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screwed by non-free software

Tuesday, October 10th, 2006

Triton’s demise is just a perfect example on how relying on non-free software can be disastrous for you, even if the vendor doesn’t actually act maliciously.

 Check this heise.de article for details.
 

European Commision launches DebateEurope website

Monday, March 27th, 2006

As seen on heise.de, the European Commission has launched the DebateEurope website. According to the website, it is seen as an "invitation (…) to discuss (…)  ideas, hopes and worries for Europe’s future."

The European Commission wants to "make contact with you and listen to what you think and propose."

I think this is an excellent opportunity to advocate Free Software and other important political issues like Human Rights, Data Privacy, Software Patents etc.

If the site keeps it promises, it can offer a very direct way to communicate with highly-involved EU politicians, an opportunity noone should not fail to take.

I am sure you are all busy with your working life, just as I am. But if you can just spare a couple of minutes every now and then, this could make the difference. The more supporters the better, that’s how democracy works, after all.

ATI Petition for Adequate Drivers

Monday, January 16th, 2006

There is a new petition available at petitiononline.com

It demands from ATI to produce adequate Linux drivers for the graphics cards and chipsets they produce.

In general, such a petition is a good idea. However, this one hasn’t been thought over properly.

First of all, the petition simply demands drivers that “work” at acceptable speeds. They claim that ATI currently released drivers are not performing to the users’ satisfaction.

With that, they mean speed, mostly. Other issues like working suspend/resume and energy saving options for laptops are not mentioned.

What is even worse, they do not demand for the drivers to be Free Software. The only demand they make is for ATI to “open source” the specs in case they do not want to produce the drivers themselves. In that case they demand complete “schematics and technical information pertaining to the video cards produced by ATI” to be made available.

Well, ATI will hardly ever do that. They might not even be allowed to do so for legal reasons. However, they could at least publish enough information to enable the FOSS community to write Free Software drivers, coudn’t they?

Besides, ATI already offers some drivers, but they are non-free.

It would have been much cleverer to demand the existing drivers to be licensed under Free Software licensing terms, in addition to demand technical documentation to enable others to write drivers, as well.

I signed the petition anyway, hoping it will put some pressure onto ATI.

Welcome to the European Democratic Republic

Wednesday, December 14th, 2005

Special greetings to

- East Germans

- Czechs

- Estonians

- Hungarians

- Latvians

- Lithuanians

- Poles

- Slovaks

- Slovenians

WELCOME BACK!

Finally, things start becoming the way as they were before 1990 again.

A big THANK YOU to the patriotic comrades also referred to as MEPs.

To all citiziens of member states not noted above (and the Wessis, of course): GOTCHA, SUCKERS, seems WE did win the Cold War in the end. Now Europe will be like WE ever wanted it to be.

Regards,

an East German

Mandriva and Bittorrent

Wednesday, November 16th, 2005

…obviously don’t go together very well. Or how else could you explain that Mandriva does not offer bittorrent downloads their latest so-called “free” edition of Mandriva 2006.

I guess that’s reserved for paying customers, and it will give you the opportunity to download iso images that are “beefed” up with non-free software.

Well, why should I bother. I stopped using Mandriva long before it got its current name. However, it is sad to see that so many people are willing to be trapped into non-free software even when they run GNU/Linux. They even pay money for getting free software earlier than others. Lucky me, I don’t have to grok that. I just keep on using Debian, Kubuntu and OpenBSD.

I’d like to know what you think about Mandriva. I’d suggest starting a discussion thread in the forum.

Nexenta’s GNU/Opensolaris and Debian

Monday, November 14th, 2005

Ok, the flamewar at debian-devel seems to be mostly finished by now. Some people posted stuff about this controversy in their blogs, thus I read about it in some posts at planet debian.

So what it is all about then?

Well the technical/legal question is: Am I allowed to link a GPL’ed application against OpenSolaris libc (which is CDDL’ed)? Actually that question is not easy to answer. But let’s get to some examples:

Sun’s Solaris 10 (non-free) ships with several pieces of Free Software, for details see here. It seems quite a bit of GPL’ed software is distributed by Sun. They also say that some of it is even integrated in their OS. More details can be found at this website. Aha, Sun directly integrates GPL’ed software into its OS.

Now comes the punchline: Sun has linked all these programs linked against their non-free libc. Sun doesn’t mention glibc anywhere on the pages mentioned above, therefore that must be the case. And I bet that they distribute binaries of these pieces of Free Software, as well.

Doesn’t that violate the GPL?

No, it doesn’t! They make all source code of the pieces of Free Software they use available for free download. That seems to be fair enough.

Aha, but Nexenta does the same, only they do even offer the source code of libc, under a Free Software license, to boot.

But somehow, that is violating the GPL.

Ok, ok. You will now say that all the libraries that are used by the included Free Software applications are licensed under the LGPL or other GPL-compatible licenses, LGPL’ed libraries might indeed be linked against non-free libraries. As long as the actual GPL’ed software doesn’t link against real non-compatibly licensed libraries, you’re probably safe.

Well, I am sure that some of the GPL’ed apps in Sun’s list do not only link against other GPL-compatibly licensed libraries, but also against Sun’s non-free libc, won’t they?

See, that’t the thing I cannot understand, please comment generously and enlighten me.

OSDL’s Mobile Linux Initiative

Sunday, October 16th, 2005

Aha, so OSDL has established a Mobile Linux Initiative. Many big names seem to be involved, but where’s the community? Imho, this initiative really has the potential of becoming a great committee where people will talk all the time and will decide to pass resolutions to decide to pass resolutions at the following meeting. I cannot see what kind of useful impact this initiative will have. The only thing I can forsee already is that Harald Welte will be much busier in the future. My advice to these big (and small) companies: If you really want to support GNU/Linux on embedded devices, check out the following websites. Even better, give’em developers there jobs. http://handhelds.org/ http://openembedded.org/ http://openzaurus.org/ http://familiar.handhelds.org/ http://gpe.handhelds.org/ http://pi-sync.net/ (to all the people in projects I did not list: sorry, but I don’t want to make this list to long). The guys in these projects haven been doing top-notch work a long time before you decided to jump on the bandwagon before it’s too late.

Hi everybody

Sunday, October 16th, 2005

Hi, so this is me creating my second blog ever. I’ve got one at livejournal.com already, but I realised that there’s no target audience for musing about Free Software and related politics. Therefore I have created this blog which I will fill with stuff that comes to my mind, regarding Free Software (and related politics, of course). I’m afraid the post frequency will be rather low. Enjoy, Dominik

An easy way to support nosoftwarepatents.com

Sunday, October 16th, 2005

I just stumbled across this article. If you oppose software patents, this is an easy way to support your ideas. Go and vote for Florian Müller, head of nosoftwarepatents.com and make him European of the Year. And yes, please spread the word.