If you’re managing community or developer relationships for your employer, a crucial principle is to “go with the grain” of the community — promote and embrace the freedoms it needs and the expectations it cherishes — rather than take actions that result in easily-anticipated opposition.
This article on the Open Education Consortium’s Year of Open site highlights his views on software freedom.
Simon spent time on Friday with Mike Nash, HP’s vice president of consumer PCs, to discuss the keylogger that was found in one of their device drivers. Nash was open, honest, accepted responsibility and demonstrated that HP already had the problem addressed despite the researchers who found the issue being less than effective.
The whole incident shows how vulnerable our Windows-dominated approach to IT is however. Stateful desktops delivered in a cut-throat-competitive market are beyond the oversight of any individual and as the Wanacry worm shows malware can spread rapidly using a defect just like this one.
Simon ends by suggesting “Maybe we need to break that problem apart — stateless desktops, open source code, cloud-hosted statefulness — if we’re to avoid disaster.”
Simon was surprised when he went to the Microsoft press release page looking for the news about Linux support for SQL Server and joining Eclipse. He found that the only press release related to Linux was about patent licensing. He’s written about it today on InfoWorld and expanded the thought on his blog.
Simon is one of the hosts interviewing the hledger project this week on FLOSS Weekly 375.
The sort of alpha personalities who invest venture capital are good at sounding plausible and authoritative. It’s not until they veer into an area where you’ve got a high degree of expertise that you realise how they really view the world. An article in TechCrunch gave a window into the world of two high-flyers; the former CEO of MongoDB and the former managing director of Intel Capital. Both could be expected to have a good understanding of open source, and both now have executive roles at a major VC, Battery Partners.
What’s visible through that window is disappointing to say the least. Riven with serious factual errors that are probably the expression of the authors’ worldview, it’s clear that these VCs don’t see open source the same way the open source community does. Read more on InfoWorld.
An interview with Simon is featured on the web site at Open Forum Europe at the moment.
Digital Life Clippings from week 1
- Marriott will ban shareable WiFi if the FCC don’t let them block it – NYT – Their arrogance in attempting to protect their high-margin abuse of customers’ vulnerability knows no bounds; threatening the FCC is jaw-dropping.
To carry out their threat to ban shareable WiFi, they would need to ban not only MiFis but also Windows, Mac and Linux laptops as well as almost all smartphones. They may think they have a right to break my internet if I won’t use their broken internet, but the “hospitality” they will need to show their “guests” will be deeply harmful.
The bug is not that people want to use their own internet connections; it’s that Marriott think people should have to pay extra for a facility that’s become as fundamental to travellers as hot water or electric light. [Coverage]
- HP’s low-cost Windows laptop is not a Chromebook killer – GigaOm – It’s a mistake to try to squeeze Windows into hardware designed for ChromeOS. You end up with a laptop that’s so under-powered it’s best for cloud-hosted applications (as the HP/Microsoft TV advertising in the UK implies). But you still have to maintain anti-malware software, apply updates, manage drivers, buy upgrades and so on.
So you have bought yourself the functionality of a Chromebook but with the upkeep of Windows. Why on earth would anyone think that was a good deal?
- A Europe Of Treaties? – Webmink – The UK is entering its election cycle and the political manipulators are trying to whip Britain’s closet xenophobes into an anti-European frenzy intended to justify Britain’s withdrawal from the European Union. But what would be the alternative? Britain can’t up-anchor and sail to Florida. Opting out like that would simply mean discarding democratic engagement over the market conditions Britain depends on and instead seeking secretly-negotiated treaties.
- Samsung to use Tizen in TVs – Tizen Experts – Samsung’s embrace of Tizen continues, although this move to deploy it to TVs instead of phones may indicate someone has woken up to the need for a large and diverse developer ecosystem to make a platform succeed. All the same, the probem is on clear display in this insider article. This quote embodies the problem.
Tizen TV is expected to be running Tizen 3.0 based on Tizen Common at launch and the non Intellectual Property (IP) Source Code released shortly thereafter.
Secret development, partial code availability, binaries before code; how could any meaningful collaborative community possible emerge in the absence of an existing diverse ecosystem?
- Indian government blocks programming web sites, including archive.org and Github gists – TechCrunch – As if to illustrate why it’s bad to allow anyone the power to block web sites arbitrarily, the Indian government has blocked entire slices of web infrastructure because one of their functionaries found something about ISIS somewhere on it. More on the blog.
- Marriott wants to block your devices so you have to pay for their wifi – Boing Boing – Marriott clearly does not want anyone from the technology industry to stay at their hotels or to use them for events. Best to respect their wishes and avoid them like the plague.
- End-user adoption of open source is a lousy metric – RRW – Open source is primarily a collaboration technique, leveraging the permission-in-advance arising from software freedom to unlock innovation in many unrelated deployers. For many reasons, enterprise end-user deployment of unmodified open source software is thus a lousy metric for gauging the influence of open source.
- Perfect slapdown to a bogus takedown – TechDirt – The monkey selfie is resoundingly in the public domain, your jurisdiction has no say in mine and my use is fair use. Otherwise, do you have any questions?
- If the Supreme Court tackles the NSA in 2015, it’ll be one of these five cases — Ars Technica — This is a great test for the separation of powers. US law very clearly needs an update for the meshed society and signalling it is a job for SCOTUS. I’m also interested to see if the court is willing to clarify the Third Party Doctrine. It seems obvious to me that if I have a relationship with a telco as a customer, that telco can’t truly be considered a “third party”.
- Police called to remove pre-teens just in case they pirated Hunger Games movie with cellphones – Ars Technica – Given the storyline of the movie, this is ironic. Cineworld thinks copyrights are so precious it’s worth infringing common sense and individual rights to protect them. They think paying customers are criminals until proven otherwise, even kids. Don’t let any kids you care about watch movies at a cinema with this attitude, it’s not safe.
- The most wasteful patent aggression strategy ever has failed – Ars Technica – Another skirmish in the ongoing dirty war by the legacy technology & media industry against Google bites the dust.
- NSA dumps incriminating documents on Christmas Eve – Boing Boing – Anyone who doubts the effectiveness of Freedom of Information requests should see how government agencies squirm responding to them.
- Inadvertent Algorithmic Cruelty – MeyerWeb – Facebook’s Year In Review is a product of an unremittingly positive mindset that believes algorithms can handle anything. This time I think it will be widely regretted rather than welcomed, for the reasons Eric Meyer explains and I expand. Algorithms can’t exercise discretion; don’t use them for things that demand it.
- Cuba’s “offline Internet” – Guardian – The Internet was designed to work around obstacles. This fascinating example does it via sneakernet.