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An HTTP Status Code For Censorship? 369

New submitter Tryfen writes "UK ISPs are being forced to block The Pirate Bay. One is using 'HTTP 403 Forbidden' to tell users that they cannot access the site. From the article: 'However, chief among my concerns is the technical way this censorship is implemented. At the moment, my ISP serves up an HTTP 403 error.' ... As far as I am concerned, this response is factually incorrect. According to the W3C Specifications: "The 4xx class of status code is intended for cases in which the client seems to have erred."' So, should there be a specific HTTP status code to tell a user they are being censored?"
Open Source

Do Build Environments Give Companies an End Run Around the GPL? 374

Malvineous writes "I have two devices, from two different companies (who shall remain nameless, but both are very large and well-known) which run Linux-based firmware. The companies release all their source code to comply with the GPL, but neither includes a build environment or firmware utilities with the code. This means that if you want to alter the free software on the device, you can't — there is no way to build a firmware image or install it on the devices in question, effectively rendering the source code useless. I have approached the companies directly and while one of them acknowledges that it is not fully GPL-compliant, due to other license restrictions it cannot make the build environment public, and the company does not have the resources to rewrite it. I have approached the FSF but its limited resources are tied up pursuing more blatant violations (where no code at all is being released.) Meanwhile I am stuck with two devices that only work with Internet Explorer, and although I have the skills to rewrite each web interface, I have no way of getting my code running on the devices themselves. Have these companies found a convenient way to use GPL code, whilst preventing their customers from doing the same?"
GNU is Not Unix

Stallman Says Pirate Party Hurts Free Software 546

bonch writes "Richard Stallman has written an article on the GNU Web site describing the effect the Swedish Pirate Party's platform would have on the free software movement. While he supports general changes to copyright law, he makes a point that many anti-copyright proponents don't realize — the GPL itself is a copyright license that relies on copyright law to protect access to source code. According to Stallman, the Pirate Party's proposal of a five-year limit on copyright would remove the freedom users have to gain access to source code by eventually allowing its inclusion in proprietary products. Stallman suggests requiring proprietary software to also release its code within five years to even the balance of power."

Campaign to Open Source IBM's Notes/Domino 255

Ian Tree, an IT consultant from the Netherlands, has started a campaign to convince IBM to open source the code for Notes/Domino. Hoping for results similar to the push for Sun to open source Solaris, which finally saw success in 2005, Tree makes the simple point that it won't happen until someone asks. "By being an open source product, Tree is also hoping that Domino becomes something schools use to teach groupware and application development concepts, which is the holy grail for future market adoption. This is how various Unixes, relational databases, Linux, and a raft of other products eventually became commercialized. While the idea of open sourcing any proprietary program is appealing, in as much as it sets a program free to live beyond the commitment (or lack thereof) of its originator, it is hard to see why open Notes/Domino would have any more impact than OpenSolaris."

Public Request For Microsoft To Release Deprecated File Formats 154

SgtChaireBourne writes "NLnet, a Dutch foundation for an open information society, has publicly called for Microsoft to release its deprecated formats into the public domain. The maker of Office has made large efforts during the last year to move against the OpenDocument Format (ISO/IEC 26300). These efforts have been producing a lot of commentary regarding the amount of data bound up in the Redmond-based company's proprietary specifications. It's a nasty situation to end up with files that cannot be read because the sole vendor with the documentation for the files has withdrawn permission. ODF is the way forward, or a step forward at the least, with new documents. But for the old documents in the legacy formats, they cannot be read without supporting software and that support requires full access to the specifications."

PC Magazine Editor Throws in the Towel on Vista 816

MacNN caught this incredible defection and loss of faith by a former Vista booster, PC Magazine editor-in-chief Jim Louderback, as he steps down from his position. "I've been a big proponent of the new OS over the past few months, even going so far as loading it onto most of my computers and spending hours tweaking and optimizing it. So why, nine months after launch, am I so frustrated? The litany of what doesn't work and what still frustrates me stretches on endlessly. The upshot is that even after nine months, Vista just ain't cutting it. I definitely gave Microsoft too much of a free pass on this operating system: I expected it to get the kinks worked out more quickly. Boy, was I fooled! If Microsoft can't get Vista working, I might just do the unthinkable: I might move to Linux."

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