6.12.11

ACAPOR's President wants to silence people... forever

Remember Fran Nevrkla, Chairman and CEO of Phonographic Performance Ltd, a UK music industry association, that wanted death penalty for those who download copyright material from the Internet without the authors' consent?

It is possible that in Portugal we now have a radical of that kind. Someone saying he is Nuno Pereira from ACAPOR left a comment in the Portuguese newspaper Público (check out the first chronological comment) asking the Government to "eradicate pirate parties, Tugaleaks, Anonymous of every ages, Paula's somethings and filthy Ludwig's, whose minds only serve to destabilize our very fragile society, since they are the mentors for the computer criminality that terrorizes our country".

In parts:

Nuno Pereira, whom I've criticized before, is ACAPOR's President. ACAPOR, whom I've criticized before, is the Portuguese association of movie rental stores. You might remember them from the news, since they were hacked by Anonymous during Operation Payback.

Pirate Parties... Well, you know who they are, even if their target is the Portuguese Pirate Party, who have presented criminal charges against ACAPOR in the past, since ACAPOR has violated privacy laws.

Tugaleaks is a Portuguese website inspired on Wikileaks, who's aim is to do the same as Wikileaks but on a local (Portuguese) level. Unsurprisingly, they've also been vocally critical of ACAPOR.

Anonymous... well, not only I'm sure you've heard about them, but I also already told you about them hacking ACAPOR (defacing their website and leaking 650Mb of e-mails). This is Anonymous message to ACAPOR.

Finally... Ludwig and Paula: they're both Portuguese researchers, and both are bloggers. In their blogs, both Ludwig and Paula wrote more than once criticizing ACAPOR and their attempts to restrict free speech amongst other things. Of course, the name Paula might ring a bell if you're a reader of this blog: after all I'm married with her (and I have no wish to see her eradicated, mind you!). Why them? Well... There was a Portuguese Conference on "Pirate Culture" previously this year, and both the Nuno Pereira, the Portuguese Pirate Party, Ludwig and Paula were there doing presentations and debating.

And maybe those "minds only serve to destabilize our very fragile society, since they are the mentors for the computer criminality that terrorizes our country", since if you see the videos from the event (link above) you'll start thinking that Paula, Ludwig and André from the Pirate Party make sense, while ACAPOR's points of view seem more of those of some lunatic. Of course, the "fragile society" in question isn't "our society" but ACAPOR's association. And the "computer criminality that terrorizes our country" that they talk about is the fact that they "use computers to show their points of view in such a well-structured way that ACAPOR doesn't have arguments against them". Free speech, you know?

What scares me is that this guy is doing this kind of thing long enough to prove he's serious about it. And it scares me because he was there, face to face with Paula and Ludwig, debating issues on which they have different positions, but an... "wealthy debate", I guess I can say. And then, each of them went home... and one of them is crying out loud asking for the others to be eradicated.

25.11.11

A long needed blog post

I should have written lot's of things on this blog that I've been delaying for a long time... And accumulating issues. Here's a short summary, so I can throw this behind my back:

Activism

ANSOL, the Portuguese FSFE sister association "Associação Nacional para o Software Livre" (National Association for Free Software) is being revitalized, and I am now its direction's Vice-President for the years 2011-2012. If you wondered why I seemed with even less time this last few months, this is probably one of the reasons for it. We've been doing lot's of things, lately organizing the Portuguese event for Software Freedom Day or participating in a Public Consultation on which Open Formats should the country's computer systems use. Today isn't really a "good news" day regarding Free Software in Portugal, since the two parties now in the Government changed their minds since last year (when they were opposition) and decided to reject a proposal that would make the country spend 50% less in Software Licenses by using Free Software.

Music

I've been more silent in 2011, but that doesn't mean I haven't been working. In fact several cool things happened: in March I've released a new album, for the first time in vinyl. A release party was held, here's a small fan-made video of the show:

In August, the latest Merankorii album, "Alain", was released in both cassette tape or tape + CD editions. Here's one of its tracks:

Merankorii - Intermezzo by A Beard of Snails Records

And for December there are also news - some things I'm not yet well sure to publicly state, but one is for sure: I'll be playing live in Lisbon at the 20th, and you're invited to go. Feel free to RSVP in one of the several places where the concert is announced:

I've also participated in various compilations, but let me highlight two of them, because not only (in one case) it has Merankorii, but because both feature new tracks from Kokori, my industrial duo, that spent the year writing what's going to be, eventually, the best album ever: Necktar 2017 Volume 3 and Icaro I. Here's Kokori's track on Icaro I:

What Else? Well... lot's of things, really ;-), but I guess this blog post is already long enough for a "catch up". I intend to do more of these, but this is not a promise ;-)

18.10.11

The "Music Industry" does it again

It never ends, the tactics are old but they keep using them - oddly enough they keep working next to politicians.

The sales of music in Portugal fell 40% in the first semester of 2011, comparing to the same period of 2010, according to the Portuguese Phonographic Association (AFP).[1]

They attribute this fall to so-called "piracy" (the unauthorized copy of copyrighted material), failing to explain how to they infer the correlation, and ignoring the studies that suggest exactly the opposite. Worse: still according to them, "this is the hugest fall in a total of 50 different markets in the world", and those include countries with both a bigger and a smaller piracy rate, suggesting that actually there's no relation at all.

But why do they want to suggest such a relationship? Well, AFP requested a meeting with the Culture State Secretary, where they intend to ask the Government to introduce a gradual response law[2] in order to "stop piracy". Such a law would make people considered guilt without the right to a fair trial, take the right to privacy to every citizen, make people pay for a (private) service they can't use, and take off Internet access to an whole family because one of its members was simply accused of doing "piracy" (all together ignoring the fact that Europe is opposed to such kind of laws[3]).

Also interesting to see is that AFP doesn't really care that much into actually doing what they can - without any law changes - to reduce piracy: take for instance into consideration the research[4] that concludes that dumping DRM has both the effect of increasing sales and of reducing piracy, and compare it with the pro-DRM stance they have.

All in all, and to sum up, the answer politicians must give to this kinds of tactics of requests is really simple. AFP's Eduardo Simões stated that piracy destroys the income of musicians, authors, artists and record producers. The answer to such an allegation can only be: "Where's proof?"

[1] http://blitz.aeiou.pt/=f77109

[2] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Graduated_response

[3] http://www.edri.org/edrigram/number6.17/3strikes-opposed-isoc-europe

[4] http://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/news/2011/10/a-game-we-all-win-dumping-drm-can-increase-sales-while-reducing-piracy.ars

15.9.11

This saturday is Software Freedom Day!

Celebrate SFD with us on September 17!
409 events spread in 84 different countries, Software Freedom Day 2011 is approaching!

Join a local SFD team - Is there a SFD event nearby?

Software Freedom Day is an event with hundreds of teams from all around the world running local events to help their communities understand Software Freedom. One way of joining SFD is to join an existing SFD event. Check to see if there is already a team registered in your area. If there is one, you can always join them and help them to make their events successful. It's FUN to join SFD!

Helps are always in need to organize SFD :) you can help to design marketing materials, spread the words out, decorate the venue, take photos, demonstrate or present about Free Software in the event, etc. Feel free to check out the team map to find the SFD team in your local area!

As usual, ANSOL is organizing the event in Portugal, this time in Lisbon. Here's the schedule for the day's events (sorry, only in Portuguese):

What are you waiting for? Check out where's the nearest place to you where a celebration is happening, and join the free software community to celebrate or to know a little more about what's all this about!

24.8.11

Happy 20th birthday, Linux!


Newsgroups: comp.os.minix
From: torvalds@klaava.Helsinki.FI (Linus Benedict Torvalds)
Date: 25 Aug 91 20:57:08 GMT
Subject: What would you like to see most in minix?
Hello everybody out there using minix -

I'm doing a (free) operating system (just a hobby, won't be big and
professional like gnu) for 386(486) AT clones.  This has been brewing
since april, and is starting to get ready.  I'd like any feedback on
things people like/dislike in minix, as my OS resembles it somewhat
(same physical layout of the file-system (due to practical reasons)
among other things).

I've currently ported bash(1.08) and gcc(1.40), and things seem to work.
This implies that I'll get something practical within a few months, and
I'd like to know what features most people would want.  Any suggestions
are welcome, but I won't promise I'll implement them :-)

                Linus (torvalds@kruuna.helsinki.fi)

PS.  Yes - it's free of any minix code, and it has a multi-threaded fs.
It is NOT protable (uses 386 task switching etc), and it probably never
will support anything other than AT-harddisks, as that's all I have :-(.

3.6.11

Este Domingo, não há motivo para não votar

This blog post is regarding the Portuguese elections that will occur next sunday. Thus, it is written in Portuguese.

Domingo Portugal vai a eleições. Para aqueles que acham que não vale a pena ir votar, ou vale mais branco ou nulo, porque "são todos iguais"... Aqui vai um pequeno (e incompleto) resumo das várias opções. Lembrem-se: o boletim de voto não tem só dois ou três quadrados.

BE - A favor do Software Livre. Contra as Patentes de Software. Combate aos paraísos fiscais. Criação de milhares de empregos na recuperação da ferrovia. Transparência na Administração Pública. Orçamento zero. Contra as medidas da Troika. Revisão de todas as Parcerias Público-Privadas. Contra a extinção do Ministério da Cultura.
CDS-PP - Contra o Software Livre. A favor das Patentes de Software. Signatário das medidas da Troika. A favor do DRM. Comprador de submarinos. Suspensão do TGV. Adiar o novo Aeroporto.
CDU - A favor do Software Livre. Contra as Patentes de Software. Taxa de 20% na banca. Aumento do Salário Mínimo. Redução do IVA. Redução das Taxas Sociais. Transparência na Administração Pública. Contra as medidas da Troika.
MEP - Apoio à reestruturação das dívidas das famílias aos bancos. Cheque-emprego famílias. Ensino pré-escolar universal aos três anos. Transparência nas aquisições públicas. Contra o aborto.
MPT - Prioridade à defesa do Mar. Utilização submarinos para combate à droga e contrabando. Recuperação das actividades marítimas. Criação de um Ministério do Mar. Contra as medidas da Troika.
PAN - Reconhecimento legal e constitucional da senciência dos animais, e criminalizar o seu abandono e maus-tratos. Promover o vegetarianismo. Revisão de todas as Parcerias Público-Privadas.
PCTP/MRPP - Ruptura com a União Europeia. Semana de trabalho com 30 horas. Definição de um salário mínimo Europeu. Defesa do direito não-discriminatório de todos os partidos políticos candidatos se apresentarem à população.
PDA - Acabar com o cargo de representante da República nos Açores. Contra o Plano Nacional de Barragens. Contra a anexação da APDL. Contra a privatização da ANA. Reforço do papel das Universidades na gestão dos fundos comunitários e na definição das políticas regionais.
PH - Direito de voto aos imigrantes com cinco anos de residência. Generalização do voto electrónico. Fim dos governos civis. Renegociação da dívida externa. Eliminar os falsos recibos verdes com mais fiscalização. Adopção de crianças por casais do mesmo sexo.
PND - Combate à corrupção, ao clientelismo e ao amiguismo. Redução drástica do número de deputados. Defesa do direito não-discriminatório de todos os partidos políticos candidatos se apresentarem à população.
PNR - Serviço Militar Obrigatório, Suspensão do Acordo de Schengen, Controlo de Fronteiras, Repatriamento imediato de imigrantes ilegais. Contra o encerramento de escolas. Aumentar a Polícia.
POUS - Contra o plano de resgate imposto pela União Europeia e pelo FMI. Saída da União Europeia. Proibição dos despedimentos. Contra a privatização das Empresas Públicas. Renacionalização da banca e de outros sectores estratégicos da economia sem indeminização nem resgate.Contra a privatização das Empresas Públicas. Renacionalização da banca e de outros sectores estratégicos da economia sem indeminização nem resgate.
PPM - Restabelecimento da monarquia. Alargamento dos horários de funcionamento dos museus. Redução em 50% o número de institutos, fundações e empresas municipais. Contra as Parcerias Público-Privadas.
PPV - Não ao aborto. Não à eutanásia. Não ao casamento homossexual. Reestruturação da Função Pública. Contra fecho das urgências da maternidade D. Estefânia. A favor da manutenção do Ensino Público.
PS - Contra o Software Livre. A favor das Patentes de Software. Signatário das medidas da Troika. Contra a liberdade dos autores poderem ceder os seus direitos ao público em geral. A favor do DRM. A favor do Plano Nacional de Barragens. Contra a extinção do Ministério da Cultura.
PSD - Contra o Software Livre. A favor das Patentes de Software. Signatário das medidas da Troika. Contra a liberdade dos autores poderem ceder os seus direitos ao público em geral. A favor do DRM. A favor do Plano Nacional de Barragens. A favor da extinção do Ministério da Cultura.
PTP - Eliminar a corrupção e o compadrio. Aumentar o salário mínimo nacional. Reposição dos cortes salariais. Acabar com os falsos recibos verdes. Mais esquadras de bairro. Mais médicos de família.

Se quiserem ver os projectos de cada um dos partidos com mais detalhe, têm aqui uma lista dos vários partidos, com link para cada um deles.

Se não houver aqui claramente motivos para se votar num determinado partido, estou convito que haverá, pelo menos, motivos suficientes para não se gostar de vários destes partidos. Estamos sempre a criticar qualquer coisa que há de errado. Há sempre opiniões com as quais não conseguimos concordar. Há, por vezes, um certo sentimento de frustração, como que uma "inevitabilidade" em relação ao caminho que a vida leva. Mas é possível marcar a diferença. Domingo é o dia.

31.5.11

Stop claiming <insert mature technology here> is dead


There. Does this graph seem to represent a dying format? Yup, I don't think so. Stop saying cassette tapes are dead. You did the same for vinyl, and now you're calling names to yourself...

Update: By popular demand, I started updated this graphic once in a while...

graph in October 2011

Updated graph, still according to the data available on Discogs, at the 2nd of February 2012:

Updated in 19/07/2013:

2.5.11

Portugal's biggest political party wants to turn Creative Commons Licenses illegal

I've just came back from a two hours and a half long presentation and debate on the Portuguese Culture Ministry's new law proposal regarding private copies.

The announcement of this event raised me doubts and fears from the first moment, and during the event, with the proposal's text presented in my hands and the debate that followed, some of my fears came true. They are several, in fact, but for now I'm going to talk about one of them:

The Socialist Party will present this new proposal for approval in the next Government, no matter if they win the elections or not. In regards to Creative Commons, they support a vision where Creative Commons harm Culture, and in this law proposal they intend to turn them illegal. Here's how (quick translation, I'll soon post the whole proposal in Portuguese online, so others can make their own translation; this is only the part regarding written works, but there are similar items in "Article 3" for other works, except software):

Article 3, point 1 - The authors have the right to the perception of a compensation equitable for the reproduction of written works, in paper or similar support, for instance microfilm, photocopy, digitalization or other processes of similar nature.
[...]
Article 5 (Inalienability and non-renunciability) - The equitable compensation of authors, artists, interpreters or executives is inalienable and non-renunciable, being null any other contractual clause in contrary.

Here: in sum, every author (except software authors, so thankfully free software isn't affected) has the right of getting money out of private copy, and they can't renounce it, so every Creative Commons license, where saying "You are free to share — to copy, distribute and transmit the work" (or actually, in legalese, "licensor hereby grants you a worldwide, royalty-free, non-exclusive, perpetual license to reproduce the Work") is illegal.

Update: Here's the whole event was audio and video recorded by several people. One of those recordings (only an excerpt of the debate) is now available online:

Gravação parcial da sessão de discussão da apresentação da PL da Cópia Privada

Update 2: There's a (low quality) scan of the booklet, made by Miguel Caetano, here: part I, part II, part III. Each PDF is two pages of the booklet, there's at least one person wanting to turn this scans into one document only, for easier reading, but - for now - this is what's have available.

Update 3: Here's the "almost full" (only missing the very first part) audio of the whole session:

Download available here.

30.3.11

Happy Document Freedom Day!

Today is Document Freedom Day!

Document Freedom Day (DFD) is a global day for document liberation. It will be a day of grassroots effort to educate the public about the importance of Open Document Formats and Open Standards in general.
Complementary to Software Freedom Day, we aim to have local teams all over the world organise events on the last Wednesday of March. This is the forth year that Document Freedom Day is happening, and we are again looking for people around the world who are willing to join the effort.
DFD's main goals are:
  • promotion and adoption of free document formats
  • forming a global network
  • coordination of activities that happen on last Wednesday of March, Document Freedom Day
Once a year, we will celebrate Document Freedom Day as a global community. Between those days, DFD will be focused on facilitating community action and building awareness for issues of Document Freedom and Open Standards. We hope that you will join the DFD community.
There are celebrations in 36 different cities worldwide, including four in Portugal (Viseu, Lisboa, Porto, Coimbra). I'll be in the Lisbon party, and you should attend the one near you.  Here's the list of events, come and celebrate with us!

PS -> DFD in Portugal has a special flavour, since today we heard news that the final law proposal to make open documents and formats in the Public Administration mandatory was finalized, and will probably be voted next friday.

1.3.11

HarperCollins' greed: the "why" of my boycott on them

Long story short:

After decades of traditional book business (and what a great business it was, I have quite a good number of books from them), HarperCollins decided to stop selling books to libraries. Instead, they'll sell a new kind of objects that self-destruct after a while.

You probably heard about it by now: HarperCollins decided to stop selling ebooks to libraries, and instead to sell them self-destructing licenses that will let libraries borrow an "ebook" for 26 times only. The arguments against this are obvious, but HC's arguments /for/ it are... well, laughable.

Of course, they announced it and hell broke loose. Every librarian with Internet access yelled against HC, and thousands of others too. HarperCollins now decided to reply... and dig an yet bigger grave.

In an open letter to librarians, they say that doing the business they did for almost 200 years, would now, suddenly, "undermine the emerging e-book eco-system, hurt the growing e-book channel, place additional pressure on physical bookstores, and in the end lead to a decrease in book sales and royalties paid to authors. We are looking to balance the mission and needs of libraries and their patrons with those of authors and booksellers, so that the library channel can thrive alongside the growing e-book retail channel." In other words, they aren't doing it because of their greed, no, they're doing it to, ultimately, "protect libraries and their patrons". Of course they do say they believe such things would happen all the sudden, but they don't say why. But they say other things:

Twenty-six circulations can provide a year of availability for titles with the highest demand, and much longer for other titles and core backlist. If a library decides to repurchase an e-book later in the book’s life, the price will be significantly lower as it will be pegged to a paperback price point.
In other words "we'll sell you a book that self-destructs after roughly an year, but you should be thanking us, because you can buy another one (self-destructable, of course) cheaper then the first cost you".

And they had the nerve to write that offensive "open letter". Bite me. I won't ever buy an HC book until they deserve it again - for instance by respecting books and book readers, which they obviously don't nowadays. And I incite every library to boycott HarperCollins until they show some respect to libraries. HC owes libraries what they are. And when libraries unite, they sure are powerful. Look at the past, what happened with the "Nature case" with University libraries. You can - you should - do the same here. Every kind of library, public or private, should have pride in not letting not even a single other HC book enter its shelves, until HC gets back into the book selling business again.

1.2.11

My Top 10 albums of 2010

As some of you might know, I have a tiny record label called Noori Records, besides being a musician in the musical projects Merankorii and kokori.

So, Noori Records is celebrating the change of year by asking its artists to do their "top 10 of 2010" lists, and I've done mine there too. Here's the quick list (read the article for some kind of review and more information about each record):

  • 20th March 2010 (2xCD, Cabinet Pin)
  • Sol Invictus – The Bad Luck Bird (7”, Auerbach Tonträger)
  • Antimatter – Alternative Matter (3xCD + DVD + Book, Prophecy Productions)
  • V/A – Whom The Moon A Nightsong Sings (2xLP or 2xCD, Auerbach Tonträger)
  • DVAR – El Mariil (CD, Shadowplay Release)
  • Kokori – init() (EP, A Beard Of Snails Records)
  • V/A – Now That’s What I Call Retro-Futurism Vol. 1 (2xFloppy, Diskette Etikette Rekords)
  • +ko+ko+ – Ovo (Single, Witte Dood Records)
  • +ko+ko+ – Parasite (Single, Witte Dood Records)
  • V/A – Maere Compilation
On a completely different matter, if you're in Portugal (and since I doubt I'll get back blogging soon) check out this events going on really soon now:
KDE 4.6 release party, next saturday afternoon;
Debian Squeeze release party, next saturday night (gives time to go to both parties);
Portuguese Talkers dinner 2011 (19 years!)