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Bruce Perens (3872) writes "I've sent a letter to my district's senators and member of
congress this evening, regarding how we should achieve a swifter
end to U.S. dependency on the Russians for access to space.
Please read my letter, below. If you like it, please join
me and send something similar to your own representatives.
Find them here and
here. — Bruce
Dear Congressperson Lee,
The U.S. is dependent on the
Russians for present and future access to space. Only Soyuz can
bring astronauts to and from the Space Station. The space
vehicles being built by United Launch Alliance are designed
around a Russian engine. NASA's own design for a crewed rocket is in its infancy and will not be useful for a decade, if it ever flies.
Mr. Putin has become much too bold
because of other nations dependence. The recent loss of Malaysia
Air MH17 and all aboard is one consequence.
Ending our dependency on Russia for access to space, sooner
than we previously planned, has become critical. SpaceX has
announced the crewed version of their Dragon spaceship. They have had multiple successful flights and returns to Earth of the un-crewed Dragon and their Falcon 9 rocket, which are without unfortunate
foreign dependencies. SpaceX is pursuing development using private
funds. The U.S. should now support and accelerate that
SpaceX has, after only a decade of development, demonstrated many advances over
existing and planned paths to space. Recently they have twice successfully
brought the first stage of their Falcon 9 rocket back to the
ocean surface at a speed that would allow safe landing on ground.
They have demonstrated many times the safe takeoff, flight to
significant altitude, ground landing and re-flight of two similar
test rockets. In October they plan the touchdown of their rocket's
first stage on a barge at sea, and its recovery and re-use
after a full flight to space. Should their plan for a reusable
first-stage, second, and crew vehicle be achieved, it could
result in a reduction in the cost of access to space to perhaps
1/100 of the current "astronomical" price. This would open a new
frontier to economical access in a way not witnessed by our
nation since the transcontinental railroad. The U.S. should now
support this effort and reap its tremendous economic rewards.
This plan is not without risk, and like all space research
there will be failures, delays, and eventually lost life.
However, the many successes of SpaceX argue for our increased
support now, and the potential of tremendous benefit to our
nation and the world.
Bruce Perens (3872) writes "The TAPR Digital Communications Conference has been coveredtwice here and is a great meeting on leading-edge wireless technology, mostly done as Open Hardware and Open Source software. Free videos of the September 2014 presentations will be made available if you help via Kickstarter. For an idea of what's in them, see the Dayton Hamvention interviews covering Whitebox, our Open Hardware handheld software-defined radio transceiver, and Michael Ossman's HackRF, a programmable Open Hardware transceiver for wireless security exploration and other wireless research. Last year's TAPR DCC presentations are at the Ham Radio Now channel on Youtube." Link to Original Source top
Bruce Perens (3872) writes "Codec2 is the Open Source ultra-low-bandwidth speech codec capable of encoding voice in 1200 Baud. FreeDV (freedv.org) is an HF (global-range radio) implementation that uses half the bandwidth of SSB, and without the noise.
Here are three speeches about where it's going:
David Rowe: Embedding Codec2: Open Source speech coding on a low-cost microprocessor, at Linux.conf.au 2014. YouTube, downloadable MP4.
Bruce Perens: FreeDV, Codec2, and HT of the Future (how we're building a software-defined walkie-talkie that's smarter than a smartphone), at the TAPR/ARRL Digital Communications Conference 2013. Blip.tv, YouTube
Bruce Perens (3872) writes "FCC is currently processing a request for rule-making, RM-11699, that would allow the use of Amateur frequencies in the U.S. for private, digitally-encrypted messages.
Encryption is a potential disaster for ham radio because it defeats its self-policing nature. If hams can't decode messages, they can't identify if the communication even belongs on ham radio. A potentially worse problem is that encryption destroys the harmless nature of Amateur radio.There's no reason for governments to believe that encrypted communications are harmless.
Bruce Perens writes "The Codec2 project has developed FreeDV, a program to encode digital voice on two-way radio in only 1.125 KHz of bandwidth. But FCC regulations aren't up-to-speed with the challenges of software-defined radio and Open Source. A 24 page FCC filing created by Bruce Perens proposes that FCC allow all digital modulations and published digital codes on ham radio and switch to bandwidth-based regulation." Link to Original Source top
Bruce Perens writes "I found myself alone in a room, in front of a deep square or rectangular pool of impressively clear, still water. There was a pile of material at the bottom of the pool, and a blue glow of Cherenkov radiation in the water around it. To this day, I can't explain how an unsupervised kid could ever have gotten in there." Link to Original Source top
Bruce Perens writes "It started with our visit to Manzanar, the camp in California where thousands of U.S. Citizens of Japenese ethnicity were held prisoner in the desert. And it ends with the American Community Survey of 2012." Link to Original Source top
Bruce Perens writes "The Ada Initiative has a vision: a world in which women are equal and welcome participants in open source software, open data, and open culture. They want women writing free software, women editing Wikipedia, women creating the Internet and women shaping the future of global society. They need your help.
At their donation site, you can become a sustaining sponsor, for $16/month or $32/month. I participated as one of 100 seed funders a while back, so I've put my money where my mouth is.
It's really clear, if you walk around any software conference or a ham radio conference, that there just aren't very many women there. I don't consider a one-gender environment to be a socially healthy one. Some of it is just what people like to do. But there is a pretty good case that there are social pressures against women's participation in the technologies, ranging from below-consciousness subtle to egregiously offensive. That's what the Ada Initiative works upon.
What I like about the Ada Initiative is that they have worked real positive change, they're not anti-male, they don't shoot themselves in the foot and they stay on message. Thus, I appreciate their leadership.
The most visible change they've wrought is that they have convinced many technical conferences to enact anti-harassment policies. And the policies they promote are fair, where earlier proposals were so obviously wrong.
Bruce Perens writes "Open Hardware Journal is a new technical journal on designs for physical or electronic objects that are shared as if they were Open Source software. It's an open journal under a Creative Commons license. This issue contains articles on
Producing Lenses With 3D Printers,
Teaching with Open Hardware Submarines,
An Open Hardware Platform for USB Firmware Updates and General USB Development, and more." Link to Original Source top
Bruce Perens writes "Lexis Nexis has Open Sourced HPCC, the parallel software that they use for handling extremely large data. Databases that, for example, hold records for every consumer in the U.S. can be processed with this software and its task-specific language. As Strategic Consultant for the company while they decided to participate in Open Source, Open Source co-founder Bruce Perens designed a new Covenant between Lexis Nexis and the Open Source community that makes dual-licensing more fair to the Open Source developer." Link to Original Source top
Bruce Perens (3872) writes "When patent troll Acacia sued Red Hat in 2007, it ended with a bang: Acacia's patents were invalidated by the court, and all software developers, open-source or not, had one less legal risk to cope with. So, why is the outcome of Red Hat's next tangle with Acacia being kept secret, and how is a Texas court helping to keep it that way? Could the outcome have placed Red Hat in violation of the open-source licenses on its own product?" Link to Original Source top
Bruce Perens writes "Codec2 is an Open
Source digital voice codec for low-bandwidth applications,
in its first Alpha release. Currently it can encode 3.75 seconds of clear
speech in 1050 bytes, and there are opportunities to code in additional
compression that will further reduce its bandwidth. The main developer is
David Rowe, who also worked on
Originally designed for Amateur
Radio, both via sound-card software modems on HF radio and as an alternative to the proprietary voice codec
presently used in D-STAR,
the codec is probably also useful for telephony at a fraction of current
The algorithm is based on papers from the 1980's, and is intended to be
unencumbered by valid unexpired patent claims. The license is LGPL2.
The project is seeking developers for testing in applications, algorithmic
improvement, conversion to fixed-point, and coding to be more suitable
for embedded systems." Link to Original Source top
Bruce Perens writes "Oracle has brought a lawsuit against Google claiming that Google has infringed patents on the Java Language, presumably in Android. We don't have the text of the lawsuit yet. But there's a patent grant that should allow Google to use Java royalty-free. Has Google failed to meet the terms of the grant?" Link to Original Source top
Bruce Perens writes "Mark Hurd's silly exit has little to do with HP's real problems. As an executive there about a decade ago, I saw a company that was giving up its differentiating value in the name of operational savings, not realizing that a decade later the Golden Goose of creativity would have found greener pastures. But surprisingly, the classic HP tradition of building a great place to do engineering that results in a flood of excellent creative products is being followed..." Link to Original Source top
Bruce Perens writes "The Galaxy 15 commercial satellite has not responded to commands since solar flares fried its CPU in April, and it won't turn off. Intelsat controllers moved all commercial payloads to other birds except for WAAS, a system that adds accuracy to GPS for landing aircraft and finding wayward geocaches. Since the satellite runs in "bent pipe" mode, amplifying wide bands of RF that are beamed up to it, it is likely to interfere with other satellites as it crosses their orbital slots on its way to an earth-sun Lagrange point, the natural final destination of a geostationary satellite without maneuvering power.
The only payload that is still deliberately active on the satellite is its WAAS repeater. An attempt to overload the satellite and shut it down on May 3 caused a Notice to Airmen regarding the unavailability of WAAS for an hour. Unsaid is what will happen to WAAS, and for how long, when the satellite eventually loses its sun-pointing capability, expected later this year, and stops repeating the GPS correction signal. Other satellites can be moved into Galaxy 15's orbital slot, but it is yet unannounced whether the candidates bear the WAAS payload." Link to Original Source top
Bruce Perens writes "Bruce Perens was an expert witness in the Jacobsen v. Katzer court case. He tells the story of the legal wrangling that produced a historic victory for Open Source" Link to Original Source top
Bruce Perens writes "Ettus Research produces the USRP or Universal Software Radio Peripheral. When used with the GNU Radio software, this device allows the construction of radio receivers and transmitters that are primarily software. It's been used for everything from medical imaging to espionage. USRP is Open Hardware, the design and other data needed to implement it have been published. Matt Ettus today announced that his company has been acquired by National Instruments. Operation will remain separate from NI and Matt says that little will change." Link to Original Source top
Bruce Perens writes | more than 8 years ago
Please read the alert here. The Broadcast Flag is back, this time as a WIPO treaty, and if you don't speak up, it'll be decided by bureaucrats without any democratic input at all.
The alert provides a web form to write to your congress person. Please do that. And please put the alert up elsewhere, so that other people can help too.
I'm in Washington DC working on this today, and your support will help.
Bruce Perens writes | more than 10 years ago
Some of you may remember my technology policy / technology news site Technocrat.net. The site is reactivated. It's intended to be a more mature, and hopefully more relevant, forum than Slashdot. No ACs, a special focus on technology policy and high technology outside of the conventional corporate model, but conventional tech news as well.
I'd really appreciate it if you'd create a login on the site and submit articles. Especially original work, which hasn't always been well recieved on Slashdot - they seem to prefer linking to other people's coverage. RDF and RSS are available at http://technocrat.net/rdf and http://technocrat.net/rss, so you can keep track of articles from elsewhere.
Bruce Perens writes | more than 11 years ago
There is a "nerd filter" that people like me tend to pass through without realizing. On the other side of this filter, we are very likely to meet people we know, and in general people like us.
My most recent episode was at the 9000 foot visitor station on Mauna Kea. The folks there said that I shouldn't attempt to drive up to the telescopes without a 4-wheel-drive vehicle. So, I went in the parking lot and accosted occupants of the first 4-wheel-drive vehicle that came by. The driver of said vehicle had seen me lecture in San Francisco. I got my ride.
Just by standing at that 9000 foot visitor station, I'd passed through the nerd filter.
Then, a few weeks ago, I happened to come upon a local radio club's ham radio field day operation while hiking in the woods with my wife. An co-worker from 10 years ago walked up. It turned out he'd just gotten his ham license.
This stuff happens all of the time. Of course it helps that I am somewhat recognizable in tech circles, so people who know of me tend to walk up, but on the other hand I am not that well known.
Bruce Perens on NPR's Talk of The Nation: Science Friday
Bruce Perens writes | more than 11 years ago
On Friday January 17, Bruce Perens will be interviewed on National
Public Radio's "Talk of the Nation: Science Friday", with host
Ira Flatow. The subject will be the philosophy and business of Open
Source software. The interview will take place between 2:20 P.M. and
3:00 EST, that's 11:20 to 12:00 PST. Find your local radio station
here . For
general information on the program, see the Science Friday site .
Bruce Perens writes | more than 11 years ago
I don't mean "famous" seriously, but I seem to have become somewhat well-known outside of traditional hacker circles. I try to use that to get our issues heard.
It came to me today that some of what drove me to become well-known outside of our little circle was frustration with Slashdot.
I used to post here a lot, and Slashdot was where I sent most of my bulletins first. Then I started to be frustrated with the editorial policies, submissions being nuked in favor of less important stuff, the AC and troll situation, etc. So, I consciously looked around for other venues in which to publish. First, I started Technocrat.net, which was good (and which I intend to make work again) but didn't pick up more than about 5000 readers. Then I started sending stuff to ZDnet. Surprisingly, ZDnet was much more willing to publish my stuff than Slashdot had been, especially since I didn't want to get paid. After a while, I shifted to their sister publication CNET News.com . I also sent some things to The Register and other publications. All were very willing to publish my stuff. It turned out that Slashdot was much more willing to link to stuff that I'd written on CNET than it was to accept my postings directly, not that it mattered as much once that content was on CNET. I guess that fits the format - I guess Slashdot doesn't want to be a producer of original material - they want to be an aggregator of stuff published elsewhere.
During this time, I was also doing a lot of things that drew attention. Forming a VC firm, working for HP, doing my gig with the W3C patent policy board, etc. Being widely read helped me get to do these things, and doing these things made me more widely read. The press started calling me, and I developed good relationships with a lot of reporters. When I left HP, I got a half-page in the New York Times print business section, with a big photo.
I probably wouldn't be getting all of this press were it not for Slashdot "pushing me out of the cradle". I'm not sure, however, that this was good for Slashdot.
NY Times Publishes an Article About Perens Book Series
Bruce Perens writes | more than 11 years ago
Please see this article in the NY Times. Woo Hoo! This is the end of the publicity except for a few magazines with long lead times. We got a good deal of coverage, and IMO it's always a good idea to put the successes of the Free Software movement in front of the people. Hopefully the coverage will inspire others to do free books. I have gotten a lot of writing proposals, but can use more. Please hit my book series page if you would like to write.
Bruce Perens writes | more than 11 years ago
I posted 30 replies to the story about my Open Source book series with Prentice Hall PTR. The slashcode stopped me at that point. It says you can only post to Slashdot 30 times in 4 hours. It won't even let me do it as an AC. So, the software has cut off comments from the "Horse's Mouth" in favor of ones from the other end of the horse:-) It doesn't seem productive of information. Moderation of the previous comments in the article should be counted in this limit - I haven't checked, but I could probably have made it a good deal of the way from 0 to the 50 karma cap with those 30 comments.
From: Pierre Machard > Do you have any reason to think that the position you defend will > satisfy Patent holders ?
Some of them have threatened to walk off of W3C in response to even so mild a position as the draft policy. Nobody thinks they'll really do it. But your question shows the problem: we can't control their behavior through the standards organization. We need their cooperation to make this work. Thus, we can't take a draconian position. The only way around this is to get legislation, which is a worthy but uphill battle.
From: Nick Phillips > I presume you've seen Rik van Riel's suggestion as posted > to one of the SPI lists earlier. In fact it wouldn't surprise me if the same > things triggered his message as yours, either directly or indirectly.
A number of people have suggested defensive patent pools. I think I remember doing so in a 1997 article in LinuxWorld.com . The three problems are:
1. Getting inventions.
2. Getting money to file for patents. This is both legal fees to
format the patent claim (which has to be right if you want to
be enforcible), and filing fees.
3. Getting money to file lawsuits. If you can't sue, nobody's going
to be very interested in your claims.
I think that #1 could be handled by the community, #2 could at least be started with pro-bono assistance from legal and engineering students, etc. #3 doesn't have to come until later. If you want to run with the project, please do so.
From: Wouter Verhelst > It may not be a bad idea to have patent holders turn to a different > standards body than people that object to software patents. If there are > expensive 'standards' from one standards body and free standards from > another, I feel that people would use the free standards, so that the > patent holders would lose. Even if they have their own standard.
Well, there are about 100 existing organizations they could turn to, including IETF (which has a joke of a patent policy IMO) and OASIS. It would be very easy to do. I don't think making them do that would win us anything.
From: James Antill From Bruce: > > The code that makes use of > > the patented principle must be under the MIT license, which allows a > > scope-limited patent license. That may be linked into GPL code and > > distributed. > > How does this work? > Say I have "xmms", which is GPL code that I didn't write... and I > want to implement some w3c std. that contains one of these patents. So > I do the code as an MIT license, but I'm going to have to link it to > the GPL'd code... it's going to be a _derivative work_... so the > code is basically GPL, no matter what I put at the top of the file.
The GPL terms on linking are that all parts of the derivative work must be under a license with _no_additional_restrictions_ on top of those in the GPL. The GPL does not prevent you from _removing_restrictions_, as long as you are the copyright holder on the portion of the code in question.
From: Andre Lehovich > I've been trying to comment on the draft patent policy. > The link below -- to approve inclusion of my comments in the > official archive -- doesn't work for me, returing a 404.
It's breaking for everyone, I think. I notified Danny Weitzner, the Patent Policy Working Group chair.
Attention anyone whose message doesn't appear here: thanks for writing! As usual, I am buried in mail and stuff to do, so although I read them all, I can't answer every message individually.
To All Members of the Free Software and Open Source Community,
For the past two years, I've been working on the W3C patent policy on your behalf, to make it safe for Free Software to implement W3C standards. Now, I'm worried that we could lose that fight, not because of the patent holders, but because of our own community.
There's a long discussion below. I'm asking you to do something once you read that discussion: Please write to and tell them something like this (please elaborate - everyone discounts rubber-stamp comments):
Subject: Approve of draft policy - disapprove of software patenting.
I request that W3C approve the draft patent policy, because it's a
compromise that protects the right of Open Source / Free Software
programmers to implement W3C standards.
And you may want to add this:
I object to software patents, and support efforts to eliminate them
at the legislative level.
Now, to the discussion.
Three representatives of the Free Software / Open Source community: myself, Larry Rosen of the Open Source Initiative, and Eben Moglen of the Free Software Foundation, worked on the W3C patent policy for two years. We spent between 1/8 and 1/4 of our time on the project for all of that time, participating in many face-to-face meetings and conference calls. Across the table were some companies that, I feel, wanted to "farm" their own patents in W3C standards and would have erected lucrative "toll-booths" to collect royalties from every implementor of web standards. If they had their way, we would have been locked out.
We got you the best deal we could get. It's not everything we want, and it can't be. The draft policy is at http://www.w3.org/TR/2002/WD-patent-policy-20021114/ .
The proposed W3C patent policy grants a royalty-free right for everyone to practice patents that are embedded in the standard by W3C members who own those patents. It prevents "patent farming", the biggest problem that faced us. The problem is that the patent grant is limited - it only applies to code that actually implements the standard. This is called a "field-of-use" limitation. The problem this creates for the Free Software community is that other uses of the same patent in our code, for anything but implementing the standard, could be covered by royalties.
I object to software patents entirely, and many of you do as well. Why, then, did I (on your behalf) approve of a policy containing that limitation, and why am I asking you to support it?
The answer is simple. Patent holders won't continue their membership in W3C if that membership forces them to give up their patent rights for non-standards-related applications. They will instead move their standards-making activities to other organizations that allow them to charge patent royalties on the standards. And we will have lost.
It comes down to what we can compel people to do, and what they won't stand for. The patent holders want the W3C brand on their standards, and will give up something for that. If we ask them to give up more, they'll do without the W3C brand, and we have no way to control what standards organization they move to. If we wish to fight software patents outside of standards, I think our only choice is to do so at the legislative level.
The field-of-use limitation presents special problems regarding the GPL, because the GPL disallows a field-of-use-limited patent license. There is a work-around for this. The code that makes use of the patented principle must be under the MIT license, which allows a scope-limited patent license. That may be linked into GPL code and distributed. I'm less than comfortable with this, but my discomfort arises from the basic injustice of software patents. A work-around is the best we can do in this case.
FSF, by its tenets, was bound to protest the field-of-use-limitation. I respect that protest, as it is rooted an a belief that I share - that software patents are fundamentally wrong. However, if the Free Software / Open Source community comes out against the W3C patent policy, and the patent holders who want unlimited rights to charge royalties come out against it, just who will speak for it? The result will be that W3C will fail to give final approval to the policy, and we will not even have the limited protection from software patents that we've won. Thus, I have to ask you _not_ to do what FSF asks this time. Of course, this disagreement does not diminish my respect of FSF, and I will continue to work with them as I have on many projects for years.
Thus, I'd like you to write that email now. It's very important that W3C see support for the draft policy, or we'll be back to the old, bad policy again. Thanks!
As always, please feel free to call me to discuss this at 510-526-1165 (California time) or write me at firstname.lastname@example.org .