Apply for a Shuttleworth Fellowship!

I'm the "Honourary Steward" for this year's Shuttleworth Fellowship, this being a valuable and prestigious prize given to people who are undertaking to make the world a better, more open place ("social innovators who are helping to change the world for the better and could benefit from a social investment model with a difference"). Read the rest

How free software stayed free

I did an interview with the Changelog podcast (MP3) about my upcoming talk at the O'Reilly Open Source conference in London, explaining how it is that the free and open web became so closed and unfree, but free and open software stayed so very free, and came to dominate the software landscape. Read the rest

Cryptpad: a free/open, end-to-end encrypted, zero-knowledge shared text editor

Tools like Etherpad and Google Docs are transformative ways to collaborate on text (including code); I've used them in contexts as varied as making unofficial transcripts of statements at UN agencies to liveblogging conference presentations -- but they all share a weakness, which is that whomever owns the document server can see everything you're typing. Read the rest

California will collect public records for all police use of force, using open source software

There are a handful of states that keep records of police force, but they are incomplete records, and they're maintained on paper; contrast that with URSUS, California's new tool that collects every single use of force, storing it in open, transparent free software maintained by Bayes Impact, a nonprofit. Read the rest

Listen: Hacker Anthropologist Biella Coleman on the free software movement and big business

Gabriella Coleman, the anthropologist whose first book, Coding Freedom, explained hacking culture better than any book before or since; and whose second book, Hacker, Hoaxer, Whistleblower, Spy, told the inside story of Anonymous with technical and social brilliance, appeared on the Theory of Everything podcast (MP3) to discuss the ways that free software hackers and the more business-friendly open source world have fought, reconciled and fought again. Read the rest

Open licenses don't work for uncopyrightable subjects: 3D printing edition

Michael Weinberg (who has written seminal stories on 3D printing and copyright) writes, "We are seeing widespread adoption of copyright-based open licenses in 3D printing and open source hardware. This is great in that it shows that the culture of openness has really permeated the culture. It is not so great because a significant number of the things nominally licensed in these communities aren't actually protected by copyright." Read the rest

Generate artistic, animated, color QR codes that scan

Qrcode is a github-hosted, Chinese Python project for GNU/Linux and Windows that takes sentences and URLs and creates "artistic" colored and animated QR codes that actually scan. Read the rest

How the New York Public Library made ebooks open, and thus one trillion times better

Leonard Richardson isn't just the author of Constellation Games, one of the best debut novels I ever read and certainly one of the best books I read in 2013; he's also an extremely talented free/open source server-software developer who has been working for the New York Public Library on a software project that liberates every part of the electronic book lending system from any kind of proprietary lock-in, and, in the process, made reading library ebooks one trillion times better. Read the rest

The Equation Group's sourcecode is totally fugly

With the leak of exploits developed by The Equation Group, the long-secret, NSA-adjacent super-elite hacking squad -- published by The Shadow Brokers, who have some extremely heterodox theories about auction design -- it's now possible to audit the source code of some of the NSA's crown-jewel cyberweapons. Read the rest

The Tor Project's social contract: we will not backdoor Tor

I first encountered the idea of "social contracts" for software projects in Neal Stephenson's seminal essay In the Beginning Was the Command Line, which endorsed the Debian project on the strength of its social contract: "As far as I know, Debian is the only Linux distribution that has its own constitution." Read the rest

48 hours later, Adblock Plus beats Facebook's adblocker-blocker

On August 9, Facebook announced that it had defeated adblockers; on August 11, Adblock Plus announced that it had defeated Facebook. Read the rest

A free/open computer on a card that you swap in and out of a 3D printed laptop

Lou Cabron writes, "Finally, after five years of work, Rhombus Tech has gone from a free/libre/open source "spec" to their first actual modular devices! The video is amazing. Read the rest

Apollo 11 sourcecode on Github

Though the code for Apollo 11's "Apollo Guidance Computer" has been online since 2003, when Ron Burkey rekeyed it from the scans that Gary Neff had uploaded, ex-NASA intern Chris Garry's posting of the code to Github last week has precipitated a widespread interest in the code, along with close scrutiny of the code itself. Read the rest

Crowdfunding for a "live-coded" album of algorave music

Alex AKA Yaxu writes, "I co-founded the Algorave movement. Now I'm working on an album of live-coded algorave-style music." Read the rest

Software Heritage: Creating a safe haven for software

Software Heritage is an initiative that has made preserving software its main mission. Why is this important? Consider, if you will, the case of Gary Kildall's video game...

Intel x86s hide another CPU that can take over your machine (you can't audit it)

Recent Intel x86 processors implement a secret, powerful control mechanism that runs on a separate chip that no one is allowed to audit or examine. When these are eventually compromised, they'll expose all affected systems to nearly unkillable, undetectable rootkit attacks. I've made it my mission to open up this system and make free, open replacements, before it's too late.

Jury hands Oracle its ass, says Google doesn't owe it a penny for Java

When Oracle bought Sun Microsystems, they acquired Java, Sun's popular programming language, pitched from its inception as an open standard for the networked computer. Read the rest

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