Older Articles

Massively-Distributed Real-time Video Broadcasting

Posted 9 Mar 2009 at 16:37 UTC (updated 10 Mar 2009 at 15:20 UTC) by lkcl

The British Broadcasting Company has made a request for contributions to an open standard to be made, for the distribution of audio and video, both offline and real-time broadcasting. Their plan is effectively to act as the mediator between box manufacturers and content producers, with themselves as one of the content producers, but definitely not as set-top box manufacturers.

Challenges faced include an assumption that it is reasonable to expect ISPs to insert cacheing boxes on their premises, and an assumption that "downloading" - especially at high speed - is "the way to go". Also, there is yet again the risk of some idiot content producers trying to DRM an open standard.

This article will provide some answers to these tricky issues, and they're not all "Technical" answers. For the most part, the solutions are psychological, and take comfort in the fact that most users are ordinary people not interested in blatant copyright theft, they just want to watch stuff. Ultimately, content producers are going to have to get used to the fact that they are simply going to have to trust people.

Read more... (18 replies)

Pyjamas Javascript Compiler: Dynamic Module Loading

Posted 9 Mar 2009 at 13:10 UTC by lkcl

As part of a reorganisation of Pyjamas, best known as a python port of GWT, dynamic module loading using AJAX has been added. The deployment of dynamic module loading results in over a 60% reduction in the amount of javascript cache file sizes, as the modules can be shared across multiple platforms (GAE pyjamas users are hitting the app engine limit even with the simplest of apps, due to the old one-cache-file-per-platform design).

This article describes how the standard technique for dynamic loading of javascript scripts was used as a basis for bring python "import" semantics to a javascript compiler. The advantages of individual module loading - including third party javascript modules - should be clear.

Read more... (0 replies)

Restrictions on biological adaptation in language evolution

Posted 3 Mar 2009 at 13:01 UTC by sye

Language acquisition and processing are governed by genetic constraints. A crucial unresolved question is how far these genetic constraints have coevolved with language, perhaps resulting in a highly specialized and species-specific language "module," and how much language acquisition and processing redeploy preexisting cognitive machinery. In the present work, we explored the circumstances under which genes encoding language-specific properties could have coevolved with language itself. We present a theoretical model, implemented in computer simulations, of key aspects of the interaction of genes and language. Our results show that genes for language could have coevolved only with highly stable aspects of the linguistic environment; a rapidly changing linguistic environment does not provide a stable target for natural selection. Thus, a biological endowment could not coevolve with properties of language that began as learned cultural conventions, because cultural conventions change much more rapidly than genes. We argue that this rules out the possibility that arbitrary properties of language, including abstract syntactic principles governing phrase structure, case marking, and agreement, have been built into a "language module" by natural selection. The genetic basis of human language acquisition and processing did not coevolve with language, but primarily predates the emergence of language. As suggested by Darwin, the fit between language and its underlying mechanisms arose because language has evolved to fit the human brain, rather than the reverse.
Read more... (23 replies)

Open Source, Open Standards and Re-Use: UK Government Policy

Posted 25 Feb 2009 at 14:51 UTC (updated 25 Feb 2009 at 22:10 UTC) by lkcl

The UK Government has made it clear that Open Source and Open Standards, with a focus on re-use of software development and deployment, is to clearly and unequivocably be part of the decision-making for UK Government I.T. procurement and contracting. Also part of the policy is a clear committment to engage with the Free Software community and to actively encourage the development of "Government-Class" Free Software products.

(tag keyword: #ukgovOSS at the cabinet office's request)

Read more... (5 replies)

A tale of three code generators

Posted 20 Feb 2009 at 17:00 UTC (updated 21 Feb 2009 at 10:51 UTC) by aph

At FOSDEM 2009, Gary Benson of Red Hat presented Shark. (Slides at http://gbenson.net/wp-content/uploads/2009/02/fosdem-2009.pdf) Shark is a port of OpenJDK that uses LLVM to do JIT code generation. While Shark is pretty fast when compared with OpenJDK's C++ interpreter, it's still quite a lot slower than gcj. gcj is a fairly straightforward bytecode->native compiler and doesn't use many of the Java-specific optimizations in HotSpot, so I was of the opinion that Shark and gcj ought to be similar in speed. So, I wanted to find out why Shark was slower than gcj.

Read more... (2 replies)

Open Letter to the Samba Team

Posted 13 Feb 2009 at 21:50 UTC by lkcl

I thought I would make use of the 1000th advogato article to write to emphasise my pride in your accomplishments at the Samba "Franky" architecture, and also to emphasise to you that I am fully aware of its strategic significance.

Read more... (4 replies)

Welcome to the SAMBA Domain: 10 years on

Posted 13 Feb 2009 at 21:22 UTC (updated 13 Feb 2009 at 21:59 UTC) by lkcl

The 10th anniversary of "Welcome to the SAMBA Domain" quietly passed on Thursday 28th of August, 2007, without acknowledgement. When Paul Ashton and Luke Leighton initially reverse-engineered and published the NT Domains protocol, the floodgates were opened to both Free Software and Proprietary CIFS vendors to interoperate with Microsoft's flagship product, Windows NT, at an unprecedented level.

The anticipated reprisals from Microsoft did not happen: incredibly, instead, quiet mutual respect and cooperation crystallised the CIFS protocols into formal specifications (some of which were quietly handed out, whilst others had to wait until they were prised from Microsoft's fingers by the U.S. Dept of Justice and the E.U Commission).

In the intervening eleven years, an enormous amount has been achieved, yet, frustratingly, an enormous amount has not. This article outlines the accomplishments to date, and highlights the incredible things that could be achieved if some specific strategic inter-project free software cooperation took place. Also outlined are some hints as to how that can be accomplished, citing examples of prior proven work in which it has already been achieved, but not yet adopted.

Read more... (4 replies)

The Netbook Windfall

Posted 12 Feb 2009 at 17:11 UTC by dmarti

Joe Wein covers Windows 7 versus Linux on netbooks. "Does it really matter to Microsoft shareholders and employees if the 21 million or so netbooks expected to be sold this year (and the even bigger numbers in 2010) will be running some version of Windows or a version of Linux (which is free), if previously those buyers would have picked up a more powerful machine that netted Microsoft $40-$100 per license?"

Don Marti offers his insights into the Netbook and the Linux combination.

Read more... (0 replies)

Free Software Supporter -- Issue 11, December/January 2009

Posted 5 Feb 2009 at 15:50 UTC by mattl

Issue 11, December/January 2009

Welcome to the Free Software Supporter, the Free Software Foundation's monthly news digest and action update -- being read by you and 15,508 other activists.

Encourage your friends to subscribe and help us build an audience by adding our subscriber widget to your web site.

Miss an issue? You can catch up on back issues at http://www.fsf.org/free-software-supporter.

Multilingual? Send translations of the Supporter to campaigns@fsf.org.


DON'T MISS... the first ever...

/ /(_) |__ _ __ ___ / _ \ | __ _ _ __ ___| |_ / / | | '_ \| '__/ _ \/ /_)/ |/ _` | '_ \ / _ \ __| / /__| | |_) | | | __/ ___/| | (_| | | | | __/ |_ \____/_|_.__/|_| \___\/ |_|\__,_|_| |_|\___|\__|


CONFERENCE. MARCH 21/22nd 2009. CAMBRIDGE, MA. 02138


autonomo.us | FSF | High-Priority-Projects | GNU


  • LibrePlanet Conference 2009!
  • FSF files suit against Cisco for GPL violations
  • BadVista: We hardly knew ye
  • GCC libraries get updated license exception
  • An open response to Chris Frey regarding GFDL 1.3
  • Updating the Free Software Definition
  • More background about the Cisco case
  • The bootable membership cards are (finally) here!
  • 3D graphics are 100% free software
  • Freedom Walk: A walk to claim, ensure and preserve freedom
  • Psst! Pass it on!
  • New FSF microblogging communities
  • PlayOgg: Theora 1.0 is released!
  • 35 Days Against DRM (In 35 paragraphs)
  • Apple iTunes goes DRM free on music
  • Microsoft defends DRM. Badly.
  • GNU spotlight with Karl Berry
  • Richard Stallman's speaking schedule
  • Take action!
Read more... (1 reply)

At long last, another CodeCon

Posted 28 Jan 2009 at 22:00 UTC by Bram

The much-anticipated next CodeCon has now been announced, and the Call For Presentations is out - http://www.codecon.org/2009/

Read more... (1 reply)

It's the year of Ox. Don't buy any bullshit

Posted 21 Jan 2009 at 12:25 UTC (updated 4 Feb 2009 at 07:29 UTC) by badvogato

Humptie dumptie sat on a wall
Humptie dumptie had a great fall
Harry said it's NOT his fault,
and it's not your job to mend the wall.

Some people create fire Other people built firewall I can hear the screams who's playing -- a Chinese fire drill!

Read more... (4 replies)

GitTorrent, The Movie

Posted 4 Dec 2008 at 15:56 UTC (updated 4 Dec 2008 at 18:22 UTC) by lkcl

Git promises to be a distributed software management tool, where a repository can be distributed. Yet, the mechanisms used to date to actually "distribute", such as rsync, http and ssh, are very much "single path" and centralised.

GitTorrent makes Git truly distributed. The initial plans are for reducing mirror loading, however the full plans include totally distributed development: no central mirrors whatsoever. PGP signing and other web-of-trust-based mechanisms will take over from protocols on ports (e.g. ssh) as the access control "clearing house".

The implications of a truly distributed revision control system are truly staggering: unrestricted software freedom; the playing field is levelled in so many ways, as "the web site" no longer becomes the central choke-point of control. This article will explain more fully some of these implications, not only from a technical perspective but also including the political implications for Software Freedom.

Read more... (6 replies)

Blurring of MVC lines: Programming the Web Browser.

Posted 27 Nov 2008 at 17:06 UTC (updated 29 Nov 2008 at 10:35 UTC) by lkcl

When HTML first came out, browsers could have been called "Application Thin Clients", if the buzzword had been in use at the time. The introduction of javascript made it possible to execute code on the client, and this turned browsers into something much more than just a "display" mechanism.

Before Javascript, Web application development was simple: everything was done server-side. The concept of MVC - Model View Controller - was easy: the HTML was generated, and that was the view. With Javascript being a full-blown programming language, the lines are being blurred between which code is responsible for the View, the Controller and even the Model. The resultant split of responsibility across client and server in wildly diverse programming languages is driving many developers to alternative technologies such as Flash, and causing headaches for those Web developers who remain.

The key components of the solution - to allow the developer to create MVC applications in a single programming language, where at least the "View" source is extracted and compiled to Javascript and HTML - actually exist and are used in production environments, thanks to Google Web Toolkit and Pyjamas. RubyJS is well on the way, too.

Read more... (10 replies)

AI Funding for Open-Source Artificial Intelligence

Posted 9 Nov 2008 at 16:01 UTC by mentifex

Abstract: Many programmers of Open-Source software would like to dabble or specialize in artificial intelligence but are concerned about how to obtain AI Funding. The author of http://code.google.com/p/mind forth/ offers a few ideas.

Read more... (12 replies)

The Great Wannabe Hacker Emblem Controversy

Posted 6 Nov 2008 at 05:18 UTC (updated 6 Nov 2008 at 18:22 UTC) by laburu

If you think a polemic about a symbol devised to represent people who mockingly declare themselves unworthy of displaying some other symbol designed to represent them [*breathe*] is much ado about nothing, we have something in common. It may be one of a very few things we have in common. Indeed, we are probably quite different, and I am sure I have not done enough to earn the privilege of being counted as one of you — regardless of who you are. That's because, as it turns out, one cannot earn membership in hackerdom.

Read more... (6 replies)

Open Letter to Richard Stallman

Posted 4 Nov 2008 at 21:52 UTC by cdfrey

Dear Mr. Stallman,

I am writing to express my disappointment with the Free Software Foundation regarding the recent release of the GNU Free Documentation License version 1.3.

The new version 1.3 adds a new clause, section 11, which, according to the FAQ, allows wiki sites to relicense specific content from GFDL 1.3 to CC-BY-SA 3.0, for content added before November 1, 2008. They have this relicensing option until August 1, 2009.

This, in my view, is a serious moral mistake and breach of trust. Even if this new clause does no harm, it is still the wrong thing to do.

Read more... (19 replies)

Understanding the ways of the Internet

Posted 31 Oct 2008 at 02:39 UTC by bibekpaudel

People have embraced the internet so much that even in a country like ours, Honorable Finance Minister (Dr. Baburam Bhattarai of CPN-Maoist) has a Facebook profile (looks genuine so far). He (or whoever maintains the profile on his behalf) regularly updates his status. Sometime back, while I was busy with work and couldn't catch up with news, his status updates served as a good substitute. He also posts pictures from events he attends. The most followed part, in my opinion, are the notes he posts to his profile- interviews, articles published in newspapers, political notes, and other pieces. The problem, as stated by many of his "friends" (well, facebook friends) is that he never replies (or interacts with) their queries and comments. There is a feature called "Facebook Page" that he could have used to update his "fans" (just another facebook word), without engendering expectations of interaction in them. There are other ways of avoiding interaction on the internet too. While I appreciate Dr. Bhattarai's efforts to make use of technology at a time when most Nepalese leaders struggle to use even the basic tools, I disagree with his mode of operation.

Read more... (2 replies)

NewsChallenge $USD 5m for Free Software news/info solutions

Posted 29 Oct 2008 at 15:13 UTC (updated 29 Oct 2008 at 15:35 UTC) by lkcl

The Knight Foundation deadline for preliminary applications for $USD 5m grants ends Midnight, PST, 1st Nov 2008. Applications must include an actual real-world geographical location where the free-software-based hardware and/or software solution is deployed. I have an urgent request to make: FIND SOMEWHERE. FAST.
Read more... (2 replies)

Enough Hot Air

Posted 28 Oct 2008 at 22:59 UTC by laburu

Once upon a time in the not-too-distant past, a hacker I know blogged about using object-oriented C to implement a lightweight imitation of some of C++'s features for his latest project; almost immediately, somebody saw fit to reward this charming piece of acceptably self-congratulatory writing with a stern and quite public deconstruction. Does this scene seem familiar? Why does this keep happening? And what, if anything, can we do about it? We can hardly hope to appease all of hackerdom's malcontent — but we can at least try to avoid stepping on each other's toes. Accordingly, this article will waste no time on a platitudinous condemnation of the surf-by put-down; rather, I wish to take a moment to reflect on what the hacker did to earn it, and to consider what he might have done (or, rather, not done) instead.

Read more... (3 replies)

Random October 2008 Free Software News

Posted 5 Oct 2008 at 11:23 UTC by lkcl

I'm missing steven's little news posts, so I thought I'd make one up. Things happening recently: Bruce Perens on a landmark appeals decision which strengthens the legitimacy of Free Software Licenses; Venezuela orders 1 million Intel Classmate PCs; SGI relicenses OpenGL; The FSF launches a campaign to highlight the high-priority list, and KDE 4.1.2 codenamed "Codename" is released.

Also coming up: Pyworks will be held at the same time as PHPworks in Atlanta, Nov 12th-11th; FSCon, the Nordic Summit, will be on October 24th - 26th at the IT-University Gothenburg; UKUUG Developer Conference 2008 will be in Manchester, Nov 7th-9th.

Read more... (8 replies)

986 older articles...

Suggest a story

New Advogato Features

New HTML Parser: The long-awaited libxml2 based HTML parser code is live. It needs further work but already handles most markup better than the original parser.

Keep up with the latest Advogato features by reading the Advogato status blog.

If you're a C programmer with some spare time, take a look at the mod_virgule project page and help us with one of the tasks on the ToDo list!