A rapidly proliferating software license bars use by companies with poor labor practices

Katt Gu and Suji Yan's Anti 996 License allows developers to prohibit the use of their code by companies that do not adhere to basic labor practices (996 is a Chinese software industry term for shops where coders work 9AM-9PM, 6 days/week). Read the rest

"Open source" companies are playing games with licensing to sneak in proprietary code, freeze out competitors, fight enclosure

Writing new software licenses is a seemingly irresistible vice in the free and open source world, and the decades since the first GPL have been filled with bitter disputes and splits over licensing, with new licenses proliferating for motives both noble and base. Read the rest

After years of insisting that DRM in HTML wouldn't block open source implementations, Google says it won't support open source implementations

The bitter, yearslong debate at the World Wide Web Consortium over a proposal to standardize DRM for web browsers included frequent assurances by the pro-DRM side (notably Google, whose Widevine DRM was in line to be the principal beneficiary) that this wouldn't affect the ability of free/open source authors to implement the standard. Read the rest

A glowing, 3D printed rose that "blooms" when you touch its petals

Daren Schwenke's 3D printed blooming rose embeds a capacitive touch sensor -- a magnetic wire -- in one of the leaves, which trips an Arduino-controlled actuator that changes the rose's lighting and causes the petals -- 3D printed and then shaped over a hot chandelier bulb -- to splay open or fold closed. Read the rest

Electronic Health Records: a murderous, publicly subsidized, $13B/year grift by way of shitty software

In 2009, the bipartisan HITECH Act pledged $36 billion to subsidize the adoption of Electronic Health Records throughout America's fragmented, profit-driven health system, promising that the system would modernize American health care, save $80 billion (and countless lives), and deliver a host of other benefits; a decade later, the EHR industry has blossomed from $2B to $13B, and adoption is up from 9% to 96%, and it's a catastrophe. Read the rest

Alias: a smart-speaker "parasite" that blocks your speaker's sensors until you activate it

Alias is an open source hardware/free-open firmware "parasite" that fits over your smart speaker's sensors and fills them with white noise; the Alias has its own (non-networked, user-controlled) mic and speaker and when you speak a magic phrase, the Alias temporarily stops the white noise and transmits your commands to the speaker; Alias also lets you specify strings of commands and other useful utilities that restore control over your smart-speaker to you. Read the rest

Tim Maughan's Infinite Detail: a debut sf novel about counterculture, resistance, and the post-internet apocalypse

Tim Maughan has long been one of the most promising up-and-coming, avante garde UK science fiction writers, whose post-cyberpunk short fiction mixed radical politics with a love of graffiti and a postmodern filmmaker's eye: now, with his debut novel Infinite Detail, Maughan shows that he has what it takes to work at longer lengths, and can sustain a first-rate adventure story that grabs and never lets go, without sacrificing the political and technological insights that give his work depth that will stay with you long after the book is done. Read the rest

Common Voice: Mozilla releases the largest dataset of voice samples for free, for all

42,000 Mozilla supporters contributed to Common Voice, a free-open dataset of 1,361 hours of voice recordings in 18 languages, which is now free for anyone to use as a set of "high quality, transcribed voice data... available to startups, researchers, and anyone interested in voice-enabled technologies" -- in a field plagued with sampling bias problems, this is a dataset that aims to be diverse, representative and inclusive, and it's growing by the day (you can contribute your voice too!) -- the whole project is inspiring. (via Four Short Links) Read the rest

Magic Lantern: feature-rich addons for Canon EOS cameras

Magic Lantern is a suite of feature-rich add-ons for your Canon EOS camera that you load via a SD card; in addition to a suite of video-recording tools, Magic Lantern allows fine-grained gain adjustments, selection of input sources, wind filters, audio monitoring, and better tools for everything from white-balance to exposure presets to overlays to help with exposure and other settings. The source is available for inspection and modification, of course. (via Four Short Links) Read the rest

Freedom EV: free/open replacement firmware for your electric vehicle -- including a Tesla

Freedom EV is a free/open software stack intended to replace the software in your electric vehicle, it's been tested on a Tesla Model X and should work on a Model S, if you can get root. Read the rest

The next Firefox will block all autoplayed audio, video

There are plugins and obscure settings that will get this behavior, but, as the saying goes, "defaults matter": Firefox 66 will not play any audio or video until "a web page has had user interaction to initiate the audio." (via Four Short Links) Read the rest

Hide and seek: A catalog of useful steganography tools

Steganography is the art of hiding things in plain sight: for example, secretly encoding a message in an image by flipping the least-significant bit in each pixel to create a binary string that can be decoded as text. Read the rest

To do in Boston Mar 23/24: The Free Software Foundation's Libreplanet conference

The Free Software Foundation has announced the keynotes for its 2019 Libreplanet conference: Debian pioneer Bdale Garbee; Micky Metts from the MayFirst People Link Leadership Committee, Solidarity Economy Network and Agaric; Shuttleworth fellow Tarek Loubani who develops open source hardware, 3D printed medical equipment used in Gazan hospitals; and FSF founder Richard Stallman. Read the rest

A deep dive into the technical feasibility of Bloomberg's controversial "Chinese backdoored servers" story

Last October, Bloomberg published what seemed to be the tech story of the year: a claim that Supermicro, the leading supplier of servers to clients from the Pentagon and Congress to Amazon, Apple and NASA, had been targeted by Chinese spies who'd inserted devastating, virtually undetectable hardware backdoors into their motherboards by subverting a small subcontractor in China. Read the rest

Thunderbird team vows faster, easier-to-use, more stable versions in the year to come

In 2015, Mozilla announced that it would turn Thunderbird -- one of the last freestanding, cross-platform email clients -- into a freestanding, independent project, and in 2017, Thunderbird became a community-overseen project with institutional backing from Moz. Read the rest

The audiophile MQA format really doesn't have DRM, but that doesn't mean it's not on the toxic rainbow of locked tech

After watching a CCC presentation that claimed that the MQA audiophile format has "stealth DRM," I decided to investigate, and I'm pretty sure MQA is not DRM. Read the rest

Mozilla pulls a popular paywall circumvention tool from Firefox add-ons store

Bypass Paywalls is a popular extension for Firefox and Chrome that does what the name implies: allows your browser to manipulate its cookies so that websites with "soft paywalls" that allow a small number of free articles can't accurately determine if you've already exceeded your limit. Read the rest

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