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Is this thing still on

Is this thing still on?

This is just a test of posting to my blog.. it's been too long...

And, since I upgraded my VPS I realize the dates/ordering of posts was lost :(

I'll try to remedy this!

Legal Issues at FOSDEM 2014

Legal Issues at FOSDEM 2014

I'm very pleased to announce the Call For Participation for the FOSDEM 2014 Legal Issues DevRoom.

This is the third year that I've been lucky enough to collaborate with some leading practitioners of Free Software and Open Source licensing and community leadership to organize this intense event on the topic of what makes FLOSS possible and what are the key issues facing FLOSS today. I'm joined by my friends Karen Sandler, Bradley Kuhn, and Richard Fontana.

I have been fascinated by the intersection of law and technology because it is the clever use of copyright that makes Free, Libre and Open Source Software possible. We hope to stimulate discussion on topics such as:

  • Copyleft vs. permissive licensing: What is a policy case for copyleft? If so what form should it take?
  • How is software freedom important in ensuring privacy and security?
  • What defines a Free Software and/or Open Source project?
  • Do traditional Free Software values face some level of cooption from for-profit corporate interest? If so, how?
  • Copyleft licensing models and how they relate to business models. Are there some business models that are license-permissible but bad for community building? On the other side, does your license choice limit or expand your community?
  • Eroding software freedom in the proliferation of closed computing devices such as mobile phones and tablets
  • Copyleft enforcement and compliance planning from a developer perspective. What is the future of GPL enforcement? Is it working?
  • What is its impact on adoption of copyleft?
  • How does the 'so-called' software patent war impact Free Software and Open Source?
  • Copyleft license compatibility. What are the challenges of code base merges when various licenses are in use? How does a compatibility analysis between licenses work?

Please submit your talk idea before December 1st and plan to join us in Brussels on February 1st and 2nd!


ClojureBridge Minnesota

ClojureBridge Minnesota

Of course the weather being what it is -- winter came in with a bang -- our turnout last night at was light....


But we had a small, enthusiastic group that discussed the recent Clojure Conj by editorializing the fine blog bost by Logan Linn.

We also introduced the ClojureBridge effort to the group and everyone sees nice synergy between this and our recent success in November with "beginner's night" (which we plan to repeat every other meeting).

As a software development consultant I often co-work at CoCoMSP -- a melting pot of entrepreneurial energy. I have introduced the idea of hosting ClojureBridge at CoCoMSP with the founders and they are considering it (fingers crossed)!

Now we need to recruit more volunteers to help organize our local ClojureBridge Minnesota workshop next spring!

Ask me how you can help!


Comments on FaiF 0x22

Comments on FaiF 0x22

I have some comments on today's episode of Free as in Freedom: 0x22: Elder's Methods of FOSS Activism. Obviously you should listen to it (and add FaiF to your favorite podcatcher. You will be the forth listener! :) ). This oggcast is the first in a series from the first Legal Issues DevRoom at FOSDEM which Karen, Bradley, Richard Fontana and I organized.

I think Bradley was critical of Ambjörn's talk not enumerating all the collaboration that has taken place in the FLOSS community. To be fair Ambjörn himself said he had tried to enumerate various examples (and has 196 or so pointers on his blog ... see the ?Speakers page for blog links). Karen makes the point that it is precisely these sort of events where we can learn about activisim across a broad range of our communities.

I appreciate Ambjörn's view that we can develop and use various norms and legal tools to help promote Internet Freedom generally, but sometimes activism is necessary to educate and move public policy (e.g. the SOPA protests). Indeed we seem increasingly under threat of being limited to walled application gardens or even being literally firewalled from the open Internet.

The key takeaway, I believe, is we need to collaborate more between Free Software, Open Source, Free Culture and broader Internet Freedom communities generally. In a conversation with Mike Linksvayer after the DevRoom session we discussed the challenge from a FLOSS project level of designing the licensing of software and non-software artificacts such that both could evolve together over time. This is a tricky issue which involves "or later" (plus licensing) versions and software/non-software licensing compatibility. We shared the observation -- apropos to Ambjörn's talk -- that many humanitarian or otherwise public activisim efforts often don't make FLOSS part of their agenda (and, in fact, may not even be aware of it). We need to do a much better job at this collaboration and cross-community education.

As for the logistics of the DevRoom allow my to publicly express a mea culpa. I have been to FOSDEM before and I know how challenging it is to fit "a 20lb conference in a 10lb bag" (as @spot said). I knew that 30 minute sesssions would be short... We had so many great proposals that I was happy to hear from as many as possible. However it is true that this was ultimately too short and the format did not adequately allow for Q/A, discussion, time to change DevRooms and setup for the next speaker. And I especially want to apologize to anyone who was waiting outside the DevRoom that I steadfastly refused to let in :-| . I didn't want the FOSDEM volunteer organizers to have the University withdraw support for future conferences due to violating fire codes.

I hope everyone will be able to check out the ?slides and/or audio oggcasts of the talks as they become available. And, yes, we'll hopefully get a bigger room and plan for more discussion time next year!

second post

This is the second post to this example blog.

Testing 4 5 6...

Real World Clojure

Real World Clojure

I just completed giving my talk at Software Passion conference on Real World Clojure...


Here you can download my presentation:

I'm very impressed at the organization and quality of the content at Software Passion -- a first time conference. Clearly the organizers have appealed to the innovative voices in Sweden's academic and entreprenueal communities.

And, of course, the best part of any conference is the "hallway track" and Software Passion has a lot of interesting geeks!


You are going to find yourself immersed in legal issues

You are going to find yourself immersed in legal issues

The title of this blog post is a quote from Karen in the most recent Free as in Freedom oggcast

FAIF 0x1E:
Legal issues are an inherent part of Free and open source software generally. If you get passionate about Free and open source software you are going to find yourself immersed in legal issues. It's something I think developers are really aware of... much more so than in other fields.

I consider myself to be very passionate about FLOSS and I care about the it's legal underpinnings because I see the enormous potential good FLOSS can bring to addressing the big challenges facing the planet. Continuing to enjoy the right to engage in FLOSS depends on the legal terrain which makes it possible.

We have seen the excesses of copyright maximalists in Free Culture and the damaging impact they can have. The SOPA (PIPA) debates are simply the latest chapter in that saga. Lessig points out that, at least in the USA, we will never win that war until we win the war against corruption of our Republic. We must strike the root of the problem in addition to the branches. I say we must remain vigilant about the branches as well.

FLOSS is another branch which is as important as Free Culture. Understanding that FLOSS is possible due a hack on copyright underscores how critical it is for developers to be aware of the legal environment in which their creativity can thrive. And the escalating software patent war -- especially in Java and mobile -- has had a chilling effect on innovation.

One the strengths (can we think in terms of countermeasures?) of our community is that we function out of basic principles of transparency and respect. The traditions in FLOSS like the traditions in the early open Internet form a culture of true innovation where working code drives collaboration and makes it possible to "stand on the shoulders of giants". Fontana has talked about this lex mercatoria in Free Software as an essential part of understanding the context of legal issues in FLOSS. I hope he will expand on this in his new blog.

I am optimistic that if we combine our brainpower to protect FLOSS as we do to create awesome software we can enable new kinds of working together which other fields will emulate. I can't wait to explore the frontier of the future possible.

Listen to the oggcast introduction [4:25..12:55] (at least) to hear Karen and Bradley discuss the upcoming Legal Issues DevRoom at FOSDEM 2012. The Legal Issues DevRoom Call For Participation closes on December 30 -- please consider submitting a talk today!

Clojure Designed For Performance

Clojure: Designed for Performance

Yesterday I blogged about my LCA talk Crowdsourcing Upstream Refactoring. Today I gave my a talk on Clojure and performance at Linux Conf Australia 2013.


I mixed giving an overview of why I think Clojure offers the advantages of Common Lisp and Java without the disadvantages of either along with live coding on the REPL. There were several great questions and I am really pleased that many delegates told me that the were going to give Clojure a close look!

Later this evening we have the Emacs BOF and I know I'll find a number of friendly eLisp hackers.

If you have a chance to attend LCA I would highly recommended it... This is among the best organized conferences I've attended and comprises a fantastic group of enthusiastic contributors.

Below you will find links to the presentation. Very soon the video of this talks (and all the talks) will be available.


The Sunset of the DLJ

The Sunset of the DLJ

The actually sunset of the DLJ happened last summer, but it's news because of an article in OMG! Ubuntu! and Simon's followup today in Computerworld UK.

Simon's article does a good job of highlighting the role of the DLJ in the pre-OpenJDK days. Even for many of us at Sun we didn't know at the time we working on the DLJ that the plans to open source Java would be announced at JavaOne 2006. Even so it would be over a year before OpenJDK source was actually released and several more months before it was built and distributed by major Linux distributions.

Especially in the early days the DLJ bundles played an important role in the transition to the Free Java we enjoy today. In particular this enabled meaningful conversations between Sun and the community around packaging which have continued to this day on the subject of Java modularity. Yet there is one thing Simon did not mention: how many people thanked Sun for making Java available under the DLJ.

The people who were most appreciative were those using government mandated applications (e.g. tax filing in France) or financial applications (e.g. banking in Brazil). What is very important to note is that these key applications use Java applets. These applications depend on having a solid Java plugin which provides applets in modern browsers.

What the community lost in the sunset of the DLJ was the de facto plugin implementation even though it is not, in fact, part of the Java SE specification. Since Java 6 update 10 or so the Sun (now Oracle) implementations have used a new, re-architected plugin (let's call it plugin2). One of the large, remaining deltas from Oracle's closed Java and OpenJDK is the plugin: neither plugin1 nor plugin2 have been open sourced.

Here we must acknowledge the amazing community effort of the IcedTea project in Free Java and, specifically, around an open source plugin implementation. So is Java in Ubuntu? Yes. Is there a plugin in Ubuntu? Yes. Yet this is one area where the community is struggling to provide users with Java functionality they need and Oracle isn't cooperating with the community as well as they are on the bulk of OpenJDK.

My former Sun colleague David Herron has blogged about the DLJ as has a fellow Debian Java developer Sylvestre Ledru.

We not at the End Times for Java. I would even go so far as to suggest that we are now in a Java renaissance thanks to the variety of languages and projects running on the JVM. If you would like to experience the vibrance of the community please join us at FOSDEM 2012.

I do hope Oracle will decide to liberate the new plugin (only then will the DLJ R.I.P.).

With Software Passion

With Software Passion

Today I arrived in Göteborg, Sweden to take part in the first ever Software Passion conference.


I had a great time tonight at the Speaker's Dinner and look forward to the conference tomrrow.

I will post slides from my talk Monday here on my blog (along with other links/resources).


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