theodp writes: One can always depend on Richard M. Stallman for a provocative take on tech issues, notes the L.A. Times' Michael Hiltzik, and Stallman's response to the death of Steve Jobs delivers: 'Steve Jobs, the pioneer of the computer as a jail made cool, designed to sever fools from their freedom, has died. As Chicago Mayor Harold Washington said of the corrupt former Mayor Daley, 'I'm not glad he's dead, but I'm glad he's gone.' Nobody deserves to have to die — not Jobs, not Mr. Bill, not even people guilty of bigger evils than theirs. But we all deserve the end of Job' malign influence on people's computing. Unfortunately, that influence continues despite his absence. We can only hope his successors, as they attempt to carry on his legacy, will be less effective.' While the remarks predictably prompted an outpouring of indignation, Hiltzik argues that Stallman's critique of Jobs' business model has merit and deserves to be heeded.
N!NJA writes: Many have already read on the Internets what Richard Stallman said about Steve Jobs:
"Steve Jobs, the pioneer of the computer as a jail made cool, designed to sever fools from their freedom, has died. As Chicago Mayor Harold Washington said of the corrupt former Mayor Daley, "I'm not glad he's dead, but I'm glad he's gone." Nobody deserves to have to die — not Jobs, not Mr. Bill, not even people guilty of bigger evils than theirs. But we all deserve the end of Jobs' malign influence on people's computing. Unfortunately, that influence continues despite his absence. We can only hope his successors, as they attempt to carry on his legacy, will be less effective."
Eric S Raymond, the author of Cathedral in Bazaar has come out to defend Richard M Stallman:
"But the Mac also set a negative pattern that Jobs was to repeat with greater amplification later in his life. In two respects; first, it was a slick repackaging of design ideas from an engineering tradition that long predated Jobs (in this case, going back to the pioneering Xerox PARC WIMP interfaces of the early 1970s). Which would be fine, except that Jobs created a myth that arrogated that innovation to himself and threw the actual pioneers down the memory hole."
"Second, even while Jobs was posing as a hip liberator from the empire of the beige box, he was in fact creating a hardware and software system so controlling and locked down that the case couldn’t even be opened without a special cracking tool. The myth was freedom, but the reality was Jobs’s way or the highway. Such was Jobs’s genius as a marketer that he was able to spin that contradiction as a kind of artistic integrity, and gain praise for it when he should have been slammed for hypocrisy."
"What’s really troubling is that Jobs made the walled garden seem cool. He created a huge following that is not merely resigned to having their choices limited, but willing to praise the prison bars because they have pretty window treatments."
Hugh Pickens writes writes: "Bryan Walsh writes in Time Magazine that climate denialism exists in part because there has been a long-term, well-financed effort on the part of conservative groups and corporations to distort global-warming science. "The blows have been struck by a well-funded, highly complex and relatively coordinated denial machine," say sociologists Riley Dunlap and Aaron McCright. Fossil-fuel companies like Exxon and Peabody Energy — which obviously have a business interest in slowing any attempt to reduce carbon emissions — have combined with traditionally conservative corporate groups like the US Chamber of Commerce and conservative foundations like the Koch brothers' Americans for Prosperity, to raise doubts about the basic validity of what is, essentially, a settled scientific truth. The naysayers seem to be following the playbook written by the tobacco industry in its long, ongoing war against medical findings about the dangers of smoking. For both Big Oil and Big Smoke, that playbook is lethally simple: don't straight-up refute the science, just raise skepticism and insist that the findings are "unsettled" and that "more research" is necessary."
lukemartinez writes: "The Linux Australia community began petitioning the ACCC this week after Microsoft aired plans to mandate the enabling of Unified Extensible Firmware Interface's (UEFI) secure boot feature for devices bearing the "Designed for Windows 8" logo. This means that any software or hardware that is to run on the firmware will need to be signed by Microsoft or the original equipment manufacturer (OEM) to be able to execute. This would make it impossible to install alternative operating systems like Linux..."
dell623 writes: "Apple's recent lawsuits against Samsung and HTC are based on patents that are considered trivial and obvious by most people with a working knowledge of software. Apple are not the only company using such patents, but they are doing it blatantly, publicly and dishonestly, and sadly, unlike common patent trolls, they have a unique history of innovation. Such lawsuits can have far reaching consequences. If such patent wars had happened in the last 30-40 years personal computing devices and the internet wouldn't exist as they do today, and similarly, these patent wars threaten to bring about a technological dark age of stagnation or decline, smothering a technological revolution that is still young. We have had an incredible, transformational period of around four decades where powerful computers started off powering expensive military systems and ended up as minuscule devices in our hands that can talk to each other across the world, and we have only begun to explain the possibilities this brings us. These patent wars threaten to brutally strangle a still young revolution that has possibilities we can only begin to imagine."
MrSeb writes: "Almost every aspect of Google Wallet — which launched in the US today — sounds utterly awesome: No more bulky wallet; one device to rule them all! Increased security! Contactless payments! All you need is a Google Nexus S smartphone, with its fancy NFC chip, and that’s it: a paperless utopia awaits. Only... it isn’t quite that simple. It’s impossible to understate how amazing it would be if smartphones replaced tickets, receipts, coupons, gift cards, credit cards, and just about every single-state, plastic and paper recording medium — but on the flip side, the number of roadblocks and ramifications that encumber such a roll-out are so, so numerous. Google Wallet isn't inherently more secure than contactless credit cards or chip-and-pin payments, and it isn't more convenient either. The biggest problem, though, is battery power: what happens if your wallet — which contains your cards, tickets, and coupons — runs out of power?"
jfruhlinger writes: "There's a lot of hand-wringing on both sides about new laws imposed on Internet speech that tends to obscure an important fact: much of the nasty stuff that people do online, from harassment to libel, is already illegal. Many people engage in such activities think they're hidden behind a wall of Internet anonymity; but unless they're taking unusually strict precautions, that's almost certainly not the case. Cyber harassers can hide, but they can't run."
AmyVernon writes: This piece from RWW got me thinking about whether when you sign up for access to a site whether you're actually signing up to get a slew of email spam from them. The single opt-in is still really popular and I've noticed that because I often check the box that requests that I NOT get further emails from a company or publisher.
I always assume that giving my actual email address means I'm going to get spam-type emails from whomever. Still surprises me that most people don't. But it does raise a good question: Shouldn't you be able to sign up for something without automatically being signed up for a never-ending stream of "updates"?
jrepin writes: "The EU Parliament just started discussing a resolution and oral question to the Commission on Net Neutrality. Make your voice heard to ensure that your EU representatives make a strong commitment for a free and open Internet against pressure from the telecoms industry. Network Neutrality —understood as the principle of non-discrimination between online communications— is the foundation for the democratic and socio-economic benefits of the Internet. However, Net Neutrality is under the threat of dominant telecom operators who want to develop new business models based on the control of their users' communications. Get in touch with the European Members of Parliament by phone or e-mail to urge them to take resolute action1 in favour of a free and open Internet."
A new study with colleagues in the Stanford Security Lab examines the self-help tools that are available and presents some measurements of effectiveness. Our results suggest that users can do much to protect themselves — but they'll have to block ads. The Wall Street Journal has some reactions."
GovTechGuy writes: The FCC will begin a test on Monday that will give the public access to "white spaces," the unused spectrum between TV and radio stations. The Commission is in the process of opening up the airwaves for public use; the last release of unlicensed airwaves eventually spawned a number of innovations such as WiFi, cordless phones and baby monitors. Officials hope this move will lead to better WiFi technology that can cover up to 50 miles.
Bomber16 writes: Is open source and the military compatible? I am a big open source fan. I use Fedora, LibreOffice, Thunderbird, and Firefox in my day to day home life. I never thought I would use open source in the military. Here in the military we mainly use Microsoft products. I tried to get our IT department to go with open source but they said there was no support for it and that we could only use things we purchase. I believe this is the wrong answer and when I had the chance, I took it. We had a project that was using COTS and was costing us an arm and leg in license fees. Initial costs was around $45k and $17k for the maintenance fees. I asked my contractors to consider the alternatives to the software and suggested going open source. It ended up taking 30 days to rewrite the software and port it to NASA Worldwind. It worked great. Also, we controlled all the source code and can distribute the software to anybody who needed it. So this extra 30 days of work for my contractors led to a huge cost savings. We are now working on developing software applications on Android.
So it open source and the military compatible? What are the risks? What are the benefits? Is it the right move?