Free/Libre and Open Source Software

IIPA would rather people "pirate" than switch to legal competitors

The International Intellectual Property Alliance (IIPA) tipped their hand a bit in this years submission to the “Special 301" report process. While they again attacked Canada for having strong copyright law that is different than the USA, the most telling was their opposition to policies encouraging legally free of charge Open Source in their submissions for Brazil, India, Indonesia, Philippines, Thailand, and Vietnam.

Encouraging legally free software is by far the best policy instrument to reduce software copyright infringement for the less financially rich countries and individuals of the world. For the vast majority of the worlds population the only viable options are to infringe royalty-based software or switch to royalty-free alternatives. The fact the IIPA is encouraging countries to have policies which increase infringement rather than have people switch to competing software is telling about their actual goals.

This is consistent with what past Microsoft business group president Jeff Raikes previously stated, "If they're going to pirate somebody, we want it to be us rather than somebody else".

How to avoid the benefits of Free/Libre and Open Source Software (FLOSS)

FLOSS offers many benefits over software that has a sole proprietor and is funded by royalties. Examples of sole proprietor software are packages such as Microsoft Office where there is a single entity which either owns or is relicensing the exclusive rights on the software, and thus is the sole entity which can provide many levels of software support.

While I recommend against this, it is possible to use FLOSS and yet receive none of the benefits beyond lower ($0) royalty payments. Government departments seem to do this all the time, not wanting to accept the advantages of FLOSS (misinterpreting software acquisition policy? Ideologically predisposed to sole proprietor software? Offer your thoughts in the comments...).

The two most common ways to avoid the benefits of FLOSS can be summarized by two acronyms: COTS and DIY.

>> Read full article on IT World Canada's blog

Requiem for Redmond - Free software will kill Microsoft, says former staffer

An interview by Shane O'Neill of Keith Curtis discusses Keith's book book After the Software Wars: proprietary software is holding us back as a society.

As someone who agrees that the legacy sole-proprietor knowledge creation/distribution model is holding us back, and how Microsoft's (lack of a) future is described in the Innovators Dilemma, I suspect I'll find this a great read.

Jesse's Search Engine, and this BLOG being quiet...

I'm going to link two seemingly unrelated things. First, check out the last episode of CBC's Search Engine where Jesse Brown and Michael Geist discuss how the Obama administration has embarrassed itself by elevating Canada to their priority watchlist for Copyright. By any objective fact-based analysis Canada shouldn't be on the list at all, and yet this unsubstantiated lobbiest document from the Obama administration unfairly puts Canada in the company of countries that are a real problem to the economic interests of the US "Intellectual Property" lobby. Not Change we can believe in, but Change for the worse?

Then check out an interview between Jesse and Mike Miner about TVO's Search Engine.

UK government backs open source

According to a BBC article, "Tom Watson MP, minister for digital engagement, said open source software would be on a level playing field with proprietary software such as Windows.

Minister for Digital engagement? The closest we seem to have is Charlie Angus which is the digital issues critic for the NDP -- nobody in the government or official opposition in Canada seems to be closely following or trying to understand these issues.

RFI for open source software aimed at wrong target

An article by Nestor E. Arellano for ITWorldCanada.com (NA) discusses the government RFI on "No Charge Licensed Software". The article included some material from a conversation that Nestor and I had. It makes mention of my own submission which I have made publicly available: OpenDocument version, PDF version.

Other submissions made publicly available: Evan Leibowitz of Xunil corporation, Mike Gifford of OpenConcept.

If you know of other published submissions, please let us know (add comment, etc)

An open door for open source?

CBC news reporter Emily Chung interviewed a number of people in the community on the Canadian Government RFI on what they called "No Charge Licensed Software (NCLS)".

100 Free Open Courseware Classes About Open Source Everything

I was emailed this morning about an article by Jessica Merritt listing 100 different resources for learning about FLOSS.

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