The Limits of Anonymity
May 14, 2013 GMT
An unsettling thing happened on Twitter a couple of weeks ago. Without meaning to, I found myself suggesting that anonymity was not always a good idea.
This was an unexpected position for me to be arguing. Although I have rarely taken advantage of anonymity myself, I have always believed in the right of others to do so. In the past, I have pointed out publicly that in many countries, using a pseudonym is legal unless you are doing so for criminal purposes.
I have... more »
Suggestions for improving Yorba's crowdfunding campaign
May 07, 2013 GMT
All through April, I watched Yorba's crowdfunding efforts for Geary, its new email reader. Sometimes, I checked the progress daily. Not only does Yorba have fresh ideas about application design, but the campaign was one of the first crowdfunding efforts for a standard application, rather than a new one. To the discouragement of future efforts, the campaign reached only... more »
Until we no longer need lists
Apr 30, 2013 GMT
Joshua Gay at the Free Software Foundation has asked me if I would be interested in writing about the fact that ThinkPenguin's Penguin Wireless N USB Adapter for GNU / Linux has earned the FSF's Respects Your Freedom certification. I'm happy to provide the signal boost, but sad to reflect that such announcements are still necessary in 2013.
For those who have never heard of it, the Respect Your Freedom program is a list of hardware that does not... more »
Leaving out Linux
Apr 24, 2013 GMT
I've often criticized Canonical and Ubuntu. In fact, I've criticized them often enough that some people are convinced that I have a grudge against them. But there's one point on which I'll defend them: their decision to minimize the use of the word "Linux" on their website and in other public communications.
This policy is not new, but it is periodically rediscovered by various members of the free and open source software (FOSS) community. It rarely fails to provoke outrage. Is Ubuntu pretending it isn't dependent on Debian and several dozen other upstream projects?... more »
I've signed to write an advanced book on LibreOffice
Apr 12, 2013 GMT
I signed the contract this week, so now I can make the announcement: I'm writing a book. Tenatively titled Styles and Templates in LibreOffice, it will be published by Friends of OpenDocument (http://www.friendsofopendocument.com/newsite/) using a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike license, probably towards the end of 2013.
This is a project I've wanted to do for almost a decade. Back when I started writing about free software, one of my main subjects was OpenOffice.org. Over the years, I must have written at least sixty or seventy... more »
The Dangers of a Post-License Era
Apr 10, 2013 GMT
You don't see many discussions about free software licenses any more. Once a burning issue, licenses and their implications hardly seem to be mentioned these days. Increasingly, we seem to be moving into a post-license era, and the implications for free and open source software are potentially troubling.
The reasons for this apparent shift of interest aren't hard to find. To start with, most of the important license issues have already been resolved. It's hard to imagine any licensing issue today that would be as significant to the community at large... more »
My last comment on "Linux" vs "GNU/Linux"
Mar 27, 2013 GMT
On Linux Advocates, Katherine Noyes recently raised the old question of whether the operating system should be called Linux or GNU/Linux. It's a topic I don't think much about these days, although I've had some unusual perspectives on it over the years.
You probably know the argument: given that the operating system was originally the result of cooperation between Linux kernel developers and the members of The GNU Project, both should be given credit in the name. True, countless other projects are involved, but the reference is to the core operating system, and to... more »