LibrePlanet 2010 Day 2

John Gilmore keynote – What do we do next, having produced a free software system for our computers? Perhaps we should aim at Windows? Wine + an extended ndiswrapper to run other hardware drivers + a better system administration interface/resources/manuals. However that means knowing a lot about windows internals – something that open source developers don’t seem to want to do. We shouldn’t just carry on tweaking – its not inspiring; whats our stretch goal? Discussion followed – reactos, continue integrating software and people with a goal of achieving really close integration: software as human rights issue! ‘Desktop paradigm needs to be replaced’ : need to move away from a document based desktop to a device based desktop. Concern about the goal of running binary drivers for hardware: encourages manufacturers to sell hardware w/out specs; we shouldn’t encourage the idea that that is ok. Lots of concern about cloning, lots of concern about what will bring more freedom to users, and what it will take to have a compelling vision to inspire 50000 free software hackers. Free software in cars – lots of safety issues in .e.g brake controllers, accelerators.

Eben Moglen – ‘We’re at the inflection point of free software’ – because any large scale global projects these days are not feasible without free software. Claims that doing something that scales from tiny to huge environment requires ‘us’ — A claim I would (sadly) dispute. Lots of incoming and remaining challenges. ‘Entirely clear that the patent systems relationship to technology is pathological and dangerous’ – that I agree with! Patent muggings are a problem – patent holders are unhappy with patents granted to other people :). Patent pools are helping slowly as they grow. Companies which don’t care about the freedom aspect of GPLv3 are adopting it because of the patent protection aspects. Patent system is at the head of the list of causes-of-bad-things affecting free software. SFLC is building coalitions outside the core community to protect the interests of the free software community. We are starting to be taken for granted at the high end of mgmt in companies that build on free software. … We face a problem in the erosion of privacy. We need to build a stack, running on commodity hardware that runs federated services rather than folk needing centralised services.

Marina Zhurakhinskaya on GNOME Shell: Integrates old and new ideas in an overall comprehensive design. Marina ran through the various goals of the shell – growing with users, being delightful, starting simply so new users are not overwhelmed. The activities screen looks pretty nice 😉 The workspace rearrangement UI is really good. The notifications thing is interesting; you can respond to a chat message in-line in the notification.

Richard Stallman on Software as a Service – he presented verbally the case made in the paper. Some key quotes… “All your data on a server is equivalent to total spyware” – I think this is a worst-case analogy; it suggests that you can never trust another party: kindof a sad state of paranoia to assume that all network servers are always out to get you all the time. And I have to ask – should we get rid of Savannah then (because all the data is stored there) – the argument for why Savannah is not SaaS is not convincing: its just file storage, so what makes it different to e.g. Ubuntu One? “If there is a server and only a little bit of it is SaaS, perhaps just say don’t worry about it – because that little bit is often the hardest bit to replace.”  “Lets write systems for collaborative word process that don’t involve a central server” — abiword w/the sharing plugin ? 🙂 RMS seems to be claiming that someone else sysadmining a server for you is better than someone else sysadmining a time-shared server for you: I don’t actually see the difference, unless you’re also asserting that you’ll always have root over your’ own machine’. The argument seems very fuzzy and unclear to me as to why there is really a greater risk – in particular when there is a commercial relationship with the operator (as opposed to, say, an advertising supported relationship).


One thought on “LibrePlanet 2010 Day 2

  1. Why is Savanna not spyware? Because the data stored there is free software, not private letters to your mistress. You can create a better analogy.

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