Who follows blogs? No doubt there are folk out there who’ve managed to master RSS, subscribe to a bunch of blogs, and read them regularly, but I know I haven’t. I suspect the same is true of most people, especially recent arrivals on the net, for whom even email is still an exciting and sometimes confusing new tool. I do get a lot of value out of blog posts but rather than intentionally following particular bloggers, I usually encounter them through a web search, or a link received by email.

Suspecting that a lot of people are in this waka with me, I’ve set up Disintermedia newsmail, a moderated mailing list which will allow people to receive articles posted on this blog by email. Each email will include a link to same posting on the blog, encouraging people to comment and discuss. If this sounds like something you’d appreciate, feel free to subscribe now!

Filed May 30th, 2012 under independent media
Here’s one for the ‘twilight zone files’ from the CreativeCommons.org blog:

World Bank stakes leadership position by announcing Open Access Policy and launching Open Knowledge Repository under Creative Commons

Throughout the 90s and 00s, a bevy of alphabet organisations (such as the G8, GATT, WTO, WEF, and the IMF/ World Bank) met annually at global summits to plan the future of ‘the global economy’. While they are no longer the focus of such massive protest or mass media attention, these summits and the ’structural adjustment’ processes they advocated continue to take place around the planet.

Some of the main complaints from activist movements have focused on the exclusivity of the summits, and secrecy of the organisations behind them, which is why when I saw that story on the CreativeCommons blog about the World Bank, I couldn’t help but do a double-take. Under the terms of their Open Access Policy, items in the bank’s new Open Knowledge Repository are licensed under CC-BY - one of the most permissive licenses CC offers. April 1 right? Nope, April 10. Hmm.

‘What’s next?’ I’m thinking. Support for open document formats? Free code software? Open protocols and standards for communication and networking? Open data? Then I find the World Bank Data Blog, which was created today to celebrate the Open Data Initiative launched two years ago!

What’s left? Direct democratic input into IMF/ World Bank decision by everyone they affect? I wait with baited breath…

Filed May 21st, 2012 under Uncategorized


TorrentFreak reported recently that a Russian company, funded by Microsoft are offering to disrupt BitTorrent downloads of copyright content, but only if the monopoly-holders pay for the “service”. This reminds me of stories I’ve heard from the early 1900s in the US where employers hired gangsters to intimidate striking workers, rather than using the same money to improve pay and conditions. It also reminds me of the privateers that were hired by the maritime empires to raid the trading ships of other empires, or independent trading ships. Surely any money spent on paying “pirates” to attack other “pirates” could be better spent devising services that actually add value people will want to pay for?

We seem to have entered a weird parallel universe. In this Twilight Zone(TM), the criminals and “pirates” are the fans who use BitTorrent to support the free distribution of artistic creations they enjoy, and whose bandwidth charges help fund the infostructure of the internet, while a troop of mercenaries, whose only contribution is the networking equivalent of causing traffic jams, get venture capital and service fees from major corporations, and laugh all the way to the bank.

The irony is that while entertainment businesses are troweling money into “anti-piracy” projects, there is not a shred of evidence that they are actually losing any revenue whatsoever from online copying. An Ars Technica article from 2010 quotes the Government Accountability Office, a department of the US federal government, as saying:

” After examining all the data and consulting with numerous experts inside and outside of government, the Government Accountability Office concluded (PDF) that it is “difficult, if not impossible, to quantify the economy-wide impacts.”

The other irony is - as we have seen with Napster, OpenNap, Kazaa, Grokster, GnuTella and now BitTorrent - that any temporary success in shutting down one file-sharing system will simply result in more resilient technologies being developed. BitTorrent is much better than Napster, on so many levels (distributed network, open protocol, free code client software, leechproof etc). So much better, that I’m tempted to send the RIAA some flowers for shutting Napster down, with a card encouraging them to keep up their recent attacks on BitTorrent. It seems to be a proven strategy for kickstarting development on the next generation of file-sharing systems.

That take-down didn’t seem to do Parker or Napster co-founder Shawn Fanning any harm either. According to a CNet article full of Napster nostalgia:

“After co-founding Napster, [Parker] went on to co-found Plaxo, become Facebook’s founding president, and then invested in and ultimately joined the board of Spotify. Now, he and Fanning, who also helped found Snocap, Rapture, and most recently Path, have a new stealthy startup, called Airtime.”

If only Parker and Fanning would build a web application around helping people find what they like in the CreativeCommons pool…

Filed May 17th, 2012 under Uncategorized

Last night I was excited to discover that many of the core themes of my paper for the 2010 Free Culture research conference had been made into a slide presentation by one Berglind Ósk Bergsdóttir, called Free Software and Environmental movements. I was particularly flattered to have my paper referenced alongside a presentation - Design Patterns in Free Software and Permaculture - by legendary Italian rasta, squatter and permageek, Denis ‘Jaromil’ Roio, a key figure in the Dyne Foundation (dyne.org). Dyne is a free code foundry known for multimedia software like HasciiCam.

While searching for that talk again today I made another couple of exciting discoveries. The first was that Dyne have launched Munir - version 3.0 of Dyne:Bolic, the 100% free code, multimedia-orientated distribution of GNU/ Linux (see Jaromil’s comments on the parallels between food sovereignty and ‘code sovereignty’ in the launch announcement ;)

The Dyne:Bolic 2 line was a fantastic slim OS that ran nicely off a live CD even on a computer with no hard drive. Version 3.0 is a major rebuild, which builds on work done by other projects like >Pure:Dyne (a reworking of Dyne:Bolic on an Ubuntu base) and Trisquel (another 100% free code distro built on Ubuntu).  One of the major changes in the 3 line is the use of Apt (Advanced Packaging Tool) packages to replace their tricky custom packaging system - a major step forward in cross-compatibility.

Speaking of Ubuntu, the new LTS (Long Term Service) version 12.04 (Precise Pangolin) is now available, and I’ll be switching as soon as I can clear some hard drive space. Like all releases this 11.10, this release incorporates a System Testing utility that checks how well Ubuntu supports your hardware and allows you to feed the results back to Ubuntu Friendly, a project to improve Ubunt support for a wider range of computers.

Today’s other discovery was another recent piece of Dyne software developed as part of their DYNDY project, “an effort at building a Pattern Language for Alternative and Complementary Money Systems”. Freecoin is a fork of the BitCoin software, “Freecoin can be seen as consolidated playground for experimentation on P2P crypto currencies and further growth of this technology, still open to the use people will make of it in future.”

Filed May 13th, 2012 under Uncategorized
  • Annual Events

  • Digital Freedom Foundation
  • LibrePlanet
  • Aotearoa

  • Aotearoa Indymedia
  • BallaNZ
  • Creative Commons Aotearoa/ NZ
  • Creative Freedom Foundation
  • DigitalNZ
  • Enspiral
  • Fair Deal Coalition
  • GreenStage
  • InternetNZ
  • Island Bay World Service
  • Living Economies
  • Localise
  • Loomio
  • Matrix FM
  • Nicky Hagar
  • No Right Turn
  • NZ Council for Civil Liberties
  • NZ Makers
  • NZ Makers Map
  • NZ Māori Internet Society
  • NZ Open Source Awards
  • NZCommons
  • OASIS
  • Open Government Ninjas of NZ
  • Open Source Society of NZ
  • Open Standards NZ
  • Open Ur Eyes
  • Pacific Media Centre
  • Permaculture in NZ
  • PledgeMe
  • Radio Chomsky
  • Regulation
  • Scoop
  • Tech Liberty
  • Timebank Aotearoa
  • Transition Towns Aotearoa/ NZ
  • Uncensored Magazine
  • Waatea News
  • Waikato Linux Users Group
  • What If
  • Wiki NZ
  • Zenbu
  • archives

  • ArchiveTeam
  • Critical Commons
  • Ibiblio
  • Internet Archive Community Software Collection
  • Open Archives Initiative
  • Blogroll

  • Abject
  • Access Now
  • Ars Technica
  • BadScience
  • Banjo - RoboBlog
  • Boing Boing
  • Born out of Binary
  • Centre for Media and Democracy
  • Choke Point Project
  • Copyrighteous
  • Create Digital Music
  • Creative Commons International
  • Cryptogon
  • Digital Standards Organisations
  • Disinfo
  • E-Democracy
  • Electronic Privacy Information Center
  • Ever Vigilant
  • Freedom Box Foundation
  • Freedom of the Press Foundation
  • Gaming On Linux
  • Global Indymedia
  • Gondwanaland (Mike Linksvayer)
  • Institute for the Future of the Book
  • Institute of Network Cultures
  • Internet Governance Project
  • InternetNZ
  • Island Bay World Service
  • Iterating Towards Openness
  • Knowledge Ecology International
  • LinkedListCorruption
  • Linuxed - Exploring Linux Distros
  • Localise
  • Moved by Freedom - Powered By Standards
  • Nanowares
  • New Zealand Māori Internet Society
  • Nicky Hagar
  • No Right Turn
  • NZ Council for Civil Liberties
  • NZCommons
  • O'Reilly Radar
  • OASIS
  • OERu Technology Blog
  • Open Educational Resources Foundation
  • Open Knowledge Foundation
  • Open Rights Group
  • Open Social Web
  • Open Source Conscious Intelligence Network
  • Open Source Food
  • Open Stand
  • Open Ur Eyes
  • OpenCollective
  • OpenDotDotDot
  • OpenSource.com
  • Permaculture in NZ
  • Plumi
  • Public Interest Journalism Foundation
  • Punk Rock Permaculture
  • Question Copyright
  • Replicant (OS)
  • Rob Meyers
  • Schneier on Security
  • Scoop
  • Shareable
  • Slashdot
  • Software Freedom Law Centre
  • Software in the Public Interest
  • SourceMap
  • Sustento Institute
  • Tech Liberty
  • TechRights
  • The Tin Hat
  • Tinkering Down Under
  • TorrentFreak
  • TransitionMovement
  • Translation Project
  • Trisquel GNU/ Linux
  • United Diversity
  • Waatea News
  • We Speak for Freedom
  • Why Your Boss is Programmed To Be a Dictator
  • code bank

  • Allura
  • BitBucket
  • FusionForge
  • GITHub
  • GITLab
  • Gogs
  • Internet Archive Community Software Collection
  • LaunchPad
  • NotABug
  • Savannah
  • Software Freedom Conservancy
  • Software Heritage
  • Sourceforge
  • community economics

  • Commons Transition
  • Fruit Tree Planting Foundation
  • In Our Back Yards
  • Institute for Local Self-Reliance
  • Libre-Living
  • Living Economies
  • Sensorica
  • Sustainable Economy Law Centre
  • Timebank Aotearoa
  • TransitionMovement
  • cooperative

  • Loomio
  • Snowdrift Coop
  • crowdfunding

  • ArtistShare
  • BountySource
  • Causes
  • CauseVox
  • Crowdfunder
  • Crowdjustice
  • Crowdrise
  • Crowdsupply
  • Flattr
  • Fundit.buzz
  • GiveaLittle
  • Goteo
  • In Our Back Yards
  • KickStarter
  • KissKissBankBank
  • Liberapay
  • Mighty Cause
  • OpenGift
  • Patreon
  • PledgeMe
  • PledgeMusic
  • Pozible
  • Snowdrift Coop
  • StartSomeGood
  • Taproot Foundation
  • The Working World
  • Tidelift
  • Events

  • IndieWebCamp
  • free code

  • April
  • Black Duck Open Hub
  • DistroWatch
  • Ever Vigilant
  • F-Droid
  • Free Software Directory (GNU FDL 1.3 or later)
  • Free Software Support Network
  • Free Software Support Network
  • Free Your Android
  • FreshCode
  • Gogs
  • Gun.io
  • Internet Archive Community Software Collection
  • LILA
  • LinuxTracker
  • NotABug
  • OERu Technology Blog
  • Peers Community
  • Plumi
  • PublicLab
  • Replicant (OS)
  • Software Heritage
  • Urchn Studios
  • Free Media

  • Communes Collective
  • Copyrighteous
  • Create Digital Music
  • Definition of Free Cultural Works
  • Dyne Foundation
  • FLOSSManuals
  • Free Culture Foundation
  • Ibiblio
  • Librivox
  • LILA
  • Open Video Conference
  • Show Me Do
  • Translation Project
  • Urchn Studios
  • WikiLeaks
  • freelancing

  • BountySource
  • Gun.io
  • independent media

  • Aotearoa Indymedia
  • BallaNZ
  • EngageMedia
  • Freedom of the Press Foundation
  • LILA
  • Matrix FM
  • Pacific Media Centre
  • Public Interest Journalism Foundation
  • Radio Chomsky
  • Radio Heritage Foundation
  • Uncensored Magazine
  • Waatea News
  • libre gaming

  • Gaming On Linux
  • Makers

  • GreenStage
  • Libre-Living
  • Mediamatic
  • NZ Makers
  • NZ Makers Map
  • Open ROV
  • Renewable PCs
  • Rob Meyers
  • Sensorica
  • maps

  • GeoForAll
  • GeoNames
  • Green Map System
  • Map Tools
  • Open Geospatial Foundation
  • Open Street Map
  • open governance

  • Crowdfunding
  • D-Cent
  • Deep Democracy Institute International
  • E-Democracy
  • Fight for the Future
  • Holacracy
  • Internet Governance Project
  • Kettering Foundation
  • Knowledge Sharing Toolkit (CC-BY-SA 3.0)
  • Open Government Ninjas of NZ
  • Open Policy Network
  • Open Space World (CC-BY-SA 2.5)
  • Open Stand
  • Open Standards NZ
  • Participedia
  • Sunlight Foundation
  • Transition Towns Aotearoa/ NZ
  • What If
  • WikiLeaks
  • open hardware

  • H-Node
  • Makey Makey
  • Meeblip Open Source Bass Synth
  • Open Hardware Summit
  • Open ROV
  • Open Source Hardware Association
  • Orgs

  • Access Now
  • Apache Foundation
  • April
  • Autistici/Inventati
  • Collaborative Knowledge Foundation
  • Commons Transition
  • Communes Collective
  • Computer Professionals for Social Responsibility
  • Creative Commons Aotearoa/ NZ
  • Creative Freedom Foundation
  • Critical Commons
  • D-Cent
  • Deep Democracy Institute International
  • Digital Due Process coalition
  • Digital Freedom Foundation
  • Digital Standards Organisations
  • DigitalNZ
  • Dyne Foundation
  • E-Democracy
  • Electronic Frontiers Foundation
  • Electronic Privacy Information Center
  • Fair Tracing Project
  • Fight for the Future
  • Foundation for Peer-to-Peer Alternatives
  • Free Culture Foundation
  • Free Network Foundation
  • Free Software Foundation
  • Free Software Support Network
  • Free Software Support Network
  • Freedom of the Press Foundation
  • Guifi
  • Ibiblio
  • Identity Commons
  • Institute for Local Self-Reliance
  • Internet Engineering Taskforce
  • Internet Governance Project
  • ISA Commons
  • Kettering Foundation
  • LEAP Encryption Access Project
  • LILA
  • Living Economies
  • Loomio
  • May First/ People Link
  • Mediamatic
  • NZ Māori Internet Society
  • NZ Open Source Awards
  • Open Architecture Network
  • Open Archives Initiative
  • Open Geospatial Foundation
  • Open Policy Network
  • Open Source Hardware Association
  • Open Source Society of NZ
  • Open Web Foundation
  • OpenADR Alliance
  • OpenCorporates
  • Outreachy
  • Participatory Culture Foundation
  • Peers Community
  • Permaculture in NZ
  • Privacy International
  • Public Citizen
  • Public Interest Journalism Foundation
  • Public Knowledge
  • Public Patent Foundation
  • Question Copyright
  • Radio Heritage Foundation
  • ReDecentralize
  • Reform Government Surveillance
  • Regulation
  • Rhizome
  • RiseUp
  • Science Commons
  • Software Carpentry Foundation
  • Software Freedom Conservancy
  • Sunlight Foundation
  • Sustainable Economy Law Centre
  • Taproot Foundation
  • Transition Towns Aotearoa/ NZ
  • Waikato Linux Users Group
  • Wiki NZ
  • World Wide Web Consortium (WC3)
  • Xiph.org
  • XMPP Standards Foundation
  • Peer2Peer

  • BitCoin
  • FreeCoin
  • Permaculture

  • Appropedia (CC-BY-SA 3.0)
  • Fruit Tree Planting Foundation
  • Future Scenarios
  • OrganicDesign
  • Permaculture in NZ
  • TransitionMovement
  • We Speak for Freedom
  • Privacy

  • Access Now
  • Digital Due Process coalition
  • Ever Vigilant
  • Fight for the Future
  • International Principles on the Application of Human Rights to Communications Surveillance
  • LEAP Encryption Access Project
  • OASIS
  • Privacy International
  • Reform Government Surveillance
  • What If
  • protocols and licensing

  • Definition of Free Cultural Works
  • Digital Standards Organisations
  • Greenlots
  • ISA Commons
  • Open Archives Initiative
  • Open Stand
  • Open Standards NZ
  • Open Web Foundation
  • OpenADR Alliance
  • Regular Events

  • Libre Graphics Meeting
  • Open Hardware Summit
  • science and datasets

  • AllTrials
  • Collaborative Knowledge Foundation
  • DigitalNZ
  • Fair Tracing Project
  • ISA Commons
  • Open Geospatial Foundation
  • Open Hand Project
  • SourceMap
  • Wiki NZ
  • Zooniverse
  • Tools

  • Autistici/Inventati
  • BitCoin
  • Black Duck Open Hub
  • CoActivate
  • Crowdfunding
  • DistroWatch
  • Dyne Foundation
  • F-Droid
  • FLOSSManuals
  • Fork the Cookbook
  • FreeCoin
  • GITHub
  • GNU Operating System
  • GreenStage
  • H-Node
  • How To Escape the GoogleMax Panopticon
  • Knowledge Sharing Toolkit (CC-BY-SA 3.0)
  • LEAP Encryption Access Project
  • LinuxTracker
  • Loomio
  • Map Tools
  • May First/ People Link
  • Meeblip Open Source Bass Synth
  • Monolith
  • Open Hand Project
  • Open Source Ecology
  • Open Space World (CC-BY-SA 2.5)
  • Open Street Map
  • OpenCorporates
  • OpenMailBox
  • Participatory Culture Foundation
  • Plumi
  • Renewable PCs
  • Replicant (OS)
  • RiseUp
  • Savannah
  • Show Me Do
  • Sourceforge
  • SourceMap
  • TransforMap
  • Translation Project
  • Web Platform
  • Zenbu
  • Transition

  • Green Map System
  • Health After Oil
  • Localise
  • OrganicDesign
  • Wiki

  • Appropedia (CC-BY-SA 3.0)
  • Foundation for Peer-to-Peer Alternatives
  • Instructables
  • LibrePlanet
  • Open (Government) NZ
  • Participedia
  • SourceWatch
  • WikiEducator
  • wireless mesh

  • Guifi
  • workplace democracy

  • Enspiral
  • The Working World