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..

  • Help Send Conservancy to Embedded Linux Conference Europe

    2016-09-21T21:43:34Z via Dianara To: Public CC: Followers


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

    Last month, Conservancy made a public commitment to attend Linux-related events to get feedback from developers about our work generally, and Conservancy's GPL Compliance Program for Linux Developers specifically. As always, even before that, we were regularly submitting talks to nearly any event with Linux in its name. As a small charity, we always request travel funding from the organizers, who are often quite gracious. As I mentioned in my blog posts about LCA 2016 and GUADEC 2016, the organizers covered my travel funding there, and recently both Karen and I both received travel funding to speak at LCA 2017 and DebConf 2016, as well as many other events this year.

    Recently, I submitted talks for the CFPs of Linux Foundation's Embedded Linux Conference Europe (ELC EU) and the Prpl Foundation's OpenWRT Summit. The latter was accepted, and the folks at the Prpl Foundation graciously offered to fund my flight costs to speak at the OpenWRT Summit! I've never spoken at an OpenWRT event before and I'm looking forward to the opportunity getting to know the OpenWRT and LEDE communities better by speaking at that event, and am excited to discuss Conservancy's work with them.

    OpenWRT Summit, while co-located, is a wholly separate event from LF's ELC EU. Unfortunately, I was not so lucky in my talk submissions there: my talk proposal has been waitlisted since July. I was hopeful after a talk cancellation in mid-August. (I know because the speaker who canceled suggested that I request his slot for my waitlisted talk.) Unfortunately, the LF staff informed me that they understandably filled his open slot with a sponsored session that came in.

    The good news is that my OpenWRT Summit flight is booked, and my friend (and Conservancy Board Member Emeritus) Loïc Dachary (who lives in Berlin) has agreed to let me crash with him for that week. So, I'll be in town for the entirety of ELC EU with almost no direct travel costs to Conservancy! The bad news is that it seems my ELC EU talk remains waitlisted. Therefore, I don't have a confirmed registration for the rest of ELC EU (beyond OpenWRT Summit).

    While it seems like a perfect and cost-effective opportunity to be able to attend both events, that seems harder than I thought! Once I confirmed my OpenWRT Summit travel arrangements, I asked for the hobbyist discount to register for ELC EU, but LF staff informed me yesterday that the hobbyist (as well as the other discounts) are sold out. The moral of the story is that logistics are just plain tough and time-consuming when you work for a charity with an extremely limited travel budget. ☻

    Yet, it seems a shame to waste the opportunity of being in town with so many Linux developers and not being able to see or talk to them, so Conservancy is asking for some help from you to fund the $680 of my registration costs for ELC EU. That's just about six new Conservancy supporter signups, so I hope we can get six new Supporters before Linux Foundation's ELC EU conference begins on October 10th. Either way, I look forward to seeing those developers who attend the co-located OpenWRT Summit! And, if the logistics work out — perhaps I'll see you at ELC EU as well!

    Scorpio20 likes this.

    illyria , Scorpio20 , Scorpio20 , Scorpio20 and 3 others shared this.

    I know they're not much but those special checks from the treasury could be put to this if not already utilized. Granted, they're going to be stopping after the September one goes out until an undetermined point later but at least they're a pittance that was directed SFC's way.

    Stephen Michael Kellat at 2016-09-22T00:57:07Z

  • Two Blog Posts Disguised as Mailing List Posts

    2016-09-02T16:32:55Z via Dianara To: Public CC: Followers

    There are plenty of mailing list threads to read, and I don't actually recommend the one that I'm talking about. I think it went on too long, was far too “ad hominem” rather than real policy. Somewhere beneath the surface there was a policy discussion being shouted down; if you look close, you can find find it underneath.

    As he always does, Jon Corbet did an excellent job finding the real policy details in the “GPL defence” ksummit-discuss thread, and telling us all about it. I am very hard on tech journalism, but when it comes to reporting on Linux specifically, Jon and his colleagues at have been, for nearly two decades, always been real, detailed, and balanced (and not in the Fox News way) tech journalism.

    The main reason I made this blog post about it, though, is that I actually spent as much time on a few of my posts on the list as I would on any blog post, and I thought readers of my blog might want the content here. So I link to two posts in the thread that I encourage you to read. I also encourage you to read these two posts that my boss at my day job, Karen Sandler, made, which I think are very good as well.

    And, to quote the fictional Forrest Gump: "That's all I have to say about that."

    der.hans , Jason Self , Charles ☕ Stanhope , Claes Wallin (韋嘉誠) and 3 others like this.

    der.hans , Sarah Elkins , Stephen Michael Kellat , Claes Wallin (韋嘉誠) and 4 others shared this.

    Goodness is that a messed up flame war. Nobody hear of estoppel much?

    Stephen Michael Kellat at 2016-09-02T23:10:41Z

    Claes Wallin (韋嘉誠) likes this.

    ... or basic incentive structures.

    Claes Wallin (韋嘉誠) at 2016-09-03T09:48:19Z

    I really think the biggest impact of the GPL have been almost entirely outside any legal issues, and that it's a great document not because it's a great legal piece of writing, but because of much bigger issues. That may be why I reacted so negatively to seeing it argued that it's pointless without enforcement. Almost none of the successes of the GPL have ever been about the legal side.
    -- Linus,

    So basically: "[The release of the hostages was all our doing as brilliant negotiators, and not in any way related to the fact that the perpetrators  knew there were snipers outside the building, watching their every move.]"
    Let's talk about the lies spread by Bradley Kuhn, and about the projects where the SFLC and SFC killed them and salted the earth with their "help".
    -- Linus,

    Assuming this assessment of the Busybox outcome is correct (a big assumption), "salting the earth" is not necessarily a bad thing. It makes me think of the recent Bayesian Conspiracy episode on game theory.

    In the Hawk-Dove game*, in a field of Hawks, Dove is the winning strategy, because Hawks are likely to fight other Hawks and get nothing. We don't want a field where all the Hawks are GPL violators and none of the Hawks are GPL enforcers. We want potential violators to see Dove as the winning strategy. All Doves would be nice, but we know from Brad's and Harald's enforcement backlogs that's not where we are.

    Evolved cooperative species spend enormous amounts of effort punishing bad behavior, even when the outcome for the enforcing individual is a net negative. @evan and/or @mlinksva have also talked about how social movements need the full "radical fringe" to "pragmatic moderate" spectrum to win.**


     * Hawks vs Doves:
    H vs D, H gets +5, D gets +1
    H vs H both get 0
    D vs D both get +3

    The Violator/Cooperator-Enforcer/Cooperator game is different of course, because two Violators or two Enforcers never fight (real-life Violators may fight of course, but that's outside the boundaries of this game, and maybe Cooperator vs Enforcer doesn't happen, but let's include it as Enforcers may make mistakes, and proto-Doves may look like Hawks). Also Violator vs Enforcer action has externalities on Cooperators etc. But I think people can still follow the analogy. :-D

    ** Of course, the list thread may be the display of a theory that "pragmatic moderates" need to publicly denounce the "radical fringe" in order for the dynamic to be maximally effective.

    Claes Wallin (韋嘉誠) at 2016-09-04T07:15:00Z

    Alex Jordan , like this.

    I haven't read everything, but now I got to this part. I think this is the killer argument:
    One reason (among many) we should bring lawsuits in those rare cases is to show everyone the 99.43% that they are much better off working with the community. We have plenty of evidence from company representatives who say clearly: "I can't get my company to comply unless the threat of lawsuit is realistic; we agree it's totally reasonable to sue the very few bad actors". Greg, representatives of some the same companies that I know you've worked with to improve compliance have told me and Karen that directly.
    -- @bkuhn,

    Everyone in the discussion seem to agree that there needs to be a last resort, and the disagreement is when it should come, but less than a handful of "last resort" instances in the 25 years of Linux history really isn't in any way a disproportional response, given the endless stream of violations.

    I guess the difference is whether we trust you when you say that you tried really hard over the course of years to be the "good cop". I don't know if it's possible to convince Linus and Greg that you did. On the other hand, I'm not sure it matters.

    I guess that means after a long flamewar, status quo reigns. Some people think this was a "last resort" moment, some people don't, almost every think they know one when they see one, but most people weren't even there.

    Still, I'm glad you see it as your responsibility to be Kibo when the community talks about your actions. Otherwise, who would?

    Claes Wallin (韋嘉誠) at 2016-09-04T11:03:32Z

  • Software Freedom Doesn't Kill People, Your Security Through Obscurity Kills People

    2016-08-13T13:55:18Z via Dianara To: Public CC: Followers


    The time has come that I must speak out against the inappropriate rhetoric used by those who (ostensibly) advocate for FLOSS usage in automotive applications.

    There was a catalyst that convinced me to finally speak up. I heard a talk today from a company representative of a software supplier for the automotive industry. He said during his talk: "putting GPLv3 software in cars will kill people" and "opening up the source code to cars will cause more harm than good". These statements are completely disingenuous. Most importantly, it ignores the fact that proprietary software in cars is at least equally, if not more, dangerous. At least one person has already been killed in a crash while using a proprietary software auto-control system. Volkswagen decided to take a different route; they decided to kill us all slowly (rather than quickly) by using proprietary software to lie about their emissions and illegally polluting our air.

    Meanwhile, there has been not a single example yet about use of GPLv3 software that has harmed anyone. If you have such an example, email it to me and I promise to add it right here to this blog post.

    So, to the auto industry folks and vendors who market to/for them: until you can prove that proprietary software assures safety in a way that FLOSS cannot, I will continue to tell you this: in the long and sad tradition of the Therac 25, your proprietary software has killed people, both quickly and slowly, and your attacks on GPLv3 and software freedom are not only unwarranted, they are clearly part of a political strategy to divert attention from your own industry's bad behavior and graft unfair blame onto FLOSS.

    As a side note, during the talk's Q&A session, I asked this company's representatives how they assure compliance with the GPLv2 — particularly their compliance with provision of scripts used to control compilation and installation of the executable, which are so often missing for many products, including vehicles. The official answer was: Oh, I don't know. Not only does this company publicly claim security through obscurity is a viable solution, accuse copyleft advocates of endangering the public safety, they also seem to have not fully learned the lessons of making FLOSS license compliance a clear part of their workflow.

    This is, unfortunately, my general impression of the status of the automotive industry.

    gnubrunswick , Claes Wallin (韋嘉誠) , roy , Dan Scott and 14 others like this.

    der.hans , Benjamin Cook , Benjamin Cook , Douglas Perkins and 13 others shared this.

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    @MikeLinksvayer, I do think license politics matter. I can't get past the fact that the bifrication of "non-copyleft good", 'copyleft bad" has won and been a great part of the cooption by Open Source of software freedom. But you and I should talk more about how I can modify advocacy to avoid it better so as to succeed in reaching those who are annoyed by such -- I suspect there is a way that I just don't see yet. I've been meaning to call anyway so I will after my current trip. :)

    @Richard Fontana, I decided not to call out the specific name of the person who gave the talk. The statements were typical of those made by many different automotive industry representatives and their providers over a period of years. The fact that this particular individual wasn't any better or worse than others I've heard, so there was no reason to single him out. The problem is the general auto-industry rhetoric and talking points, not one person's version of it.

    Bradley M. Kuhn at 2016-08-16T10:32:10Z

    @bkuhn While I agree with most of your post, I don't know if it's fair to say that the Tesla crash was due to proprietary software.

    The Tesla self-driving system, I'm almost certain, relies on machine learning and a neural network. I suspect that even if their algorithms were free software, accidents would occur at the same rate, at least in the short term. The way I understand it, the source code isn't all that important, it's the training data gathered during all the millions of miles driven on the road. Without the data, you're not able to run the program yourself in any useful way other than what you already do by just driving the car. Even if you had access to the data, the volume is so gigantic that you probably wouldn't be able to train the program without expensive infrastructure. Neither would you be able to study the program in a meaningful way, since the neural network isn't "source code" comprehensible to a human.

    I do think self-driving cars would eventually be safer if their training data were open; the more training data, the better, and self-driving car manufacturers would be able to make self-driving cars safer for everyone if they would make their accumulated training data interoperable, so we would benefit in the long term. But for this particular accident I don't believe the blame rests with proprietary software.

    I'm curious what you think. I tend to think that many machine learning applications don't fit within the traditional separation between free versus proprietary software, because even if they are open, they don't afford a user the four freedoms. This is something I've been musing about recently, which is why I reacted to that particular portion of your post, but I don't know the answer.

    Philip Chimento at 2016-09-02T03:49:32Z

    Sarah Elkins , Bd Sn , Claes Wallin (韋嘉誠) like this.

    The Tesla system would make the world even better if it were Free Software, but according to the data that Tesla themselves have gathered (duly noted), their system has killed fewer people, proportionally, than humans driving cars have.

    Claes Wallin (韋嘉誠) at 2016-09-06T17:49:27Z

    @bkuhn the key word in my comment is 'retreat'. Apparently this person said "putting GPLv3 software in cars will kill people". Instead of extracting the substance from the license politics and making the case that safety is compatible with (or even requires) that car owners be able to install modified versions of software running on computers in cars, you took the license politics hook line and sinker, making facile claims about GPLv3 software never harming people (for what definition of harm? but nevermind, uninteresting) worthy of a TV soundbite but unworthy of any other form of discourse.

    Mike Linksvayer at 2016-09-07T01:43:44Z

  • They just don't make reliable things.

    2016-08-10T02:29:27Z via Dianara To: Public CC: Followers

    The ziploc freezer bag in which I kept all my small travel maps, left over currency, public transit cards for travel, which I've used since I returned from my student exchange to Munich in 1991 just ripped completely along the bottom.

    I mean, plastic doesn't degrade easily. Shouldn't a freezer bag last longer than a quarter century?

    BTW, if you're curious, the bag's writing is particularly proud of the fact it has a "color loc zipper". I think that was a new thing in those days.

    Claes Wallin (韋嘉誠) , Douglas Perkins , Lars Wirzenius , Christopher Allan Webber like this.

    I remember when color-loc was new in Zip-loc ads

    EricxDu at 2016-08-11T04:14:28Z

  • Why You Should Speak At & Attend LinuxConf Australia

    2016-08-05T00:33:08Z via Dianara To: Public CC: Followers


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

    Monday 1 February 2016 was the longest day of my life, but I don't mean that in the canonical, figurative, and usually negative sense of that phrase. I mean it literally and in a positive way. I woke up that morning Amsterdam in the Netherlands — having the previous night taken a evening train from Brussels, Belgium with my friend and colleague Tom Marble. Tom and I had just spent the weekend at FOSDEM 2016, where he and I co-organize the Legal and Policy Issues DevRoom (with our mutual friends and colleagues, Richard Fontana and Karen M. Sandler).

    Tom and I headed over to AMS airport around 07:00 local time, found some breakfast and boarded our flights. Tom was homeward bound, but I was about to do the crazy thing that he'd done in the reverse a few years before: I was speaking at FOSDEM and LinuxConf Australia, back-to-back. In fact, because the airline fares were substantially cheaper this way, I didn't book a “round the world” flight, but instead two back-to-back round-trip tickets. I boarded the plane at AMS at 09:30 that morning (local time), and landed in my (new-ish) hometown of Portland, OR as afternoon there began. I went home, spent the afternoon with my wife, sister-in-law, and dogs, washed my laundry, and repacked my bag. My flight to LAX departed at 19:36 local time, a little after US/Pacific sunset.

    I crossed the Pacific ocean, the international dateline, left a day on deposit to pickup on the way back, after 24 hours of almost literally chasing the sun, I arrived in Melbourne on the morning of Wednesday 3 February, road a shuttle bus, dumped my bags at my room, and arrived just in time for the Wednesday afternoon tea break at LinuxConf Australia 2016 in Geelong.

    Nearly everyone who heard this story — or saw me while it was happening — asked me the same question: Why are you doing this?. The five to six people packed in with me in my coach section on the LAX->SYD leg are probably still asking this, because I had an allergic attack of some sort most of the flight and couldn't stop coughing, even with two full bags of Fisherman's Friends over those 15 hours.

    But, nevertheless, I gave a simple answer to everyone who questioned my crazy BRU->AMS->PDX->LAX->SYD->MEL itinerary: FOSDEM and LinuxConf AU are two of the most important events on the Free Software annual calendar. There's just no question. I'll write more about FOSDEM sometime soon, but the rest of this post, I'll dedicate to LinuxConf Australia (LCA).

    One of my biggest regrets in Free Software is that I was once — and you'll be surprised by this given my story above — a bit squeamish about the nearly 15 hour flight to get from the USA to Australia, and therefore I didn't attend LCA until 2015. LCA began way back in 1999. Keep in mind that, other than FOSDEM, no major, community-organized events have survived from that time. But LCA has the culture and mindset of the kinds of conferences that our community made in 1999.

    LCA is community organized and operated. Groups of volunteers each year plan the event. In the tradition of science fiction conventions and other hobbyist activities, groups bid for the conference and offer their time and effort to make the conference a success. They have an annual hand-off meeting to be sure the organization lessons are passed from one committee to the next, and some volunteers even repeat their involvement year after year. For organizational structure, they rely on a non-profit organization, Linux Australia, to assist with handling the funds and providing infrastructure (just like Conservancy does for our member projects and their conferences!)

    I believe fully that the success of software freedom and GNU/Linux in particularly has not primarily been because companies allow developers to spend some of their time coding on upstream. Sure, many Free Software projects couldn't survive without that component, but what really makes GNU/Linux, or any Free Software project, truly special is that there's a community of users and developers who use, improve, and learn about the software because it excites and interests them. LCA is one of the few events specifically designed to invite that sort of person to attend, and it has for almost an entire generation stood in stark contrast the highly corporate, for-profits events that slowly took over our community in the years that followed LCA's founding. (Remember all those years of LinuxWorld Expo? I wasn't even sad when IDG stopped running it!) Your browser does not support the element. Perhaps you can or .

    Speaking particularly of earlier this year, LCA 2016 in Geelong, Australia was a particular profound event for me. LCA is one of the few events that accepts my rather political talks about what's happening in Open Source and Free Software, so I gave a talk on Friday 5 February 2016 entitled Copyleft For the Next Decade: A Comprehensive Plan, which was recorded, so you can watch it. I do warn everyone that the jokes did not go over well (mine never do), so after I finished, I was feeling a bit down that I hadn't made the talk entertaining enough. But then, something amazing happened: people started walking up to me and telling me how important my message was. One individual even came up and told me that he was excited enough that he'd like to match any donation that Software Freedom Conservancy received during LCA 2016. Since it was the last day of the event, I quickly went to one of the organizers, Kathy Reid, and asked if they would announce this match during the closing ceremonies; she agreed. In a matter of just an hour or two, I'd gone from believing my talk had fallen flat to realizing that — regardless of whether I'd presented well — the concepts I discussed had connected with people.

    Then, I sat down in the closing session. I started to tear up slightly when the organizers announced the donation match. Within 90 seconds, though, that turned to full tears of joy when the incoming President of Linux Australia, Hugh Blemings, came on stage and said:

    [I'll start with] a Software Freedom Conservancy thing, as it turns out. … I can tell that most of you weren't at Bradley's talk earlier on today, but if there is one talk I'd encourage you to watch on the playback later it would be that one. There's a very very important message in there and something to take away for all of us. On behalf of the Council I'd like to announce … that we're actually in the process of making a significant donation from Linux Australia to Software Freedom Conservancy as well. I urge all of you to consider contributing individual as well, and there is much left for us to be done as a community on that front.

    I hope that this post helps organizers of events like LCA fully understand how much something like this means to us who run a small charities — and not just with regard to the financial contributions. Knowing that the organizers of community events feel so strongly positive about our work really keeps us going. We work hard and spend much time at Conservancy to serve the Open Source and Free Software community, and knowing the work is appreciated inspires us to keep working. Furthermore, we know that without these events, it's much tougher for us to reach others with our message of software freedom. So, for us, the feeling is mutual: I'm delighted that the Linux Australia and LCA folks feel so positively about Conservancy, and I now look forward to another 15 hour flight for the next LCA.

    And, on that note, I chose a strategic time to post this story. On Friday 5 August 2016, the CFP for LCA 2017 closes. So, now is the time for all of you to submit a talk. If you regularly speak at Open Source and Free Software events, or have been considering it, this event really needs to be on your calendar. I look forward to seeing all of you Hobart this January.

    Elena ``of Valhalla'' , Ben Sturmfels , sazius , Jason Self and 3 others like this.

    Iñaki Arenaza , der.hans , Stephen Michael Kellat shared this.

    I submitted a talk on Propellor and a followup tutorial for LCA. On the off chance they can fly me down there I want to provide maximum value. The one time I attended, in 2013 was really great experience. The travel time to SYD from here is nearly a full 24 hours, so I wouldn't want to do it every year though.

    BTW, my sister told me there's a train from SYD up to an overnight ferry to Hobart. Seems like a great way to make the last leg of the trip.

    joeyh at 2016-08-05T01:19:19Z

    I'm surprised to hear you thought your talk didn't go over very well. I was in the audience and really enjoyed it. I'd also like to echo the sentiments of those who were telling you how important your message was. Unfortunately I wasn't able to make it to the Conservancy lunch to say this in person.

    Hopefully you will be able to make it to LCA 2017, which just happens to be in my home town, to present another great talk.

    John Kristensen at 2016-08-05T01:29:29Z

    Agency security rules have me stuck within CONUS at the moment. There's some nastiness coming up for staff that I'm still pondering the potential outcomes of.

    Stephen Michael Kellat at 2016-08-05T01:42:28Z

    @joeyh the ferry from Melbourne is to Devonport on the north-west coast of Tasmania. Hobart is in the south and public transport between the cities isn't great (there is a bus). Overall it would be cheaper/easier to fly from Sydney to Hobart.

    John Kristensen at 2016-08-05T01:50:39Z

  • EFF Website Privacy

    2016-08-03T18:04:12Z via Dianara To: Public CC: Followers

    If you want to unsubscribe from the EFF's mailing list, managed by their CiviCRM instance, you can't use private browsing mode. Specifically, they require that you accept a cookie just to unsubscribe.

    I accepted the cookie temporarily -- and I'm extra-glad I unsubscribed given this fact. :)

    Is this a bug in CiviCRM, or is it specific to how they have it configured?  It seems unnecessary to set a cookie to submit an unsubscribe request.

    Benjamin Cook at 2016-08-04T04:06:58Z

  • 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.

    Show all 5 replies

    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.

    a(n) person , 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.