Linux, the BBC and Your Rights

Imagine a world where you were told how to think, feel, and act. You were told what to buy…told what not to buy. Having trouble imagining these things? Maybe I can help. Check out a short story I wrote on the subject of Digital Rights Management (DRM).

We’re not as far off as you may imagine.

Websites we visit tell us what browsers we must use to visit. Software tells us what operating system we must use to install it. CD’s tell us that we cannot use music that we’ve bought and own. Televisions will soon tell us that we must have cable as over the air broadcasting of free television ceases in 2012. Your Miranda rights no longer exist according to the Patriot Act; they only have to label you a terrorist and you can be held without charge indefinitely.

It’s a wide scope of things to swallow that ranges from technology to social, political and economic portions of our world. How does one combat these issues? How do we make a difference? While I cannot speak for things of which I don’t know (mainly, political and socio-economic things) I can speak of some technology issues that we can adress.

A recent issue that has cropped up is with the BBC. The BBC is a publically funded broadcast corporation in the United Kingdom. That means the general public in the UK may elect to pay a fee resulting that they have access equally across the board to view content. Content here will mean any content whether online or broadcasted. The BBC takes money equally from all people regardless of race, creed, color, AND regardless of what operating system they run. As such, all people should have an equal opportunity to view said content.

Recently, they announced they would be creating an online video player that supports all operating systems, only to backpedal and state that Linux would not be supported. Now they’re also including DRM in much of their web based content. No problem? Actually, yes, there is a huge problem.

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Coming Full Circle on PCLinuxOS Magazine

I see articles like OSWeekly’s “The Future of Publishing with Linux Magazines” and I chuckle a bit.

Mainly because PCLinuxOS Magazine will have its 12 monthly issue published next month. That’s right, we’ve been here a year. Now, I can’t take credit for this fantastic Linux resource because I only sponsor it and help make executive decisions regarding hosting and other things like that…it’s in the hands of great editors and contributors and is continually growing. The staff is well over 10 people strong and gaining.

You’d think that OSWeekly would take this magazine into consideration when writing this article…but they instead opt mentioning and considering the fate of Full Circle Magazine in the Ubuntu community. Now don’t get me wrong, Full Circle is a great magazine and we’re glad they’re also producing a quality magazine for their community…It just perturbs me a bit that the hard working editors, contributors, and proofreaders and layout/website designers that put together PCLinuxOS Magazine don’t get any mention or credit when it comes to online magazines.

So, I’d like to take some time congratulating PCLinuxOS Magazine…with a circulation of over 15 thousand for the PDF alone and nearing 10 thousand unique hits on the HTML Magazine that they simultaneously publish each month for low bandwidth users. Congratulations PCLinuxOS Magazine! For making a magazine not only interesting to PCLinuxOS users but to Linux users as a whole!

On Open Source Dying…

Let me make it clear for you Michael Hickins of Eweek. Your Article “Is Open Source Dying?” doesn’t even make it into the outer ring of the target for facts. If you were trying to shoot an arrow into the air with this article, you’d miss.

I can help you though…I can set you straight. Not that I’m an ALL WISE & KNOWING person, just that I have the ability to do research, ingest said research, digest the research and learn from the research. You stop at ‘do research’. Let us examine where your train derailed (not the physical place…because this obviously is at the beginning…but rather, where in your subject you go wrong).

Open Document does not equal Open Source

Any conclusions you try to draw between adoption or non-adoption of ODF in any state or local government amounts to NOTHING. Whether ODF succeeds in being adopted or not does not mean Open Source will succeed or not. They are not inversely proportional and they are not directly proportional. If ODF get’s thrown out for MS Formats, Open Source will still be there and still be developed. This is like saying that

Disagreeing with Yourself doesn’t Validate your Message

Disagreeing with the title of your article saying “Is Open Source dying? Of course not” does not bring instantaneous credibility or make the reader sigh a collective sight of relief. Instead, it makes you look ridiculous for even writing the article in the first place. Afterall, we know you’re comparing elephants to chickens with the ODF = Open Source thing…and now you’re trying to make up for it. Try is the key word there. You fail because of your closing paragraph (see below)

Sabre Rattling and Finger Shaking Makes you Look Even More Silly

[quote]But the open-source community needs to get over its overweening sense of superiority and messianic inevitability; the alternative is just good enough that if it doesn’t get its act together, open source may find itself the subject of retrospectives like “Remember Unix?[/quote]

Um..ok? The open source community doesn’t need to get over any overweening sense of superiority or that other made up phrase you used. Why? Because the GPL makes it that way. It cannot be snuffed out, bought up, or killed…it will never die…it will never fade away…because the moment someone decides to try, it will replicate itself due to the openness and sharing within that same community you chastise (or did you mean ODF Community? I forget, since they’re so synonymous right?). So, I guess that makes people angry…it’s a smudge that won’t go away. A blemish right? A light that won’t go out. Well, keep trying. Keep giving resistance…please :) Open Source will win without a fight :D

“To fight and conquer in all your battles is not supreme excellence;
supreme excellence consists in breaking the enemy’s resistance without
fighting.” Sun-Tzu