shutting down today. Not because we ran out of energy, commitment, focus or allies. But because we need to move on with our lives,” reads the website and a post on Medium.

  10. Popcorn Time Is Back

    YTS developer Jduncanator told TorrentFreak that they are in a better position from a copyright standpoint because it’s built on their API. “It’s as if we have built another interface to our website. We are no worse off managing the project than we would be just supplying the movies. It’s our vision at YTS that we see through projects like these and that just because they create a little stir in the public, it doesn’t mean they are shut down.”

  11. Popcorn Time: ‘Netflix for piracy’ back up and running after going open-source

    Popcorn Time’s closure lasted just two days, with the site allowing users to watch movies free online being picked up by other developers.

03.17.14

Open Source Think Tank is Still Not About Open Source

Posted in Deception, Free/Libre Software, Microsoft at 1:22 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Think tanks

Mechanics

Summary: Open Source continues to be invaded by proprietary software interests, this time with another so-called “think tank”

NOW THAT Black Duck is pushing out its press releases (yes, same old garbage again; garbage in, garbage out), we kindly ask readers to pay attention to what we wrote about Black Duck’s "Open Source Think Tank". Like many so-called “think tanks”, it is not what it appears to be as backers include foes of Open Source, which means that Microsoft FUD and other controversial views (like calling proprietary “open”) should definitely be expected. Black Duck has strong connections with Microsoft (more so than Duck Duck Go), so this should not be too surprising. Don’t let them duck under criticism because they are trying to gain credibility for their own agenda, which includes proprietary software and software patents.

Speaking of deception, there is a strange article in Forbes today (the press glorifying the wealthy) which says that “Tier3 Compete With Microsoft And Amazon” using “Open Source As A Recruiting Tool”. Well, this has nothing to do with Open Source, it is some Seattle-flavoured spin about Microsoft and Amazon. Here is the context in which the article presents “Open Source”. It says: “Which is where open source comes in – Tier3 is trying to fill a new cloud development center they’re building in Seattle, and one of the ways they’re doing it is by a deep involvement in a bunch of different open source project – the company incubated the Iron Foundry project, an initiative that built .NET support on top of the Cloud Foundry PaaS and now they’re doing it again with ElasticLINQ.”

So this is competing with Microsoft? Promoting .NET? And trying to label it “open source” just as Mono is doing? Seriously? This is beyond deceiving, it’s a lie and perhaps spin at best. Don’t let the meaning of Open Source go to waste; it’s already decoupled from Free software and companies like Microsoft try to ruin both labels, calling OOXML “open” and Windows “free” (as in gratis, to undermine Linux domination). Open Source needs Microsoft like Ukraine needs Russia.

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