Cory Doctorow lecture about freedom, surveillance and technology

Angry cat with a network cable criticizing the NSAI just listened to a Cory Doctorow lecture he gave at the Central European University in Budapest.

The lecture recounts the same themes and ideas he talked about in numerous other lectures and wrote about in his book “Information Doesn’t Want to Be Free“. The difference about this lecture is that it was targeted at a somewhat less-technically oriented audience, and therefore includes basic high-level explanations as to why there are no such things as “golden keys” to cryptography.

I recommend sharing this with less technically inclined friends and family who care about freedom, surveillance and related policy.

Also, this cat.

Open source license satistics: Copyleft/GPL still popular

Open Source software license statistics from Phoronix. GPL is by far the most popular licensePhoronix published an interesting article, where they collected some statistics about the kinds of open source licenses used by projects hosted on various project hosting platforms.

I was under the impression that there is some kind of backlash against the ‘copyleft’ idea, with GPL-style licenses losing grounds to less strict, BSD-style licenses. The statistics seem to indicate this is not the case.

There is not enough data to really answer that question. I would really like to see some analysis done over time to examine that point.

I would also like to see license proliferation analysis with grouping by programming languages, project categories, project ‘age’, and type of organizations involved. Are BSD-type licenses more popular in JavaScript projects as opposed to C/C++ based projects? Are Apache-style licenses more popular in big-data projects? Are GPL licenses more commonly used in projects that have been going on longer? Do projects where the primary driving organization is a start-up company, tend to be more loosely licensed, to allow companies to capitalize on them by closing the source at some point?

Remote-controling Linux from any mobile device

Remote ControlsRemote-controlling desktop computers from mobile devices is an idea that is typically implemented in the form of an Android/Iphone app that connects to the controlled computer over SSH, VNC, RDP or some proprietary protocol typically requiring a closed-source server component.

It had occurred to me a while ago that it shouldn’t be too difficult to write a webapp that would turn any mobile device with a web browser into a remote control for the server its running on, and I was wondering why I didn’t see any implementations of that idea around.

Well now there is one such implementation in the form of “Linux Remote Control“.

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Quick list of open-source webmail clients

Cory Doctorow recently wrote about Mailpile, an Indiegogo-based effort to fund development of a new open-source web-based E-Mail client.

I really have to wonder, does the world really need another such client? Here is a bunch of them:

  • Roundcube – Written in PHP with a moderm AJAX UI.
  • The Horde Project – Not only provides E-Mail, but a full groupware suit.
  • Zimbra – Not only provides a client but also a full server that can replace Microsoft Excange.
  • SquirrlMail – Includes a rather old style UI, but seems to be very popular. Most web hosting providers support installing it directly with their site management tools.
  • Mailr – Not very pretty, but written with Ruby On Rails, if you don’t want to run PHP.
  • And many, manymore.

I’ve been running my own mail sever for years. In my view, that is where the bigger  problems are, the constant flood of spam and other E-Mail attacks, seems to have led most internet service providers to block all E-Mail sent from anyone who doesn’t look like a large service provider. When running my own server I’d often find out that my mail get rejected unless I relay it through such a provider.

Ways to self-host your own website

It seems that recent news have triggered a wave of distrust in cloud and hosted web service. The popularity of hosting your website on your own computer seems to be growing. Personally, I’ve been running my own mail server for years, but several concerns have prevented me from trying to host my own website:

  1. Asymmetric bandwidth – The existing broadband infrastructure was laid by large a powerful communications companies that are more interested in broadcasting video and other media to passive “consumers” then in allowing “users” to communicated. A typical 100Mbit broadband cable connection tends to provide only mere 1 or 2Mbit of upload bandwidth.
  2. Security – Hosting a website from your own internal network typically means potentially exposing your network directly to outside threats.
  3. Availability – If anything happens to your home network – it happens to your website. Power failures, computer crashes, bandwidth-eating games and peer-to-peer software, they will all affect your site.
  4. You are on your own – Support services can be very useful when your tile is limited. There is no one to turn to we you do your own hosting.

Having considered the above, recent disappointment with a hosting service I use, had led me to consider self-hosting once more, hare are some ways one can accomplish that:

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IndieWeb and running my own pipes

Indie Web Camp logo

It seems that by deciding to run my own instance of Tiny Tiny RSS as a response to the looming shut down of Google Reader, I’ve joined a movement called IndieWeb.

I’m thinking about expanding my operation with that regard, maybe run my own web event processor, or even move this blog or my mail account, I’m also wondering about trying to run and use my own ownCloud or Dispora instances.