Older Articles

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!

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.
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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.

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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.

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pyv8: python v8 bindings and a python-javascript compiler

Posted 28 Sep 2008 at 14:03 UTC (updated 28 Sep 2008 at 16:33 UTC) by lkcl

pyv8 is an experimental project to combine two-way python bindings to v8 with the python-to-javascript compiler from pyjamas. a simple test has shown a ten times performance increase of python code converted and executed as javascript, when compared to running the same program as python. (to be fair, cython gives a 100 times performance increase).

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Software Freedom Day in Nepal

Posted 21 Sep 2008 at 20:02 UTC by mattl

Free and Open Source Software (FOSS) Community of Nepal (FOSS-Nepal) observed the fifth international Software Freedom Day today. The day was celebrated by over 500 different volunteer groups in 120 countries. The theme for this year's celebration of FOSS-Nepal was "Create, Share, Collaborate." Honourable Minister of Science and Technology, Ganesh Shah started the proceedings at Yala Maya Kendra in Patan, Kathmandu by unveiling a compilation of Free/Open Source Softwares in a CD named "Nirvikalpa." Honourable Minister also announced the launch of a web-portal named "Prasfutan." "Prasfutan" which means "blossoming" in English aims to provide a collaborative environment to a vast number of local talents in Nepal whose creativity has a reach only up to a limited audience comprising of their acquaintances. This is in sync with the theme of "Create, Share, Collaborate."

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ePractice community for OSS in the public administration

Posted 16 Sep 2008 at 18:13 UTC by olea

Only want to introduce you into the ePractice community for OSS in the public administration ( http://www.epractice.eu/community/opensource/ ) which supports the OSOR.eu inititative.

OSOR.eu will be formally launch in Malaga's OSWC.

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Free Software Supporter, September 2008

Posted 10 Sep 2008 at 20:30 UTC by mattl

I'm Matt Lee, Campaigns Manager at the Free Software Foundation. Here with another month of news from the world of GNU and the FSF.

Welcome to the Free Software Supporter, the Free Software Foundation's monthly news digest and action update -- being read by you and 10447 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/.

In this issue

  • Software Freedom Day
  • Happy Birthday to GNU!
  • GNU Planet
  • gNewSense 2.1 released
  • Spring 2008 Bulletin available online
  • Submit your nominations for the 2008 Free Software Awards
  • On the savannah, where the gnu roam...
  • DRM down under
  • Free Hexen and Heretic!
  • Malaysian Government Dept switches to OpenDocument
  • GNU spotlight with Karl Berry
  • Richard Stallman's speaking schedule
  • Take action!
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Pyjamas - Python Applications for Desktop and Web

Posted 30 Aug 2008 at 14:11 UTC (updated 10 Sep 2008 at 08:59 UTC) by lkcl

Leading free software application widget sets include GTK2, QT4 and wxWidgets. Web application development is still considered to be a bit of a black art, with knowledge of CSS, javascript and AJAX trickery making many side-step HTML completely and go for Adobe Flash or Silverlight to get that "rich media" experience that typical Web apps entirely lack. And, worse, writing apps that run - unmodifed - on both the desktop and the web is impossible if you want to stick to Free Software development principles and ethics.

AJAX "toolkits" as they are known, such as YUI, Google Web Toolkit and Pyjamas are the "middle-ground" to making Web application development look and feel that much more like you're developing a real desktop application. In the case of GWT and Pyjamas, you're even programming in Java or Python, respectively, and the tool is actually a javascript compiler! The next logical step is to ask the question, "If these toolkits look, feel and smell like Desktop applications development APIs, why are they not *actually* Desktop applications development APIs?". Pyjamas-Desktop is the answer to that question, effectively making Pyjamas a de-facto standard for cross-browser, cross-platform, cross-desktop, cross-environment and, ultimately, a cross-widget-set Free Software applications development API.

Finally, there's a way for free software developers to write applications that run - unmodified - as both a web app and a desktop app.

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Free Software Supporter, August 2008

Posted 8 Aug 2008 at 16:53 UTC (updated 8 Aug 2008 at 16:54 UTC) by mattl

I'm Matt Lee, Campaigns Manager at the Free Software Foundation. Here with another month of news from the world of GNU and the FSF.

Welcome to the Free Software Supporter, the Free Software Foundation's monthly news digest and action update -- being read by you and 7,824 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 too.

In this issue:

  • Why free software and Apple's iPhone don't mix
  • Play Ogg!
  • Pizza Party for friends of the FSF in San Francisco
  • Portland associate membership meeting recap
  • Give Apple the iPhone Challenge
  • Help defeat Microsoft's OOXML format!
  • Atheros releases free software wireless driver
  • Yahoo Music -- the bad dream of DRM continues
  • GNU spotlight with Karl Berry
  • Richard Stallman's speaking schedule
  • Take action!
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Free Software Supporter, July 2008

Posted 8 Aug 2008 at 16:51 UTC (updated 8 Aug 2008 at 16:55 UTC) by mattl

I'm Matt Lee, Campaigns Manager at the Free Software Foundation. Here with another month of news from the world of GNU and the FSF.

Welcome to the Free Software Supporter, the Free Software Foundation's monthly news digest and action update -- being read by you and 7,824 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 too.

In this issue:

  • It's not the Gates, it's the bars
  • Act on ACTA!
  • Fight the Canadian DMCA!
  • Rhapsody and Naxos go DRM free
  • Refusing Digital Monitoring Policies
  • 5 reasons to avoid iPhone 3G
  • autonomo.us activist group to focus on freedom in network services
  • identi.ca is autonomo.us
  • GNU spotlight with Karl Berry
  • Richard Stallman's speaking schedule
  • Take action!
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Free Software Supporter, June 2008

Posted 8 Aug 2008 at 16:42 UTC (updated 8 Aug 2008 at 16:57 UTC) by mattl

I'm Matt Lee, Campaigns Manager at the Free Software Foundation. Here with the first of what will be a regular posting each month of news from the world of GNU and the FSF. Thanks to Steven for giving us the opportunity to post this here.

Welcome to the Free Software Supporter, the Free Software Foundation's monthly news digest and action update -- being read by you and 7,824 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 too.

In this issue

  • New FSF store
  • Farewell Justin, Hello Danny
  • DRM elimination crew at the Apple Store launch
  • Savannah adds Subversion, Mercurial
  • Freedom and privacy in the cloud: a call for action
  • Boycott Windows Media Center!
  • GNU Spotlight with Karl Berry
  • Richard Stallman's speaking schedule and other FSF speeches
  • Take Action with the FSF
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A hard problem worth solving

Posted 16 Jul 2008 at 06:01 UTC by robla

There's an ongoing debate about whether a free/open source project needs to be "organic" to be worthwhile, where "organic" is (arguably) defined as a project which the first release included source, and is generally characterized as by a distributed development team with no single company truly in control, and "inorganic" is generally code that started off life as a proprietary effort. I'd like to argue that making "inorganic" open source work is a big challenge worth tackling.

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The Myth that Content Management is easy

Posted 15 May 2008 at 19:10 UTC by zanee

The Myth
Content Management is easy. You download one of the numerous systems available, plug-in your data. Something magical happens (???) and out comes a professional looking and operating website. This obviously manages all of your content from all different sources with ease. All you have to do is make a template and you’re done! If this sounds like something you’ve heard and are suspiciously weary of. You should be, because it’s all snake oil! If it was that easy I would probably quit my job and go study law. Since it is not, let us continue first by giving a brief background on what content management is.
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