Brian Gough’s Notes

Archive for December, 2010

Org Mode manual published

Friday, December 17th, 2010

I’ve published a paperback edition of the Org Mode 7 Reference Manual (subtitled “Organize your life in GNU Emacs”). For each copy sold $1 is donated to the Org project.

PostgreSQL 9 manuals

Thursday, December 16th, 2010

I’ve just published the PostgreSQL 9 Reference Manual (in 4 volumes) through my company Network Theory Ltd.

It’s over 1,600 pages, so proofreading it was quite a task! One of the side-benefits of publishing free software manuals is that I do get to know all the features of the software.

The main new PostgreSQL feature that I’ll be using is full text indexing, for a Django site I’m working on. I was previously running PostgreSQL 8.2 on my server and updated it to PostgreSQL 9 yesterday to get support for this. Thanks to the new pg_upgrade migration tool in PostgreSQL 9 that should also the last time I’ll need to do the full pg_dump/pg_restore upgrade (always a bit of a hassle on a large database).

Incidentally, for every volume of the manual sold I’m donating $1 to the PostgreSQL project. I was able to give over $2,000 from the sales of the previous edition for PostgreSQL version 8.

Going to FOSDEM 2011

Saturday, December 11th, 2010

I’ll be going to FOSDEM in February 2011 (Sat 5 – Sun 6) for the GNU Developers session on Saturday.

This year the GNU project has its own room for up to 100 people and the organisers are looking for GNU developers to give a talk about their package (see the GNU fosdem webpage for details) – the deadline for abstracts is 22 December. It is a good chance to tell others about your work and meet potential contributors, as the FOSDEM event attracts thousands of developers.

Whether you want to give a talk or not, you should email with your contact details if you plan to attend so the organisers can keep you updated.

Eben Moglen on Privacy and Social Networking

Monday, December 6th, 2010

The Software Freedom Law Centre has published Eben Moglen’s testimony to Congress on privacy and social networking.

. . . Facebook and similar centralized social networking services like to talk about their “privacy settings.” This is mere deception, a simple act of deliberate confusion. These “privacy settings” merely determine what one user can see of another user’s private data. The grave, indeed fatal, design error in social networking services like Facebook isn’t that Johnny can see Billy’s data. It’s that the service operator has uncontrolled access to everybody’s data, regardless of the so-called “privacy settings.” . . .

Testimony of Eben Moglen, December 2, 2010, US House of Representatives Subcommittee on Commerce, Trade & Consumer Protection