UbuntuOne is a clone of DropBox, a “cloud” storage service which allows you to choose files and folders on your hard drive to be automatically backed up whenever you change them. UbuntuOne is owned by Canonical Ltd. the company that co-founded the Ubuntu project. For those who haven’t yet read the bug report (“Ubuntu One” Name Creates Confusion), UbuntuOne is not actually part of the Ubuntu project, and is only getting away with a blatant violation of the Ubuntu Trademark Policy because, for some reason, Canonical Ltd. is the legal owner of the Ubuntu Trademarks (this reminds me of the Trademark ruckus over the free code library software Koha being registered by one company offering commercial support, and refusing to hand it over the project originators).

The bundling of UbuntuOne with the Ubuntu distribution GNU/ Linux (since version 10.04) has upset a lot of users. Not, as some have assumed, because it’s a commercial service bundled with a free operating system. We can choose to use the free version, or not to use it at all, and we don’t begrudge them the ability to make some revenue back on all their investment in making GN/Linux usable by humans.

No, the reason we’re spitting tacks about UbuntuOne is because for reasons which will become obvious, we assume that any software that carries the name “Ubuntu” will be open source free code, and UbuntuOne depends on proprietary software on the server end, without making that explicit to the user. I don’t think that’s good enough. More to the point, it breaks the Ubuntu Promise, which  says:

“Ubuntu is free. Always has been and always will be. From the operating system to security updates, storage to software.”

UbuntuOne breaks this promise by charging money for a product carrying the Ubuntu name, and bundled with all the official builds of Ubuntu (and poorly supported on any other distro of GNU/Linux).

“Ubuntu is fast to load, easy to use, available in most languages and accessible to all.”

The server-side component of UbuntuOne is not accessible to anyone, unless they work for Canonical. 

“Ubuntu applications are all free and open source – so you can share them with anyone you like, as often as you like.”

Epic Fail.

If Canonical don’t show some respect for the peer production community who have contributed to their success, and either rename their product (CanonicalOne?), or share the source code, they may survive to regret it. I would go futher, and say they should hand over the keys to the Trademark to the vendor-neutral Foundation which represents the community’s interests, as Automattic did with WordPress.

Filed September 28th, 2012 under Uncategorized
Last night went well, considering that that no publicity was done beyond sending out an invitation to the email lists of local groups like DSpace (our Maker Space), the Dunedin Linux Users Groups, CodeCrafters, and the Copyright Community of Practice, as well as a few countrywide discussion fora such as CC-NZ, and NZOSS OpenChat
Due to technical difficulties, we were only able to watch the trailer of ‘Free the Network‘, but that turned out to be for the best, as the 1 hour duration of ‘Us Now‘ proved overlong for some attendees. Most of those present seemed far more interested in the opportunity for ‘realtime chat’, and engaged ethusiastically in informal conversation before the film, and in the group discussion afterwards. It seems there is substantial support for creating space on campus to explore the common threads running through various “free” and “open” social innovations, which is encouraging.
About half of those who attended were staff, and of those students who attended most were post-grads, so in relation to our stated goal of creating an OUSA-affiliated ‘Students for Free Culture Otago’ group, it was a mixed success. It may also be that we need to take a different approach to attract more students, perhaps screening something more provocative like ‘Steal this Film‘ or ‘Rip: A Remix Manifesto’ and doing more publicity (posters etc), or promote an event where we give away free music, films etc (of CC licensed works of course ;) It may also be that ‘Free Culture Otago’ is a more appropriate moniker, and that we could pursue a hybrid organisation potentially affiliated to both OUSA/OPSA and the uni and poly staff unions. Either way, it occurs to me that monthly ‘Copynight‘ style gatherings at a friendly cafe/bar could be an opportunity for ongoing realtime chat around the challenges and opportunities of online collaboration and social media, from which more organisational ideas could emerge.
I try to avoid sending a lot of tofu through email lists, but I will continue to send one-off event invitation to local email lists, if that’s ok.If you weren’t able to make it last night, but you would like to be informed of further events around these themes, please contact me and I will add you to the contact list collected last night. 
One upcoming event mentioned during last night’s discussion was the NetHui South, currently being organised by InternetNZ for late November of this year, here in Otepoti. Another upcoming date for which there could be a local event is the 10th birthday of CreativeCommons in December. If you have any ideas for this, or even better would like to get involved, please get in touch.
Filed September 19th, 2012 under Uncategorized

For all those on the far side of the International Date Line it’s still Software Freedom Day.  Here in Aotearoa, it was yesterday, and I hope the events planned for Otautahi, Te Whanganui-a-Tara, and elsewhere in the country went well.

What is Software Freedom Day all about? The international organisers have defined these goals:

Objectives

1To celebrate software freedom and the people behind it

2To foster a general understanding of software freedom, and encourage adoption of free software and open standards

3To create more equal access to opportunities through the use of participatory technologies

4To promote constructive dialogue on responsibilities and rights in the information society

5To be inclusive of organizations and individuals that share our Vision

6

To be pragmatic, transparent, and responsible as an organisation 

 I am investigating funding options to create a paid job for a ‘free culture events co-ordinator’, who can help and encourage any local groups putting on face-to-face events to build supportive communities of practice around free culture tools, from free code software, and CreativeCommons licenses, to open source development, crowdsourcing, and much more. Obviously this would include groups wanting to put on events in Aotearoa for next year’s SFD.

Watch this space! 

Filed September 15th, 2012 under Uncategorized

The first time I installed GNU/Linux (Red Hat) in 2001, it wasn’t much more torturous than installing Windows 95/98 from scratch. I suspect most people who complain that “Linux is hard to install” have never tried to install *any* operating system before, and they’ve certainly never experienced the ‘driver hell’ of an old school Windows install.

For me, it was when the install was over that the head-scratching started, and I have to say I’m impressed with the huge leaps in usability that GNU/Linux distributions have made over the last 10 years or so.The significant improvements in the eye candy of the various graphical desktops, the quantam leaps in package management that make it trivial to install and remove common applications, and the massive reduction in the amount of command line tinkering required (it’s now possible to run newbie-orientated distros like Ubuntu with no command line knowledge at all), have all contributed to a consensus that GNU/Linux is now “ready for the desktop”. Consequently, you can now buy new computers with a free code operating system and no Windows, which makes them a few hundred dollars cheaper.

However, for the home tinkerer like me, there’s still improvements that could be made. I have installed various distros on my AspireOne laptop and found that various CD-ROM software has been installed, despite the fact that laptop doesn’t have a CD-ROM. I have installed Ubuntu 12.04 on a desktop machine, and found that unnecessary drivers for a laptop touchpad have been installed. Sure, I can remove these obviously unnecessary packages, but it makes me wonder how much other pointless cruft is lurking under the hood of my various installs. If the installers could do some hardware detection, and only install the software that is actually needed, that would go a long way towards mitigating the Windows-style bloat that now afflicts some distributions.

Filed September 12th, 2012 under Uncategorized

The spectre of software patents has reared its ugly head again in New Zealand parliament, with the crafty addition of the words “as such” to a section of the new Patents Bill. For more information about why patents shouldn’t be granted on software, or to sign the petition, go to No Software Patents.

Filed September 6th, 2012 under Uncategorized

I have an Acer AspireOne laptop which came with a Windows XP/ Android dual-boot, no CD-ROM, and a BIOS I couldn’t get into to change the boot order and install GNU/Linux. Because I had a paper to write for the Free Culture conference, this motivated me to test the built-in Android as a laptop OS (fail). Once the paper was finished, I got the BIOS problem fixed under warranty and since then I have been running Ubuntu on it, starting with 10.10 Netbook Remix and progressively upgrading through to 12.04.

The laptop continued to work after each upgrade but over time Ubuntu become progressively slower and more unstable. Today I tried to install Mint over top of it without formatting, to see if I could keep the home drive intact. Unfortunately, I let the installer force me to choose to encrypt my home drive (for some reason I’m suspicious of this and I’ve always avoided doing it so far). Epic fail. System wouldn’t boot.

Because the AspireOne doesn’t have a CD drive, I can only install distros which will work with Ubuntu’s USB CD Creator, or UNetbootin; software tools which takes the .ISO file of a GNU/Linux distribution (normally used to burn a bootable CD), and turns it into a bootable USB key. For a while I was having mixed success. While Ubuntu and its offspring (Mint, Peppermint etc) worked fine, I couldn’t get it working with Debian itself (Squeeze) or ClearOS (based on CentOS), despite the fact that I’ve successfully installed both distros from CDs.

Today, I discovered that I didn’t have the latest version of UNetbootin, because I had downloaded and installed the package without adding its update repository to my software sources list. I add the repo, ran ’sudo apt-get update’ and ’sudo apt-get upgrade’, and rebooted. This time I managed to create a bootable version of AntiX, a variant of MEPIS based on Debian testing, which uses the KDE desktop. I then tried to install to my AspireOne.

The installer is limited in its options compared to Ubuntu, or even Debian, although to their credit, its developers have made it quite explicit about what it can and can’t do. It didn’t offer to format the EXT4 partition I was trying to re-use. Once the install was complete, it told me if I chose to install the GRUB bootloader it wouldn’t be able to detect and add any other Linux installs (eg the Peppermint install I have as my backup OS, on a separate partition).

I’m not really a fan of KDE, so I’m going to have a go at making a USB boot key of Debian Squeeze, and see if I can install that to my AspireOne. I’m quite excited to see how many different distros I can get working off USB on this hardy little laptop.

Filed September 6th, 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