News & Tutorials

Built to last

Built to last

It has now been almost exactly five years since kernel development community tentatively started using the git source code management system with the 2.6.12-rc2 commit. That was an uncertain time; nobody really knew how long it would take the development process to get back up to speed after an abrupt core-tool change. As it turned out, git was almost immediately […]

Why I Will Not Sign the Public Domain Manifesto

Why I Will Not Sign the Public Domain Manifesto

By Richard M. Stallman: The Public Domain Manifesto (http://www.publicdomainmanifesto.org/node/8) has its heart in the right place as it objects to some of the unjust extensions of copyright power, so I wish I could support it. However, it falls far short of what is needed. Some flaws are at the level of implicit assumptions. The manifesto frequently uses propaganda terms of […]

Open letter to Google: free VP8, and use it on YouTube

Open letter to Google: free VP8, and use it on YouTube

With its purchase of the On2 video compression technology company having been completed on Wednesday February 16, 2010, Google now has the opportunity to make free video formats the standard, freeing the web from both Flash and the proprietary H.264 codec. Dear Google, With your purchase of On2, you now own both the world’s largest video site (YouTube) and all […]

The Toyota recall and the case for open, auditable source code

Public Safety is not a matter of Private Concern In a recent article, Slate’s Farhad Manjoo attempts to play down fears of faulty software in car braking systems as a potential cause of traffic accidents. Citing numerous studies which conclude that “the overwhelming reason we get in crashes is driver error,” Manjoo reasons that “the less driving people do, the […]

Add cloud storage to OpenOffice.org with SMECloud

Add cloud storage to OpenOffice.org with SMECloud

Cloud computing is all the rage these days. But while the idea of using your browser to access your applications and documents sounds like a great idea on paper, in practice there are all kinds of reasons to stick to your desktop software. Take OpenOffice.org, for example. None of the available Web-based word processors can compete with Writer when it […]

OpenOffice.org: The Need for Style

OpenOffice.org: The Need for Style

Office applications like OpenOffice.org can bring out the worst in people. The same people who wouldn’t dream of driving a car without a few lessons will start pounding away in a word processor as though it were a typewriter, ignoring basic features like styles and templates. In the end, they may produce the documents they want, but only with far […]

FreeBSD and the GPL

Linus Torvalds has said Linux wouldn’t have happened if 386BSD had been around when he started up. We trace the history of FreeBSD and how it’s affected the open source world. The first free Unix-like operating system available on the IBM PC was 386BSD, of which Linus Torvalds said in 1993: “If 386BSD had been available when I started on […]

Proposed guidelines for open government plans

Proposed guidelines for open government plans

Open Source for America (OSFA) represents more than 1,600 businesses, associations, non-governmental organizations, communities, and academic/research institutions who have come together to support and guide federal efforts to make the U.S. Government more open through the use of free and open source software. We applaud the Obama Administration’s Open Government Initiative and the December 8th Directive requiring all federal agencies […]

No Warrant Necessary to Seize Your Laptop

The U.S. Customs may search your laptop and copy your hard drive when you cross the border, according to their policy. They may do this even if they have no particularized suspicion of wrongdoing on your part. They claim that the Fourth Amendment protection against warrantless search and seizure does not apply. The Customs justifies this policy on the grounds […]

The Traceability of an Anonymous Online Comment

Yesterday, I described a simple scenario where a plaintiff, who is having difficulty identifying an alleged online defamer, could benefit from subpoenaing data held by a third party web service provider. Some third parties—like Facebook in yesterday’s example—know exactly who I am and know whenever I visit or post on other sites. But even when no third party has the […]

Mozilla Debates Whether to Trust Chinese CA

Mozilla Debates Whether to Trust Chinese CA

Sometimes geeky technical details matter only to engineers. But sometimes a seemingly arcane technical decision exposes deep social or political divisions. A classic example is being debated within the Mozilla project now, as designers decide whether the Mozilla Firefox browser should trust a Chinese certification authority by default. Here’s the technical background: When you browse to a secure website (typically […]

PC-BSD’s graphical firewall manager

PC-BSD’s graphical firewall manager

PC-BSD is a desktop-oriented, FreeBSD-based distribution with KDE as the default desktop environment. The version due to be released shortly is PC-BSD 8. Because it the only BSD-based desktop distribution that’s in a position to compete with the best Linux desktop distributions, I’ll be publishing a number of articles over the next few weeks to introduce those not yet familiar […]

Google Buzz Privacy Update

Google Buzz Privacy Update

Over the weekend, Google announced significant changes to its new social networking service, Buzz. Responding to criticism (including EFF’s), Google moved away from the system in which Buzz automatically sets you up to follow the people you email and chat with most. Instead, Google has adopted an auto-suggest model, in which you are shown the friend list with an option […]

Digital Books and Your Rights: A Checklist for Readers

Digital Books and Your Rights: A Checklist for Readers

I. Introduction After several years of false starts, the universe of digital books seems at last poised to expand dramatically. Readers should view this expansion with both excitement and wariness. Excitement because digital books could revolutionize reading, making more books more findable and more accessible to more people in more ways than ever before. Wariness because the various entities that […]

Symbian

Symbian

Symbian is an open platform for smartphones overseen by the Symbian Foundation. It formerly existed as a proprietary mobile operating system under the Symbian OS name, which was under the control of Nokia, Ericsson, Motorola and Psion. Nokia was the majority share holder. In 2008, Nokia acquired complete control of the platform and made it available as an open source […]

Bada

Bada

Bada, Korean for ocean, is a platform for smartphones developed and maintained by Samsung, a multi-faceted, digital technology company. Bada is not open to other handset vendors in the same sense as Android, but it is open for developers to create applications for smartphones powered by Bada. “The bada platform is kernel-configurable so that it can run either on the […]

Qt 4.6.2 for Maemo 5 released

Qt 4.6.2 for Maemo 5 released

The latest version of Qt for the Maemo platform has been released. See the official announcement page. Note that since Moblin and Maemo have been merged to form a single platform, this could be the last release of Qt for Maemo. Don’t quote me on this, but that’s what I think. Watch the video demo of some of the new […]

Galician government launches a promotion campaign on open source

Galician government launches a promotion campaign on open source

The government of Galicia, one of Spain’s autonomous regions, wants to boost the use of free and open source software by its public administrations and citizens. The regional ministry for Modernisation and Innovation aims to bring together its previous initiatives on open source, it explains in a statement published on 27 January. Previous initiatives on free and open source software […]

MeeGo

MeeGo

MeeGo is a new Linux platform formed from the merger of Intel’s Moblin platform and Nokia’s Maemo platform. The objective is to have a single platform that will be usable on a wide range of devices – “netbooks/entry-level desktops, handheld computing and communications devices, in-vehicle infotainment devices, connected TVs, and media phones.” The platform is scheduled for release by the […]

Open source to fix mandatory e-government’s service

Open source to fix mandatory e-government’s service

At least three open source projects in the Czech Republic are working to allow platform independent access to the government’s electronic message service. The mandatory service, called ‘Datove schranky’ (Data boxes) is currently only accessible on computers running Microsoft’s proprietary operating system. The open source development projects started following an appeal by a group of 25 Czech companies and individuals. […]