Well, I had lost the minutes. But they have been recovered! and they are:
== Topics ==
1. Picking your battles
2. Ben Sturmfels' talk on software patents at a recent IP Australia
forum in Sydney
3. Buggy Browser Blackmail
4. Fedora and Secure Boot
== Discussion ==
- Briefly discussed KL's project, Eaterprises . Looking forward to
more discussion on the topic next time she comes to the meeting.
- AF didn't have time to contact the Astor re: DRM; BG agreed to do it instead.
=== 1. Picking your battles ===
- Eric S. Raymond wrote an interesting article on determining
importance when pushing for open source products .
- Eric is from the "open source" camp -> emphasis on reliability.
- The article generally blasted RMS.
- The categories of harm given in the article are useful, as is the
idea of "importance".
- Specific examples were not so good.
- Organisations already do this, e.g. Mozilla has all but given up on WebM
=== 2. Ben's talk ===
- BS approached IP Australia; offered to be involved in future. They
contacted him and asked him to talk in Sydney to a room full of patent
- Title: "Software Patents: the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly".
- Ben spoke about "the bad". The talk went well (video ). After
the talk, there were a lot of questions from the floor, and a good
- "The good" was given by the guy who recently won a patent case
against Microsoft for some DRM technology. The impression left for Ben
was that he got a lot of money, but his quality of life suffered
during the long legal battle (10 years, overseas?)
- "The ugly" was a talk about stats, etc. given by a patent examiner.
- It was a great learning experience for Ben, especially for how to
respond to questions such as "how will the little innovators survive
- The talk was shashdotted, and appeared on IT news web sites. The
stories included decent quotes from Ben.
- All in all, it was really good air time.
- If anyone has ideas about action against patents, talk to Ben!
=== 3. Buggy Browser Blackmail ===
- The web used to suck. It's better now, but the journey has been
horrible - largely due to IE.
- Debugging web sites on IE is a huge time drain.
- If it had been free software, perhaps the situation would have been
better: people could have fixed the bugs (e.g. lack of compliance with
- We are now heading in an interesting direction, where the major
browsers *are* free. But, if a monopoly is held by a free software
browser, will there be problems similar to when IE dominated?
- Kogan have an "IE tax": if you're using IE when you check out, you
get charged extra! Some software developers at FSM also have an extra
fee they charge if the customer wants IE to be supported.
=== 4. Fedora and Secure Boot ===
- If a computer manufacturer wants to display the Windows 8 logo
(indicating compatibility), the computer must have a locked
bootloader. This is supposed to combat malware, however it could stop
a user from being able to install a free software operating system.
- The user can disable it on Intel platforms, but not on ARM.
- Fedora is buying a signing key from Verisign via Microsoft.
- We discussed the implications of this for a while.
- It seems that a key is not required for user space programs - only
for kernel-space code and things that interact with hardware.
Apparently, this will make it difficult to support features such as
user-space video mode switching.
- Some manufacturers may not pursue the Windows 8 logo. Vote with your money!
== Action Items ==
- BG to contact the Astor about their recent problems with DRM .
Would they like to come and speak with us, or to BF on his radio show
== Next Meeting ==
Thu 19th of July. Topics:
- Free software business models, including the use of trademarks
(e.g. restriction of the use of the word "Firefox").
See you there :)
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