Bruce Perens writes: FCC wants to be sure that WiFi drivers don't cause interference with airport weather radars, but their proposal, to lock down WiFi firmware, won't fly. Many commenters in the proceeding have made it clear that Open Source firmware for WiFi devices must remain legal. While an "alternative" proposal to FCC that would require that all WiFi routers be Open Source is getting most of the publicity today, I have proposed another alternative that would be fair for both Open Source and proprietary software. It requires approval of the source code of a WiFi driver by a person with a technical license from FCC, the GROL+Radar, if that driver is to be mass-distributed in binary form for use by RF-naïve users by either the manufacturer or Open Source. The license assures that the responsible person actually understands how to protect radar systems in a WiFi driver. It's pretty easy for someone competent in radio engineering to pass the license test, and many thousands of people hold the license today. Vendors and Open Source are treated the same. It doesn't place restrictions on testing and development, or conversion of WiFi equipment to other radio services. And it includes an explanation of the problem, for those of you who don't know what the uproar is about.
Bruce Perens writes: A young person wrote to me "Hello Mr. Guru, I'd like to get into Software, take Windows off of my computer, install Debian or something, learn HTML, PHP, and become a good hacker. Is it too late? Where can I find the really smart people?" Here's my answer.
Bruce Perens writes: I've sent a letter to my district's senators and member of
congress this evening, regarding how we should achieve a swifter
end to U.S. dependency on the Russians for access to space.
Please read my letter, below. If you like it, please join
me and send something similar to your own representatives.
Find them here and
here. — Bruce
Dear Congressperson Lee,
The U.S. is dependent on the
Russians for present and future access to space. Only Soyuz can
bring astronauts to and from the Space Station. The space
vehicles being built by United Launch Alliance are designed
around a Russian engine. NASA's own design for a crewed rocket is in its infancy and will not be useful for a decade, if it ever flies.
Mr. Putin has become much too bold
because of other nations dependence. The recent loss of Malaysia
Air MH17 and all aboard is one consequence.
Ending our dependency on Russia for access to space, sooner
than we previously planned, has become critical. SpaceX has
announced the crewed version of their Dragon spaceship. They have had multiple successful flights and returns to Earth of the un-crewed Dragon and their Falcon 9 rocket, which are without unfortunate
foreign dependencies. SpaceX is pursuing development using private
funds. The U.S. should now support and accelerate that
SpaceX has, after only a decade of development, demonstrated many advances over
existing and planned paths to space. Recently they have twice successfully
brought the first stage of their Falcon 9 rocket back to the
ocean surface at a speed that would allow safe landing on ground.
They have demonstrated many times the safe takeoff, flight to
significant altitude, ground landing and re-flight of two similar
test rockets. In October they plan the touchdown of their rocket's
first stage on a barge at sea, and its recovery and re-use
after a full flight to space. Should their plan for a reusable
first-stage, second, and crew vehicle be achieved, it could
result in a reduction in the cost of access to space to perhaps
1/100 of the current "astronomical" price. This would open a new
frontier to economical access in a way not witnessed by our
nation since the transcontinental railroad. The U.S. should now
support this effort and reap its tremendous economic rewards.
This plan is not without risk, and like all space research
there will be failures, delays, and eventually lost life.
However, the many successes of SpaceX argue for our increased
support now, and the potential of tremendous benefit to our
nation and the world.
Bruce Perens writes: "Lexis Nexis has Open Sourced HPCC, the parallel software that they use for handling extremely large data. Databases that, for example, hold records for every consumer in the U.S. can be processed with this software and its task-specific language. As Strategic Consultant for the company while they decided to participate in Open Source, Open Source co-founder Bruce Perens designed a new Covenant between Lexis Nexis and the Open Source community that makes dual-licensing more fair to the Open Source developer."
Bruce Perens writes: "Just after midnight on Thursday, April 9, unidentified attackers climbed down four manholes in the Northern California city of Morgan Hill and cut eight fiber cables in what appears to have been an organized attack on the electronic infrastructure of an American city. Its implications, though startling, have gone almost un-reported.
So I decided to change that."
jammag writes: "The open source ecosystem is the very definition of a mixed bag, with idealistic developers mixing with corporate profiteers, with Richard Stallman acolytes dealing with business bean counters. Yet as Bruce Perens notes in this snapshot of the current state of open source these disparate elements don't work against one another. Instead, contrary to those who would neatly divide open source into its capitalists and Communists, the community is one whole (if chaotic) ecosystem, which thrives precisely because of its odd bedfellow. Bottom line: can't we all just get along?"
jammag writes: "Bruce Perens, who wrote the original licensing rules for Open Source software in 1997, notes that there a sprawling 73 open source licenses that now exist. But he identifies an essential 4 — well, actually just 2 — that developers, companies, and individuals need. In essence, he cuts through the morass and shows developers, in particular, how to protect their work. (And yes, he favors GPL3 over GPL2). For his own coding work, he's fond of the "sharing with rules" license, which stays true to the Open Source ethos of shared code yet also enables him to get paid by companies who use it in their commercial products. Consider this the essential guide."