Archive for March, 2009

Greenfoot set free!

March 27, 2009

Last year I sent a head Greenfoot developer an email pleading to have the software set free. It turns out many others were asking for this and the developers have been convinced. Greenfoot (and its cousin BlueJ) is now under the GNU GPL. This is great news for teachers of Java who use free tools. A big Thank You to the BlueJ/Greenfoot team!

Thanks for the heads-up Rob!

say no to culture widgets

March 22, 2009

Doug Johnson asks Kindle questions. While I think it’s responsible (not paranoid) to voice concern over censorship, a more pointed reason why I’m so fanatically anti-DRM is that its objective is to keep individuals from sharing and creating society’s culture and knowledge. As Chomsky notes (6:52):

The ideal is to have individuals who are totally disassociated from one another – whose conception of themselves – the sense of value is just “how many created wants can I satisfy?”

In its current form, the Kindle is nothing but an attempt to package culture, turn it into “content”, and satisfy the wants of those who may otherwise be tempted to behave in a socially cooperative way. Say no to culture widgets!

i HAD to OPIne

March 11, 2009

Nate Anderson at Ars has an article labeling the drafted “HADOPI” law as “anti-P2P”, but it’s much worse. The law not only attacks p2p activities of the wired citizenry, but threatens to cut computer users off from Internet access entirely. If citizens are perceived to be sharing unauthorized works, a 3-strikes-you’re-censored response would take effect. While it’s impossible to imagine any justified trade-off in this approach, what’s proposed is insulting:

In return, French DVDs will appear a couple of months closer to their theatrical release date and music and movie groups will have to drop much of their DRM. Global music trade group IFPI thinks this is a wonderful trade-off.

So in exchange for Global Business Interests at the expense of freedom, digitized French works will be released sooner and stripped of the already ineffective technical restrictions known as DRM. If that isn’t une escroquerie, what is? “Wonderful trade-off” indeed. Beyond the imbalanced nature of this “deal” are other disasterous consequences. The law would require

home Internet users to install certain approved security software and to secure their networks.

Want to create a community of Internet users that share a public commons of bandwidth? Too bad. Doing so would prevent the recording industry from spying on your activity to peg you a “pirate”. Here, the “secure network” doublethink is language of Orwellian stature. It’s no wonder too, why ISPs might wish to support this measure. A legal measure preventing the sharing of bandwidth only serves their interests.

Finally, the insanity of this law is revealed through the handling of users who seek to share information using public wireless access points. To protect corporate media’s 20th-century business modelthe artists, this perceived problem will be taken care of using a “solution” that’s “simple”:

such hotspots would offer only a “white list” of approved websites.

Since the ability to spy on you is lost at the coffee shop or local library, the technology itself shall be declared guilty in advance and on your behalf. Vive la censure!