ablair's blog

Netherlands Government Goes Open Source

In yet another blow to vendor lock-in and proprietary software standards, the Associated Press is reporting that the Dutch Government on Wednesday adopted laws requiring all national agencies to use the Open Document Format by April 2008. Even state and local agencies are required to comply by 2009; though there is flexibility in the new policy - agencies can chose to use proprietary standards, such as MS Office, but they must justify use. The new laws also mandate the use of FOSS in all agencies in a similar manner, for cost savings and accessibility reasons.

GOSLING, eat your heart out!

Japan Embraces Open Software Standards

The ODF Alliance recently announced that Japan has joined Norway to be the latest country to have government mandates recommending the use of open document standards, something many consider to be a prerequisite before serious acceptance of open source software in government can ever be a possibility. How far behind is Canada in this regard?

Apple Starts Selling DRM-Free Music

Walking the Talk

Critics of Apple CEO Steve Jobs' recent open letter Thoughts on Music will be pleased that he now has the opportunity to put his money where his mouth is.

Open Standards: And California Makes Four

California now joins Massachusetts, Texas, and Minnesota in the league of US states that have moved towards adopting laws mandating use of open stadards in government agencies.

Macrovision Responds to Apple's "Thoughts on Music"

Today Fred Amoroso, CEO of Macrovision, (a company that has developed and implemented DRM technologies for nearly 25 years) responded to the Apple CEO's open letter "Thoughts on Music" with an open letter himself. The response, called To Steve Jobs and the Digital Entertainment Industry takes issue with Jobs on most points and notably opines:

Analysis of Apple's call for an "End to DRM" on Music

Once again Adam Engst, editor of the venerable TidBITS mailing list - one of the longest-running technology mailing lists in operation - has come up with an insightful analysis, this time summarizing the industry response to Steve Job's Thoughts on Music letter where he controversially calls for the end to DRM on music, and the possible implications.

Apple's Steve Jobs Calls for DRM-free Music

In a rare and revealing open letter posted to Apple's website, co-founder and CEO Steve Jobs outlines the rise of iTunes and the bargains Apple had to make along the way, and he imagines the a future that could be DRM-free if the major lables would let it be so. In the piece, called Thoughts on Music, he states "Imagine a world where every online store sells DRM-free music encoded in open licensable formats. [...] This is clearly the best alternative for consumers, and Apple would embrace it in a heartbeat.

French Govt to Adopt Open Document Format?

All French government publications should use OpenDocument Format (ODF), a comprehensive report (PDF) commissioned by French prime minister Dominique de Villepin recommends. An article on InfoWorld mentions that the report also recommends a government research centre for open source security, and the creation of a system for government agencies - local & national - to exchange information in the use of open source software.

All informative, vital, and timely, and quite possibly the basis for legislation soon.

DMCA Coming to Australia

The Howard government of Australia released draft legislation that it plans to introduce this autumn to fulfill obligations set out in trade agreements with the United States, an article in the Syndey Morning Herald says (also discussed on Slashdot). The article states that "The Australia-United States Free Trade Agreement requires Australia to prohibit the use of devices and services to circumvent TPMs." and further that the proposed draft legislation would make it an offence to use any technology that circumvents technological protection measures used with film, music, games, and gaming consoles, amongst other uses.

"Darknet" Book Reviewed by TidBITS

Adam Engst, editor of the venerable Macintosh mailing list TidBITS, has an excellent review of J.D. Lasica's new book Darknet: Hollywood's War Against the Digital Generation in this week's TidBITS edition. The book chronicles the legal struggles of average citizens who have been caught up in the United States by their copyright regime, struggling for what most would deem common-sense use of their purhcased media. The author explains the DMCA and other 'Content Cartel'-inspired legislation in the US and consequences of these laws, and could serve as an illuminating read for those considering changes to Canada's copyright regime. Engst writes:

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