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My Blog has moved to http://arnulf.us/sevendipity/

Coming up

Blog topics that I would like to spend some time on:

http://lists.osgeo.org/pipermail/discuss/2009-September/005970.html

Interested? Let me know.

Contents

2008-08-05

Almost a month gone since my last Blog. Time to go for it again. In the meantime Arnulf has updated my Privacy Policy and at the same time he had some interesting discussions about open wireless access. Lending words seems to become my favorite Blog past time... In this case I did not even find the primary source of information myself. Peter sent me a link to Bruce Schneier's Open Wireless ( local copy) who very neatly describes what I wanted to say about this. Making the world a better place seems to be as good an approach to opening up wireless as any other. I wouldn't go as far as Bruce to ask people to hack my boxes but I at least know about the Security threat that I willingly take on. This makes me less ignorant than 99% of the rest of the world population. Those are the ones that we should care to educate and not make them believe that WPA will protect them from evil. It will only protect them from sharing resources.

2008-07-11

These are words lent from http://www.fefe.de/nowindows/ by --Seven 20:55, 11 July 2008 (UTC)

Please do not port software to Windows!

At least, do not port my software to Windows.

While the GNU General Public License expressly prohibits me from denying you the freedom to port software protected by it to Windows, I feel that you do great damage to the world if you do. Let me explain.

Windows is a proprietary environment. They don't give you the source code, and they do anything in their power to limit your freedom. They even try to limit what you can do with the software you rightfully bought from them. So, supporting them in any way is bad for the world, because it encourages others to try to limit others' freedoms (it worked great for Microsoft, so it must be a good idea, right?).

I don't want any of my work to give anyone a reason to support companies like Microsoft who try to limit people's freedoms.

That's why I develop my software on a completely free platform. So I know it works on a completely free platform. Many people using Windows don't care about their freedom. They do care about quality software and for that reason try to replace all the user space software from Microsoft with better free alternatives. This is the sole reason for the existance of cygwin.

However, giving people a way to work around bugs in Windows makes them stay longer with Windows. That's why I consider porting software to Windows sabotage. It does not help people under Windows, in the contrary. It makes them stay longer with Windows. And while they stay, they will put pressure on others to also use Windows. It only helps Microsoft.

While this text singles out Microsoft, other companies are equally evil. For example, porting the diet libc to Solaris would help Sun, noone else. Don't do it.

In the same line of argumentation, I will not modify any of my software so it works better with proprietary development platforms like Visual C++, even if I sacrifice great amounts of performance by not exploiting their features. And I ask you to do the same.

2008-06-17

Re: [OSGeo-Discuss] The New Board to be and Global representation

From a Post by Tyler Mitchell:

On Tue, June 17, 2008 16:59, Tyler Mitchell (OSGeo) wrote:
> On 13-Jun-08, at 12:33 AM, Jeroen Ticheler wrote:
> 
> 
>> I have recently seen several discussions where the geographical
>> representation sentiment, perceptions toward OSGeo being US or North
>> America centric and so on and so forth get in (the way). So I
>> could pick one randomly to react on. I'll pick this because of its title
>> :-)
>> 
> 
> I thought of this thread again because as I seek out nominees for the
> Board election, I've found at least three good visionary candidates
> that have declined to accept my nomination for them.  Just because we have
> global representation in charter members, doesn't mean that everyone is
> willing or able to be on the board.  The most frequent response I get is
> that people are too busy or focused on other aspects of supporting OSGeo.
> I believe it is easy to forget this fact.
> 
> 
> Tyler

I have also been thinking about this and I still believe that we not only have a strong geographical but also a language and a cultural bias and we must address that. The question is how to do this. It will not make much sense to try to get a geographically evenly distributed set of directors and if we would want all languages to be represented at board level we would only have another Babel.

So I wanted to pick up Tyler's idea of a "sort of global council". I don't think that this needs to be yet another committee right now but all local (or language) chapters should feel represented in one way or another. How to go about this? Be vocal.

This also includes the North American tribes who might have a feeling of being alienated from their own grounds (OSGeo is incorporated in the US) and their own language (it is the only one they have :-). Therefore I very much like and support the formation of local groups like has happened in Ottawa, California, New Mexiko, The Twin Cities, British Columbia Chapter, OSGeo.nl, and so on.

Funny enough - the closer local chapters are to North America (geographically, culturally and language wise) - the less inclined they seem to be to legally incorporate (as Daniel Morissette pointed out). One of the first official chapters was 中国 - it is the most possibly remote one from North American language and culture. The intermediaries (grandpa Italy, grandma Germany) took a lot longer to associate themselves with OSGeo Int'l and have to sort out their own history which predates OSGeo's quite a bit. Brazil is almost orthogonal, their country is so big that they suffer from the same monoculture as our Northern American friends do. They all have lively communities all the same - they are just somewhat detached from the rest of the world.

For the sake of simplicity lets call OSGeo Int'l OSGeo.org.

Back to what OSGeo.org's job is. From my perspective OSGeo.org should have two faces, one directed outwards and one directed inwards. On the inside OSGeo.org should be weak. There is absolutely no reason and no need for a large organizational framework with a strong hierarchy. OSGeo.org is doing quite well as it is right now. All of the inside of OSGeo is built on merit and on a few people actually doing things. It is not possible to inherit, buy or force anything and that is a good thing. This is also why I like a strong word and a strong opinion. There is no reason to spare each other with kind words. Be straightforward and bold because it helps to shorten soft discussions.

But on the outside OSGeo.org needs to be recognizable and big and must have a strong brand and mission. It must be good and profitable for all kinds of people to be part of OSGeo.org including all - users, developers and businesses alike. Ideally these three types of people eventually merge and live happily until the end of days, but thats a different story.

On the other side OSGeo.org should be thin and flexible when it comes to external policies, governance and cultural differences. It does not make any sense trying to establish a global governance on a local jurisdiction (which is why we now have US Export Restrictions). This is why OSGeo.org should stay the smallest scale possible. The larger it grows and the more liabilities it takes on, the more insurances, contracts and whatnot will plaster OSGeo.org and fixate it in a position which in the long run is not appropriate for a global organization.

The strong outward position in the local jurisdictions, language and culture can only be achieved by having strong local chapters. This job can only be taken on by legal national instances of OSGeo like OSGeo.de, OSGeo.it and obviously also OSGeo.us (read This). Ideally OSGeo.org will over time reduce its global importance and functionality and become a unifying but legally empty shell for local committees.

Coming back to Tyler's post: "Just having a group to go to for sharing thoughts, ideas and vision would be really valuable. Sound good?" Yes it does. And from what I can see we already have it. Its right there.

2008-06-09

My third blog is about spatial virility. Taxi drivers have TomTom, Porn Stars have Vixgrx, Spaces have OSGeo.


2008-05-27

My second blog is about TLDs and what they say about representation of location in the internet (the web). There are (probably most of) all nationalities. Two character list of TLDs are titled Country/dependency/region. Three character TLDs include funny things like .edu, .mil. and .gov that should really be pefixes to .us like in .edu.us, .mil.us and .gov.us. What does it say about participation of NA in the internet? How long will this irregularity persist and why is it there in the first place?

What does this say about location and the web? National boundaries are one of the most used category for the virtual representation of our world. Funny enough they do not even show up on the face of the earth when you look at it from orbit. Only grand and useless structures like the Chinese Wall or the German German border can be seen with the naked eye. Those ones make sense, agreed. But from most other points of view this spatial attribute has not much meaning. Climate changes, pollution of the water, the oceans, the land - those things ignore political boundaries. In a similar way the internet ignores top level domains. Anybody can get a .com or .org and .us. Q.E.D.

2008-05-27

My first blog is about a blog. Read this: http://s3.cleverelephant.ca/baama-2008.pdf.