Tag Archives: Linux

Full disclosure is important

In last few months I started playing with idea that Microsoft products might be worth checking out again. The last time I used their stuff was in Windows 2000 era. After that it was just Linux and then with years more and more OS X until I also stopped bothering with Linux.

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Image by Selene Farci via Flickr

This effectively means that my perception of their stuff and experience is almost over a decade old. While we’re always happy to bash the people that haven’t tried alternatives like Linux and are dismissing open source as a viable business opportunity, I think we should be equally critical of our own insight.

In this regard two interesting things happened:

  • I started wondering loudly if we should rethink some of our open source strategies in favor of new offerings from Microsoft. Maybe their featureset can actually battle the religion of open source?
  • Microsoft Slovenia for some reason decided to reach out to me and enabled me to go to MIX’09.

The combined process of both things made a sell-out at the end of the day. Probably some stronger words were also used in the process. At least this is how it was perceived by the part of the community.

Lesson learned

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Image by _Blaster_ via Flickr

Transparency and full disclosure are important when you’re trying to play an active role in community. While nobody says anything about my job @zemanta or things I say about blogging, I haven’t earned my reputation in regards to Microsoft related technology and it makes me suspicous.

When someone as big as Microsoft shows you some attention it’s important to talk to them what this actually means so it’s easier to do a full disclosure about your affiliation.

Oh .. the full disclosure

Right now there’s nothing much, they sponsored MIX’09 conference ticket and we’ve had some great talks about possible cooperation on a number of different projects. Hopefuly I’ll be able to bring some of their expertise and insight to the community with time, but everything is very much in brainstorming phase.

Now stop bashing and help me learn some new things! 🙂

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Free Network Services – Benjamin Mako Hill [Wikimania 2008, notes]

GIMPShopped GulmoharImage by Harshad Sharma via Flickr

Free Software Definition

 

The freedom to:

 

  • Use software for any purpose (libra, not gratis)
  • Study and modify
  • Distribute copies to others
  • Collabroate and share your changes

 

Read more at the FSF page: http://www.gnu.org/philosophy/free-sw.html

 

Free Software is really about Control. Communications technologies that we use have profound effect on how people communicate. This is immense power, that we don’t want the companies to have.

 

Network Services

 

The basic idea of network services are these tools that doesn’t run on our own computer, but somewhere on the grid. Traditionally free software requires access to my software.

Example of network services are: Google, Facebook and even Wikipedia. These are services that most of people are spending most of their Internet time one.

 

The most simple positive effects of network services is that they usually work on alternative operating systems like Linux distributions or OS X. But it doesn’t really matter what you are running on your computer, since Google now has efficiently it’s own proprietary operating system. This means that user freedom has actually decreased with time.

 

The Affero approach to opposing negative affect of network services to free software.

 

We need technical and legal ability to modify and protect the freedoms. In the past the Freedom worked great, because the software had to be distributed. This is a problem for network services since there is no distribution.

 

The Affero GPL license (AGPL) ensures that the free software you write for networked service, the source code is released to users that uses it.

 

LiveJournal is released under AGPL, so you can run your own version if you want.

SourceForge also opened it, once they opened it people create GForge.

 

But AGPL is not enough, since we don’t get the data.

 

Autonomo.us

 

Group of hackers, activist, scholars and free thinkers that are exploring these issues.

 

Franklin Street Statement – What the best practices are today for free network services.

 

Developers

 

  • Use the GNU Affero GPL
  • Develop free-licensed alternatives to non-free service
  • Develop software that can replace centralized services

 

Service Providers

 

  • Choose Free Software
  • Release customizations freely
  • Make data available:
  • Users should control their private data
  • Data available to all users of the service should be free

 

Users

 

  • Run distributed alternatives to services
  • Use services that follow the guidelines above

 

Franklin Street Statement in full – http://autonomo.us/2008/07/franklin-street-statement/

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