Thursday, May 17, 2018 - 00:44

We are pleased to announce our attendance for another year at the SouthEast [GNU/]LinuxFest. The event will be held June 8-10 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 an 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!



Thursday, May 17, 2018 - 00:13


The ever so wise politicians in Europe have decided that they want to colonize the rest of the world and hold even the smallest of businesses to absurd regulatory hurdles that can't possibly be complied with. At least not alongside every other burdensome law that every other country wants to enforce on the world. It's not the objective of the law, but implementation that is the problem.

While there may be value in The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) (EU) 2016/679 as it applies to large businesses that we know are abusing people such as Facebook, Google, Microsoft, Apple, Amazon, and others it disadvantages small businesses who can't possibly comply with burdensome components that to properly deal with necessitates the hiring of lawyers and representatives or otherwise deprives resources from the business by distracting small business owners from actually conducting business. A group of people who are already strapped for time. Small businesses can't afford to hire a lawyer every time a new law is passed on the other side of the world.

While we are huge supporters of privacy The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) (EU) 2016/679 is vague and attempts to claim jurisdiction over entities outside of Europe. It is not possible for even larger businesses to comply with the excessive amount of regulatory burden coming out of Europe.

We are not banning Europeans from purchasing products. It is merely a clarification that we do not do business in Europe and we will make sure to avoid advertising to Europeans as that might be used to put us out of business. The reality is most large companies aren't compliant with the gigantic amount of legislation that exists- but small ones certainly aren't- and shouldn't be forced to spend limited resources on removing references to countries and the European Union for fear of being put out of business. In our case all this does is reduce the relevancy and availability of support and documentation [even general information if it might be construed as targeting Europe] and prevent small businesses from acquiring the services of other businesses who do operate in Europe for fear of becoming liable to EU law. We will certainly be restructuring and discontinuing use of certain companies and products (like domain registration services, hosting, etc) from European companies or even just companies that merely do business with Europe. Because at the end of the day that can create nexus- liability that a small business can't afford.

Friday, May 11, 2018 - 16:03


The Free Software Foundation (FSF), a Massachusetts 501(c)(3) charity with a worldwide mission to protect computer user freedom, seeks a contract JavaScript Developer to work on GNU LibreJS, a free browser add-on that addresses the problem of nonfree JavaScript described in Richard Stallman's article The JavaScript Trap. This is a temporary, paid contract opportunity, with specific deliverables, hours, term, and payment to be determined with the selected candidate. We anticipate the contract being approximately 80 hours of full-time work, with the possibility of extension depending on results and project status.

For more information check out the FSF's Job Board

Tuesday, April 10, 2018 - 23:29


This summer join us in the woods for a party! We'll be hanging out with a group of freedom-loving libertarians talking tech, GNU/Linux, decentralization, free software, crypto, 3d printing, and more.

What many people aren't aware of is that there is a political migration going on of people from around the world who desire freedom (and aren't getting it). The Free State Project is an on-going effort that is attempting to bring real freedom to at least one place on this earth by organizing people from around the world in one place. Spread out there is no hope of freedom-minded people having a sizable political base that can impact politics. However working together in one region that's changing. And New Hampshire is that place!

The other thing that many people aren't aware of is that principled libertarians (real libertarians)-unlike the "libertarians" you might know at the national level and have been contradicting libertarian core values- are overwhelmingly in support of software freedom.

While nationally the word libertarian has been misappropriated and the national libertarian party doesn't represent actual libertarians the New Hampshire libertarian party actually does and probably isn't what you'd expect. For instance did you know that the chair of New Hampshire's Libertarian Party uses primarily free software? Did you know that one chapter's got both a president and vice president that run primarily free software? Or that free software advocates are over-represented amongst libertarians in New Hampshire?

Free software puts users wanting freedom in control of there own devices so it should be no surprise then that the Free State Project has attracted a lot of hard core free software supporters.. at least of those that want freedom elsewhere too. It's why New Hampshire has become a tech mecca when it comes to startups. From GNU/Linux to crypto and to security to decentralized marketplaces like OpenBazaar- and more.

Forkfest is a name you might expect from a group of people who support free software. It's a fork of another camping festival called Porcfest put on by the Free State Project that isn't quite as free as it once was-even if the people in attendance aren't any less liberty-minded. Like all projects there will be schisms and fights over approaches and so the adults have decided to start a competing camping event to run back to back with Porcfest. Where Porcfest tries to be more family friendly the adult-minded aspects (and there are liberty-loving families too!) of Porcfest have begun migrating to the new freer event called Forkfest. Unlike Porcfest Forkfest isn't centrally managed and each person or family will be brining to the event what they want. Be it family-friendly activities, adult-themed parties, or free software.

So join us this summer at Forkfest- and yes- we'll still be continuing the party on into Porcfest- being held at the same campground- see https://forkfest.party/ for more information.

Wednesday, February 21, 2018 - 16:40

In the United States there exists the Online Copyright Infringement Liability Limitation Act (OCILLA). A federal law that creates a conditional safe harbor for online service providers (OSP) (a group which includes internet service providers (ISP)) and other Internet intermediaries by shielding them for their own acts of direct copyright infringement (when they make unauthorized copies) as well as shielding them from potential secondary liability for the infringing acts of others.

Under Canadian law there is no safe harbour protection for even community based platforms from abuse by web site visitors. A safe harbor is a provision of a statute or a regulation that specifies that certain conduct will be deemed not to violate a given rule and Canada just doesn't have such a safe harbour for sites and services where by which some users may sometimes violate Copyright. Without such a law the site operators become liable for the acts of Copyright infringement committed by its users.

When proponents of Copyright began advocating for the introduction of Copyright law the argument for it was as a temporary suspension of the freedom and right of communication that everyone naturally has. This temporary limitation was a 7-year limit and was sold to the public as being for the purpose of promoting the arts and sciences for the public benefit. Upon lapse of the 7-years your right to communications was restored. Since the 1700s Copyright has been extended again and again as the result of Disney. Each time Copyrights on Micky Mouse were to expire Disney lobbied for and got an extension to the length of time works were protected by Copyright. Today works covered by Copyright are unlikely to ever fall into the public domain and can exceed 100 years.

A recent Canadian case involving a free software repository for TV addons has brought new light to the damage that Copyright proponents routinely do to the publics rights and freedoms.

TV ADDONS consists of a site hosting thousands of free software projects. It is being sued by Canada’s biggest telecom providers: Bell, Videotron, Rogers and TVA. In civil court, it is not uncommon for the party with the greatest resources to prevail, since civil court does not offer the same legal protections as are afforded under the criminal justice system.

The way Copyright law works every comment that is posted online is by default under Copyright from the moment it is created. By loading a web site with comments you are technically infringing someones Copyright unless you otherwise have prior authorization.

In the case of TV ADDONs the hosted plug-ins don't actually infringe Copyright. TV ADDONs is authorized to host these ADDONS by the Copyright holders. The problem is that many of these ADDONs provide access to the internet which contains infringing materials. The attack on TV ADDONs and/or the ADDONS themselves is like attacking Mozilla for producing the Firefox web browser because Firefox contains links to Google and from Google you can locate infringing content.

You might be wondering how a web site like TV ADDONs or a plug-in developer is even supposed to know whether a particular link that an ADDON is scraping is authorized by the Copyright holder or not? There is no central database of sites authorized to stream specific protected content after all and while sites like YouTube routinely distribute unauthorized material the vast majority of it is published by small-time creators who have legitimate free speech rights to communicate there content with the public. On top of this less than 1% of the ADDONs being distributed by TV ADDONs are even accused of scraping links to content that are infringing and just because some of the links may be infringing doesn't mean that all the links are. Just as some links that you can access via Google using Firefox are infringing that doesn't mean that all links are.

Canada should aspire to be a country that fosters innovation. Not one that allows big corporations to take the little guy out. Unfortunately Canada's politicians have been intimidating and hindering freedom in Canada for a very long time. Today all of the countries major ISPs have censorship filters and politicians have gone from demanding censorship of arguably disturbing content to political content to gambling sites to piracy.

If this wasn't bad enough Google, YouTube, Apple, Microsoft and others have been bowing to the pressure of politicians and entertainment industry lobbyists to voluntarily censor content at the destruction of everyone else's right to communicate. The filters don't work and routinely prevent the public at large from posting communications and videos. These expensive filters will pick up everything from white noise as being copyright to indecipherable background music that someone might be playing in the background such as when a reporter is interviewing someone on the street.

If you are interested in helping support the cause of freedom in Canada, possibly all the way to the Supreme Court, consider making a donation to TV ADDONS's legal defense fund. Donations can be made via Bitcoin, Ethereum, Litecoin, Monero, and Bitcoin Cash as well as via more traditional payment networks such as major Credit Cards, PayPal or even Gift Cards.

TVADDONS legal defense fund has been depleted! Please help by making a donation at GoFundME

Wednesday, February 21, 2018 - 00:34

LibrePlanet is an annual conference hosted by the Free Software Foundation for people who care about their digital freedoms, bringing together software developers, policy experts, activists, and computer users to learn skills, share accomplishments, and address challenges facing the free software movement. LibrePlanet 2018 will feature programming for a wide range of ages and experience levels.

We hope to see you at LibrePlanet 2018, March 24-25th in Cambridge, MA.

Register now to join us at MIT Cambridge, Massachusetts for LibrePlanet 2018 March 24-25th!

Wednesday, February 21, 2018 - 00:30

Are you in Southern California? Here is your chance to check us out in person. We'll be attending the Southern California [GNU]Linux Expo March 8 - 11, 2018 at the Pasadena Convention Center. We'll be bringing along a sizeable portion of our online catalog and showing off the latest in free software tech. From 100% free mini VPN routers to wifi cards and computers.

As the first-of-the-year [GNU]Linux and Free Software expo in North America, SCALE 16x will be hosting a talk by Bob Call, the lead developer of LibreCMC. LibreCMC is a ThinkPenguin sponsored 100% free embedded GNU/Linux distribution.

Register now to join us at SCALE 16x

Tuesday, September 26, 2017 - 14:42

"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 - 14:29

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 - 14:28


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).