Software Freedom

Been Busy!

It’s been ages since I’ve blogged. I guess now is a nice time to get back on track, both here and on indiebiotech.com. I have been far from idle! However, much of my work has been biotech-related, which belongs yonder on indiebiotech, so I’ll just share some of my non-biotech pet projects here for now. TinyStatus In response to ongoing attempts to regulate “Unfettered Commentary” in Ireland, I wrote a peer-to-peer microstatus server/client in 30 lines of Python, in the hopes of making a similar point to the 15-line TinyP2P app written in response to P2P regulation attempts in 2004.

The Shortlist of Free-Speech Software For Our Newly Censored Ireland

So, our great and glorious Minister Sean Sherlock just signed SOPA into law in Ireland, despite a huge civil outcry. The poorly defined statutory instrument will allow anyone claiming “Copyright Infringement” to seek a court injunction against any website, without having to present evidence and without a consultation with the accused website. The form of the resulting censorship is unclear, but will probably require ISP-level DNS censorship of websites outside Ireland, or direct seizing of those within the Irish jurisdiction.

Leaving Google Behind: Progress Report

Google, I’m Leaving You. Somewhere over five years ago, I gratefully accepted an invite to Gmail and rejoiced: it was a wonderful new paradigm in web-based email, and a huge improvement over Yahoo Mail. It’s still one of the best email services online, and still miles ahead of the nearest competition by number of users. At the time, it was a straightforward social contract; Google would host and provide a great email service, and in exchange, non-human agents (robots!) would scan email in real-time for keywords, and provide ads in real time based on their inferences.

Ubuntu Karmic; Macbook Bliss at Last

History of Linux and I I tried twice previously to switch to Linux, and for a few reasons didn’t end up having any luck. The first time I did so was around 2005, when I was living out of home for the first time. My room was beautifully minimalist; just a double-bed, a wardrobe, a Shuttle X desktop PC and a 5.1 surround sound system. The wooden floors and old timber beam made it warm and cosy.

The OLPC Dream Fails

The One Laptop Per Child project aimed to design an open computing platform that could affordably bring computing to poor nations worldwide where it was most relevant, by providing children with laptops charitably for their education. The laptop would be small, obviously designed (to discourage theft or resale), friendly and intuitive, would educate children in the use of technologies which will be essential to their country’s development in the near future, and, critically, it would cost less than $100.