Roman Canaries

Still as relevant today as when I wrote it over a decade ago.

The Blog Formerly Known As SunMink

DFIR Meeting

Today I had the privilege of speaking to a large and distinguished international audience in Rome, DFIR, considering the creation of a “Bill of Rights” for the Internet as a part of the ongoing IGF process. Many presenters spoke about privacy, about access to knowledge, about the need to build on the well-established corpus of wisdom in existing statements on human rights. Listening through the morning, it became apparent that most people were taking for granted the technical basis on which the Internet was created.

Thus in my speech I decided to take the opposite approach, taking as given the obvious need to establish human rights of privacy, access, free speech and non-discrimination and look at the technical foundations. The Internet exists because of three realities – informally constituted but still consistently real. We have to remember the heritage of the net if we are to protect higher-order rights…

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FLOSS Weekly 531: Bareos

Bareos is not pronounced the same way as bareness and despite sounding like it is nothing to do with a guy called Barry. It’s a comprehensive and mature backup system forked from the Bacula project when it headed proprietary a few years back. Simon joined Randall Schwartz to interview one of its founders and find out where it was headed and just what sort of open source project it is.

 

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FLOSS Weekly 523: FluidKeys

Simon visited the studio this week to co-host FLOSS Weekly 523 which interviewed the developers behind the new FluidKeys project that simplifies team key sharing so secrets can be passed encrypted and e-mails can be easily managed. It uses OpenPGP so potentially enhances any OpenPGP tool. It was open core when we started the show but by the end they were convinced it should actually all be open source under AGPL!

FOSS vs FRAND is a collision of worldviews

Of late there have been a number of interventions sponsored by the world’s largest and most profitable tech patent holders to muddy the waters about open source and FRAND licensing of patents in standards by arguing contentious minutiae like the intent of the authors of the BSD license. This is happening because of the clash of industries I wrote about in 2016, with companies fundamentally based on extracting patent royalties unable to imagine any other way of doing business so mistaking the issue of FRAND as being about license compliance rather than as it being an obstacle to the very purpose of open source in commercial software — collaboration with others.

I found an amazing number of experienced and expert colleagues across industries failing to grasp this fundamental, so I’ve written a paper 🗎 about it. Published today by Open Forum Europe, it explains why compliance legalities are the wrong lens for studying the issue and introduces terms for exploring why representatives from different industry background fail to understand each other despite apparently using the same terminology (spoiler: they mean different things by the same words).

Many thanks to the colleagues who have made valuable suggestions that have improved the clarity of the document, and to the various patrons who have contributed to covering my time. Get in touch if you’d like me to come to your event or company and talk about these things.

FLOSS Weekly 510: YottaDB

Simon seemed to enjoy discovering that the era in which he started his career (the 80s) still has resonances today. In an experience he describes as “akin to finding a live trilobite on a fossil beach”, FLOSS Weekly 510 discovered that the MUMPS database GT.M is still alive, is now open source under the AGPL, is called YottaDB and is going strong. GT.M was (and is) the original NoSQL database, powering healthcare long before anyone thought to call it NoSQL.

YottaDB demonstrates one of the great strengths of open source, public escrow. While the copyright holders of GT.M have no interest in a public project, releasing it under an OSI-approved open source license has liberated the code and allowed K.S. Bhaskar to start a new kind of company to make it globally available.