android security

A technology that helped start a global movement is now being put into the hands of the people. TextSecure, an Android app that encrypts text messages and is popular among activists in many countries, is now open source, thanks to Twitter.

Twitter acquired the company that makes TextSecure, Whisper Systems, last month. In countries where governments have more strict control over wireless networks, Whisper Systems’ apps have been extremely helpful to dissidents wanting to communicate and organize securely.

Now Twitter has just turned TextSecure into open-source software, meaning those same dissidents can engineer new features and adapt the software for their own purposes, potentially making them even more secure.

Whisper also has another app, RedPhone, which encrypts voice calls on Android devices, though that one hasn’t been made open source yet. Twitter says it’s going to open up Whisper’s products slowly, saying in a blog post that it needs to “make sure it meets legal requirements and is consumable by the open source community.”

Both TextSecure and RedPhone were unavailable when Mashable tried to download them from the Android Market earlier today. (See the clarification below.)

The apps certainly had their fans. Movements.org, a nonprofit dedicated to connecting “grassroots digital activists,” cites Whisper Systems’ apps in a how-to on securing Android devices. The company’s transition to Twitter wasn’t smooth for the users of its apps, though — the company had to take RedPhone offline right when Egypt’s elections were happening last month, leading to many complaints.

Clarification: After publication, Twitter told us that Whisper Systems “removed both services from the market, coinciding with their acquisition (and in anticipation of today’s news).”

More About: open source, texting, textsecure, Twitter

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WebOS may be more tenacious that we thought. The Linux-based OS with a rocky history has officially risen from the ashes of HP’s TouchPad bungle to be reborn as an open source project.

HP made the announcement Friday, in the wake of increasing speculation that we would all learn the fate of the beleaguered OS before day’s end.

Introduced by Palm at CES 2009, webOS was on an upward trajectory, first with the launch of the Palm Pre mobile phone and then when HP scooped up a stumbling Palm for $1.2 billion in 2010. Excitement grew to a fever pitch when HP unveiled an aggressive plan to roll WebOS into everything from their printers, to desktops and laptops to new phones and, most importantly, the HP TouchPad.

A few months later, after a somewhat tepid response to HP’s 10.1 inch tablet, HP’s then-CEO Leo Apotheker scuttled the tablet and, it seemed, the WebOS business. A $99 HP TouchPad fire sale over the summer proved that there was still interest in HP’s tablet and, more importantly, the WebOS platform.

But HP’s new CEO Meg Whitman has kept her plans for WebOS vague until now.

The company will now “contribute webOS to open source license” — another way of saying that the code will be available under open source license. HP’s role will be an active one as it continues to contribute development, engineering and support resources.

Next steps include engaging with the open-source community to define the WebOS open source charter and develop a plan for how that will be governed. It will likely run under an Apache-style license.

What does this mean for current TouchPad and Pre owners? Sources tell Mashable that they can expect to receive software updates in the future. In fact, one source told us that this move will accelerate platform and ecosystem development, benefiting current and future users.

“Future” is a clear indication that more HP webOS hardware could be on the radar. HP is not committing to this, though. However, our sources note that the open source nature of the new webOS could drive it onto hardware from a variety of vendors.

Of course, some open source projects can get a bit too open. Some complain that, for example, the Google Android community is forking the code. Certainly, Android developers enjoy reskinning the mobile OS and are often out of step with platform updates found on other Android products.

HP is looking to avoid platform confusion. Our sources indicate that it will use a Redhat/Fedora model, one which more strictly controls enterprise-level Linux. If this works, it means that HP may have final say on what webOS updates look like. That kind of control could mean that future versions of webOS work on existing hardware, like the TouchPad.

Making webOS open source leaves the door, well, open for a variety of options. But is this the magic bullet that will save the platform and put HP’s mobile plans back on track? Let us know in the comments.

More About: HP, hp touchpad, Linux, open source, palm, palmpre, webOS

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Tim Yeaton is the President and CEO of Black Duck Software. He has more 30 years experience working in the software community. Contact him at tyeaton@blackducksoftware.com.

Most people do not think of software developers as being high on the “social” scale. In fact, the (misinformed) stereotype for a typical developer is that of the introverted geek. But in many ways, particularly with open source developers, this couldn’t be further from the truth.

Contributing to open source software is a profoundly social activity. Some of open source’s main tenets are collaboration, transparency and meritocracy, which require developers to collaborate and share at a highly productive level. And with over 500,000 open source projects on the Internet, there’s a lot of collaboration going on. It’s clear that by participating in open source communities, developers are engaging in productive social behavior.

While some people may picture open source developers as working quietly and in isolation, the reality is they may work on large projects with a wide community of collaborators. For example, Linux has nearly 10,000 contributors. Others may focus on small, personal projects, which may or may not draw the attention of the larger development community.

But even developers working on small projects are still working with other people. And virtually all new open source projects derive from those projects and the developers that preceded them, creating a vast body of work that accelerates innovation and fuels further collaboration.

Today’s open source developers are contributing to projects in very different ways than just a few years ago. What has changed?


Search + Social Media = Social Development


Two developments — search and social media — have changed the way coders work to create “social development,” a new style of software collaboration. Let’s look first at social media’s influence on it.

Social media’s impact has forced change (some good and some bad) in nearly every sector of the economy — including open source development. While communities such as Slashdot and Stack Overflow provided an early glimpse of social media’s impact on development in the FOSS community and encouraged developers to become more active within these and other communities, the effect took some time to achieve.

Today, it’s not unusual to see enterprise software developers more active in social media circles, even as enterprises themselves are evolving socially. According to a recent study by Forrester, developers are engaging socially; they’re joining communities to connect with experts, seeking answers to business problems and, like many people, networking for career advancement. The figure above shows the leading reasons developers join communities: to connect with thought leaders, gain expertise and engage in high quality discussions.

Web search has also enhanced the importance of social media among open source developers, affecting this new style of development. My company recently commissioned a study with Forrester to investigate the social habits of developers. As shown above, contributors to open source projects turn to online search first for information about development technologies, followed by social sites like networks, forums and other online communities.

Developers also share search results via open source or project forums, communities and more general social media tools like Twitter.

As a result, today’s “social developer,” even if not an employee of a large enterprise, is participating more than ever with enterprises – or more specifically, with developers in those enterprises who are increasingly involved with FOSS communities of various types.

Social development arms corporate developers with a new toolset for producing innovative and high quality software at enterprise scale faster than ever before. This style of development wasn’t possible just a few years ago before search, social media tools and online collaboration tools made it possible to create software using social development techniques. Nevertheless, the evolution has been crucial to the success of businesses and individual developers.

Another pivotal change is the fact that enterprise IT organizations are now discovering the need to “go social” and join communities as a strategy for leveraging and using more open source software, especially mission-critical components. This significant trend reflects the reality that open source use is becoming a competitive requirement. Even within the firewall of an enterprise, the trend toward collaborative development to share best practices, facilitate code reuse, and enhance developer productivity is escalating rapidly.

Other environmental and technical changes have supported the emergence of social development. Communications between project committers — which until recently were conducted through IRC channels and wikis — have expanded with the increased number of social communities. And today more than ever, FOSS developers are actively seeking enterprise adoption of their code.

Another change is the emergence of sites like Github and Ohloh, a free community resource, which was specifically designed to support and encourage social development and to allow developers to give each other kudos (literally). The figure above also lists the contributors for a project called Restlet, a Java REST framework for web developers. Shown on the page are the developer profiles, kudos and code commitments to the project.

While social development isn’t a challenge for Gen Y developers, it still presents management challenges for enterprises, especially larger ones. Moving at web speed and using social tools still requires some adjustment. For example, new college hires expect to be community participants, yet large enterprises may not be comfortable with this level of transparency. Although open source projects are based on the notion of transparency, collaboration and meritocracy, some corporate policies may prohibit or limit this philosophy, just like some corporate cultures may resist the trend toward openness in development.

Social interaction and social development offer tremendous new opportunities for developers and enterprises. The advent of social media tools has changed the nature of community participation as much as search. If you and your organization have not joined the growing number of “social developers,” now is the time to start.

Disclosure: Ohloh is owned by the author’s company.

Image courtesy of iStockphoto, Goldmund

More About: features, open source, Social Media, software, Web Development

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531-banishing-url-bar

Google wants Chrome to be a clean distraction-free browsing experience. They’re possibly about to take their most radical step yet. Interface minimalism will reach it’s ultimate zenith with the removal of the address bar.

Madness?

Perhaps. But Mozilla are considering the same UI move.

The idea has received an overwhelmingly negative response from technical users. However, before you reach for your soapbox, be aware that it’s only a proposal which may never see the light of day. If it does happen, it will almost certainly be an option and “compact view” might only be permitted on application tabs. When enabled, the user may have to double-click a tab to view the URL.

So why does Google think a 30-pixel gain is so important? It would provide an extra 5% of space on some tablet and netbook screens, but there are deeper reasons…

I use the address bar. You probably use it too. But many users don’t. Non-technical users rarely understand URLs; it’s plainly obvious when you observe them type www.whatever.com into Google’s search box. So why retain a feature few people use?

We should also consider how web use is changing. We know the browser is a separate application but it’s likely to evolve as operating system vendors attempt a more integrated approach. Icons, application tabs and pinned sites are just the start. The distinction between online and offline is already blurred and, within a few years, users won’t know or care where an application resides.

There’s also been a noticeable shift in internet marketing. While companies still promote their URL on advertising media, many now publish more memorable search keywords for Google or Facebook.

Finally, there are commercial incentives. Without the bar, users must resort to a search engine; they’ll aways see a page of results and revenue-paying adverts before reaching their destination.

But what about the drawbacks? If you can’t see the address bar, it’s more effort to enter a URL. If users really don’t want the bar, it can usually be hidden or they can switch to full-screen mode (F11 in most browsers).

Web developers also depend on the URL — especially when testing web applications or REST services. Removing the bar will make our lives more difficult.

Finally, without the address bar, it’s more difficult to ensure you’re on the correct site or check security settings. Those involved in phishing scams will be eagerly anticipating the UI change.

The idea makes me uncomfortable. Users may not understand URLs, but removing the bar won’t help them learn. I’m sure many car drivers don’t understand hydraulics but that’s not a reason to remove their brakes (OK — bad metaphor, but a web without URLs is not without danger).

I’m all for UI simplification, but this seems like a step too far. If it happens, Google should rename their browser: “Chrome-less” would be more apt.

What do you think? Should the address bar go? Could it be an option? Are the risks too great?

WordPress menu

In my previous WordPress posts we discovered how to create a plugin, change the administration panel branding, and remove unnecessary dashboard widgets and meta boxes.

In this post, we’ll make some fundamental changes to the main administration menu. If you haven’t created an initial plugin, please read the first part. Welcome back — let’s begin…

The standard WordPress menu can be a little daunting — and third-party plugins often add further items. You can restrict user roles so clients do not see all menu items but, unless you’re using every WordPress feature, they’ll still see options which don’t apply to their site.

We’ll create a function which removes redundant links and simplifies the experience for your clients. Here’s the full code which you can copy into easy-admin.php:


// remove unnecessary menus
function remove_admin_menus() {
	global $menu, $submenu;
	// main menus removed for all users
	$restrict = explode(',', 'Links,Comments');
	// sub-menus removed for all users
	$restrictsub = explode(',', 'Categories,Post Tags');
	// main menus removed for everyone except administrators
	$restrict_user = explode(',', 'Media,Profile,Appearance,Plugins,Users,Tools,Settings');
	// sub-menus removed for everyone except administrators
	$restrictsub_user = explode(',', 'Updates,My Sites');
	// WP localization
	$f = create_function('$v,$i', 'return __($v);');
	array_walk($restrict, $f);
	if (!current_user_can('activate_plugins')) {
		array_walk($restrict_user, $f);
		$restrict = array_merge($restrict, $restrict_user);
		array_walk($restrictsub_user, $f);
		$restrictsub = array_merge($restrictsub, $restrictsub_user);
	}
	// remove menus
	end($menu);
	while (prev($menu)) {
		$k = key($menu);
		$v = explode(' ', $menu[$k][0]);
		if(in_array(is_null($v[0]) ? '' : $v[0] , $restrict)) unset($menu[$k]);
	}
	// remove sub-menus
	foreach ($submenu as $k => $p) {
		foreach($submenu[$k] as $j => $s) {
			if (in_array(is_null($s[0]) ? '' : $s[0] , $restrictsub)) unset($submenu[$k][$j]);
		}
	}
}
add_action('admin_menu', 'remove_admin_menus');

The lines at the top of this function determine which menu items are removed:

  • $restrict (line 5) contains a comma-delimited list of main menu items which will not be shown to any users — including administrators. In the example above, we’re hiding Links and Comments since they’re not used in our site.
  • $restrictsub (line 7) contains a comma-delimited list of sub-menu items which will not be shown to any user. We’ve disabled Categories and Post Tags which normally appear in the main Posts menu.
  • $restrict_user (line 9) contains a comma-delimited list of main menu items which are hidden to everyone except administrators. The example above disables everything other than the Dashboard, Pages and Posts. (Non-administrators would not normally see Appearance and Plugins, but other plugins could change that functionality).
  • $restrictsub_user (line 11) contains a comma-delimited list of sub-menu items which are hidden to everyone except administrators. We’ve disabled Updates and My Sites which normally appear within the main Dashboard menu.

simplified WordPress menu

If you don’t want any items removed for a specific value, set it to an empty array, e.g. $restrict = array();

The result is a far simpler administration menu which is free of dangerous options which could confuse your clients.

The Internet Archive’s entire stash of digital videos — that’s more than 500,000 assets — now supports HTML5 as well as Flash.

The Archive, which is best known for hosting older versions of websites, is using technology from open-source video company Kaltura to get the job done.

The Kaltura video player automatically recognizes whether a user’s device and browser need a Flash or an HTML5 player. Then, the video content gets delivered accordingly.

The Wikimedia Foundation is also using Kaltura’s tools in a related project.

The Internet Archive’s video library contains more than 500,000 educational assets, most of which are under Creative Commons licenses. These assets will now be more accessible, particularly on mobile devices, including iOS devices, as well as on HTML5-supporting browsers.

SEE ALSO: How HTML5 Will Transform the Online Video Landscape

And because Kaltura’s technology supports the HTML5 standard for timed text such as subtitles, hearing-impaired and multilingual users will also benefit from the videos.

“As the leading open source video company, our goal is to enable advanced online video functionalities on any device using free and open standards and technologies,” said Ron Yekutiel, Kaltura’s chairman and CEO, in a release Wednesday morning. “Our mission is even more so inspiring and impactful where free educational content is also coupled with these tools, as is the case with the Internet Archive and the Wikimedia Foundation.”

Image courtesy of Flickr, mdurwin

More About: foss, HTML5, internet archive, kaltura, open source, video

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Thumbnail

In my previous post we created a new WordPress plugin which simplified the administration panels for your clients. If you haven’t read it, please do so first. In this article, we’ll use the same plugin file for deeper configuration changes.

Remove the WordPress Update Notification

WordPress informs you when an update is available. Unfortunately, it tells everyone — including your clients. That could lead to unnecessary concern or tempt them call you every half an hour until it’s upgraded.

Append the following code to easy-admin.php to remove the notification for everyone except for WordPress administrators:


function no_update_notification() {
	if (!current_user_can('activate_plugins')) remove_action('admin_notices', 'update_nag', 3);
}
add_action('admin_notices', 'no_update_notification', 1);

Remove Unnecessary Dashboard Widgets

You can remove dashboard widgets for a user by logging in as them and un-checking items in the “Screen Options” pull-down panel. However, that may not be practical and there’s nothing to prevent your client re-enabling them.

Append the following function to easy-admin.php to remove unnecessary dashboard widgets. You may need to add, remove or modify unset commands as required. For example, the first section (lines 5-7) removes “Right Now” for everyone but WordPress administrators. The second section (lines 9-13) removes widgets regardless of the user’s rights.

The dashboard widget’s ID is assigned to its box div element — use Firebug or inspect the source to find that value.


// remove unnecessary dashboard widgets
function remove_dashboard_widgets(){
	global $wp_meta_boxes;
	// do not remove "Right Now" for administrators
	if (!current_user_can('activate_plugins')) {
		unset($wp_meta_boxes['dashboard']['normal']['core']['dashboard_right_now']);
	}
	// remove widgets for everyone
	unset($wp_meta_boxes['dashboard']['normal']['core']['dashboard_plugins']);
	unset($wp_meta_boxes['dashboard']['normal']['core']['dashboard_recent_comments']);
	unset($wp_meta_boxes['dashboard']['normal']['core']['dashboard_incoming_links']);
	unset($wp_meta_boxes['dashboard']['side']['core']['dashboard_primary']);
	unset($wp_meta_boxes['dashboard']['side']['core']['dashboard_secondary']);
}
add_action('wp_dashboard_setup', 'remove_dashboard_widgets');

Remove Unnecessary Page and Post Meta Boxes

Few developers use all the features WordPress has to offer. For example, if all posts are assigned to a single default category, you don’t require the Categories box. Or perhaps you’re not permitting comments and can remove associated boxes.

Append the following function to easy-admin.php to remove unnecessary meta boxes from the posts and pages panels. You may have to add or remove remove_meta_box() calls in this function. The first argument is the ID assigned to the box’s div element — again, this can be discovered in the source or with Firebug.


// remove unnecessary page/post meta boxes
function remove_meta_boxes() {
	// posts
	remove_meta_box('postcustom','post','normal');
	remove_meta_box('trackbacksdiv','post','normal');
	remove_meta_box('commentstatusdiv','post','normal');
	remove_meta_box('commentsdiv','post','normal');
	remove_meta_box('categorydiv','post','normal');
	remove_meta_box('tagsdiv-post_tag','post','normal');
	remove_meta_box('slugdiv','post','normal');
	remove_meta_box('authordiv','post','normal');
	// pages
	remove_meta_box('postcustom','page','normal');
	remove_meta_box('commentstatusdiv','page','normal');
	remove_meta_box('trackbacksdiv','page','normal');
	remove_meta_box('commentsdiv','page','normal');
	remove_meta_box('slugdiv','page','normal');
	remove_meta_box('authordiv','page','normal');
}
add_action('admin_init','remove_meta_boxes');

Remove Favorite Actions

The favorite actions button resides in the WordPress header next to the “Howdy” message. It normally provides quick links to New Post, Drafts, New Page, Upload and perhaps a few plugin-specific options such as “Empty Cache”. Let’s remove the options we don’t require by appending the following code to easy-admin.php:


// remove favorite actions
function remove_favorite_actions($actions) {
	if (!current_user_can('activate_plugins')) {
		unset($actions['edit-comments.php']);
	}
	return $actions;
}
add_filter('favorite_actions', 'remove_favorite_actions');

In this example, we’ve removed the Comments link for everyone except administrators. To remove other items, you need to find the action’s URL in the page source. Locate the element with the ID “favorite-actions” and, within that, an element with the ID “favorite-inside”. The child divs contain links to URLs such as “media-new.php”. To remove that option, simply add unset($actions['media-new.php']); to the function.

Phew. In my next WordPress post, we’ll address the WordPress menu and remove all the dangerous options you want to hide from clients.

328-firefox-4

If you’ve been waiting to upgrade to Firefox 4, you’re too late! As promised, Mozilla released Firefox 5 on June 21 2011 — just three months after version 4 was launched. The organization has embarked on a Chrome-like release-little, release-often rapid-update schedule.

If you’re too excited to read further, download the installer from getfirefox.com or update by selecting Help > About Firefox > Check for Updates. You may be lucky enough to receive a fast incremental update — it didn’t work for me and the full installer was downloaded.

Firefox 4 was a major update. You’re unlikely to spot any immediate differences in version 5 since most of the changes are under the hood:

  • support for CSS3 animations with the -moz prefix
  • improved JavaScript and canvas performance
  • additional HTML5, SVG and MathML features
  • faster browsing

Developers should also note that setTimeout and setInterval events will only execute once per second or less frequently on inactive tabs. It replicates the behavior of requestAnimationFrame to save CPU and power consumption.

Great — but there’s a downside. You may find several of your add-ons are disabled by Firefox 5. They should work, but many authors have not yet updated their add-on’s version numbers. Firebug and the Web Developer Toolbar are fine, but Console2 and HttpFox are blocked.

Not every plugin author has the time or resources to match the new schedule. It’s unfortunate and I hope Mozilla can address the problem. Perhaps a less formal approach could be adopted which allows the community to test and approve plugins without relying on the author to hard-code supported versions. Alternatively, Mozilla could have simply released Firefox 4.1 — the numbering is becoming increasingly irrelevant.

Despite the add-on hassles, it’s good to see updates appearing more regularly. Let us know what you think of the Firefox 5.

286-easier-wordpress-1-thumb

WordPress’s popularity owes much to it’s easy administration panels. Unfortunately, it can still be daunting for non-technical users such as your clients. At best they’ll require a little training, hand-holding and support. At worst, they’ll play around with plugin installation, edit some theme code, then expect you to clear up the mess.

I’ve written a number of “Make WordPress Easier for Clients” articles (see part 1 and part 2). In those examples, code was placed in the theme’s functions.php file. That’s still a viable solution if you have one WordPress installation per client or each is configured differently.

In this article, however, we’ll create a plugin. Plugins have a couple of advantages:

  1. Your code resides in one file which can make maintenance easier.
  2. If you’re running a WordPress network with multiple sites (previously known as WordPress MU), you can activate a single plugin across the network so it’s applied to every site.

WordPress Plugin Basics

Our plugin will be contained in a single PHP file. We’ll name it easy-admin.php and place it in the WordPress plugin folder (wp-content/plugins/). Ideally, the file should be UTF-8 encoded. If your text editor doesn’t permit UTF-8, well, use a better editor! That said, those using English are unlikely to experience issues with ANSI-encoded files.

A PHP tag and header comments are required at the top of the file, e.g.


<?php
/*
Plugin Name: Easy Administration
Plugin URI: http://www.sitepoint.com/wordpress-easy-administration-plugin-1
Description: Simplifies WordPress administration panels.
Version: 1.0
Author: Craig Buckler
Author URI: http://optimalworks.net/
License: GPL2
*/

You can change the header details, but ensure the definition tags remain — WordPress uses them to recognize your plugin.

You can now install your plugin by activating it in the “Plugins” section of the WordPress administration panels. Those with a WordPress network can activate it for all sites in the “Network Admin” section. It won’t do anything yet, but you can now add whichever features you require…

Change the WordPress Login Page Logo

The WordPress logo is lovely but few clients will care what CMS they’re using. It might be more helpful to show their site name. Append the following code to easy-admin.php; it replaces the login page logo with the name and uses a pleasing CSS3-letterpress text:


// login page logo
function custom_login_logo() {
	echo '<style>h1 a, h1 a:hover, h1 a:focus { font-size: 1.4em; font-weight: normal; text-align: center; text-indent: 0; line-height: 1.1em; text-decoration: none; color: #dadada; text-shadow: 0 -1px 1px #666, 0 1px 1px #fff; background-image: none !important; }</style>';
}
add_action('login_head', 'custom_login_logo');

WordPress alternative login page logo

Remove the WordPress Icon From the Administration Panel Header

The WordPress icon is shown next to the site name in the header. There’s nothing wrong with it but some clients will question why there’s a ‘W’ next to their site. To remove it, append the following code to easy-admin.php:


// remove administration page header logo
function remove_admin_logo() {
	echo '<style>img#header-logo { display: none; }</style>';
}
add_action('admin_head', 'remove_admin_logo');

Change the WordPress Administration Panel Footer Text

The footer provides links to WordPress, documentation and feedback. Few clients are likely to find it useful so you can replace it with your own support details. Append the following code to easy-admin.php and change the echo statement to output to a suitable message:


// change administration panel footer
function change_footer_admin() {
	echo 'For support, please call 123456 or email <a href="mailto:support@mysite.net">mailto:support@mysite.net</a>';
}
add_filter('admin_footer_text', 'change_footer_admin');

Remove the WordPress Admin Bar

The dark-gray Admin Bar was introduced in WordPress 3.1. Personally, I don’t find it particularly useful. It can also confuse clients; they may think all visitors can see the bar or use it to access dangerous features such as ‘Appearance’. Fortunately, we can remove it with one line in easy-admin.php:


// remove admin bar
add_filter('show_admin_bar', '__return_false');

That’s enough configuration for today. In my next WordPress post, we’ll add further functions to simplify the dashboard, post and page panels.

The Free Software Foundation is has launched second editions of two landmark publications by Richard Stallman, a.k.a. rms, “the last true hacker.”

The volumes, Free as in Freedom 2.0 and Free Software, Free Society: Selected Essays of Richard M. Stallman, 2nd Edition are both now available from the FSF store as free downloadable PDFs and as signed copies. Signed hard copies cost $50 each.

And while you’re shopping, you can also pick up a stuffed baby gnu, the FSF mascot, for $25.

The free-software activist launched the GNU Project in 1983 to create a free Unix-like operating system. He also founded the Free Software Foundation in 1985. The Linux kernel was built on and still supports GNU Project components that came before it and laid the foundation for open-source operating systems.

Stallman is also the main author of several copyleft licenses, including the GNU General Public License, the most widely used free software license.

Stallman’s life work revolves around freedom, by which he means four things:

  1. The software should be freely accessible.
  2. The software should be free to modify.
  3. The software should be free to share with others.
  4. The software should be free to change and redistribute copies of the changed software.

These principles underlie and inform the free and open-source software movement, and they also are used in many of the arguments for Creative Commons licensing for art and music.

image courtesy of Flickr, jolieodell

More About: foss, free software, free software foundation, fsf, hackers, open source, rms, Stallman

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