Archive for September, 2006

Video is Streaming

Saturday, September 16th, 2006

Late, I know, very late. But many of you have found the live-stream anyway. For the others there is a bit of the Future of Free Software panel left, and then from about 8:15 the Brazil, the Free Culture Nation. And, of course, if you’re around there is more netlabel party fun later in the evening.

Open networks for Germany too!

Saturday, September 16th, 2006

Internet access everywhere — and that for free? Since the deregulation of the ISM frequency bands for public unlicensed usage, the number of open wi-fi access points has been increasing all over Germany. Already, free internet access is possible in many public places and cafés via wi-fi without further access barriers. WLAN technology provides a realistic possibility for city-wide or rural internet access in the near future — to achieve this goal as many private internet users as possible must open their internet access to everyone. This idea, as well as others, is promoted by the initiative.Today the ‘Digital Neighborhood Help’ provides a meaningful remedy to bridge the ‘digital divide’. In some quarters of Berlin for example and in many regions of the newly-formed federal states of Germany (ex-GDR) DSL is not available.

Individuals who share their wireless with the public can therefore help many other people to gain an inexpensive or gratis access to the internet. The number of individuals who make their own internet access available to others has been steadily increasing.

Both the short term goal of internet access through the Digital Neighborhood Help, as well as the long term goal of ubiquitous access, are now in peril. While other communities and cities in other countries build up open networks, in Germany there is a danger of being bound to only commercial providers. This will lead to Germany falling behind in the information age. Especially problematic here is a verdict lately issued by Hamburg state court (”Landgericht Hamburg”) (reference: 308 O 407 / 06): A woman who opened up her access point for public use was found to be legally responsible for a third party sharing music files over her uplink. In consequence, this verdict places everyone sharing their uplink through an open wifi network in a legal grey area. Who doesn’t close his access point can become an accomplice at any time — even though there should be a differentiation between infrastructure and content. Those who encrypt their networks as demanded by the court — which wouldn’t protect the available devices from abuse anyway — would render public usage impossible. Again, a possible user registration is neither desirable, nor technically reasonable, nor secure.

So, this verdict causes substantial uncertainty among the local population. If the operation of a public access point can result in the owner being sued by the content industry, then the project of a social and open network access in Germany has failed. Then, ‘digitial neighborhood help’ is not permitted any more.

Free networks are fundamental and must persist, if Germany wants to keep pace with the information society. Particularly with regard to the “digital divide”, socially disadvantaged people and rual areas, it is not sufficient to leave this task only to commercial internet service providers.

We therefore demand:

  • Legal security in this matter — if necessary by changing the law — which takes into account the special status of non-commercial service providers and which ensures the opportunity to share one’s own wireless internet access in the future.
  • putting § 6 TDG und § 7 MDStV to practice, which reads: “service providers are not responsible for 3rd party content which they are transferring over their network or give access to [as long as the transfer is not initiated / originated by them etc.]”
  • as well as political support for initiatives like

Or in short: Open networks for Germany too!

* Jürgen Neumann,
* Markus Beckedahl,
* Volker Grassmuck, Wizards of OS
* Bob Horvitz, Stichting Open Spectrum
* Armin Medosch, Autor
* Malcolm J. Matson, The OPLAN Foundation

You can find the german version on and

On the road to WOS4

Wednesday, September 13th, 2006

Volker asked for some input to this blog, so here we go: unfortunately for everybody interested in the API/standards/copyright/privacy-panel on saturday morning I have to take a detour, reporting about a smartcard event in Darmstadt , see For any comments and/or suggestions for the panel and the workshop, please use the mail.

Another go, for German speaking entities:
“Anlässlich der diesjährigen Konferenz “Wizards of OS” (14.-16. September in Berlin) stellt Open Source Press das Buch “Freie Kultur — Wesen und Zukunft der Kreativität” von Lawrence Lessig unter einer freien Lizenz ins Internet. Es wird in Kürze über folgenden Link abrufbar sein: ”


Tools for WOS4

Sunday, September 10th, 2006

On this page we are collecting tools that are useful for participating in activities at WOS4 or that are related to one of the sessions at the conference. E.g. say you’re listening to a talk and want to exchange comments on it with other people in the hall, Gobby is a great tool to do this with. If you know of software that fits this description and that you want other wos participants to know about, please write a comment to this post. A few words on what it does and a download link would make things easier. Thank you.

Hal Faber zur Wizards of OS 4,

Sunday, September 10th, 2006

Hal Faber schreibt in seiner sonntägliche Wochenschau auf Heise News von heute:

Warnung: Ab hier wird es extrem parteiisch, seitig und unflach, denn ich mache ausdrücklich Werbung für die Wizards of OS 4, eine der besten deutschen Veranstaltungen, wenn es gilt, einen klaren Kopf in Digitalien zu bewahren. Passend zum Software Freedom Day findet die WOS 4 in Berlin statt. Obendrein ist die Columbia-Halle Heimstätte des Schreibrechts-Wettbewerb. Kurzum, die Konferenz ist ein guter Grund, endlich einmal die richtigen Blues-Akkorde zu lernen. Oder wollen WWWW-Leser etwa nur das theweleitsche Fever in der Interpretation des Nasenflöten-Orchesters hören?

(E)(A)Woke up this mornin’ turned on the news
somebody’s trying to steal the blues.

(A)They try to license E-Major and put my songs in danger
(B)It’s my favourite blues chord soon it ain’t free no more.

Went to O’Malley’s to fetch me some gin
sat down at the bar when i saw him walking in
His name was Tux he gave me a grin
said try open source fella that’s how you win.

cause culture is free and should always be
it’s creative and common for both you and me
let’s share this song so we can get along
let’s share this song so we can get along

Das nächste WWWW berichtet natürlich leif von dieser wunderbaren Veranstaltung. Denn wie heißt es so schön in Digitalien: Creating your own blog is about as easy as creating your own urine, and you’re about as likely to find someone else interested in it. Pissen für eine bessere Welt, das hat was. (Hal Faber) / (jk/c’t)

Larry Sanger to announce new encyclopedia project

Saturday, September 9th, 2006

At next week‘s Wizards of OS 4 in Berlin, Wikipedia‘s chief organiser in its first year Larry Sanger will announce, for the first time anywhere, a new encyclopedia project. Sanger who is now Director of Collaborative Projects for the Digital Universe Foundation suggests that his novel approach will provide a solution to the challenge of assessing and improving the quality of openly contributed articles.

The announcement follows recent reports on the German-language Wikipedia introducing a quality-management mechanism whereby new page edits need to be approved by registered users before they become visible to everyone.

In the same WOS4 session on Quality Management in Free Content, Martin Haase, professor of linguistics and board member of Wikimedia Deutschland e.V., will give insights into the intense debate on the Wikipedia mailing lists about who gets to approve edits.

What Sanger‘s alternative is he‘s not saying yet. „One key element of the new project will not be revealed until the talk itself,” but, continues Sanger, „it will, I think, prove to be very exciting to all Wikipedia-watchers.”

If you‘re excited, come to Berlin.

WOS4. Information Freedom Rules, 14-16 September 2006: Quality Management in Free Content, Friday, 15 September 2006, 1 pm, Columbia Club Berlin