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    The Bungee Line was an audio podcast for web developers, covering web API's, software development, and the creation of richly interactive web applications.

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Nat Friedman & the Personal Cloud: “Personal data warehouse”


Ximian co-founder and intrepid technologist with SUSE Linux, Nat Friedman recently blogged about a “Personal data warehouse,” stating:

What I want is a giant elastic bit bucket in the cloud, with a powerful search engine on top of it.

He goes on to describe several capabilities that he wants the search capabilities to have, essentially bringing together several disparate services available on the web today–such as face recognition (Polar Rose) and Optical Character Recognition  (OCR, the simplest form right now may be Evernote‘s)–in order to make his data imminently accessible and usable.

Nat describes several other aspects, all of which in my view comprise not a single service, but a data platform. This Personal Cloud concept really cannot be delivered well by a single service provider–you don’t want it to be. Once you have your personal data in the cloud, the next step is to have a selection of relevant applications to choose from for helping you to manage your Personal Cloud. That means APIs that allow developers to offer best-of-breed services, such as face recognition, as applications that you can use with your cloud-hosted personal data.

All of that reminds me that I really need to write up a post about the necessity for data owners (you and me as individuals) having ultimate control over who can access our data (and what data they can access).

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Open Source for America


Open Source for America logo

If you have not yet looked into Open Source for America (OSA), the advocacy organization recently announced at OSCON, I recommend checking it out.

The recent increased focus on governmental transparency is long overdue. In the 1990’s, we saw a trend in the US toward putting public records online. The trend reversed drastically over the last decade, as new justifications for government secrecy arose. Coinciding with the new US administration, the public is expressing a renewed interest in transparency, with increased attention to Lobby Reform. (In a representative democracy, should it be permissible that elected officials should be able to make secretive backroom policy deals with lobbyists from the tobacco, health insurance or energy industries?)

In the context of open government, the transparency of government technology must also be considered. Free and Open Source Software gets used by government. But when software can be acquired and deployed at no charge, is it going through the same security and other reviews as proprietary software? Conversely, are there times when proprietary software is unacceptable? Consider electronic voting machines. If “We The People” fund the creation of the software ran on these machines, is there any way a vendor can justify not disclosing the source code? I state these observations as questions not to open a discourse about them, but to point out that there are many issues to consider about the role of Free and Open Source Software in government. The establishment of OSA may help shine light on such issues and provide help and guidance to Federal, state and local governments.

To find out what the organization plans to do, I recommend listening to the series of interviews with various OSA board members recently hosted by my good friend Erin Quill (also my former co-presenter on–and now host of–Novell Open Audio).

Freedom-free Week: A Viking Reports from the Front Lines


AMSTERDAM, Netherlands, November 19 (RT)Hein-Pieter Van Braam, self described as “an arrogant viking,” has engaged in a David Blaine-style self-imposed total isolation experiment. The task: to survive a week using all proprietary Software. Van Braam has dubbed it, “The Freedom-Free Week.”

For seven days, or until he chickens out, Van Braam will use the proprietary operating system Windows Vista for all of his daily computing needs. In an early, exclusive interview Van Braam stated: “Well, I hate to admit it, but after you’ve looked at it for a while it looks kinda slick.” Adding, “But I haven’t gotten much further than the desktop, Internet Explorer, and the screenshooter app.”

Best knownfor his blogroll link on the prominent open source blog Open Source Advocacy with Reverend Ted, and minorly for his participation in the LugRadio community, Van Braam is well known for his extremist Free Software viewpoint. Said Ubuntu community manager and LugRadio host Jono Bacon, “Oh, yeah, he’s a real nutter, that one. Seems like he gets on one of his barely articulate Free Software rants just by telling him hello. Makes me quite uncomfortable, actually.”

As Van Braam slogs his way through this seven-day trial, he reports his findings on his blog. In our exclusive interview, Van Braam shared that, “The small [Aeroglass] 3d effects are executed quite nicely, in my humble opinion. I can’t really compare it to compiz as I don’t run it.” Concluding, “Although…user interface consistency is an entirely alien concept to Microsoft. It feels like I’m running WxWidgets, Qt, GTK+ and Tk apps.”

To learn more about Van Braam’s “Freedom-Free Week” experiment and findings, visit http://blog.tmm.cx.

____

Addenda and Errata:

  • If I have mischaracterized Mr. Van Braam in any way–especially in a libelious way–it was entirely unintentional.
  • The genesis of this fake news report was a simple request from Hein-Pieter to me, asking me to simply mention and link to his project.
  • Jono Bacon’s quote is not so much a quote as a paraphrasing of Mr. Bacon’s general sentiment about Mr. Van Braam, albeit with far fewer expletives, colorful gesticulating, and complete-loss-for-words halting pauses. Check comments below, frequently, to confirm whether Mr. Bacon refutes, endorses, or embellishes upon the quote.
  • The link to David Blaine implies that Mr. Blaine is an idiot. I do not support this position, as it could be proven libelious. However, I do support the position that Mr. Blaine is a self-absorbed, batshit fucktard.

Guest Spot on the Linux Action Show


On Saturday night, I joined Chris and Bryan to discuss web applications, software development in the age of cloud computing, and what the Free Software community must watch for regarding open source licenses.

Check out the show here.

Heading to FOSScamp!


FOSSCamp is coming up on December 5 & 6 at the GooglePlex, and I just got cleared to attend.

FOSSCamp is an un-conference designed to get different Open Source projects together to discuss how to work together in different ways.

Several of my friends and fellow followers of Free Software will be attending the event. I hope to have a lot of discussions regarding some ideas I have been working on around choices for Free Software licenses.

If you’re planning to attend FOSScamp, too, please leave a comment.

FOSScamp Facebook Event

Interview on the Linux Link Tech Show


The good fellows at the Linux Link Tech Show (and Dann) recently had me on the show. I tell a bit about what I’m doing at Bungee Labs, and discuss my past incarnation, as well as various thoughts about free software, some of the industry figures with whom I’ve had the pleasure of working, and other stuff. I was on with the guys for over an hour. Perhaps I talked too long, but the guys kept talking to me, and it made me feel almost…what’s the word for it?…interesting? To give you a sense of the tone of the show, the first thing I heard when I got on the line was one of the guys belch. Anyway, you can check out the episode from here: mp3, ogg.

Can Linux Desktops Live in an Active Directory World?


Why Does Active Directory Matter?
Tux embracing Windows It still causes me uncomfortable dispepsia to admit that Microsoft’s directory coup worked so well. Since Windows desktop systems are so challenging to own without it, Microsoft succeeded at pushing Active Directory into wide deployment in the business world. As advocates for desktop Linux promote fitness and readiness for use in the business world, few seem to surmise what a strong fortress Microsoft has built around Windows. It’s not just about the platform; the enterprise infrastructure matters, too. When it comes to business information technology, the subtext beneath “just replace the desktops of the types of user for whom Linux is ready” reads “change your management system for all these user’s desktops, too.” Such a proposition is unsavory to the already change-averse IT culture. Continue reading