Tuesday, September 26, 2017 - 15:42

"A CONFERENCE EXPLORING OPEN SOURCE, OPEN TECH, AND THE OPEN WEB IN THE ENTERPRISE"

Join us in Raleigh, NC and The Research Triangle, the epicenter of innovation, technology and free software, and home to one of the most sophisticated audiences on earth.

Vist our booth at All Things Open and take home some free Tux stickers! The event is being held October 23-24.

For more information and to register check out the All Things Open web site.

Tuesday, September 26, 2017 - 15:29

The Ohio LinuxFest is an annual technology conference and expo held since 2003 in Columbus, Ohio. The event is dedicated to discussion and development of Linux kernel-based operating systems and other free software and hardware projects. Ohio [GNU]LinuxFest 2017 will take place on Friday & Saturday (September 29-30th) at the Hyatt Regency in Columbus, Ohio.

Come check out our booth in the expo hall!

Visit the Ohio [GNU]/Linux Fest Web Site for more information.

Sunday, August 20, 2017 - 15:28


A very unfortunate thing has happened in the world of operating systems and software repositories in recent years: Censorship. From China banning VPNs (virtual private network providers aiming to give users back some level of privacy) to Google and Apple censoring communications software such as alternatives to Twitter that stand up for free speech regardless of the communications. The problem with censorship is it doesn't stop at child porn or white supremacist propaganda. Today censorship lists are commonly used in many countries- not just China and other places with authoritarian dictatorships. Lists are maintained by all major Canadian ISPs, mandated by the UK government, and other countries you may have thought of as modern and democratic. Sadly- the great firewall of China is not exclusive to China and hasn't been for a very long time now.

In this most recent issue to prop its ugly head a lawsuit against TVAddons has emerged. Bell Canada, TVA, Videotron, and Rogers are collectively suing this Kodi addon repository. TVAddons is merely a host for software no different than what exists for nearly every GNU/Linux distribution and modern operating system. About 1% of the software in TVAddons's repository may be usable as a tool for copy"right" infringement and the entertainment industry as a whole doesn't like that. Such software is readily available on the internet as well and the entertainment industry is looking to take out any entity that may be more respective of freedom of speech or sympathetic to liberal policies. Fortunately there is a piece of legislation in most countries including Canada (where this lawsuit is happening) to protect hosts and other intermediaries of communications. The law says basically that provided you take down infringing content upon notification by a copy"right" holder you can't be held liable for it. In the United state this piece of legislation falls under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA).

Most 'piracy' software in these repositories isn't that different from a web browser. The programs themselves merely provide a friendly means of accessing content from third parties. A web browser is also a tool frequently used in the process of infringing. And in this particular case there were no DMCA notices even sent to the owners of the TVAddon's repository. Instead what these companies did was they took advantage and abused a dangerous legal procedure: The Anton Piller order. An Anton Piller order is a civil search warrant that grants plaintiffs no-notice permission to enter a defendant’s premises in order to secure and copy evidence to support their case. This order comes attached with many restrictions to ensure it isn't abused. Unfortunately the rights of TVAddons owner were blatantly violated. The plaintiffs took advantage of this order not to secure evidence, but to go in and destroy TVAddons business. The plaintiffs preceded to threaten TVAddons, holding the owner hostage, denying him a lawyer, and intimidating him into providing information on unrelated persons. This order was not used simply to secure evidence. In fact before such a order is issued a bond must be paid by the plaintiff. $50,000 was put down and when the plaintiff violated the order this money was forfeited. The plaintiff is now appealing this forfeiture. To appeal another $150,000 bond is being required.

Unfortunately in the mean time $100,000 plus in legal fees have already been incurred by the defendant. The plaintiff in this case clearly had no intent to pursue any sort of legitimate resolution to their complaint (no complaint/DMCA notice was ever even sent). What they have done (and is routine) is abused the system and overloaded a small business and its owner in legal costs while taking the opportunity to effectively destroy- or at least shut down the owners legitimate business. For more details on this case check out this article from Torrent Freak. Surprisingly the TVAddOns owner has managed to secure a legal team in relatively short order and mostly resurrect the site from a backup.

If you would like to help protect software repositories from censorship and send a clear message to those who would attack supporters of free speech and free software please consider making a contribution to the TVAddon legal defense fund. Those wishing to pay with a credit card can check out the Generosity.com fund raiser. Those who would prefer to donate more (pseudo) anonymously via Bitcoin can check out the www.tvaddons.co site directly (I believe this may be a replacement domain name as the original got seized, and may or may not have been returned yet, per an order to do so).

Tuesday, June 27, 2017 - 01:21

Do you live in the mountain west? Come check out OpenWest- a conference held by the Utah Open Source Foundation, a collaboration of volunteers from local user groups. The event is held from July 12th to the 15th in Salt Lake City @ The South Towne Expo Center. There will be talks, an expo, and mini conference for young adults. And of course this will make a great opportunity to come check out what we have to offer. Just stop by our booth. Register now!

Tuesday, May 16, 2017 - 15:13

Come join the revolution at Roger's Campground this summer. The Porcupine Freedom Festival is an annual liberty camping event organized by The Free State Project. This year marks the 14th annual PorcFest.

The Free State Project (FSP) is a political migration of 20,000+ principled libertarians and voluntaryists to the state of New Hampshire for the purpose of pursuing freedom and liberty in our lifetime.

We hope you will join us for the festivities in New Hampshire for the most exciting liberty event of the year!

Tuesday, May 16, 2017 - 14:10

Join us for the first Somalia Fest this summer. Somalia Fest 2017 is a gathering of principled libertarians and voluntaryists who are working together to build a parallel society in New Hampshire following on the heals of parts of the Pirate Party platform within the context of principled libertarian and voluntaryists philosophies.

What is a principled libertarian or voluntaryist? It is a person who objects to the use of force, violence, theft, or threat thereof by individuals, governments, or entities against peaceful people or tangible property for any purpose outside their use in self defense.

The event is about civil rights, direct democracy and participation in government, reform of copyright and patent law, free sharing of knowledge (open content), information privacy, transparency, freedom of information, anti-corruption and Internet neutrality.

Somalia Fest is being held back to back with Porcfest (another more general liberty-oriented event) at Roger's Campground in Lancaster New Hampshire. See follow up blog post for more information on Porcfest.

Book your campsite or cabin today!

Tuesday, May 16, 2017 - 13:40

Please help reject a proposal to require visa applicants, refugees, or other foreign visitors to provide passwords for online accounts, including social media, in order to enter the United States.

Such a requirement would violate human rights, create digital security risks, and undermine U.S. industry. It would chill the speech and behavior of people around the world.

Log-in access to social media accounts provides intimate information on a person as well as their connections. If you use a social media account to log in to other websites, it may also create a detailed dossier that broadly maps your entire digital life.

The requirement will disproportionately impact low-risk travelers since terrorists and criminals will simply evade these requirements by using different accounts and devices. U.S. citizens will also feel the impact, as other countries will almost certainly follow suit.

Urge Secretary Kelly to protect human rights and reject the collection of passwords for entry into the United States.

Tuesday, May 16, 2017 - 13:23

We are pleased to announce our attendance for another year at the SouthEast. The event will be held June 9-11 at the Sheraton Charlotte Airport in North Carolina. If you are going to be in the south this June check out the event for a bunch of great talks and the expo.

SouthEast in the GNU/SOUTH is an annual GNU/Linux/open source/free software conference. It is a Friday through Sunday weekend event. The event is dedicated to education, discussion, and networking.

Register today!



Wednesday, April 26, 2017 - 20:40

Software developer, math lecturer at Moscow’s Finance and Law University, free software supporter, Debian and GNU projects contributor Dmitry Bogatov needs our help. Dmitry Bogatov has been jailed since April 10, 2017 for a crime he could not have committed. Dmitry Bogatov ran a program to help those in tyrannical regimes evade censorship and protect their privacy. This program ran on his computer and routed other peoples traffic through his own.

The prosecution wrongly believes that Bogatov posted extremist materials on the internet.

He is accused of part 2 of article 205.2 of Russian Criminal code (incitement of terrorist activities or justifying terrorism via the Internet), part 1 of article 30, part 1 of article 212 (arrangement of preparation of mass riots).

According to the case, somebody posted 2 messages on website sysadmins.ru on 29 March. Airat Bashirov accessed his account from 104 different IP addresses located in different countries, including Dmitry Bogatov's IP address.

To substantiate the need of Bogatov's arrest investigator pointed to video showing "mass riots and police disobedience". The only one video posted by Airat Bashirov is a music clip of hip-hop performers Kanye West and Jay-Z "No Church in The Wild".

Need of arrest also was substantiated by the fact that Dmitry planned to visit Italy on 12 April. At that time Italy hosted International Esperanto Youth Festival, which Dmitry planned to visit beforehand with his wife.

Dmitry Bogatov was a operator of Tor exit relay. Tor is a special piece of software which routes Internet traffic over random circuits built from servers located around the world. Exit relays are the last hop in a users circuit, that's why Dmitry Bogatov's IP address appears in the sysadmins.ru logs. Dmitry's relay was last online at the 5th of April 2017.

After Dmitry's arrest, Airat Bashirov continue to post messages. News outlets "Open Russia" and "Mediazona" even got a chance to speak with him. In a comment to the Mediazona he confirmed that he used Tor.

At the time when Bashirov's messages were posted Dmitry was not at home. He went to a fitness club with his wife, after which he visited a product store. That's confirmed by CCTV footage.

For more information and find out how you can help check out https://freebogatov.org/en/

Wednesday, March 29, 2017 - 23:14

Eric Schultz presented a very important update on the status of the FCC free software operating system ban. A quick overview of the situation is that The FCC has been working to undermine the ability of manufacturers to ship entirely free software on routers and computers that utilize the 5Ghz spectrum. All modern wifi chips are moving to 5Ghz and in order to comply with new FCC rules manufacturers have little choice but to lock down the operating system. Eric Schultz has been actively involved in campaigning against these rules and has represented the community on a board that was to advise the FCC on the variety of issues stemming from some of these new rules and proposed rules. Watch the presentation to find out how President Trump has indirectly undermined these efforts in the process of disbanding what might have otherwise been an unnecessary 'Cyber Security' advisory group.