GNU GPLv3

Enforcement of the GNU GPL in Germany and Europe

A. Rationale for enforcement of the GPL - At present, the enforcement of the GPL license conditions is driven by single developers and organizations supporting Free Software. Most famous is Mr. Harald Welte, former maintainer of the Netfilter/Iptables project, who is running the enforcement project gpl-violations.org. Some years ago, Mr. Welte became aware of the fact that many manufacturers use the Linux kernel in their products without complying with the GPL conditions, and give the necessary credit to the Free Software community. His letters to the companies remained mostly unanswered or negotiations were so protracted that by the time the source code was eventually published, the relevant product was no longer available for sale. Therefore, he decided to take legal action in a more formal way. After the first enforcement cases became public, more and more interested parties informed Mr. Welte about other violations. He then decided to establish ‘www.gpl-violations.org’ to provide a platform for enforcement activities and public documentation of his and others’ efforts to bring commercial GPL users into GPL compliance.[1] Having access to modified source codes of technical devices is a strong motivation to participate in the enforcement of the GPL, and thus many people support gpl-violations.org. ...
flashchrome

All Your Browsing History Are Belong to Us

For several years, it has been a poorly kept secret that any Web site you went to could secretly search your browser’s history file to see what sites you had previously visited.  All the site owner had to do was ask.  And while browser history “sniffing” has been around for a long time, companies are finally starting to actively take advantage of it.  The time to act to prevent this clear threat to personal privacy is now. The History of Browser History Sniffing Browser history sniffing exploits the functionality of all Web browsers that displays hyperlinks of visited and non-visited sites in different colors.  That is, when you visit a Web site that contains links to a number of other urls, the links to sites you have not previously visited will be shown in blue, while the links to sites that you had previously visited will be shown in purple.  The links appear this way because the Web page is allowed to query to user’s browser history in order to know what color to render the links on the Web page.  Web sites can game this functionality by listing hundreds of Web addresses (often hidden to the user, who doesn’t see the links at all, blue or purple) to get answers from the user’s browser about what color to display the links.  In this way, Web sites can effectively play “go fish” with a user’s browser history file, asking if the visitor has visited www.facebook.com, or www.nytimes.com, or, perhaps more personally, www.viagra.com or www.gamblersanonymous.org.  If you’re curious to see how it works, the site www.whattheInternetknowsaboutyou.com provides several useful demonstrations. ...
GNU GPLv3

Why I Am Against Software Patents

The surprise to most people isn’t that I do not believe that software should be patentable. Given my long term interest in and coverage of free and open source software, I’m supposed to be at least mildly anti-establishment. It is also statistically unlikely that I would be in favor of patents, because industry sentiment is overwhelmingly against them at the present time (as the author acknowledges here). Most expect me to argue, as has Brad Feld’s anonymous lawyer, James Surowiecki or Red Hat, that patents are actually counter productive with respect to innovation. That the entire purpose of a patent – to stimulate invention by granting the inventor wide-reaching protections – is subverted as broad, over-reaching patents are accumulated like mercury by competing organizations that are unwilling, unable or both to work together to advance markets. But while I agree with the sentiment, that’s not why I am against software patents. ...
OSFA

Proposed guidelines for open government plans

OSFAOpen Source for America (OSFA) represents more than 1,600 businesses, associations, non-governmental organizations, communities, and academic/research institutions who have come together to support and guide federal efforts to make the U.S. Government more open through the use of free and open source software. We applaud the Obama Administration’s Open Government Initiative and the December 8th Directive requiring all federal agencies to promulgate Open Government Plans. We offer the following recommendations for essential elements that belong in every Open Government Plan: PARTICIPATION - Citizens should have opportunities to meaningfully participate in their government's work. This means that the government should actively solicit citizen input in its solicitations and internal rule-making. Open Source for America believes that open source software is an invaluable resource to agencies as they accomplish their mission. There is also a tremendous opportunity to capture the innovation and ingenuity of government employees, who have the means to create their own tools to make themselves more effective, rather than waiting for a cumbersome and unresponsive procurement process. Open source software is, in fact, the most concrete form of participation available to the government's constituents and its employees. ...
Print

Digital Books and Your Rights: A Checklist for Readers

Digital BooksI. Introduction After several years of false starts, the universe of digital books seems at last poised to expand dramatically. Readers should view this expansion with both excitement and wariness. Excitement because digital books could revolutionize reading, making more books more findable and more accessible to more people in more ways than ever before. Wariness because the various entities that will help make this digital book revolution possible may not always respect the rights and expectations that readers, authors, booksellers and librarians have built up, and defended, over generations of experience with physical books. As new digital book tools and services roll out, we need to be able to evaluate not only the cool features they offer, but also whether they extend (or hamper) our rights and expectations. ...
Open Source

The Multiple Meanings of the Term “Open”

Over the last couple of months I’ve found myself involved, both actively and passively, in several conversations that contained terms like “open” or “openness”. The adjective “open” was associated to nouns like “format”, “standard”, “source”, “government”, “data”, and so forth. Quite often the use and misuse of the term “open” leads to almost hatred discussions, exuding religious fervor on both camps (those who are for “open” and those who are against). In my honest opinion, most of these battles are fought on the basis of a misunderstanding on either or both parties about what “open” actually means. Usually people confuse the end (such as making something more accessible) with the means (adopting one particular approach). ...
LBSD browsers

Internet Explorer’s dominant market share eroding

IE logoRemember when Internet Explorer ruled the Web, to the tune of about 98% of the browser market share? Those were happy days for Internet Explorer. Until Firefox rose from the ashes of Netscape. Internet Explorer's market share has been sliding ever since, and I think it got worse when Safari and then Google's Chrome joined the browser market. A new report shows that that slide has put Internet Explorer's market share at just under 60%. That's still a majority share, but nowhere near the 98% it used to be. The report by AT Internet Institute, a Web analytics and online intelligence outfit based in Mérignac France, shows that from June to December 2009, Internet Explorer lost about 3% of its market share in Europe. Within the same time period, Firefox gained 1.1%, Google's Chrome 2%, and Safari just about 1%. Not major gains by the way, but they are not exactly standing still. The only well known browser that did not record any gains in market share was Opera. At 2.3%, its market share's just .a tad higher than the 2.2% it recorded in the same time frame a year earlier. ...
Gates/Jesus

Windows 7 Sins now in 9 languages!

Free Software FoundationOur campaign for computer user freedom, Windows 7 Sins, now has 6 language translations available with several more on the way. The translation effort, coordinated by FSF campaigns staff working with volunteer translators, has been gathering pace over the last few months. All the work has been done using free software tools with our collaboration efforts achieved via the GNU Mailman software. The first translation to go live was French, translated by members of the French activist organization, April. ...
CDT

The Role of Privacy by Design in Protecting Consumer Privacy

CDT1) What is Privacy by Design? CDT has submitted comments to the Federal Trade Commission for the second in a series of public roundtable discussions the agency is sponsoring exploring the privacy challenges posed by 21st-century technology and business practices that involve the collection and use of consumer data. CDT views these roundtable sessions as a historic opportunity for the FTC to develop and announce a comprehensive privacy protection policy for the next decade. ...
Startpage

Celebrating Data Privacy Day

Data Privacy DayI'm assuming most people already know this, but if you did not, today is Data Privacy Day. Given that those in control of the wheels of the digital market square we call the Internet do not value our privacy, we have to take this day, every day, to remind us - and them - that privacy matters. Everyday should be a Data Privacy Day, but there's nothing wrong in setting one day aside to mark it. According to Data Privacy Day: ...