Archive for the ‘NLUUG’ Category

NLUUG fall conference schedule finalized

Thursday, September 9th, 2010

The NLUUG‘s Fall Conference — this time on the topic of Security — has been finalized. You can find the schedule, with speakers on both practical and theoretical topics, one the conference website. One of the speakers will be Frank Karlitchek, on Cloud security (in the context of OwnCloud). There tends to be a good amount of KDE presence at the NLUUG conference — I guess that means I’m good at spreading the Call for Abstracts in KDE circles, I guess.

Attendance for students is dirt cheap, so here’s a chance to pick up some useful or inspirational information on security.

Next NLUUG conference will be in May, topic still to be disclosed.

Upcoming Conferences

Wednesday, June 23rd, 2010

Two upcoming (in the fall, that is) conferences of note whose calls for papers are still open.

FSCONS: the Call for Papers is open until June 30th. FSCONS is a tremendously fun conference because it’s not just software technology, but Free Culture and other things. That means that there is more scope for learning (well, this is important for me) things outside of software. The compressed earth brick machine made a lasting impression on me last year, for instance.

NLUUG fall conference: the topic this (half) year is Security in all its aspects. You could talk about security from a systems administration perspective (for KDE, for instance, managing trust in a global distributed project with only occasional face-to-face contacts) or programmatically (for KDE again: what to do with Plasmoids and mitigating whatever security risks they might bring). This CfP is open until July 12th.

Down with loading!

Saturday, November 7th, 2009

One peculiarity of Dutch copyright law is the fact that obtaining a copy of a (copyrighted) work that is not offered in a legal fashion (i.e. the person offering the copy does not have a license to do so) does not in itself constitute infringement. In other words, you can take, but you can’t offer. Sounds a little like “do ask, but don’t tell” to me. I believe a similar situation applies in Canada. Both countries also have a “copying levy” applied to blank media.

The effect of this situation is to turn all the Dutch computer magazines (the non-technical ones anyway) into “where to get yur music n vidz” catalogues. Something that I feel does the notion of copyright a disservice. [[ I should note that it's possible to disagree with the notion of copyright itself or the implementation thereof, but here we're mostly weaseling to escape the fundamental restriction that it should be the author of a work who controls what may be done with it. ]]

[[ Additional warning: all links in this blog entry lead to Dutch-language pages, so be warned that they may contain Hottentottententententoonstellingen and other examples of that raspy tongue down by the sea. ]]

In the past few weeks there have been repeated kerfuffles around enforcement of copyright — in the music business, not software — but the Dutch government has now stated that it intends to make downloading illegal. Well, fortunately a little more subtle than that (although the umbrella for copyright organizations has in the past tried to paint a picture that all downloading is illegal, until the NLUUG and others called them on that). It hit one news site as free downloads should be punishable; another headline (same site) was gov’t to ban downloading. What I make of this is that “downloading” in Dutch apparently means “obtaining a copy of a work from an unlicensed source.” See the perverse effect on language?

This kind of news hits lots of channels, and you can see, for instance, on — the usual kind of discussion focused on “music biz needs a new business model” and “copyright lasts too long” and “implementation is infeasible because I’ll use encryption.”

But let’s take a closer look at the sources (maybe not the most-original source, but closer than reports in the media): a press release from the ministry of Justice. The summary of the press release reads:

Thuiskopieheffingen op informatiedragers zoals blanco cd’s en dvd’s moeten op termijn worden afgeschaft. Daarvoor in de plaats komt een regeling die het downloaden van beschermde werken uit (evident) illegale bron verbiedt. Verder wordt het toezicht op auteursrechtorganisaties sterker en zal de contractuele positie van auteurs en uitvoerende kunstenaars worden verbeterd.

[[ Loose translation in English: ]] The blank media levy (which covers home copying of music and video) on cd’s and dvd’s should be scrapped in due time. In its place, downloading of copyrighted content from (obviously) illegal sources will be prohibited. In addition, the oversight of copyright-related umbrella organizations will be strengthened and the contractual position of authors and performing artists will be improved.

I suppose I can only say I think I applaud this (the devil’s in the details, of course), as it moves to a somewhat less actuarial approach to copyright violations and tries to come up with something that works more closely along the original setup where the author had control over the protected work (within the scope of copyright law, which is the social contract governing the use of creative work, along with its explicitly allowed exceptions).

LinuxWorld wrap-up

Friday, November 6th, 2009

Two days of LinuxWorld have left me tired by happy. I ended up giving two talks, because Karsten and I made it a double on wednesday and then on Thursday I had another one on best practices in license selection for Free Software projects (one-line summary: pick one that is consisten with your business strategy). The Open Source pavilion at LW isn’t all that large, so 14-20 people as an audience fills it.

Besides giving some talks on licensing topics (FSFE hat), I sometimes stood around the NLUUG booth and handed out posters for the next NLUUG conference — spring 2010, topic “System administration.” Very traditional for an Open Systems and Open Standards organization. And aside from that, wandering around a trade fair with four themes — Linux, Storage, Security and Business Tools — is an education in itself. I try to make clear at the start of every conversation that I’m not a sales opportunity, as that seems to avoid wasting time for both of us if I run into a hard-sell booth (still, the one stand that asked “How many workplaces does your company have?” and then “Well, you have less than five hundred desks, you’re not interesting, goodbye!” — I never even found out what they were selling at all.) You can still get conference goodies though, so I got home with a nice collection of peppermints and flashlights for the kids.

Roundup of NLUUG Fall Conference

Saturday, October 31st, 2009

Time to put down my NLUUG hat (that’s the purple one, matching the NLUUG color scheme) for this conference round and look back for a moment. It’s good to hear kind words from Sebas about the conference. They pretty much match my impressions of the whole: a conference with strong technical talks (I chaired three, on Legal aspects, Ampache and Midgard2) and a satisfied audience. The coffee was darn good — but you had to order a cappucino (after 11am) to get the full sense of artistry; Schuberg-Philis takes good care of its people. They had a nice talk on data storage tiers at the previous (spring) conference — the same conference where Ben Marin talked about libferris, so I’m happy to see him show up on planet KDE as well, now.

Kudos especially to Jos Poortvliet for filling in on short notice. I fully expect some form of revenge for that, even if the dinner and lengthy discussion about Free Software usability made up for some of it (quoth I “surely someone who drives a car has some mental model of what’s going on?” saith the usability expert “ha ha ha.”).

Thanks too to the programme committee, headed by Armijn, and to Interactie, represented by Andrea, for their dedication to the conference. As they say in Inspector Gadget: “next time” (the topic is “Systems Administration”, nice and traditional, and the call for abstracts is up if you’d like to submit a paper.)

Conference Schedules

Monday, October 12th, 2009

Spurred by Henrik’s comment on FSCONS (and I intend to go to FSCONS to talk about licensing, but need to get that together), I thought I’d post an update on some conferences.

I’ll be at ELCE later this week to talk about licensing compatibility (and possibly machine architecture). I’m looking forward to it, because the embedded and mobile industry is one that mostly “gets it” when it comes to Free Software (it’s also the source of most violations). I’m honoured to be on a conference programme with so many real hackers, and looking forward to hearing about non-x86 architectures in particular.

Later this month, the NLUUG conference on the Open Web will be held in Ede, the Netherlands. Support for openness — in all the meanings of open standards, open access, open content — is still of growing importance. You can find me at that conference with my green and purple hats on (FSFE and NLUUG). Arnoud Engelfriet will be providing the legal and licensing angle at that conference (speaking of whom, I was very surprised to see him on TV a week or two ago explaining about copyright and how it was possible to download things without violating copyrights).

If you don’t want the Open Web, you might want to go to Linux Kongress, 600km to the east. You can attend a talk about Ede, though. From my point of view, though, the most interesting talk is probably about Open Source ERP (I wonder about that, actually, since the OEPL looks like it is a restrictive license that will probably fail the Free Software criteria and might fail the Open Source Initiative criteria — but this is not the spot for lengthy license examination). My interest there is sparked (if I can call it that) by the relative lack of Free Software in that space. It is apparently neither an itch that people want to scratch, nor a market where business has found a way to work with Free Software in its business model. At least, that’s the impression I got from OpenExpo two weeks ago, and I’d be happy to be shown otherwise.

The Open Web is go!

Thursday, August 27th, 2009

The NLUUG fall conference on Het Open Web (English, the Open Web, and I’ll guess that a little over half of the conference will be in English) is now complete. We have the programme sorted out. Topics (or tracks, if you will) include multimedia and the social web (or desktop). KDE people will find some of the speakers vaguely familiar .. I was not on the programme committee, you can’t blame me for it.

Registration has opened. As in previous years, students pay only EUR 26, NLUUG members who are not longer students EUR 135. A bargain conference with great content, and I invite you all to attend.

Upcoming Conferences (n+1)

Monday, June 29th, 2009

Gosh, I go on about upcoming interesting Free Software conferences all the time, don’t I. But there’s just so many of them. I got four to pimp out today, and all of them have the word “Open” in their name — which reminds me I really need to deal with that word at some point in the near future. If you’re in western Europe or the middle of the United States (you may apply geography lessons to me, but it will cost you a plane ticket), harken:

  • OSDevCon is in Hamburg, september 23-25 2009. It’s an OpenSolaris developers, contributors and application porters conference. The CfP closes july 26th. I suppose I should try to get something about KDE in there, although since I’m also on the programme committee there’s definite conflict-of-interest. And if you don’t particularly care about OSOL (it really does have a cool package manager), you might want to try the co-located Linux Kongress.
  • Utah Open Source Conference is in Utah (which contains interesting cartoonists) from october 8-10. I can see — given the current list of abstracts — a real need there for Desktop or Free Software talks.
  • The NLUUG fall conference on the Open Web, october 29th 2009. Officially the CFP closes today, but I think I can give you an informal reassurance that abstracts will continue to be accepted for another week or so. Frank Karlitschek, this means you.
  • Open Rhein Ruhr is a regional conference (closer to where I live than Amsterdam is!) november 7th and 8th. All things Free Software considered, and the CFP is open until august 23rd. No reason not to submit your “stuff that will be cool in KDE 4.4″ talk now, though.

That’s it for now, and until next week, when I try to explain why the 2009 Maemo summit isn’t on my list yet.

The Open Web

Monday, June 15th, 2009

The Open Web is a mix of technologies and concepts. Open web technologies and protocols (HTTP, HTML, CSS, Javascript, …) have carried the World Wide Web to success by implementing decentralization, transparency, extendibility, third party innovation, bidirectional communications and end-user usability and integration.

The NLUUG fall conference (expect around 280 attendees in Ede, the Netherlands) is on the Open Web this time around; if you’re working on web standards, web tools, interoperability or anything else covered by the call for abstracts (PDF, 817k, low information density), do drop the programme committee a note (and an abstract of around 200 words). Even policy wonks can have their say there. Deadline for submissions is the end of this month.

Upcoming Conference – The Open Web

Sunday, May 31st, 2009

Since the NLUUG (Open Systems, Open Standards) does two conferences a year, we have to follow up the one almost immediately with the announcement of the next. So, coming fall: the Open Web. Legal, technical and .. whatever is leftical issues around standards and interoperability on the web. HTML5 and video formats? Send in a paper! SaaS and licensing? Send in a paper! Improved javascript enging? Send in a paper! And when I say “send a paper” I mean send in an abstract of 200-400 words *or* a whole paper. Preferably the latter, but I understand that in these complex modern final days an abstract is more likely.