Monday, May 29, 2006

irrepressible info

The freedom to communicate and share useful information is important. If you agree, take a look at and consider signing this pledge.

what religion is not

To kneel, or not to kneel. The "pressing moral question"?

Monday, May 22, 2006

Census Canada - Part II

Observing the follow up to this, one sees a lot of praise given to Statistics Canada for making the 2006 online census "Linux compatible." Not surprisingly, this praise is primarily coming from "open source" advocates. Indeed, the government has made strides for those who value the practical advantages an "open source" platform offers. Unfortunately, those who value freedom are still shut out.

Thanks to the GNU Java team for confirming that the 2006 online census for Canada requires the use of proprietary software - namely Java. The various free alternatives to proprietary Java are not capable replacements. As well, thanks to the team for pointing out other issues (Lockheed Martin?) surrounding the census.

Freedom is more important than convenience. It's unfortunate that Statistics Canada has merely offered more access to their online service rather than fix the fundamental problem. But when the demand is for "Linux compatibility" rather than freedom, it comes as no surprise.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006


Sometimes people get the wrong idea about where I stand on certain issues. I'm often asked strange questions like, "Do you support piracy?"

Just to make things clear, I see piracy as an evil wrong. It is an immoral crime. I support all initiatives that combat piracy. I support all humane methods that help bring those guilty of piracy to justice. For example, I wholeheartedly agree with the measures being taken in Kenya.

Monday, May 08, 2006

It Doesn't Make Any Census

Bruce Byfield over at NewsForge has posted his canadian census experience. For the first time, canadians can report their national census information online. But there's a catch. Similar to the experience of free software users in the United States who applied for hurricane Katrina aid, canadian citizens are told to use, with their browser, the proprietary Java Virtual Machine if they wish to access the online census service. In short, this requires one to use software that restricts one's freedom in order to participate in a public online process. Bruce finishes his article with some sound advice for affected canadians -
"If you are a Canadian user of FOSS, you may want to contact -- and educate -- your local Member of Parliament about the situation. You might also contact the Census Help Line (1-877-594-2006), Statistics Canada (1-800-263-8863), and Public Works and Government Services Canada (1-800-622-6232) to state your concerns. If enough people do, then maybe the Canadian government will realize that all residents have the right to access online services, not just those who use the approved (proprietary) software."
Hopefully, governments will quickly realize that to make available online public services only through the use of proprietary software is discriminatory. Such a setup simply doesn't make any sense.

Friday, May 05, 2006

plug-in progress

News over at Groklaw states that the OpenDocument Foundation has built a plug-in for Microsoft Office that will allow the proprietary program to open and save files in OpenDocument format.


Microsoft must be elated. They have people working for non-profit foundations writing tools to make Microsoft software more powerful and flexible! One wonders...will Microsoft donate a small sum to the foundation for their work?

Thursday, May 04, 2006

OpenDocument Gets International Approval

This news is absolutely huge. Indirectly, it's a tremendous win for free software. As the press release states -
"The OpenDocument Format Alliance (ODF Alliance), a broad cross-section of associations, academic institutions and industry dedicated to solving the problem of improving access and retrieval of electronic government documents, today congratulated the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) for its sweeping approval of the OpenDocument Format as an international standard, as well as OASIS which created and submitted the format to ISO."
ISO approval puts even more pressure on Microsoft to adopt ODF in the MS Office suite. Of course, putting off such a change is the route Microsoft will take regardless of the fact that adopting ODF would be a simple task and to the benefit of MS Office users. Microsoft must value their Office monopoly more than their own customers. Microsoft is legally bound to place profit for their shareholders above all else.

Want to help?
  1. Sign this petition.
  2. Whenever possible, do not use programs that fail to implement the internationally recognized and fully accessible standard of ODF.
  3. If someone sends you a file format that is not vendor neutral nor publicly accessible (e.g. .doc, .xls, or .ppt), briefly explain to them why these popular formats should be rejected and suggest an alternative. For example, install OpenOffice or another Office suite that supports ODF.
In short, free your data.