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Joelle Nebbe-Mornod's List: open source, activism and commons

  • 10 Jan 11

    This is the first installment of Daniel Ellsberg’s personal memoir of the nuclear era, “The American Doomsday Machine.” The online book will recount highlights of his six years of research and consulting for the Departments of Defense and State and the Wh

  • 10 Jan 11

    TIDES is a research project dedicated to open-source knowledge sharing to promote sustainable support to populations under severe stress—post-war, post-disaster, or impoverished, in foreign or domestic contexts, for short-term or long-term (multi-year) op

  • 17 Jan 11

    "It may well be the genesis of a period where political contention and dissent in general and the anti-cuts movement in particular will broaden to the point where absolutely everyone from kids to students, to parents and trade unionists, will be able to c

  • 17 Jan 11

    "False Economy is for everyone concerned about the impact of the government’s spending cuts on their community, their family or their job."

  • 17 Jan 11

    "Ian Anstice, who blogs at Public Library News, has provided a brilliant – if sobering – public service by mapping cuts and proposed cuts to libraries around the UK. Someone please nominate him for a Big Society Award. As he reported at the weekend, this

  • 17 Feb 11

    "The much more fundamental problem is caused by the business models of the service providers, whether they be for radio or television, cable or satellite, telephone or mobile phone. Each of these providers wish to maximize their profit while simultaneously minimizing that of their competition. They try to enforce proprietary standards, locking people into their own distribution: Think proprietary digital rights management systems for music, movies and books, think locked cellular phones, think region codes on movie DVDs, think overly restrictive copyrights on content and over-inclusive patents on inventions and ideas. Each system has some basis in logic and business, each has some legitimate reason for existence. But these systems are implemented and enforced in ways that restrict them far beyond what is necessary -- even to the point of reducing creativity and hurting individuals.

    More and more of our open, universal networks are becoming locked down, available only from within the walls erected by corporate interests. This is how a number of our early communication services started: they were walled gardens with all news, entertainment and information locked away inside, accessible only to members. This is the model being followed in today's television world of cable and satellite delivery -- it threatens to be the model of all service and content providers. "

    • Are tablets and smartphones the future means of accessing Internet services? Perhaps, but each software infrastructure provider and each service provider may impose their restrictions on what will work on their particular tablet. The power of the tablets and phones lie in the applications that run on them, and those are likely to be tightly controlled.
    • Tim Wu's book The Master Switch: The Rise and Fall of Information Empires, demonstrates how this process works. Wu's major theme is the inevitability of proprietary controls as large corporations discover the market value of exclusivity. All of our modern communication and transportation industries started off in similar ways -- whether telephone or film, radio or television, video or websites, Internet conferencing or blogging. At the outset, technologies are deployed to anyone who can be both providers and recipients of the powers of the medium. For example, the first phonographs could both record and play back. Telephone systems proliferated, run by cities or small companies. Radio amateurs and university groups freely developed radio stations. On YouTube, people can both produce and view streaming video. Amateurs and innovative inventors expanded the horizons. Then, as the business potential became obvious to corporate warlords, they struck, buying up small businesses, getting willing governments to enact rules, regulations and laws to protect corporate interests and turning the experimental two-way publications into one-way broadcasts within closed walls. The stories are remarkably similar whether one talks about the phonograph or movies, the telephone or radio, television or newspapers, music or book publishing.
    • I fear the Internet is doomed to fail, to be replaced by tightly controlled gardens of exclusivity. The Internet has extended beyond the capabilities of its origins: the trusting, open interactions among a few research universities. Today it is too easy for unknown entities to penetrate into private homes and businesses, stealing identities and corporate secrets. Fear of damaging programs and the ever-increasing amount of spam (some just annoying but more and more deadly and malicious), threatens the infrastructure. And so, just as previous corporate warlords used the existence of real inefficiencies and deficiencies in other media to gain control, equipment, service and content providers, large corporations will try to use the deficiencies of the Internet to exert control and exclusivity. All the better, they will claim, to provide safe, secure and harmonious operation, while incidentally enhancing profits and reducing competition. Similar arguments will apply to governments as well, invoking the fears of the existing Internet in order to exert control for the benefit of the existing ruling parties.
  • 17 Feb 11

    "Freedom Box is a collaborative project of programmers around the world who believe in Free Software, Free Society. Many of its members will come from the Debian community, and many will come from other corners of the Free World. In coming weeks we will be announcing here the technical leads for Freedom Box and its component projects.

    The FreedomBox Foundation, which will support the Freedom Box Project and conserve the free software it makes, is led by Eben Moglen, Professor of Law at Columbia Law School and founder of the Software Freedom Law Center."

  • 12 Jan 12

    This is what Stallman has been warning us about all these years - and most of us, including myself, never really took him seriously. However, as the world changes, the importance of the ability to check what the code in your devices is doing - by someone else in case you lack the skills - becomes increasingly apparent. If we lose the ability to check what our own computers are doing, we're boned.

    That's the very core of the Free Software Foundation's and Stallman's beliefs: that proprietary software takes control away from the user, which can lead to disastrous consequences, especially now that we rely on computers for virtually everything we do. The fact that Stallman foresaw this almost three decades ago is remarkable, and vindicates his activism. It justifies 30 years of Free Software Foundation.

  • 07 Nov 11

    The protesters who were protesting the Prison Industrial Complex had been imprisoned on their street in their capital and were about to be arrested there for protesting. I stood in astonishment watching more than 700 kids being arrested and put on waiting buses. I stood on the sidewalk with members of the British press-we laughed about how the DC police chief had effectively created 700 committed protesters and how tonight new loves would start and heroes would be made. Many of us watching seemed to be looking on nostalgically but I stood there repeating the same question: "You need a permit to protest?" A decade later those very kids and bystanders won a class action suit against the DC police in the amount of US$13.7 million or about US$ 18,000 each for the entrapment that day of pushing them off of Pennsylvania where they had a permit to 20st street where they did not. The class action suit was for the defense of the first amendment right to free speech. They won and got US$13.7 million or US$18,000 each.

    Did the settlement in favor of those who were arrested, for protesting show that they system worked and it was okay? For the system, yes it was okay. The system worked-the system hired lawyers, who earned fees for winning cash compensation for those who were arrested. The system transacted in the manner it was set up for. However, would it not have been more important to not have argued or settled for a monetary compensation-but rather for freedom of speech and the abolishment of permits for protest?

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