Linux and Open Source

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About Linux and Open Source


By all accounts the PublicACTA event held in Wellington on Saturday was a roaring success. Sadly, I was unable to attend, and it sounds like I missed a great event. That said, we now have a bunch of smart folks who've had opportunity to discuss at length the issues that the so-called Anti Counterfeiting Trade Agreement is generating, and to produce the 'Wellington Declaration'. This is to be presented to the Government in less than 2 days - and hopefully made available to the ACTA negotiators.

Everyone who cares about the ongoing rights and freedoms of citizens of NZ - in particular regarding the Internet but also regarding the ways Government creates law - should be paying careful attention to ACTA. If the contents of the declaration ring true with you, show your support and Sign the Petition.

I Plugged it on NZLUG, and AuckLUG as well. It goes a little way toward explaining the background of this, largely ripped directly from the PublicACTA website.

Big Kudos to InternetNZ (hat-tip Jordan Carter), Nat Torkington, Don Christie, Peter Harrison and all of those who've been involved in both PublicACTA and from my personal perspective, the NZOSS's arguments against ACTA - NZOSS have been very proactive in responding to ACTA's potential risk to the FLOSS community and i'm proud to be involved with such upstanding folks.

So yeah, anyway, get signing! And stay tuned, I have no doubt we've in no way heard the end of this.

I feel almost silly doing this now, but I said I would and i'm sure i'll look back and be glad I did; more entries about LCA2010. This entry covers Wednesday and Thursday.

I was going to blog about this, but Computerworld have all-but done it for me..

I had a recent epiphany as I was reflecting on ACTA, the Anti Counterfeiting Trade Agreement. To want to block counterfeit items - that is, genuine fakes, is admirable and I support it fully.

I'm not sure that piracy - which is illegitimate replicas of an original, sure, but a soft original (such that in essence, there's no difference between the original and the copy, except the media across which it is delivered) is not quite the same. For one, the scale is entirely different (and the above article illustrates this well). For another, you are infact getting 'the real deal' (most of the time). The software (or media) is infact exactly the same, as the original shipped from the factory. The physical media on which it is delivered ceases to be very relevant once it's installed / copied onto disk, for the most part!
Obviously the technical details vary between software, and media (movies/music).

I don't support media piracy either, but ACTA - a Trade Agreement - is not the place to implement totalitarian policies - and to plan this in secret!

Interesting to read recent comments that comment on how the European Union almost unanimously voted to open up ACTA negotiations and not carry them out in secret (with the holdouts, apparently, being the United Kingdom!!) - and simultaneously, Obama vocally supporting the secret approach. So two of the largest 'western' governments appear to be under the thumb of 'rights holders' - aka the big-money media companies.

A reasonably sane series of pretty good reasons. As plucked from Twitter.

My LCA2010 Tuesday started with an Airport pickup; it was my job to meet Keith Packard at Wellington International Airport and deliver him to the event.
I then had to drive across town to my car park and walk back to the event :/

However... I did get back on time to pick up the tail of the Keynote and then attend the remainder of the days session - and this day was of particular interest, being the 'Open and the Public Sector' stream. This was kicked off by Don Christie in his role of President of the New Zealand Open Source Society and the keynote was by the UK Governments Director of Digital Engagement, Andrew Stott. I have to say that I give the UK Government a lot of credit for their willingness to embrace online engagement, the talk was given via Skype and was (generally) successful - though they should probably have pumped the audio across an ordinary PSTN or even cellular phoneline, as the Internet link wasn't flawless by any means...

Though I have made two, separate previous entries on the subject, my grand intention to blog about the Wellington-hosted Linux Australia Conference kinda looks pretty lame; here I am 6 weeks? later finally putting 'pen to paper'.

In my defence, well, domestic and professional life have both taken their toll; a grand total of 2 months off work (All of Dec and Jan) resulted in a need to hit the ground pretty much running when I returned to work proper on the 4th of February, and it's been basically a full month before I got to the stage where 'normality' had returned. That was Friday...

So back to my intention: To write about LCA.

Well, there's an article above about the Monday, but really, my involvement in LCA started earlier than that:

The Rental Truck...

So lately i've managed to attend a couple of geek-conferences (Kiwicon late last year, LCA2010 this year) and the appeal of smartphones is starting to wear me down.

I've steered away from the smartphone world, mainly because I was able to get away with a very basic handset and still have access to it while at work.

The rules have changed, I'm basically not allowed my mobile on me at all times now @ work, so that side of things is now moot; i'm left considering my situation when i'm not at work.

Thus i'm currently rocking the Motorola K3:

Which being a Motorola Flip, is fairly reliable. It has 3G, which means i can actually surf the web from it (no javascript support!) and send/receive email (if you can be bothered with using a number pad data entry style). Unfortunately it's not much good for either in any great volume.

It does have a 2MP Camera; it does Bluetooth. And those are the main things I do with it, aside from SMS and Telephony. I also have one of these...

... being the Palm Z22, as my 'current generation' Palm Pilot (i've had PalmOS devices since my Handspring Visor...) - the Z22 basically is a diary and phonebook for the stuff I can't do on my phone. I'm also not meant to have the Z22 at work, either...

(I have a work-issued Blackberry from which I use the calendar (because it tracks my professional appointments as well as the relatively small number of personal ones I use) and because it's permitted to carry it on me in more places - but I rarely use the work phone for personal reasons (I have to refund the cost of doing so) and my personal cell number has been with me a lot longer than my current job.)

So what I'd really like, then...

.. Is a Bigger Screen,
A more flexible web browsing experience via 3G or Wifi,
A QWERTY Keyboard,

Very nice indeed..

(I do intend to write a 'real' blog about LCA - so much for one per day! - but i need to be awake and coherant long enough first...)

Into the Monday Afternoon of LCA2010 and had the task of relocating a substantial quantity of Beer and Wine to another venue during lunchbreak... so i'm hungry! Will be rectified soon however.

Have spent today with one ear on the presentations and the other assisting with Sound in the Main Auditorium and chasing down some Wireless networking oddballs. Attendees may have noticed Wifi is playing up, this is a work-in-progress and we're beating the equipment into submission.

Tonights Tweetup - has details - has in excess of 50 RSVP's. The Twtvite entry has a ceiling at 60 but i'm sure if you bowl on up at your convenience, there'll be no dramas. There's a simultaneous Martial Arts demo going on so we'll lose some folks at 7, for a couple of hours.

Today as first day of LCA has been interesting for me; those who've done the LCA bit before are obviously quite comfortable with the routine but many NZ'rs who've not attended before, are finding things quite interesting. A few minor dramas due to the fog this morning and folks delayed inbound; a bit of illness for good measure, and reportedly traffic problems caused at least one speaker to miss their slot. However this is the 'miniconf' window, the LCA proper kicks off Wednesday, and no doubt we'll be settled by then.

Has also been interesting to recognise several faces I know from other places who've travelled to LCA from Christchurch, Auckland etc. Looking forward to catching up with them during this week as well.

See folks tonight at the Tweetup!

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