23 January 2012

Winter wallpapers

Some more freely licensed wallpaper sized photos (wide), this time with a winter theme, use as you want:

winter wallpaper
winter wallpaper
winter wallpaper

19 January 2012

SOPA for non-Americans

Yesterday was the strike day against SOPA and PIPA and I tried to do my part: blacked-out my blogs, put related content on various places, shared link, informing. Many people seemed to understand the issue, but not everybody. Below is an excerpt from a comment (translation is mine) by someone in Romania, a person with IT and FOSS background, this make the quote even more relevant (I saw similar reaction on other tech sites):

I don't understand... SOPA is an American law, right? passed by their shitty Congress, right? how it affect me? how will affect Europe an American law? we aren't Americans so we don't have to obey their laws... what's the deal with this shit? Google and others can move their servers in Asia or Europe and... done... as Obama failed with Google and HP which moved to Ireland for lower taxes...[...]
Back to the initial question... SOPA is an American law, it will affect them.... not me... I am not American... and I don't ever want to be... European countries don't need to obey American laws... as they, in fact do... they don't obey... If the big companies want to keep up any site with piracy of any kind... they only have to host it in Russia :))... SOPA filters will be made in USA, not in our country...
You will say our routes pass there... so what? it takes 30 seconds to change some server routes on your workstation... and 1-2 hours for them to propagate... If USA want to do that, they can do it...

Some points from my reply:

  • US corporations won't move, they will stay and obey the law and even if they move servers elsewhere, they still have to obey the law, since they want to make business in the US
  • the case about moving in Ireland is different: it was for taxes, not to produce illegal things
  • SOPA filters will fork in such way that an European website may get blocked for people in USA
  • the American government has control over the root DNS filters and there the blocking will happen, the world would have to switch to an alternate DNS system
  • once it happens, other countries will follow with their own censorship laws, European countries are eager to do it, as demonstrated with TPB
  • "free Dmitry": you may get arrested even if you do something legal in your country.

fedora and sopa

For such reasons the Romanian Fedora community participated in the campaign with a notice about the Fedora's stance against censorship (not a full blackout as with my personal blogs, since neither the international project went for a total blackout). From my part, I would have preferred Fedora to go to a full blackout, like Mozilla, Wikipedia or openSUSE, I am disappointed by Red Hat having a stance so weak, it was not even mentioned on their own opensource.com and I am unhappy with Fedora stuck in bureaucracy and not being able to produce in due time an official statement I can link to in the news item.

Hopefully I will make your day better with shining examples from TheOatmeal, Playboy and FightingInternet.

18 January 2012

13 January 2012

Fedora and SOPA

USA Congress is going to debate and, as the current signs say, approve SOPA and Internet censorship on January 24. Trying to prevent this, a number of online entities are planning an awareness campaign on January 18, ranging from entire blackout of websites (to show the public the expected effects of the law) to mere informational banners and interstitials.

Would Fedora join them? I have little faith it will happen, but we are going to be affected, the project is USA based and was affected in the past (look at multimedia support, audio and video codecs as an example), the main sponsor is also an USA corporation. As a community Fedora is relying user-generated content, and SOPA will block user-generated content, imagine a Fedora with no wiki, no planet blog aggregator, no web archived mailing lists, not even Bugzilla or Koji. Would that be of any use for you? (and don't imagine the project won't be affected, it won't move servers outside USA, it won't change sponsors, it will obey the USA law).

How about other FOSS projects, we are all pretty much in the same boat?

From my party, my own blogs will turn black on January 18.

03 January 2012


Back from the holidays for the New Year, one of the first thing I did was to check g+ and learn about what happened in my absence. Among many things about the SOPA atrocity, I found this funny piece titled 10 Reasons to Switch to Linux in 2012, is funny because it gets every one of the 10 points wrong (if I am bored enough, I may write a follow-up showing how and why), but this is not about I want to write now.

Scrolling down the article, at about the middle, there is a Best Prices on LINUX/UNIX box in the right sidebar. What is it about? Red Hat Linux 9, Red Hat Linux 8, things discontinued 7-8 years ago (I am too lazy to count).
And the site is real, even if so poorly maintained and updated, it has product pages and user reviews. It felt like browsing the web of 10 years ago, both in terms of products and predictions. Let me check again: yes, is 2012.