Published opinions

Should the iPad be illegal?

I would like to clarify quotes in two recent CBC articles by Peter Nowak: Copyright bill may spark battle over who owns what and Apple iPad hits Canada amid controversy.

In each it is suggested that I believe that the iPad should be illegal. What I said should be illegal is the application of non-owner locks to technology. I am not concerned with Apples technology, only radical changes to the law that legalize and/or legally protect a form of theft.

An open door for open source?

CBC news reporter Emily Chung interviewed a number of people in the community on the Canadian Government RFI on what they called "No Charge Licensed Software (NCLS)".

December issue of the Open Source Business Resource

The December issue of the Open Source Business Resource is now out (PDF)

This issue includes (pp 29-33 in the PDF) my article titled "Protecting Information Technology Property rights". This article, and a letter to the editor, also promote The Canadian Software Innovation Alliance, which has launched a new website.

How Vista Lets Microsoft Lock Users In - News by InformationWeek

Interesting I think to CLUE

http://tinyurl.com/yfvq69

Software and Community in the Early 21st Century

There are many reasons why people become interested in FLOSS. For some it is the cost of the software, and for others it is the simpler economics of using fixed-cost rather than marginal-cost based business models. When I was introduced to Free Software back in 1992 it was the way in which this community protected the interests the smallest entrepreneur from the largest business predators. I now see FLOSS in a much broader historical and international context.

One of the beauties of this movement is that you can have people with very different (and sometimes conflicting) political philosophies who are able to work together towards common goals. FLOSS is non-partisan, even when each of us might be participating for our own partisan reasons.

The most inspirational speaker on the perspective I share is Eben Moglen. As a law historian and professor he has a grasp on the historical context that our movement has. We are worldwide in the beginnings of something as important as the industrial revolution. The questions we ask in the Free Software movement, and how they are answered, will shape many aspects of our lives in the future. Free Software may not solve world hunger, but I happen to believe that the philosophies behind it are a big part of the solution.

To get a taste of this vision, please watch the inspirational keynote speech Mr. Moglen gave at the Plone conference in October 2006.

CLUE policy coordinator at the Alternative Telecommunications Policy Forum

CLUE supporters might ask what Telecommunications Policy has to do with Free/Libre and Open Source Software (FLOSS), and why I would be at the Alternative Telecommunications Policy Forum. My interest in FLOSS came out of my interest in community networking where networks and the software that controls them are decentrally controlled. It turns out that many of the recent and most controversial "copyright" related policies that threaten FLOSS, such as anti-circumvention policy (legal protection for DRM, DMCA, 1996 WIPO treaties), is also a derivative of telecommunications policy discussions, but with the opposite vision of these networks.

A perspective on the freelance journalism case from CLUE: Canada's Association for Open Source.

On October 12, 2006, the Supreme Court of Canada released a decision in a case first launched in 1996 by Heather Robertson, a freelance journalist, and Thompson Corporation, the then-owner of the Globe and Mail. (Citation: Robertson v. Thomson Corp., 2006 SCC 43)

Why UserFriendly went private again

Why UserFriendly went private again - For many in the computer industry, the UserFriendly comic strip is the first Web page they open in the morning. However, only its most loyal readers are aware that, over the past five years, the company behind the cartoon has wandered into the public equity market, only to return to the status of a private company. Recently, I talked about this journey with JD Frazer, the creator of the strip, and David Barton, vice president of UserFriendly.org. Their account is a practical lesson in the difficulties involved in such business maneuvers -- to say nothing of a testimony to their collective ability to keep their business, ethics, and audience intact. [Newsforge]

Do LUGs still matter?

Do LUGs still matter? - Commentary -- There is no question that LUGs -- Linux User Groups -- have been important to the rapid growth and adoption of Linux. In the early years, a typical LUG brought together early adopters from every walk of life who had a missionary zeal for Linux. Today, most members are IT professionals. Given that, I wonder, do LUGs matter any longer? [Newsforge]