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GNU is Not Unix

Ubuntu Community Manager: RMS's Post Seems a Bit Childish To Me 529

spacenet writes "As a response to RMS speaking out against Ubuntu about its privacy-violating integrated Amazon search results, which he considers to be spyware, Ubuntu Community Manager Jono Bacon has addressed RMS's statements. In his reply, Jono claims that Stallman's views on privacy do not align with Canonical's, that some of his statements are worded in order to 'generate fear, uncertainty, and doubt about Ubuntu' and that 'it just seems a bit childish to me.' The comments on the post itself are well worth a read."

Comment A solution (Score 2) 260

I found its actually hard to get a machine that's decent these days, unless you're prepared to put up with a bit of crap.

The solution is to build your own custom laptop -- http://www.avadirect.com/gaming-laptop-configurator.asp?PRID=25095

If you go for the "VISIONTEK Killer" wireless card, it has an Atheros chipset, so you can distro-hop to your hearts content. They also ship it with no OS if you like.

DRM

Richard Stallman: 'Apple Has Tightest Digital Handcuffs In History' 515

jrepin points out a discussion with Richard Stallman in which he talks about how the Free Software movement is faring in light of companies that have been successful in the long term with very different principles, like Microsoft and Apple. Stallman had this to say: "I would say the free software movement has gone about half the distance it has to travel. We managed to make a mass community but we still have a long way to go to liberate computer users. Those companies are very powerful. They are cleverly finding new ways to take control over users. ... The most widely used non-free programs have malicious features – and I’m talking about specific, known malicious features. ... There are three kinds: those that spy on the user, those that restrict the user, and back doors. Windows has all three. Microsoft can install software changes without asking permission. Flash Player has malicious features, as do most mobile phones. Digital handcuffs are the most common malicious features. They restrict what you can do with the data in your own computer. Apple certainly has the digital handcuffs that are the tightest in history. The i-things, well, people found two spy features and Apple says it removed them and there might be more. When people don’t know about this issue they choose based on immediate convenience and nothing else. And therefore they can be herded into giving up their freedom by a combination of convenient features, pressure from institutions and the network effect."
Social Networks

Bring On the Decentralized Social Networking 238

Frequent contributor Bennett Haselton writes: "The distributed-social-networking Diaspora Project recently announced that their software will be released as open source. I don't know if Diaspora specifically will be the Next Big Thing in social networking, but I hope that social networking moves to a decentralized model within the next few years, where anyone can set up and run a hub to administer profiles for themselves and their friends or clients, and where profiles can interact with each other in a distributed fashion instead of on a centralized system like Facebook." Read on for Bennett's thoughts on how that model could work.
GNOME

GNOME Developers Lay Out Plans for GNOME OS 208

From the H: "Allan Day has written a blog post on the concrete plans for 'GNOME OS' and provided background on the ideas that have motivated those plans ... Day starts by emphasizing that GNOME OS is not an attempt to replace existing distributions. Although the creation of a standalone GNOME OS is part of the plans, the idea is to make that a testing and development platform, and any improvements that come from GNOME OS should 'directly improve what the GNOME project is able to offer distributions.' Many of the drivers for GNOME OS are, Day says, old ideas to improve the development experience, such as automated testing and sandboxed applications, and while the developers could have separate initiatives for each feature, the idea is to work on them as a 'holistic plan' under the moniker 'GNOME OS.'" A few slides provide more context. In the works are stabilizing the platform APIs, improving deployment of applications, making everything automatically testable, and probably the most controversial: "The increasing popularity of mobile and touch devices represents a challenge to existing desktop solutions. This situation is complicated by the emergence of new hybrid devices that combine keyboards, touchpads and touchscreens. During our discussions last week we talked about how existing types of devices – primarily laptops and desktops – have to remain the primary focus for GNOME ... At the same time, we also want to ensure that GNOME remains compatible with new hardware. ... We have set the goal of having a touch-compatible GNOME 3 within a maximum of 18 months." The drive toward touch may seem obnoxious to desktop users, but spreading Free Software to a hardware ecosystem that is currently locked down and proprietary seems like a good goal to have.

Submission + - Check your Paypal buttons (debian-administration.org)

51mon writes: "Seems Paypal regard domain images.paypal.com domain as defunct. Probably broken by recent infrastructure changes at Paypal (April 19th)

People with older Paypal buttons may find their pages slow or fail to load.

Paypal support seem to be relaxed on the issue asking me to supply them lists of their own documentation which use the old name. There appears to be no planning to the decommissioning, no use of HTTP redirects.

I can't find a start date for this problem, I can't find any other references."

Comment Re:I think the FSF might be a bit biased (Score 2) 277

We can't tell from Blackduck's data either since it isn't known what criteria are used by them.

We could pick other projects and see what the trend is in them, but ultimately all we would know is what the trend is in them. Google Code looks like a fairly easy place to gather some figures from and they host a lot of code these days.

Any such study is limited by the set of data it looks at. I presume the FSF chose Debian because it is (a) large (b) licenses are reasonably easily checkable (c) well documented historical versions, so they could quickly check if the there is a trend away from the GNU GPL in the kind of systems the FSF was created to create.

The changes in Blackduck's data are simply too large to reflect changes to say GNU/Linux distros, since software tends not to change license that often, so it seems likely they are just including more sources of free software from other places which simply have less GNU GPL software in them, in which case what you are seeing is their data becomes more representative of the totality of free software code rather than a trend away from the GNU GPL.

Thus it is possible both studies are correct and that GNU GPL usage is increasing in Debian (and probably other general purpose GNU/Linux desktops - not least a lot of them are based on Debian, and perhaps in general), and GNU GPL now forms a smaller part of the code base that Blackduck are keeping in their knowledge base.

Whilst I'm sure the FSF like people to use the GNU GPL, they are pro-free software, so if that the amount of free software Blackduck find is growing faster than the growth in GNU GPL software, it is unlikely to be keeping my friends in Boston up at night.

But what really matters is what software people use, not the proportion of software in repositories. I'm using Debian to write this, and I don't much care what free software license most of the software I use is, as long as Debian can inspect, package, fix and distribute it.

I care more when I write code, but mostly that the codebase I'm contributing to aims to remain free, a copyleft license is a guarantee of that, but it isn't the only such guarantee that makes me feel good. I'd happily contribute freely to the Apache project knowing me and my friends can expect to benefit from any such contribution in future even without a copyleft license.

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