Complying with Free Software Licenses, Considering Whether Open Source Has Beaten Free Software, and More

  • Analysis of the Markey net neutrality bill
    A great post on Freedom to Tinker where David G. Robinson parses out the core problem with the bill, the particular standard and interpretation of reasonableness it applies to the network management practices it makes allowances for. This reinforces my only reservation around net neutrality, admittedly a big one: how do we best ensure it, either through direct regulation or regulation intended to encourage the market to provide for it?
  • Google issues cease and desist against Android hackers
    As Lauren explains, the core of the complaint is not the open elements of the Android platform, but a developers bundling of closed apps with his distro of Android and re-distribution of those apps. I concur with Lauren’s sentiment, that this is not a particular Google-like maneuver and hope that they are able to achieve some sort of accord with the developer.
  • Texas Instruments issues legal threats to calculator hackers
    As Bruce Schneier points out, TI calculators are trivially easy to crack. I have to say, I very strongly agree with the conclusion Mike Masnick shares on Techdirt, that intentionally opening the calculators to modification should only drive up demand for the devices.
  • Comparing stakeholder costs in three strikes regimes
    In this Ars piece, Nate Anderson examines a number put forward by a UK ISP in response to Lord Mandelson’s push towards that country adopting a three strikes response to file sharers. The number looks highly suspicious and I rather doubt that arguing with big content over who loses more money is a sustainable rhetoric. As Nate suggests, that is not to say the trick isn’t effective, but I’d rather see arguments that stand up to continued scrutiny.
  • How device makers might violate free software licenses
    This is a pretty good look at the industry and what practices and pressures might lead to poor license compliance. I like in particular that the article uses this to wrap up with some advice on how to avoid these mistakes.
  • More privacy concerns from inadvertent info leakage
    Jacqui Cheung at Ars further explores this research trend into presumed anonymous or otherwise weakly identifiable data. Here she talks about a report that looks into how a unique identifier can lead not only to recovery bits of personal info from an original social site, but also to concerning profiling elsewhere.
  • Lily Allen relents somewhat
    As Mike Masnick explains in the latest evolution of this saga taking place partly on Techdirt, she is no longer in favor of completely booting infringers off the network. She, and other musicians gathering to discuss the three strikes proposal, now favor just severe bandwidth reduction. He also digs into the actual circumstances of her shutting down her blog, calling shenanigans on the stated reasons.
  • Matt Asay thinks free software has lost out to open source
    I find this sort of zero sum analysis absolutely infuriating. Worse, he concedes that open source can co-exist with proprietary software. If those two different models which I would argue differ in ideology as much as open source and free software do, then why is it so hard for him to extend that into a full eco system of motivations for sharing and competing? I blame his pretty exclusive focus on the business aspects of software which should preclude free software from his consideration altogether as its goals have never had anything to do with commercial enterprises. It is a failure of imagination to not realize that like many endeavors, driving impulses can and should be largely unique.

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