gIMP My Foot
Published 12:45, 18 November 08
Jackboot Jacqui is at it again:
The government Interception Modernisation Programme (gIMP), a plan by spy chiefs to centrally collect details of every phone call, text, email and web browsing session of every UK resident, will be in place by 2012, according to a Home Office minister.
because communications providers already hold information about who contacts whom, when and how, the gIMP would not represent a major change. "We are not proposing that data that have never been collected are held," he said. "The question is how in the future, with all the changes that are coming we can still have access to something that we regularly use today for serious crime and counterterrorism." The final system will be fully compatible with human rights legislation, he said.
This shows once again that the Government either doesn't understand - or feigns not to understand - that putting together disparate information *is* a huge change, precisely because it allows all kinds of *new* info to be gathered about the public thanks to correlations and cross-linkings that are not evident when the data is held separately. Crudely speaking, this is putting together the pieces of a jigsaw puzzle to see something whole.
POSTED BY GLYN MOODY AT 4:28 PM
(Open) China Rising
It's become something of cliché in recent weeks to invoke the rise of China as an economic superpower. But what about its role in the world of free software?
On Open Enterprise blog .
POSTED BY GLYN MOODY AT 11:30 AM
Thingiverse: SourceForge for Objects
I wrote below about the distinction between digital and analogue objects, but that was just a crude statement of the situation, which is in a state of flux. The distinction between digital and analogue is blurring thanks to rapid prototyping machines that can take digital representations of objects and turn them into physical things.
Once that happens, it becomes possible to apply all the usual open source methodology to analogue stuff - sharing designs, improving on them etc. One thing you need to do this is a repository of open designs; enter the wonderfully-named Thingiverse :
Thingiverse is a place for you to share your digital designs with the world. We believe that just as computing shifted away from the mainframe into the personal computer that you use today, digital fabrication will share the same path. Infact, it is already happening: laser cutters, cnc machines, 3D printers, and even automated paper cutters are all getting cheaper by the day. These machines are useful for a huge variety of things, but you need to supply them with a digital design in order to get anything useful out of them. We're hoping that together we can create a community of people who create and share designs freely, so that all can benefit from them.
Creative Commons has some useful further info :
Thingiverse is an “object sharing” site that enables anyone to upload the schematics, designs, and images for their projects. Users can then download and reuse the work in their projects using their own laser cutters, 3D printers, and analog tools. Think of it as a Flickr for the Maker set.
Besides implementing our licenses, Bre and Zach [Thingiverse's creators] have also gone the distance and allowed users to license works under the GNU GPL, LGPL, and BSD licenses, as well as allowing them to release works into the public domain.
POSTED BY GLYN MOODY AT 10:48 AM
More Analyst Cluelessness
Yesterday in " the other place " I was berating Gartner for its inability to understand the reality of open source, and now here's someone else from that strange world of "research" that simply doesn't understand the basics - in this case, digital music:
Music cannot just be 'for free' anymore than cars or houses can 'just be for free'. If people aren't paid, they don't make the product.
Sigh. Once more, then, children - and do pay attention at the back: music is digital, cars and houses are analogue. You can make copies of digital music for effectively zero cost (it exists, but it's too small to measure); you cannot easily make copies of cars or houses, and certainly not for vanishingly small cost.
As for the second part, ever heard of something called free software? Variously estimated as worth tens of billions of pounds, most of it is created by people who aren't paid. And even if they are, that's not a necessary pre-condition for its creation, simply a reflection of the health of the business ecosystem that has grown up around it. If there weren't people who got paid, free software would stil exist - as it did originally.
Similarly for Wikipedia: nobody gets paid, but look at the results. In just a few years it has succeeded in creating an unmatched respository of human knowledge, to the point where it is pretty widely regarded as the first place to look stuff up, despite its undeniable imperfections.
As with Gartner, this seems to be a case of analysts simply telling their clients what they want to hear, rather than what they need to know. Hence my general contempt for the breed, with a few honourable exceptions - RedMonk and the 451 Group spring to mind - that both know what they are talking about, and tell it as it is.
POSTED BY GLYN MOODY AT 9:57 AM
New Open Source Second Life Viewer
Linden Lab's decision to open-source its viewer (and ultimately its server, too) has triggered a wave of creativity in Second Life free software. Here's the latest example :
More than two months after Jacek Antonelli and team launched an initiative to create a more user-friendly, open source version of the Second Life viewer, cheekily dubbed Imprudence, the first release candidate is available for download.
POSTED BY GLYN MOODY AT 9:49 AM
Do the Maths: GNU/Linux's Discovery
Westfield State College senior mathematics majors Jeffrey P. Vanasse and Michael E. Guenette, working under the direction of Mathematics Department faculty members Marcus Jaiclin and Julian F. Fleron, have made a significant new discovery in the mathematical field of number theory. They have discovered the first known example of a 3 by 3 by 3 generalized arithmetic progression (GAP).
And how did they do that ?
An algorithm to check the necessary cases – still easily hundreds of trillions of cases – was programmed using a Linux version of the computer language C++.
Nothing extraordinary there - except that it's not extraordinary....
POSTED BY GLYN MOODY AT 9:43 AM
Why the Real Dan is the Real Thing
We need this man:
One thing you have to admire about Kara [Swisher] is that in a blogosphere that all too often resembles an echo chamber, she’s managed to cut out the middleman; she just echoes herself. And while others engage in logrolling, Kara keeps it real and rolls her own log. Kara, listen. You’re not the story. Bokay? You’re the reporter. This isn’t about you. It really isn’t. Now stop it or I will fly out there and sit you down for a talk. You’re getting Mossberg Syndrome, honey, and that’s not a good thing.
Update: Or maybe not ....
POSTED BY GLYN MOODY AT 9:38 AM
Originally posted at Open... This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-No Derivative Works 2.0 UK: England & Wales Licence. Please link back to the original post.
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