08.17.10

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Links 17/8/2010: Linux in Portugal, ~55,000,000 Android Phones This Year

Posted in News Roundup at 12:07 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

Free Software/Open Source

  • Cash and Community: Incentives and Open Source Development

    This is a concern for some members of the FOSS community, like Bradley Kuhn of the Software Freedom Law Center and Software Freedom Conservancy. During the session, Kuhn expressed dismay that “too many people make money” working on FOSS funded by corporations, and not enough projects are being driven by hackers looking to scratch their own itch. Kuhn’s concerns are echoed by a number of contributors in the FOSS community, who say that a strong community should include developers who work on a project out of passion rather than for a paycheck. While Kuhn doesn’t say that projects should be without corporate contributions, he says that too many projects are initiated and driven by companies rather than growing organically and becoming useful to companies over the long run.

    Sun’s purchase by Oracle highlights some dangers of corporate-driven FOSS projects, or projects depending too deeply on corporate largess. Many projects funded by Sun have floundered since Oracle took over the company, and other efforts — such as GNOME’s accessibility work — have taken a hit because Oracle laid off the only developers paid to work on those projects full time.

  • Business

    • New Report Details The Rise of Business Intelligence Software

      Not long ago, OStatic did an examination of Business Intelligence (BI) software applications and suites, and it got a lot of notice. That’s probably because BI is one of the fastest-growing categories in the whole open source arena. In fact, when we covered the results of North Bridge Partners’ 2009 Future of Open Source Survey, I noted that many of the respondents said that they see open source Business Intelligence applications as highly likely to cause disruption in the next five years. Now, there are new signs that BI software is gaining solid entrenchment.

Leftovers

  • Science

    • Ray Kurzweil does not understand the brain

      There he goes again, making up nonsense and making ridiculous claims that have no relationship to reality. Ray Kurzweil must be able to spin out a good line of bafflegab, because he seems to have the tech media convinced that he’s a genius, when he’s actually just another Deepak Chopra for the computer science cognoscenti.

  • Finance

    • The heresy of the Greeks offers hope

      The crisis that has led to Greece’s “rescue” by European banks and the International Monetary Fund is the product of a grotesque financial system that itself is in crisis. Greece is a microcosm of a modern class war rarely reported as such, but waged with all the urgency of panic among the imperial rich.

  • Censorship/Privacy/Civil Rights

    • Amazon Case: We’re In!

      Last Friday, the district court in the Western District of Washington granted the motion to intervene that the ACLU filed on behalf of our clients in the lawsuit (PDF) challenging the North Carolina Department of Revenue’s (DOR) repeated requests for Amazon’s customer records in the course of its tax audit of Amazon. These customer records reveal highly personal and intimate details of people’s lives that DOR does not actually need for its tax audit, including what books people are reading, what films they are watching, and what other private and expressive materials they are purchasing. The First Amendment bars the government from demanding and collecting this information.

    • Lawsuit: Disney, others spy on kids with zombie cookies

      According to the complaint, each of the Clearspring affiliates independently and knowingly authorized the company to track users, even on non-Clearspring affiliated sites. A Flash-based tracking cookie was allegedly installed by the affiliate sites without users’ knowledge, and would recreate itself by digging into the Flash storage bin for the same user information if deleted. Essentially, users who were trying to remain privacy-conscious by regularly deleting their cookies were not able to rid themselves of the cookies deposited by Clearspring.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Why Intellectual Property Rights in Traditional Knowledge Cannot Contribute to Sustainable Development

      This paper makes a simple point: If sustainability (however defined) is the goal, intellectual property rights in traditional knowledge do not move us toward the achievement of that goal. The reason is that the only social policy justification for recognizing intellectual property rights at all is that they supposedly serve as an incentive to create socially desirable works of authorship and inventions. They are not and should serve as a reward for past achievements. In other words, outside of their usual incentive function of promoting new technology, intellectual property rights in traditional knowledge have no role to play in the sustainability analysis. This is not to say that traditional knowledge is irrelevant to sustainability; indeed, there is good reason to believe that much can be learned from study and implementation of traditional practices in a wide range of fields. Nor is it to say that intellectual property rights in general play no role in advancing the goal of sustainability. The incentives supplied by intellectual property rights to authors and inventors may help induce new technologies and methods for preserving what is left of the natural state of the planet and its ecosystems. The point is only that intellectual property rights in traditional knowledge can do no good (in promoting sustainability) and may do much harm, by tying up knowledge in exclusive rights that inhibit its application to sustainability (or anything else) without any compensating social gains.

    • Copyrights

      • CLA statement on Bill C-32, An Act to Amend the Copyright Act
      • How to save the music industry

        My message was quite simple – and remains so today. We are living in an era when “free” is decimating the music industry and is starting to do the same to film, TV and books. Yet for the world’s internet service providers, bloated by years of broadband growth, “free music” has become a multi-billion dollar bonanza. What has gone so wrong? And what can be done now to put it to right?

        To my amazement, my speech was splashed across the world media. Partly this was due to the timing – President Sarkozy of France had just become the champion of the global music industry, tabling a new law requiring the telecom companies to finally crack down on internet piracy for the first time. But there were other reasons too.

      • A Big Fat Thanks To Record Execs

        In their recent edition, Rolling Stone Magazine has issued a thank you letter to the record label executives. Hopefully they’ll read it and get the bigger picture. It is a very wise and concise note that brings to light the changing nature in which individuals discover and spread music. Hats off to Rolling Stone for trying to get the RIAA and the music big wigs to open their eyes.

      • ACTA

        • Privacy challenges facing the European Union from ACTA

          The WP29 observed that the current text of the ACTA at the very least encourages the implementation of the controversial three strikes policy, which requires disconnecting purported intellectual property infringers, by collaboration between Internet service providers and right holders. Even worst, this policy does not seem limited to piracy and counterfeiting, which was the initial purpose of negotiating the ACTA, but it would extend to infringement of any kind of intellectual property rights, even patents (Articles 2.18.3 and 2.18.3 quarter).

Clip of the Day

Big Buck Bunny (excerpt)


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