One Door Closes, Another Door Opens
December 3, 2007 4:55 PM
by Computerworld UK Archive
So Germany has decided to live in the past
Deutsche Telekom AG, Europe's largest telephone company, can block buyers of Apple Inc.'s iPhone from using the handset on competitors' networks, a German court ruled, overturning an injunction won by Vodafone Group Plc.
The Regional Court of Hamburg said in a statement today that it lifted an injunction obtained by Vodafone that stopped Deutsche Telekom's T-Mobile unit from selling the device only with exclusive contracts or software that restricted use on competitors' wireless systems.
But there is a long-term silver lining to this short-term cloud, as this analysis points out
What might be the result of this? Hopefully Vodafone, and Verizon, will get a clue and offer more cooperation to Google’s Android, further opening their networks. They might also deliver a true Internet experience, rather than the walled garden of data services Verizon is noted for.
Posted by Glyn Moody at 3:08 PM
Spectrum Commons Catching On
I've written about the idea of treating radio spectrum as a commons - something owned by no one, but available for the use of all - subject to constraints on behaviour that might lead to a depletion of that resource, in this case through interference. It looks like the UK's Ofcom, which regulates this kind of stuff, is really getting in the commons groove:
Ofcom believes that, in general, application-specific spectrum allocations for licence-exempt devices result in inefficient utilisation and fragmentation of spectrum.
Ofcom prefers the “spectrum commons” model, where a block of spectrum can be shared by as wide a range as possible of devices, subject to regulatory-defined mandatory constraints on radiated power profiles as functions of frequency, time, and space (i.e. politeness rules), in addition to standardised or proprietary polite protocols.
We believe that this model would maximise the value derived from any spectrum set aside for licence-exempt uses.
Posted by glyn moody at 2.35pm
I'm in favour of fun as much as the next clown, but the new book Eccentric Cubicle from O'Reilly seems to be forgetting a key aspect of the hacker world it aspires to engage with: economy - making less do more.
This book is a dream come true for you office-bound souls who are tech DIY enthusiasts, hobbyist engineers/designers, and Makers at heart. Imagine having your cubicle sport projects such as:
- A mechanical golfer
- Lucid dreaming induction device
- USB-powered bubble blower
- Fog machine
- A desktop guillotine
What are these but extremely wasteful uses of raw materials, and excessive burdens on the earth? A case of making more do less.
Posted by glyn moody at 2.01 pm
What Does This Mean for NetBeans?
NetBeans has always been something of a mystery to me. I'd always regarded it as the runner-up IDE for Java, after Eclipse. But it's clear that I'm behind the times:
Netbeans 6.1 will have plugin support for creating, editing, deploying to Apache HTTPD, running and even debugging PHP projects.
And according to the NetBeans site:
You get all the tools you need to create professional desktop, enterprise, web and mobile applications, in Java, C/C++ and even Ruby.
Add in PHP, and that's increasingly impressive, but it does beg the question: Do we really need another all-purpose IDE alongside Eclipse? Doesn't that just dissipate the effort? Answers on the back of a postcard. (Via Tim Bray.)
Posted by glyn moody at 10:22 AM
Copying Patent Stupidity
I thought patents were supposed to stop copying, and yet here we have the European Union trying to copy an American idea that has led almost total meltdown of the US patent system:
The core of the proposal is the creation of an European Judge Academy and a specialized Patent Court under the pillar of the European Court of Justice (ECJ).
Brigitte Zypries, the German minister of Justice, wants this court not to be lead by regularly appointed judges, but by so-called technical experts. She promises better examination of the technical substance of the patents in corresponding processes. These technical experts are basically just another name for Patent Agents who have passed the Judge Academy.
Essentially, this makes the same people who decide what patents should be granted the ones who decide whether that was the correct decision. Oh yeah, that's a good idea.
Posted by glyn moody at 9:59 AM
Mobile 2.0? I Hope Not....
Fabrizio Capobianco reckons today is a frabjous day.
1&1, the largest web hoster in the world, went live with a mobile email solution last week in Germany. They are using Funambol, integrated with OpenXchange. Open source on all levels...
Why is it the start of a revolution?
Because this not a carrier, though they are offering mobile email directly to their users. An ISP offering mobile messaging... The start of a big shift in this market, where you will get your email pushed to your phone directly from the company that "owns" your email. In 99.99% of the cases, that is not your mobile carrier...
I agree that this is big - unfortunately.
I say unfortunately because the company making this move is 1&1, from whom I have had some of the worst service ever. At one point, as a special concession, 1&1 agreed to upgrade my online storage to the level that everyone else was getting - as a long-standing customer, I was of course being penalised for my loyalty - but only if I *faxed* them a formal request. The idea of automatic upgrades, or even upgrades after a telephone request was just too much to ask, it seemed.
So while I applaud the move in theory, I would advise people to wait until companies with more respect for the customer get involved.
Posted by glyn moody at 9.41 am
Wikipedia, Terrorism and the Sunlight of Openness
If this is all true, things are obviously going from bad to worse at Wikipedia:
Controversy has erupted among the encyclopedia's core contributors, after a rogue editor revealed that the site's top administrators are using a secret insider mailing list to crackdown on perceived threats to their power.
Many suspected that such a list was in use, as the Wikipedia "ruling clique" grew increasingly concerned with banning editors for the most petty of reasons. But now that the list's existence is confirmed, the rank and file are on the verge of revolt.
Revealed after an uber-admin called "Durova" used it in an attempt to enforce the quixotic ban of a longtime contributor, this secret mailing list seems to undermine the site's famously egalitarian ethos. At the very least, the list allows the ruling clique to push its agenda without scrutiny from the community at large. But clearly, it has also been used to silence the voice of at least one person who was merely trying to improve the encyclopedia's content.
What struck me particularly was the following passage:
Durova then posted a notice to the site's public forum, insisting the ban was too important for discussion outside the purview of the Arbitration Committee, Wikipedia's Supreme Court. "Due to the nature of this investigation, our normal open discussion isn't really feasible," she said. "Please take to arbitration if you disagree with this decision."
Now, where have I heard that before? "This person is guilty: we can prove it, but doing so would reveal terrible states secrets, so you'll just have to trust us" - oh yes, I remember: it's the standard trope used to justify internment in Guantanamo, "extraordinary rendition" or simple kidnapping ; it's the same trick that has been used by totalitarian governments the world over to justify repressive "anti-terror" laws that cannot be questioned, because doing so would aid the "enemy".
Not very good company for Wikipedia, "the free encyclopedia that anyone can edit", to be keeping. The sunlight of openness would do a world of good here - and anywhere else power that claims to be democratic refuses to explain its actions to the people.
Posted by glyn moody at 9:20 AM
MPAA: The Biter Bit
Although I am a frequent critic of the more outrageous excesses of copyright, I don't deny it has its place, in moderation. For example, this blog is licensed thanks to copyright, and the whole of the GNU GPL is based on it. So it seems only right that the free software world should be able to avail itself of the really horrible DMCA to slap down violations of the GPL:
The MPAA's "University Toolkit" (a piece of monitoring software that universities are being asked to install on their networks to spy on students' communications) has been taken down, due to copyright violations. The Toolkit is based on the GPL-licensed Xubuntu operating system (a flavor of Linux).
The GPL requires anyone who makes a program based on GPL'ed code has to release the source code for their program and license it under the GPL. The MPAA refused multiple requests to provide the sources for their spyware, so an Ubuntu developer sent a DMCA notice to the MPAA's ISP and demanded that the material be taken down as infringing.
A hit, a palpable hit.
What's also deeply ironic is that the MPAA choose to use Xubuntu in the first place, rather than intellectual monopoly-friendly Windows. When even your brothers-in-shame shun you, you know you've got problems.
Posted by glyn moody at 8:03 AM
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