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Mot-clé - free as in beer

Fil des billets

samedi 26 septembre 2009

Regression in Evolution, Where Open Source Fails

I seriously don't get it. I really don't. I have worked on finally upgrading my kubuntu from Hardy to Jaunty, and finally embracing KDE4, for better or for worse.

You see, I can understand that KDE4 is not perfect, I can understand bugs, I can understand unfinished migrations from 3.5 to 4.x. This all I can understand. What I can't understand (and it's not only here, but it happens a lot in Open Source Software), is regression.

The Network manager on KDE 3.5 was nothing fantastic, but for a mini-geek like me, it worked well enough. And most important, i could in 3 clicks get my network configured the way i wanted it, ie. get a static local IP for my desktop so I can synchronize with my laptop easily. Well, with the supposedly-improved network manager in KDE 4, I just couldn't get it working. Cryptic names for things where everything was crystal clear in KDE 3.5, text fields that are half truncated so that you can't even see what you're typing. Simply horrid (some people agree with me). And frankly, I am already spending enough time resetting my whole machine, I really don't have time to lose with this shit.

So I downloaded WICD. In two seconds, all my settings were taken into account. I already use WICD on my laptop, and it simply rocks.

This trend is something that I observe quite a bit in Open Source. Evolution actually brings on regression. It might make sense to some extent. Let's take KDE4 for example. It didn't work so well when the first version was put out, and that could have been seen as a "regression", but all in all, the whole rethinking of how a desktop should work was a real evolution, even a revolution.

What I really don't get, is that in its evolution, some piece of software loses its basic abilities and usability. Seriously, what are you going to do with a network manager, except 'manage networks'? So why couldn't the knetworkmanager retain at least its simplicity? Because it is on the way to "getting much better"? Well, tell you what. I'll stick with WICD for a while, give me a ping when knetworkmanager actually becomes usable again :).

vendredi 30 janvier 2009

Saut dans le vide

OK, priez pour moi, votre dieu, grand schtroumpf ou fleur préférée, j'upgrade de Kubuntu Hardy à Kubuntu Intrepid, ce qui veut dire que je passe définitivement à KDE 4 (.2).

J'ai essayé KDE 4 il y a quelques semaines, sans vraiment y trouver mon compte. Mais comme le dit l'adage, no risk, no fun. Au pire, je pourrais tout supprimer et recommencer à zéro. PLus de news dans quelques heures...

mercredi 14 janvier 2009

Copyright and Free Licenses, Much Done, Still Much to Do

© - by Mikelo - CC-BY-SA It is interesting to see how far Creative Commons licenses have gone, and as interesting to note how much work there is to do in order to make free licenses enter everyday's world.

Netzpolitik reports that Al Jazeera put their video footage from the war in Israel under a CC-BY license, and that is great news indeed. It goes to prove how important free licenses are. In this conflict where so little footage is available, because journalists are not allowed to film, I find it fantastic that a news network, which primary goal should be to inform, allows others to use and reuse their information. The information is also of a critical nature, and although news networks are probably used to doing this, to engage in long conversations about what footage can be bought/used/reused would probably harm the quick pace at which this information should be made available. So kuddos to Al Jezeera for doing this, I can only wish more news networks and information sources would do so.

On the other end of the free license spectrum, I stumbled upon a completely different aspect of how people understand copyright while surfing on MakeTechEasier. I must say the last words in this post, which read:

Note: I have taken a lot of time and effort to write up this tutorial. You are free to link to this post, but please do not copy the whole article to your blog/website. THIS IS A COPYRIGHTED MATERIAL.

caught my attention. Especially this comment, which states:

I hope you don’t mind. i have added this as a howto on my webpage, and linked it back to you.

So I followed the link, and ended up on Dave Field's post about the same topic and there again, another line caught my attention:

The Writer has actually copyrighted his material, something i would never personally do, as its counter Open source [...]

The interesting thing here is the discrepancy between the intent (be more like Open Source) and the way copyright is understood (I would never copyright my work). At the time I wrote the commentary, the blog did not have any license information. As such, copyright in its strictest sense was enforced by default.

That is where there is so much work to do. Most people (and I don't blame them, it took me a hell of a lot of time to understand this copyright/free licenses stuff) are using the legal terms wrongly. A free license does not make the "copyright" disappear and you don't have to really "copyright" something since "copyright" _is_ there as soon as you are the author of anything. Of course, you can add a copyright on something provided there are no existing rights. But few people actually know that as long as there is no copyright/license information, any content should be presumed as heavily copyrighted. And few people know that "Open Source" does not necessarily mean dropping the copyright altogether, but rather making sure that the strings attached to the copyright allow better use and reuse of contents. It's interesting that the author of the MakeTechEasier post felt he had to add a warning at the end of his post. In an ideal world, everyone would know that since the source of the tutorial is clear (ie. he signed his post) his copyright should be respected.

And I guess it is our duty, as "open source" or "free content" advocates, to make these things clear and make sure that people understand tham. Hard task if any.

On a more personal note, I am glad and a bit proud that the blog's author decided to use a CC license for his blog after I wrote my commentary, and I can only hope one thing, is that he will spread the word ;-).

mardi 24 juillet 2007

Why I don't always go for free

Résumé en français : Pourquoi je choisis pas toujours le libre. J'ai peu de photos sur Flickr, comparé aux nombres impressionnants de quelques-uns. La plupart de mes photos sont sous licence Creative Commons, cc-by-sa (paternité-partage à l'identique), mais pas toutes. Je garde la totalité de mes droits par défaut sur toutes les photos où l'on voit et peut reconnaître quelqu'un (que je connais ou pas), pour une raison qui vient d'être illustrée par l'utilisation par l'agence de pub de Virgin Mobile en Australie, qui a utilisé des photos de Flickr sous licence CC-BY (paternité) et en a fait... ce qu'elle a voulu, sans plus se soucier de demander quoi que ce soit, à qui que ce soit. Bien sûr, c'est "libre". Mais dans ces cas-là, je suis pour l'adage qui dit "la liberté des uns s'arrête où commence celle des autres.'"

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vendredi 29 juin 2007

Absolutely Intercultural

While at Reboot I hooked up with Anne Fox, who does part of the podcast Absolutely Intercultural a very interesting series on cultural differences, gaps and similarities.

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mardi 13 mars 2007

Parts de marché

ou les geeks ont de l'humour

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dimanche 11 mars 2007

Kassé

Mon Kubuntu s'est cassé.

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mardi 12 décembre 2006

De Windows à Kubuntu - Installation de Kubuntu (II)

Donc réveil ce matin et hop, installation de Kubuntu.

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De Windows à Kubuntu - partition et installation (I)

Parcours du combattant. Après avoir passé la journée à me renseigner sur quoi, comment, où, pourquoi, me voilà embarquée dans le périple du newbie.

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lundi 11 décembre 2006

Le jour où...

Je me rappelle le jour où Tristan a changé pour Linux.

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mardi 14 novembre 2006

Wikimedia logo highjacking

Where I am reassured that there are still people with imagination in the Wikimedia projects

I am one of those tedious defenders of the integrity of the Wikimedia logo. It is not, in itself, the best logo ever, but well, the Wikimedia Foundation has enough problems as is trying to differentiate itself from Wikipedia, it deserves at least its own visual identity.

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jeudi 5 octobre 2006

Madame l'Agence, il faut citer ses sources !

Où l'AFP oublie de citer Wikipédia

Il y a de cela deux jours, Mathias Schindler invitait qui le voulait à une petite comparaison de texte.

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dimanche 20 août 2006

Free as in?

First, good news, Florence is back on the blog scene. Yay! Second, she writes a very interesting post about the meaning of "free" as stressed in the Wikimedia Foundation's mission statement.

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jeudi 30 mars 2006

Droits d'auteur, droit à l'information et tutti quanti

Entre ce qu'il faut et ce que l'on voudrait...

A croire que c'est le printemps ou la lune qui veulent ça. Dans deux de mes blogs préférés, on parle de droits d'auteur en ce moment. Pas tout à fait sur le même plan.

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mardi 28 février 2006

Intégristes du copyright

Où l'on se rend compte que le libre n'est pas toujours compris, parfois même par ses plus virulents défenseurs

Il fait pas beau. il fait même carrément froid. Il neige, pour tout vous dire. Et puis je me sens d'humeur trollesque. Donc j'ai pointé mon nez ce matin sur le bistrot Wikipédia. Depuis un certain temps déjà, mes activités au niveau organisationnel (Wikimedia Foundation, Wikimedia France) me laissent peu de temps pour contribuer.

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vendredi 4 novembre 2005

Exploitation et connaissance

Où l'on se pose la question de savoir où finit le don et où commence l'exploitation

Bon, je m'attaque à un sujet hautement philosophique je suppose, auquel je vais apporter mon habituelle philosophie à deux francs cinquante (le premier qui me dit de passer à l'euro, je le frappe). Je discutais au gré d'IRC avec Mathieu, qui m'a fait part en quelques mots des réticences que l'un de ses amis éprouve à l'égard de Wikipédia.

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vendredi 30 septembre 2005

Adopt Firefox

Où l'on prend les mots au pied de la lettre :-)

Adopt Firefox

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vendredi 29 avril 2005

Petite histoire de copyright (à dormir debout)

Où l'on apprend que César n'est pas toujours celui qu'on croit

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jeudi 21 avril 2005

Why the Wikimedia projects should not use GFDL as a stand alone license for images

Where we learn that free does not always mean easy

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mercredi 2 mars 2005

Fosdem

where one learns that celebrity is a relative thing

Chemin and I went to spend the week-end in Brussels for the FOSDEM, where we were supposed to hold a booth for Wikipédia (yes, Wikipédia takes an accent in French :P ), which he did, while I ran around drinking iced tea and meeting celebrities. Yes, you read this well, celebrities.

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