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Posts published in “Copyright”

PBS Digital Studios Asks ‘Should Everything Be Open Source?’

The Video Screening Room

The DMCA doesn’t just make it illegal for you to circumvent DRM to rip and burn a DVD of ‘War Games’ or to install a pirated copy of Windows. It also can make it illegal for you to repair or modify things you own.

Public television and radio in the United States have been surprisingly shy about covering the open source movement, but this video by Mike Rugnetta at PBS Digital Studios shows that they may be waking up.

Tuesday Is ‘International Day Against DRM’

On Tuesday, May 3, people in communities around the world will gather to take a stand against digital rights management.

Tuesday May 3 is International Day Against DRM, which for ten years has been an annual even to protest and build awareness about digital rights management. The event is sponsored by the organization Defective by Design, the anti-DRM initiative of the Free Software Foundation.

International Day Against DRMInternational Day Against DRM

SCO Again Returns From Dead, Plans Appeal

FOSS Force has learned that we shouldn’t write obituaries until we actually see a death certificate. SCO intends to file an appeal over the dismissal of its case against IBM.

On Feburary 29, we told you that SCO was “undeniably and reliably dead” after the company signed off on Judge David Nuffer’s dismissal of what remained of its case against IBM. Guess what? We were wrong. The once upon a time Linux and Unix company, which developed and distributed the Caldera GNU/Linux distribution, evidently has not yet been pulled from life support. On Tuesday, the company filed notification that it intends to appeal Judge Nuffer’s ruling to the United States Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit.

Free Tech Refresher: OSS Isn’t Always FOSS

In recent years, it has become common for the terms “open source” and “FOSS” to be used interchangeably. While it’s true that all FOSS is also open source, it’s also true that being open source doesn’t necessarily mean it’s FOSS.

In the early 21st century, practically anyone using GNU/Linux knew the difference between proprietary, open source, and free and open source software. In those days distinguishing between proprietary, freeware, shareware and truly free software was a piece of cake. This was in large part due to the fact that open source was a relatively new concept, with the term first receiving widespread use in 1998. There were other reasons as well, mostly having to do with the Linux users of the day.

Hardly anybody installed Linux without doing some research first, and very few installed Linux expecting it to look and act like Windows. Although Windows 95 had been out five or more years, most users making the leap to Linux were people who cut their teeth on the command line and who remembered when 640 KB was the absolute amount of RAM in an “IBM compatible,” an ancient name for the PC.

They also weren’t strangers to configuring their systems. Many users of the day could still remember installing “expanded memory” on MS-DOS machines to allow RAM to be increased above the 640 KB memory barrier to a full megabyte, “extended memory,” which allowed RAM to be extended beyond that newly established megabyte absolute, or DriveSpace to encrypt on-the-fly and nearly double the amount of data on the hard drives of the day that might be as small as 40 MB.

A majority of users could remember when home computers were rarely networked, with those that were by way of “walled garden” services such as CompuServe, Prodigy, America Online or private bulletin boards.

Christine HallChristine Hall

Christine Hall has been a journalist since 1971. In 2001, she began writing a weekly consumer computer column and started covering Linux and FOSS in 2002 after making the switch to GNU/Linux. Follow her on Twitter: @BrideOfLinux

Oops! We Broke the DRM on This Blu-ray

The Heart of Linux

Looking for a way to store a Blu-ray movie on a hard drive and finding it.

Most people who’ve read my work in the past 10 years can attest to the fact that I am not shy about pointing out less than acceptable performance or function within the Linuxsphere. Be it the code or coders, I’m gonna talk about what’s wrong and how I believe it might be fixed. I rarely criticize anyone or anything without offering some way to make it right.

Blu-ray logoBlu-ray logoIn between my articles here on FOSS Force and my Blog of Helios, I can be found most days popping in and out of my Google + stream where I engage in all manner of discourse. My stream includes, but isn’t restricted to, astrophysicists, hipsters, infantry brigade commanders, poets, slackers, delta force team members (not currently deployed), kernel contributors, distro creators, top 40 country western artists, local talk show hosts and just folks like you and me.

Ken StarksKen Starks

Ken Starks is the founder of the Helios Project and Reglue, which for 20 years provided refurbished older computers running Linux to disadvantaged school kids, as well as providing digital help for senior citizens, in the Austin, Texas area. He was a columnist for FOSS Force from 2013-2016, and remains part of our family. Follow him on Twitter: @Reglue

OSS in the Empire State, LibrePlanet 2016 & More…

FOSS Week in Review

While New York State contemplates offering a tax break to open source projects and Massachusetts prepares for LibrePlanet 2016, Opera adds built-in ad blocking to its browser.

It may be a digital world, but the weather is still analog.

Around my parts, this is the time of year when the weather can’t seem to decide whether to act like winter or spring. In other words, it’s a couple of days of tee shirts and shorts followed by a couple of days of dressing in layers and running the heat. Last week it was in the 80s, but next week they’re saying to expect frost and maybe freezing rain. I’m not complaining. This is still better than the dog days of summer.

We’ve already covered quite a bit of the FOSS news this week. Here’s some items left uncovered:

Christine HallChristine Hall

Christine Hall has been a journalist since 1971. In 2001, she began writing a weekly consumer computer column and started covering Linux and FOSS in 2002 after making the switch to GNU/Linux. Follow her on Twitter: @BrideOfLinux

Dangerous TLDs, Ballmer’s Linux Love & More…

FOSS Week in Review

Two big open source conferences are coming up next week, while this week an automaker said it doesn’t have to pay attention to the GPL and the man credited with inventing email passed.

Although Microsoft mainly succeeded in its attempts to hijack the FOSS news scene this week by spreading open source love — better than spreading FUD, I guess — there was plenty of FOSS news happening away from the Redmond campus. Even Microsoft with all its billions, it seems, isn’t large enough to monopolize all of the news in the big, wide and wonderful world of FOSS.

Edward Snowden LibrePlanet 2016Edward Snowden LibrePlanet 2016
Edward Snowden will be the opening keynote speaker, with Daniel Kahn Gillmor, at LibrePlanet 2016.

For starters, it’s conference season. Well, except for a lull in the dog days of summer, Linux and open source conferences are always in season, but there are a couple of big ones on the slate for next week.

Christine HallChristine Hall

Christine Hall has been a journalist since 1971. In 2001, she began writing a weekly consumer computer column and started covering Linux and FOSS in 2002 after making the switch to GNU/Linux. Follow her on Twitter: @BrideOfLinux

SCO Is Undeniably and Reliably Dead

On Friday, IBM and SCO filed an agreement with the US District Court in Utah to accept a ruling of dismissal of the last remaining claims by SCO against IBM.

It appears as if SCO’s case against IBM, which began as a blustering tornado back in 2003, finally died with a whimper last week. The death notice came in the form of what is essentially a one page agreement between SCO and IBM which calls “for certification of the entry of final judgment on the Court’s orders concerning all of SCO’s claims….”

SCO LogoSCO LogoThe agreement goes on to state: “There is no just reason for delaying SCO’s appeal from such Orders, as the final resolution of SCO’s claims may make it unnecessary, as a practical matter, for the Court to decide the several pending motions concerning IBM’s counterclaims, given SCO’s bankruptcy and its explanation that it has de minimis financial resources beyond the value of the claims on which the Court has granted summary judgment for IBM.”

In other words, there’s no reason to continue since SCO is bankrupt and the only assets it has left are its claims against IBM, which have already been pretty much ruled as off the table.

Christine HallChristine Hall

Christine Hall has been a journalist since 1971. In 2001, she began writing a weekly consumer computer column and started covering Linux and FOSS in 2002 after making the switch to GNU/Linux. Follow her on Twitter: @BrideOfLinux

More Linux Phones, More Mint Hack & Just Plain More…

FOSS Week in Review

As Linux Mint scrambles to get security back on track, numerous prototypes of Linux phones are on display and Ubuntu gathers awards at the Mobile World Conference in Barcelona.

What a week in the FOSS world. So much has happened since our last Week in Review that I think I’ll skip the idle chitchat about the weather and such and get straight to business. Well, I will take the time to tell you that it’s been damned cold in these parts and I’m more than ready for spring…

Linux Mint LogoLinux Mint LogoThe Great 2016 Linux Mint Hack: The hack at one of the crown jewels of Linux distros has undoubtedly been the biggest story this week. I’ll not bore you by repeating details which most of you have probably already read by now, but will direct those of you who don’t know to FOSS Force’s coverage on Sunday, and to our report on Monday in which Freedom Penguin Matt Hartley helps me take a look at the nature of the crack/hack.

The good news is that things are slowly — very slowly — returning to normal for the Mint team. By midweek, things were under control enough that the switch could be flipped on Mint’s server, putting the website back online. On Thursday I had a very brief email discussion with the distro’s project leader Clem Lefebvre — “very brief” because Lefebvre was more than little busy at the time. He and his team are in up to their elbows, working to make sure that everything works and plays well with the hardening they’ve done to Mint’s server, as well as working overtime to find any niggling security issues. In other words, they have it all under control, even as they work to get it more under control.

Christine HallChristine Hall

Christine Hall has been a journalist since 1971. In 2001, she began writing a weekly consumer computer column and started covering Linux and FOSS in 2002 after making the switch to GNU/Linux. Follow her on Twitter: @BrideOfLinux

Judge Says ‘No’ to SCO

Just when you thought it was safe to get back in the water, SCO rises from the dead

Ha! Guess who’s back in the news? Even as a ghost, SCO is trying to pickpocket IBM’s wallet. Well, it’s not a ghost exactly. It’s brain dead and on life support, but just alive enough to seek yet another day in court.

Judge David Nuffer with the US District Court in Utah gave SCO another day in court last week and returned a judgement against the bankrupt company.

Christine HallChristine Hall

Christine Hall has been a journalist since 1971. In 2001, she began writing a weekly consumer computer column and started covering Linux and FOSS in 2002 after making the switch to GNU/Linux. Follow her on Twitter: @BrideOfLinux

Cory Doctorow at SCALE & CAH Linux-Style…

FOSS Week in Review

What could be a better combination than one of the world’s foremost digital freedom advocates and Cards Against Humanity? Read on.

Cory Doctorow at SCALE 14X: While the Call for Presentations for SCALE 14X is ongoing and closes in two weeks — on Friday, Oct. 30, at midnight Pacific, so at 12:01 a.m. on Saturday morning the 31st, your unsubmitted proposal turns into a pumpkin — the SCALE team has announced it has chosen one of the keynoters for the four-day, first-of-the-year Linux/FOSS event.

Cory Doctorow will give the Friday morning keynote at SCALE 14X in Pasadena, Calif., in January.Cory Doctorow will give the Friday morning keynote at SCALE 14X in Pasadena, Calif., in January.
Cory Doctorow will give the Friday morning keynote at SCALE 14X in Pasadena, Calif., in January.
Science fiction author, activist, and journalist Cory Doctorow has been tapped as one of the keynote speakers for SCALE 14X. Doctorow, the co-editor of Boing Boing and an author with a wide portfolio, works for the Electronic Frontier Foundation and co-founded the UK Open Rights Group. Born in Toronto, he now lives in Los Angeles.

Larry CafieroLarry Cafiero

Larry Cafiero, a.k.a. Larry the Free Software Guy, is a journalist and a Free/Open Source Software advocate. He is involved in several FOSS projects and serves as the publicity chair for the Southern California Linux Expo. Follow him on Twitter: @lcafiero

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