Bradley M. Kuhn

originally from Baltimore, MD, USA.

President and Distinguished Technologist at Software Freedom Conservancy. On the Board of Directors of the Free Software Foundation. Generally, a Software Freedom advocate, GPL Enforcer, and Occasional developer..

  • Historic Party Conventions

    2016-07-29T00:56:10Z via Dianara To: Public CC: Followers

    I've had the radio on every night while doing Conservancy work to listen to both the RNC and DNC coverage the last two weeks.

    I'm voting for Jill Stein (of course what did you all expect). But, I know she won't win; I'm voting as I always do to seek a 5% on the Green Party so they get federal matching funds in the next cycle. I hope you'll do the same. (If you are one of the many libertarian-leaning folks in the FLOSS community, there's a Libertarian candidate running, which is probably a better choice than the major parites, too).

    But, I follow politics closely enough to know that this is an historic election, just like Obama's first term was. Either we're going to have the first black president followed by the first female president in USA history, which I'm sure I'll get asked about in my old age by young people, or, we'll have the first black president followed by a backlash where a sexist and (seemingly) racist candidate was elected.

    As always, I'm betting on the the election. A few of you won from me because I took the field against {Trump, Cruz} for the Republician nomination. Well, if you all want action again, I'm offering to bet Clinton against Trump at even money.

    Update: I'm willing to offer better odds: I'll take either side of 1.5-to-1 for Trump-to-Clinton (i.e., Trump side of bet pays $1.50 to every $1 the Clinton side of the bet pays)

    I'm still making up for the huge loss I took offering 1.1-to-1 for Kerry against Bush, so I'm skiddish about offering better odds than even money, but email me if you wanna make offers.

    I also am not making the odds I want to offer to take Trump against Clinton, so email me if you want to bet Clinton against me.

    Alex Jordan , Mike Linksvayer like this.

    Stephen Michael Kellat shared this.

    I may have previously lived in Las Vegas. With as screwy as this election has been so bet.

    Stephen Michael Kellat at 2016-07-29T02:04:25Z

    Alex Jordan likes this.

  • Impossible problems

    2016-07-20T02:34:38Z via Dianara To: Public CC: Followers

    Donald Trump Jr just said that his father can solve impossible problems that no one else can.

    Has anyone present P =? NP to Donald Trump?

    Heck, why not have him solve the Halting Problem too?

    Christopher Allan Webber , warp , Erez Schatz , Gerard Ryan and 4 others like this.

    Christopher Allan Webber shared this.

    It needn't be a totally impossible problem we assign him. I'd be happy if his dad could remove the Python global interpreter lock or reverse some cell-phone wifi chipsets.

    Ben Sturmfels at 2016-07-20T04:46:03Z

    ximoberna , Christopher Allan Webber , Matt Molyneaux , warp and 2 others like this.

  • Publisher's Clearinghouse selects your elected representatives?

    2016-07-16T18:09:06Z via Dianara To: Public CC: Followers

    I hate this phrase VEEPstakes. I guess I should be glad in this cycle, we're basically admitting that this is a "Who Will look coolest in office?" superlative.

  • British vote mixtape

    2016-06-27T00:36:41Z via Dianara To: Followers , Public

    So, a few things here: most of the songs are those popular when I was a teenager or in my 20s.

    And, does anyone even say "mixtape" anymore?

    I am pretty sure NPR demographics are skewing toward 35-50 age group

    Michael Downey , Douglas Perkins like this.

    I'm pretty sure mix CD has come and find too. And now thanks to DRM, there is no next thing.

    David "Judah's Shadow" Blue at 2016-06-27T03:15:02Z

    You can call something "a mix" or "a playlist".

    Douglas Perkins at 2016-06-27T04:06:48Z

    As a relatively young person, who was nevertheless old enough to make actual "mixtapes," I think it's an excellent term.  The medium doesn't matter as much as the intention behind a personally curated playlist.  People recognize that intention when you say "mixtape," so I say mix those tapes!

    Benjamin Cook at 2016-06-27T15:26:33Z

    I believe the term Mixtape is still in circulation, despite the almost extinction of tape media 

    Erez Schatz at 2016-07-17T11:09:29Z

  • Don't hear this every day

    2016-05-16T11:47:48Z via Dianara To: Public CC: Followers

    At PDX, they just called "Passenger Aquaponic Man, please return to security for an important left behind item.". Realizing it must have sounded strange, the next announcement was "Passenger with the screenname of Aquaponic Man...".

    This makes me want to make a screen saver on all my devices that says: "TSA is security theater", just in case I leave one behind. I guess that's a certain way to never get it back. :)

    Claes Wallin (韋嘉誠) , jrobb , der.hans , Stephen Michael Kellat and 4 others like this.

    Claes Wallin (韋嘉誠) shared this.

    >> Bradley M. Kuhn:

    “[...] I guess that's a certain way to never get it back. :) [...]”

    Most probably xD

    JanKusanagi at 2016-05-16T21:54:26Z

  • That “My Ears are Burning” Thing Is Definitely Apocryphal

    2016-05-14T00:51:27Z via Dianara To: Public CC: Followers


    I've posted in the past about the Oracle vs. Google case. I'm for the moment sticking to my habit of only commenting when there is a clear court decision. Having been through litigation as the 30(b)(6) witness for Conservancy, I'm used to court testimony and why it often doesn't really matter in the long run. So much gets said by both parties in a court case that it's somewhat pointless to begin analyzing each individual move, unless it's for entertainment purposes only. (It's certainly as entertaining as most TV dramas, really, but I hope folks who are watching step-by-step admit to themselves that they're just engaged in entertainment, not actual work. :)

    I saw a lot go by today with various people as witnesses in the case. About the only part that caught my attention was that Classpath was mentioned over and over again. But that's not for any real salient reason, only because I remember so distinctly, sitting in a little restaurant in New Orleans with RMS and Paul Fisher, talking about how we should name this yet-to-be-launched GNU project “$CLASSPATH”. My idea was that was a shell variable that would expand to /usr/lib/java, so, in my estimation, it was a way to name the project “User Libraries for Java” without having to say the words. (For those of you that were still children in the 1990s, trademark aggression by Sun at the time on the their word mark for “Java” was fierce, it was worse than the whole problem the Unix trademark, which led in turn to the GNU name.)

    But today, as I saw people all of the Internet quoting judges, lawyers and witnesses saying the word “Classpath” over and over again, it felt a bit weird to think that, almost 20 years ago sitting in that restaurant, I could have said something other than Classpath and the key word in Court today might well have been whatever I'd said. Court cases are, as I said, dramatic, and as such, it felt a little like having my own name mentioned over and over again on the TV news or something. Indeed, I felt today like I had some really pointless, one-time-use superpower that I didn't know I had at the time. I now further have this feeling of: “darn, if I knew that was the one thing I did that would catch on this much, I'd have tried to do or say something more interesting”.

    Naming new things, particularly those that have to replace other things that are non-Free, is really difficult, and, at least speaking for myself, I definitely can't tell when I suggest a name whether it is any good or not. I actually named another project, years later, that could theoretically get mentioned in this case, Replicant. At that time, I thought Replicant was a much more creative name than Classpath. When I named Classpath, I felt it was somewhat obvious corollary to the “GNU'S Not Unix” line of thinking. I also recall distinctly that I really thought the name lost all its cleverness when the $ and the all-caps was dropped, but RMS and others insisted on that :).

    Anyway, my final message today is to the court transcribers. I know from chatting with the court transcribers during my depositions in Conservancy's GPL enforcement cases that technical terminology is really a pain. I hope that the term I coined that got bandied about so much in today's testimony was not annoying to you all. Really, no one thinks about the transcribers in all this. If we're going to have lawsuits about this stuff, we should name stuff with the forethought of making their lives easier when the litigation begins. :)

    Arne Babenhauserheide , Claes Wallin (韋嘉誠) , Sean Tilley , sazius and 2 others like this.

    Arne Babenhauserheide , Arne Babenhauserheide , Claes Wallin (韋嘉誠) , Claes Wallin (韋嘉誠) shared this.

    And here I thought the twist ending was going to be that you told the court transcribers "it's really spelled $CLASSPATH, make sure you get that in there".

    Claes Wallin (韋嘉誠) at 2016-05-18T04:39:41Z

    Arne Babenhauserheide likes this.

  • M-x repl<TAB>str<TAB><RET>

    2016-05-12T18:15:41Z via Dianara To: Public CC: Followers

    I've been using Emacs for 20 years. I always replace-string with M-x repl<TAB>str<TAB><RET>. I don't really know why I never mapped this to a key. Anyway, it's now C-x M-r

    Douglas Perkins , Jason Self like this.

    Kete Foy shared this.

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    Thanks for sharing—I M-x type, tab, type, tab some regular commands, too, so I could map them to a key instead.

    Kete Foy at 2016-05-13T01:03:47Z

    For me it is almost always C-x [ M-x que<TAB><RET>.

    warp at 2016-05-13T16:12:17Z

    I always go for M-C-%, regardless if I really need regex or not. And then ! if I don't want interactive.

    Claes Wallin (韋嘉誠) at 2016-05-18T04:38:53Z

    >> warp:

    “C-x [”

    That’s a new one to me! I've been using M-<.

    Kete Foy at 2016-05-18T09:39:00Z

  • Geek crossover

    2016-04-30T23:43:05Z via Dianara To: Public CC: Followers

    You know you are both a Free Software geek and a USA Politics geek when you are home on a Saturday night (like every Saturday night) and you install the CBSN plugin on your Debian Kodi box so you can watch the live stream of the White House Correspondent's Dinner.

    Trace Pearson , Charles ☕ Stanhope like this.

    CBSN is the weird junior varsity team for CBS News.

    Stephen Michael Kellat at 2016-05-01T02:04:58Z

  • I guess I'm glad it doesn't say Fredo?

    2016-04-29T20:44:01Z via Dianara To: Public CC: Followers

    As phone geeks know, old-school PSTN (which we used to call POTS :) has caller-id with name, but the name field was limited to 15 characters.

    My mobile phone is in the name of my employer, Software Freedom Conservancy, not me personally. As such, I'm constantly reminded by people who have standard caller-id with name phones that my caller-id info comes through with:


    I'm somewhat inclined to ask my mobile provider to drop the space, so it would be "SOFTWAREFREEDOM".

    It got me thinking that it would be really cool if it was typoed and said "Software Frodo". I kinda feel like a software industry version of Frodo much of the time. Although I don't know what the ring is in this analogy.

    der.hans , Douglas Perkins , sazius , Kete Foy and 5 others like this.

    Stephen Michael Kellat , Claes Wallin (韋嘉誠) shared this.

    hey, you know the GNU Linux-libre mascot, the light blue penguin fresh out of the shower, is called Freedo, right?  I'd be honored to have such a caller id ;-)  the only way to beat that would be to have a gnu in there somewhere!

    Alexandre Oliva at 2016-04-29T20:51:05Z

    Claes Wallin (韋嘉誠) , Stephen Michael Kellat , Christopher Allan Webber like this.

    "SoftwareFreedom" is calling... :)

    Jason Self at 2016-04-29T21:36:35Z

    Matt Molyneaux , Stephen Michael Kellat like this. the ring might be proprietary software (or proprietary software licenses). Tempting people to use, causing insanity in those that cloak themselves with it. Once someone is under its spell it is difficult to break them of it despite how much peace freedom would give them.

    Kevin Everets at 2016-04-29T21:44:07Z

    Claes Wallin (韋嘉誠) likes this.

    Alexandre, I *forgot* that the Linux Libre mascot was called Freedo. This is great! I am glad to have that caller ID now. :)

    Bradley M. Kuhn at 2016-04-30T23:41:08Z

    Claes Wallin (韋嘉誠) likes this.

  • My Application to Debian

    2016-04-18T23:04:28Z via Dianara To: Public CC: Followers

    I abandoned my previous DD application back in 2003 due to lack of time, and after 13 years, it's clear to me that I will never have time unless I put time aside for it.

    Plus the new-ish non-uploading DD is *exactly* the right type of affiliation (although someday I may want to maintain packages, I don't know when that will be) for me.

    So, if you're a DD and would like to advocate for my application as a non-uploading DD, please visit this URL with your Debian credentials active and click the link "advocate for DD, non-upl":


    Alex Jordan , Yutaka Niibe , Sajith Sasidharan , der.hans and 3 others like this.

    Scorpio20 , Scorpio20 , Scorpio20 , Claes Wallin (韋嘉誠) shared this.

    It seems you have your required two advocacies for non-uploading DD.

    Now if you could just get started on those open IRS advisory committee calls I posted about so I can write up an advocacy or two there...

    Stephen Michael Kellat at 2016-04-18T23:42:36Z

    I think that I signed your key.
    Just in case, I'll send again your public key (with answer to questions in the paper slip you gave me) signed by me.

    Yutaka Niibe at 2016-04-21T00:42:54Z

  • NYS Does Not Respect Its Citizens' Software Freedom

    2016-04-08T22:50:56Z via Dianara To: Public CC: Followers

    I have gladly left the horrible state of New York, but in case you were wondering, there is now no way to file with a computer in NYS using only Free Software, even while people at the NYS statehouse claim to be passing Free Software friendly laws.

    The e-filing has always had the problem that you must install non-Free Javascript to do it. I wrote to complain a few years ago, and NYS didn't care. I even wrote to the developer (whose name was in the Javascript, and he didn't care either). So I filled using the PDF fill-in.

    For my partial year, I can't do that. The PDF fill_in now uses features available only in Adobe Acrobat:

    So, I'm seriously considering hand writing my return for the first time in more than a decade. I could use flpsed or other such tool to overlay text onto the boxes, but that's more work and why should I got to trouble to make their OCR job easier when NYS refuses to respect my software freedom?

    (The federal form fill-ins (1040, etc.) seem to continue to work fine with Evince. e-filing at the federal level has always required a third-party vendor, and I know of none that are Free Software friendly, but that's a slightly different issue. NYs provides the e-filing directly on their own website.)

    Benjamin Cook , Douglas Perkins , jrobertson like this.

    Arcee , Arcee , Arcee , Douglas Perkins and 3 others shared this.

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    In Canada I can't file electronically unless I use a third party from the Intuit lobby, or a CPA.

    So I send a stack of paper.

    Hubert Figuière at 2016-04-09T02:50:56Z

    BTW free software PDF hasn't really moved.... :-/ This is something that could be fixed, albeit it is a lot of work.

    Hubert Figuière at 2016-04-09T02:51:47Z

    >> Hubert Figuière:

    “In Canada I can't file electronically unless I use a third party from the Intuit lobby, or a CPA.

    So I send a stack of paper.”

    I'm in Canada too; I use one of the online services who provide free returns for seniors. I hate the situation, and comes the revolution ...

    B. Ross Ashley at 2016-04-09T05:56:49Z

    Instead of proprietary or web-based forms, I usually mark and type on PDF's with GNU

    delib at 2016-04-16T22:57:08Z

  • Answer Your Own Questions

    2016-03-13T23:34:06Z via Dianara To: Public CC: Followers

    Do I support Bernie Sanders for President? Of course I do.

    Do I agree with everything he says? Not necessarily.

    Am I really annoyed that his preferred way to make a point is to ask a question and answer it himself? I surely am.

    Seriously, what I said a few weeks ago, I think, still holds. Bernie is playing for second. What I haven't figured out yet is what he is going to ask Clinton for to drop out. Maybe he hasn't figured it out either.

    And, as I always say, I *hate* the two party system.

    der.hans , Jason Self like this.

    Whenever anyone brings up the 2-party system we should all mention the optimal solution: Score voting.

    For all this tactical stuff, Nader says Sanders made a mistake by saying he would still support the Democrats over the Republicans if he didn't win. Nader sees it where Sanders puts up a huge challenge, and then asks for real significant reforms from the nominee in exchange for his endorsement in the general. I think Sanders felt that assuring people that supporting him wouldn't increase any threat of a crazy Republican getting elected was the more important pursuit…

    Aaron Wolf at 2016-03-14T05:05:45Z

    Alex Jordan , der.hans , James Dearing 🐲 like this.

  • Sanders getting ready to drop out.

    2016-02-28T19:49:55Z via Dianara To: Public CC: Followers

    If you speak politics-ese, and you heard Bernie Sanders on This Week this morning, you know that he has clearly decided to drop out of the race eventually. His comments were completely focused on how he'll get votes in certain states and certain demographics.

    This is good politics, of course, but still sad. I guess I don' t have to do that dance I do every four years where, when there is an actual progressive candidate in the Democratic primary, I have to consider switching my party affiliation from Green temporarily just to vote in the primary. I am sure Bernie will drop out by the time Oregon has its primary.

    Every four years, I'm particularly jealous of those of you who live in actually modern societies that use the Parlimentary system.

    Douglas Perkins likes this.

    Show all 7 replies
    Why would Sanders consider dropping out of the race just as he finally begins claiming a lead over Clinton nationally? It amazes me how quickly people write him off after any sort of loss. Anyone who speaks "politics-ese" knows he didn't have much of a chance in South Carolina. That doesn't mean he has no chance in Georgia, Texas, or Massachusetts.

    He has also said he'll stay in the race all the way up to the convention. He isn't dropping out. If you're worried he'll lose, how about getting out and canvassing for him instead of giving up? Knock on doors, make phone calls, or donate some money to his campaign. We all know he needs all the help he can get.

    Jacob Barkdull at 2016-02-29T09:45:22Z

    Christopher Allan Webber , Sean Tilley like this.

    All I know, is that this year is totally not the typical story. The typical one would be where I say I'm not 100% supportive of every position, but I'm voting for Bernie Sanders and people say "who?" like they did for Kucinich in 2008. Bernie is comparable to Nader and Kucinich in lots of ways, but they never had anything like what
    Bernie has going.

    I'm still holding out hope that Bernie gets far enough that we get to see what powerful interests do to really take him down rather than him just petering out. I want to see what it looks like if the powers are really concerned. Honestly, raising $40+ million in the month of February is nothing I would have ever expected in this case. That's not something from a campaign about to close.

    Aaron Wolf at 2016-03-01T19:09:42Z

    I bet it won't happen, but if Hillary got indicted or something like that, it could shift things…

    Anyway, I think it makes far more sense to say "it won't matter, Bernie just won't win, but I'll vote for him in Oregon" than to say "he'll drop out before Oregon". I would *bet* on him still going by the time Oregon votes, but I would not bet on him ending up winning.

    I hope the more extreme pundits are correct that this year things really get crazy enough to start undermining the whole Democratic and Republican parties. Trump winning the R's could truly destroy the party.

    Aaron Wolf at 2016-03-01T20:27:13Z

  • MC Rove

    2016-02-25T03:22:13Z via Dianara To: Public CC: Followers

    For the rest of my life, when I hear the phrase "treasuer trove", which Gwenn Ifill just used on the PBS Newshour (on a completely unrelated topic), I will forever and always think of this:

    I'm busy working, but I heard Ifill say "treasuer trove" from the other room and I shouted: "Is it MC ROOOVE?"

    Richard Fontana likes this.

  • Kuhn's Paradox

    2016-02-20T19:55:26Z via Dianara To: Public CC: Followers


    I've been making the following social observation frequently in my talks and presentations for the last two years. While I suppose it's rather forward of me to do so, I've decide to name this principle:

    Kuhn's Paradox

    For some time now, this paradoxical principle appears to hold: each day, more lines of freely licensed code exist than ever before in human history; yet, it also becomes increasingly more difficult each day for users to successfully avoid proprietary software while completing their necessary work on a computer.

    Motivations & Causes of Kuhn's Paradox

    I believe this paradox is primarily driven by the cooption of software freedom by companies that ostensibly support Open Source, but have the (now extremely popular) open source almost everything philosophy.

    For certain areas of software endeavor, companies dedicate enormous resources toward the authorship of new Free Software for particular narrow tasks. Often, these core systems provide underpinnings and fuel the growth of proprietary systems built on top of them. An obvious example here is OpenStack: a fully Free Software platform, but most deployments of OpenStack add proprietary features not available from a pure upstream OpenStack installation.

    Meanwhile, in other areas, projects struggle for meager resources to compete with the largest proprietary behemoths. Large user-facing, server-based applications of the Service as a Software Substitute variety, along with massive social media sites like Twitter and Facebook that actively work against federated social network systems, are the two classes of most difficult culprits on this point. Even worse, most traditional web sites have now become a mix of mundane content (i.e., HTML) and proprietary Javascript programs, which are installed on-demand into the users' browser all day long, even while most of those servers run a primarily Free Software operating system.

    Finally, much (possibly a majority of) computer use in industrialized society is via hand-held mobile devices (usually inaccurately described as “mobile phones”). While some of these devices have Free Software operating systems (i.e., Android/Linux), nearly all the applications for all of these devices are proprietary software.

    The explosion of for-profit interest in “Open Source” over the last decade has led us to this paradoxical problem, which increases daily — because the gap between “software under a license respects my rights to copy, share, and modify” and “software that's essential for my daily activities” grows linearly wider with each sunset.

    I propose herein no panacea; I wish I had one to offer. However, I believe the problem is exacerbated by our community's tendency to ignore this paradox, and its pace even accelerates due to many developers' belief that having a job writing any old Free Software replaces the need for volunteer labor to author more strategic code that advances software freedom.

    Iñaki Arenaza , Aaron Wolf , jrobb , Luca Vinci and 6 others like this.

    Iñaki Arenaza , Milan Zamazal , mnd , mnd and 7 others shared this.

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    I completely agree with @mlinksva but feel we should be absolutely clear how super important it is that @bkuhn and others continue working to turn more "Open Source" developers into software freedom activists.

    I once spent 45 minutes talking to a developer at New Relic before she finally understood the actual issue of why software freedom isn't about developer concerns and is different from just the concepts of "Open Source" she already knew. She wasn't someone who had a stance in these politics, she literally was writing some FLO software and using mostly FLO software while working for a proprietary software company and yet had to patiently talk with me for a long while before it finally clicked that the issues of software freedom even *exist*. That is the state of things today. That is *part* of why the paradox happens. The cause of this ignorance is complex, and is, of course, connected to the control of the messaging from proprietary interests.

    Aaron Wolf at 2016-02-22T17:46:39Z

    Brief addendum: That experience sticks in my head because of how starkly the developer remarked like "OH! I get it. Huh. I've heard these terms and arguments before. And like I was listening for 45 minutes to you, but like suddenly it finally makes sense. Crazy that it took so long to explain. I was just sorting hearing words but it didn't click. But I get now, thanks. Interesting to think about…" I didn't get to find out if it ever went beyond that moment and she thought about it any further afterwards though.

    Aaron Wolf at 2016-02-22T17:51:45Z

    @Aaron Wolf Your comment reminds me of this article I recently read about the ways in which some innovative ideas are spread. The tl;dr is that sometimes it takes a widespread, systematic, repeated person-to-person effort, but it pays off with success in time.

    Charles ☕ Stanhope at 2016-02-22T21:10:49Z

    The problem is when we want to be like them. "Give me the free-as-beer Windows" attitude towards Linux (intentionally not using GNU/Linux, but that's another discussion) is repeated here with "Give me the Facebook/Twitter which doesn't bother me with spam". There is no such thing. Yes, certainly there is that we have to accept the limitations of our platform (no latest kewl games on Linux, no participants on social/diaspora), but there is a way deeper issue.

    The only defense against "Give me the free-as-beer Windows" (or the first question being "How to run Wine on this?") is IMHO in not caring about what peoples do. I didn't care then and I don't care still whether Linux takes over the world, or whether I am able to get laid because of using Linux. I do care, whether I can do things which I want to do with computer, while using Linux, and whether there is sufficient community which allows me to maintain the platform in future.

    Some platforms which I hoped for and invested in, did not manage to get over the first step, but it seems that CyanogenMod with F-Droid (and without Google Play store) seems to work pretty well (with one or two sideloaded APKs). And yes, another concession is that the only Chat where are actually people I want to talk with is Facebook Chat. Fortunately, here at least I can be (on my side) FLOSS-pure ... pidgin talking over XMPP with spectrum makes miracles.

    mcepl at 2016-03-05T08:42:25Z

  • Dead Kennedys

    2016-01-27T21:03:19Z via Dianara To: Public CC: Followers

    I randomly heard something on my first of two flights to FOSDEM that made me think of the Dead Kennedys. It was just 2 hrs ago but I can't recall what it was. I was inspired, despite that I almost never listen to music on purpose, I grabbed a few Dead Kennedys albums out of my archives.

    I suppose I'm incredibly biased given that they are my favorite band in history, but I'm amazed at how well their stuff holds up. The political predictions and concerns they had, while sometimes juvenile in thier expression, are more or less what *was* happening and the types of political problems they describe persist.

    I *do* notice a certain obsession with their own industry; I'd forgotten how many of their songs were mostly or partly about the problems of the music industry itself. While I suspect those problems have gotten worse (not better) too, I am reminded at how easy it is for politicial insiders to tend toward what the PR people call "inside baseball".

    My problem in Free Software is, like fontana, I just *love* the so-called "inside baseball". I mean, people forget that baseball fans love it when people talk "inside baseball". Yes, it's limited in its interest scope, but the details matter.

    Richard Fontana , The Anarcat , Sean Tilley , David Thompson and 1 others like this.

    DK is one of my all-time favorites, as well.  Used to cover some of their songs in a former band of mine.  "Pull My Strings" is the "inside baseball" song that immediately came to mind after reading this.  NOFX is another punk band that spends a lot of time talking about the music industry, or even narrower, the state of punk rock itself.

    BTW, Jello Biafra is still making music in a group called "Jello Biafra and the Guantanamo School of Medicine" which is also (as if the name didn't give it away) very political.

    David Thompson at 2016-01-28T14:34:55Z

    It's always nice to hear of a fellow Dead Kennedys fan. Fresh Fruit for Rotting Vegetables, In God We Trust Inc, and Give Me Convenience or Give Me Death are three of my favorite albums, and carry the body of some of their best work.

    Also, Kinky Sex Makes the World Go Round feels chillingly accurate.

    Sean Tilley at 2016-01-28T23:47:49Z

  • Key Charities That Advance Software Freedom Are Worthy of Your Urgent Support

    2016-01-25T17:55:48Z via Dianara To: Public CC: Followers

    [This blog was crossposted on Software Freedom Conservancy's website]

    I've had the pleasure and the privilege, for the last 20 years, to be either a volunteer or employee of the two most important organizations for the advance of software freedom and users' rights to copy, share, modify and redistribute software. In 1996, I began volunteering for the Free Software Foundation (FSF) and worked as its Executive Director from 2001–2005. I continued as a volunteer for the FSF since then, and now serve as a volunteer on FSF's Board of Directors. I was also one of the first volunteers for Software Freedom Conservancy when we founded it in 2006, and I was the primary person doing the work of the organization as a volunteer from 2006–2010. I've enjoyed having a day job as a Conservancy employee since 2011.

    These two organizations have been the center of my life's work. Between them, I typically spend 50–80 hours every single week doing a mix of paid and volunteer work. Both my hobby and my career are advancing software freedom.

    I choose to give my time and work to these organizations because they provide the infrastructure that make my work possible. The Free Software community has shown that the work of many individuals, who care deeply about a cause but cooperate together toward a common goal, has an impact greater than any individuals can ever have working separately. The same is often true for cooperating organizations: charities, like Conservancy and the FSF, that work together with each other amplify their impact beyond the expected.

    Both Conservancy and the FSF pursue specific and differing approaches and methods to the advancement of software freedom. The FSF is an advocacy organization that raises awareness about key issues that impact the future of users' freedoms and rights, and finds volunteers and pays staff to advocate about these issues. Conservancy is a fiscal sponsor, which means one of our key activities is operational work, meeting the logistical and organizational needs of volunteers so they can focus on the production of great Free Software and Free Documentation. Meanwhile, both Conservancy and FSF dedicated themselves to sponsoring software projects: the FSF through the GNU project, and Conservancy through its member projects. And, most importantly, both charities stand up for the rights of users by enforcing and defending copyleft licenses such as the GNU GPL.

    Conservancy and the FSF show in concrete terms that two charities can work together to increase their impact. Last year, our organizations collaborated on many projects, such as the proposed FCC rule changes for wireless devices, jointly handled a GPL enforcement action against Canonical, Ltd., published the principles of community-oriented GPL enforcement, and continued our collaboration on We're already discussing lots of ways that the two organizations can work together in 2016! Your browser does not support the element. Perhaps you can or ?

    I'm proud to give so much of my time and energy to both these excellent organizations. But, I also give my money as well: I was the first person in history to become an Associate Member of the FSF (back in November 2002), and have gladly paid my monthly dues since then. Today, I also signed up as an annual Supporter of Conservancy, because I'm want to ensure that Conservancy's meets its current pledge match — the next 215 Supporters who sign up before January 31st will double their donation via the match.

    For just US$20 each month, you make sure the excellent work of both these organizations can continue. This is quite a deal: if you are employed, University-educated professional living in the industrialized world, US$20 is probably the same amount you'd easily spend on a meals at restaurants or other luxuries. Isn't it even a better luxury to know that these two organizations can have employ a years' worth of effort of standing up for your software freedom in 2016? You can make the real difference by making your charitable contribution to these two organizations today:

    Please don't wait: both fundraising deadlines are just six days away!

    Luis R. Rodriguez , der.hans , Jason Self , Elena ``of Valhalla'' and 3 others like this.

    Adonay Felipe Nogueira , Luis R. Rodriguez , der.hans , Jose Luis Perez Diez and 2 others shared this.

    Who has two thumbs and just signed up as an annual supporter?  . . . Points at self and says, "This guy."

    j1mc at 2016-01-26T22:24:32Z

    Christopher Allan Webber likes this.

  • On keeping good records

    2016-01-17T21:28:00Z via Dianara To: Public CC: Followers

    This point will be obvious to Free Software developers, who carefully use VCS for records. But, it's worth applying that principle to all aspects of one's life.

    I just had an interesting experience: I conflated two events regarding dealing with the IRS and NYS with annual filings (Conservancy's 990 will be on our website soon!). I was on the phone far from my computer, so I told Karen on the phone what I recalled, then when we hung up, I went to my computer to check the details.

    It turns out the details were different. It's not surprising that I conflated the matters in my mind, they were both with agencies of "the State" (one being a state and one being federal ;), and they occurred at the same time. Fortunately, I had tons of records, in version control, explaining what I did, when and why. I immediately corrected course based on past knowledge and proceeded.

    I'm perhaps overly fastidious with records. I record my precise hourly time and what tasks I spent on. I keep nearly all files of importance in version control. I journal regularly. I often follow up phone calls with: "I'll send you an email with the action items we've both taken responsibility for". This not only saves me from forgetting or being confused, it means I know when others renege on political deals and the like.

    I wasn't always like this. I once worked for a boss who used to answer my written concerns about the organization with one line: "Not by email", and then would insist on meetings where he'd verbally berate me for hours. I started keeping detailed notes during the meetings, which infuriated him further.

    Manipulators, con artists, and the like hate the idea of written records. Such people have learned the simple fact that human memory is fallible. And forgetfulness isn't the real part. It's mis-remembering that is so dangerous. (This is part of the reason why gaslighting works, BTW). Keeping written records, made in the moment or immediately after is the best manner to head-off and correct future mistakes, or figure out when you've been manipulated, lied to, or otherwise misled. In short, I learned the hard way to keep good records.

    The reason I record as much as I possibly can is you never know what's important. As in my original example, the notes I had about doing the IRS and NYS filings seemed, at the time, like a one-off necessity two years, something that yeas ago I'd easily not have written down. Turns out, they were useful for this year's filings as well, two years later. Always keep good records. Your ease of work, and your safety, could someday depend on it.

    netgeek , Alex Jordan , Blaise Alleyne , Claes Wallin (韋嘉誠) and 8 others like this.

    Claes Wallin (韋嘉誠) , Douglas Perkins , Douglas Perkins , Stephen Michael Kellat shared this.

    Folks at work hate e-mail because it means something is exposed to FOIA. Verbal discussions that aren't recorded cannot be secured via FOIA as the federal FOIA does not require you to create a record to meet a request if it didn't already exist. We're also expected to put the minimum necessary amount of detail in call notes.

    My notes generally do reflect what I did to your account if you called, why I did, and cites chapter/verse of the IRM if I had to do something weird. It is a little more than "minimum necessary". Then again, I generally annotate accounts with a view towards potentially having said notes read back to me either in court or before an angry congressional hearing panel.

    Stephen Michael Kellat at 2016-01-17T21:35:24Z

    Douglas Perkins likes this.

    I recently learned of a new-ish law pertaining to condo associations in the states. Apparently board members are not allowed to conduct business through email, as group email messages between board members are considered private meetings.

    I need to look up the details on this, actually . . . I only learned of it yesterday.

    j1mc at 2016-01-19T03:06:25Z

    Stephen, yeah, I get what you are saying, but I sort of think the FOIA should apply to most of the world. I don't really keep many secrets -- I often have to keep a *list* of the secrets I'm supposed to keep because I forget. I spoiled my dad's thirtieth surprise birthday party when I was a kid. I just believe in transparency, I guess.

    Bradley M. Kuhn at 2016-01-27T20:58:33Z

    Elena ``of Valhalla'' likes this.

  • Wholly Nutty

    2016-01-15T01:31:29Z via Dianara To: Public CC: Followers

    I really like cashews. They're expensive, so I typically just buy the "cashew pieces" rather than the whole cashews since I figure it tastes the same, right?

    Well, I happened to get a bag of the whole cashews and I'm eating them now. I'm now left trying to figure out if they taste exotic and fancy because it's a splurge and I mearly perceive them as tasting better, but they really taste the same.

    Alex Jordan , Efraim Flashner , Jason Self like this.

    I also find the whole, salted cashews taste better. And are way more expensive than peanuts.

    My wife and I came to a compromise and we buy ice-cream instead.

    Efraim Flashner at 2016-01-15T04:42:06Z

    Whole cashews (I eat roasted unsalted ones) taste better to me (though I don't notice a difference between the regular ones and 'jumbo').
    I figure that the pieces have had more exposure to air and lost some of their flavor that way.

    Michael R. Bernstein at 2016-01-15T20:13:25Z

  • David Bowie

    2016-01-12T15:06:48Z via Dianara To: Public CC: Followers

    It's really strange to think about David Bowie being dead. Not that he was in my generation; he was actually closer to my parents generation (my parents were very young when I was born). But my parents never liked him all that much. I did. I remember in the early 1990s playing Ziggy Stardust in my dorm room and people thought I was just out of sync with time. You know that scene in Muriel's Wedding where her schoolmates make fun of her for liking weird Abba 70s music instead of what was popular? Well, I was kinda like that, and in particular with regard to David Bowie, when I was in my early 20s.

    I even bought both Tin Machine albums.

    I saw the David Bowie/NIN tour in graduate school.

    I thought Outside was a highly underrated concept album. I probably listened to it a couple hundred times.

    I remember a cow-orker at Westinghouse looking at the copy of Earthling on my desk and pointing out that we could play "Looking for Satellites" instead of displaying "Searching for Satchan" on the screen of the satellite telephone.

    I never talk about music because there hasn't been a song released I liked since the late 1990s. I just lost interest. I don't sit around listening to old stuff -- that would truly make me old. I don't hear music at all unless I'm in a store where it's playing or something like that.

    Still, I respect it.

    My wife was just watching the BBC and the presenter asked the guest if David Bowie was a genius. Who knows about genius per se, but If he wasn't already wealthy, I think he should have received a MacArthur grant.

    Everyone thinks Peter Townsend invented the rock opera. Well, he deserves some credit but I read some of Townsend's autobiogrphy and he talks about discussing the idea with Bowie in the late 1960s before Tommy.

    I wanted to have a good ending but I'm a bit too busy to write, so these are just random thoughts (obviously).

    Claes Wallin (韋嘉誠) , Charles ☕ Stanhope , laurelrusswurm , sazius and 1 others like this.

    Claes Wallin (韋嘉誠) shared this.

    I remember when Elvis died.

    jrobertson at 2016-01-12T15:13:20Z

    Bradley M. Kuhn likes this.

    I generally preferred the older Bowie stuff to what he produced during my teenage years. Testament to the longevity of his work that great and successful music of the time was outshined by a vast catalog of previous music.

    As to new music, luckily my favorite bands have continued to make great music :).

    There are also wonderful newer bands. They just aren't pop.

    der.hans at 2016-01-12T16:43:08Z