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Posts tagged as “apple”

Poll: Don’t Help Government Unencrypt Devices

The FOSS Force Poll

The results of our “Apple vs. the FBI” encryption poll are in. Most of our readers agree with Apple CEO Tim Cook’s decision to stand up to the FBI.

Often when we run a poll on FOSS Force, the results only go to confirm what we already know. Our latest completed poll is an example. What we got was exactly what we expected. You don’t think the makers of encrypted devices, or encryption software, should help the G-Men get inside — not even with a warrant.

Our ‘Breaking Encryption for the Man’ Poll

First it was the NSA, the FBI and every big city cop shop on the planet insisting we need legislation to force safe, secure and for their eyes only back doors in damn near every device on the planet, presumably including light switches, garbage disposals and dishwashers. Eventually they came to see that doors, hidden or not, are merely temptations for hackers to break on through, and just decided to go on the down low for a while so they could pull a sneak attack later when we least expect it, which is a favorite trick of government types.

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

Apple Takes a Bite of Open Source

Unless you’ve been incommunicado due to a stint in the Witness Protection Program, stranded on a deserted island, or sleeping under a rock — or possibly any combination thereof — you have already heard that Apple announced at its Worldwide Developers Conference this week that the kings of closed-source software based in Cupertino will open-source its programming language Swift.

Swift logoSwift logoWhile there have been no injury reports yet from the multitudes simultaneously jumping on the Swift-as-open-source bandwagon — and no shortage of “Apple to tailor Swift to open source” headlines (can someone hand me an air-sickness bag?) — you’ll have to excuse me if I don’t share the rampant enthusiasm for a couple of reasons.

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

Torvald’s Thumbs Up, Gates’ Computer Skills & More…

FOSS Week in Review

Canadians spy at airports

The more we see of the Snowden revelations the more we wonder, when did the English speaking world become a police state?

The latest news was reported January 30th by the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC), from which we learned that all the electronics eavesdropping hasn’t been being conducted solely by the U.S. and the Brits. The Canadians have had their hand in it too.

It seems that Communications Security Establishment Canada (CSEC), a Canadian spy agency, has been using the free Wi-Fi at “a major Canadian airport” to track wireless devices, which presumably would include laptops as well as phones and tablets. The surveillance would continue for days after visitors passed through the airport.

2013 — That Was the Year That Was

Now that the celebrating is out of the way, I thought it might be time to take a look at some of the stories we covered on FOSS Force this year.

1. The NSA. The biggest story to come down the wire this year undoubtedly had to do with Edward Snowden’s revelations about the National Security Agency’s bag of dirty tricks. Even those of us who have long understood that the Internet isn’t necessarily a place to expect privacy were surprised at how deeply the NSA has managed to reach into the Internet. Odds are, if you’ve been using social networks, everything you’ve posted is now on file with the NSA. What’s worse, every email you’ve sent probably has a copy resting on a NSA server somewhere.

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

Is Rockstar Android’s SCO?

Am I the only one who’s been having a bit of SCO déjà vu when it comes to Rockstar’s suit against Google and a bevy of Android handset makers?

You remember SCO, don’t you? They’re the company, once a major Linux player with the Caldera distro, that bought the rights to Unix then turned around and sued IBM for $1 billion, claiming that Big Blue had been copying Unix code into Linux. They’re also the company that sued two of their former clients, AutoZone and Daimler Chrysler, for moving to Linux. Trouble was, they had nothing, not even the copyrights to the code they claimed had been infringed.

SCO logoSCO logoThere’s plenty about Rockstar vs Everybody Android to remind me of the SCO fiasco. Enough so to make me wish we still had PJ and Groklaw to take care of the play-by-play. Last week, Google returned fire. Wouldn’t it be nice to have PJ’s take on this?

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

The Rockstar Consortium Players

The lawsuit filed by patent troll Rockstar Consortium Inc. on Halloween against Google and at least five makers of Android handsets is about much more than merely the tons of money that would be reaped if the Rockstar cartel prevails. Mainly, it’s about gaining a competitive edge that could result in increased market share down the road.

It might be a good idea to take a look at the five companies that make up the Rockstar consortium to see what they might have to gain from this suit, other than the collection of damages and licensing fees.

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

Microsoft & Friends Define ‘Commitment to Openness’

On Halloween, the day after we posted an article on Ross Gardler’s presentation on Microsoft’s behalf before an open source audience in North Carolina, a FOSS Force reader posted a comment:

“Microsoft has made a lot of upstream contributions in the last two years, a lot more than our friends at Canonical have.

“I’d say that Microsoft is very difficult to trust, but they are probably more committed to FOSS than Canonical.

“‘We will know that day has arrived when Microsoft quits threatening every open source project under the sun with patent litigation.’

“They haven’t done that in years, unless I’ve missed something.”

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

MIT Reviews Aaron Swartz, Google’s 100 Million Takedowns & More…

FOSS Week in Review

USPTO shoots down Apple patent

There seems to be more than enough tit-for-tat to go around in the ongoing patent battle between Apple and Samsung. If we wanted to be snarky, we’d say we haven’t seen this much legal maneuvering since the last days of the Beatles and the “sue me, sue you blues.”

‘Who Don’t You Trust’ Poll – The Biggest Loser Is…

It will probably come as no surprise to anyone that Microsoft topped the list in our “Who Don’t You Trust” poll. That’s the poll, launched on May 27th and closed on June 20th, in which we asked the question, “What tech company would you least trust to manage a FOSS project?” 411 people took the poll, which might be characterized by it’s lack of surprising results. In fact, we have to go to nearly the bottom of the list to find some small surprises.

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