Free Software Foundation Fundraising Drive

Cory over at Boing Boing links to the FSF’s announcement of their annual campaign to secure funds in support of all the work they do in publishing, maintaining and updating the GPL, the very heart of free software. They also do a lot of work in educating about free software and advocating for related issues, such as software patents and DRM.

I try to directly support projects that are critical to my pursuits and FSF definitely counts. If you use any of the GNU library of software tools, and if you use a Linux kernel you almost undoubtedly do, you should consider kicking in whatever you can afford. I’ll be combing through my budget to see what I can spare after my other support commitments (EFF, CC, et. al.)

Free Software Foundation’s annual fundraising drive, Free Software Foundation

feeds | grep links > Outbound SSL and Search Engines, New Hefty Tome on Canadian Copyright, Free as in Hardware, and More

  • SSL in outbound links from search engines
    EFF has a great post that discusses how search engines could help our privacy even further by linking to encrypted versions of pages in their results where possible rather than the plain text. Not surprisingly, the privacy conscious search engine, Duck Duck Go, is already doing this. I switch the search engine in my browser some time back to DDG and each new announcement of the concrete steps they are taking to protect my privacy makes me feel that much better about my choice.
  • New book on Canadian digital copyright is out, including a free electronic edition
    Cory shares the news from Michael Geist about this book from Irwin Law. At over six hundred pages, this is a considerable commitment to the subject. The focus is primarily on the most recent copyright debates in Canada, centered on the hotly contested bill C-32. The free PDF version is available under a Creative Commons license making the wealth of material available to, as the cover blurb suggests, be used freely to improve directly the quality of the discourse.
  • The BBC covers the crowd funded plan to build a working analytical engine, BBC via Hacker News
  • FSF launches a hardware focused initiative
    According to the H, the “Respects your Freedom” program is an endorsement based on a device using free software, being built with free software, and allowing user installation of modified software. This reminds me of Neuros’ Unlocked mark from a couple of years back as it is also trying to draw attention to manufacturers that support end user freedom, an increasingly important issue when anti-jail-breaking stories seem to be showing up with increasing frequency.
  • Government admits to Facebook spyring, Slashdot
  • Suit claims Facebook leaked real names of users to advertisers, The Register

feeds | grep links > Mozilla Inserts a Stability Beta, How-to Read a Patent, Babbage’s Debugger, and More

Apologies for the paucity of posts today. I am feeling brain drain from a technical presentation at the $employer today. And my mind is still spinning on re-working my audio workflow under Linux now that my mixer is working.

feeds | grep links > Privacy Theater, Fedora 13 Released, FSF Seeking GPL Compliance from the Apple App Store, and Facebook on Data Portability

It was either a slower news day or I was distracted by day dreams of Balticon.

  • Privacy theater
    Professor Ed Felten has a link to a NYT round table feature including a variety of opinions about Facebook’s privacy practices and the possibility of regulation. In this Freedom to Tinker post, he also coins the term, “privacy theater”, which aptly describes the motions providers and users both go through without amounting to much control or privacy.
  • Fedora 13 released
    Ryan Paul at Ars Technica digs some of the highlights out of the release announcement. The biggest change for the release is the inclusion of some open 3D drivers that sound pretty capable. He also mentions the rev to Python 3 and a significantly improvedinstaller.
  • FSF seeking GPL compliance in the Apple app store
    The application in question is a port of Gnu Go and the core issue is it is impossible to satisfy the offer of source, especially under GPL v2, with the Apple developer license and conditions of use for the store. The FSF is realistic enough to understand that the most likely outcome for this complaint is not compliance but ejection of the app from the store.
  • Is Facebook coming around on data portability?
    The service has had an abysmal track record, often suing when users try to exercise some autonomous control over their own data. Steve Repetti at the Data Portability blog points out one statement in Zuckerberg’s press call that may be cause to hope. He is realistic, though, and admits the proof will be in what Facebook actually does.

Federal Register Opens Its Data, Apple Reverses on Politically Charges App, And More

  • Apple approves political app if formerly rejected
    Via Daring Fireball. Not much explanation offered from the reversal, the author chooses to believe it was due to public pressure. It seems a bit of a devil’s bargain as one of the updates on their site says Apple insisted that critical statements about the approval process be removed from the app’s description in the store.
  • Federal Register opens up its data
    Google’s public policy blog is just one of those reporting this landmark event. I’ve bookmarked Felten’s discussion of FedThread to discuss further but I expect it will only be the first of many projects intended to take advantage of this new wealth of both current and historic data.
  • Q and A about the Federal Register
    An O’Reilly Radar piece by Public Resource’s own Carl Malamud that gives much more detail about the recent good news. Carl speaks directly to the CIO of the Government Printing Office and the Directory of the Office of the Federal Register.
  • Fear of failure stymying open source in the government
    An intriguing thought shared by Glyn Moody from an event in which he recently participated. The implication, to me, is that commercial, closed software is perceived to be less risky and hence easier to justify to tax payers. I do like that the quote calls out failure as a necessary component to experimentation and innovation. I think it is an interesting challenge regardless of open or closed source, but definitely can see how it fear of failing would chill adoption of open source in particular.
  • Thawte ending its web of trust, personal email certificates
    According to their FAQ, they are citing the cost of continuing to offering personal email certificates backed by their web of trust. I think the implication is clear, that it is also due to lack of interest. Do you know anyone using one of their email certificates?
  • Royal Mail sends nasty gram to Wikleaks
    Glyn Moody does an excellent job following up this almost inevitable story after the postal database was posted a while ago. Glyn also digs into the sui generis rights the EU decided to grant over databases, in particular the near zero net effect doing so actually had.
  • Palm fixes developer program, encourages open source
    I am glad to see my skepticism deflated by this Ars story posted by Ryan Paul. This confirms Sarah’s comments on my link to jwz’s story and includes a lot of positive details like some respectable hires by Palm from the larger community.
  • FSF files amicus brief for Bilski
    PJ has her usual, excellent analysis at Groklaw. With briefs filed by RedHat and the SFLC, it was almost a foregone conclusion there would be one from the FSF, too. The brief adds to the strong anti-patent rhetoric with some compelling examples of software in use by the government that would be adversely affected by a damaging patent claim against free software interests.
  • Eolas files patent claims against big tech companies
    As Jacqui Cheung explains at Ars, Eolas won a much older claim against Microsoft and had that ruling ultimately upheld on appeal. They are apparently now feeling their oats and targeting the likes of Apple and Google.
  • Calling shenanigans on Fox’s coverage of the PATRIOT Act reform
    The EFF has links to some fact checking by the CATO Institute’s Julian Sanchez, including a bit of video covering what the news outlet is getting wrong. The EFF post has links to coverage around the web if you want more information for better context, too.