SourceForge: Nobody Is Asking Why Now?

sourceforge hands tied

Bound by the law?

Sourceforge is now blocking access to sites from Cuba, Iran, North Korea, Sudan, and Syria.

Since 2003, the Terms and Conditions of Use have prohibited certain persons from receiving services pursuant to U.S. laws, including, without limitations, the Denied Persons List and the Entity List, and other lists issued by the U.S. Department of Commerce, Bureau of Industry and Security. The specific list of sanctions that affect our users concern the transfer and export of certain technology to foreign persons and governments on the sanctions list. This means users residing in countries on the United States Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) sanction list, including Cuba, Iran, North Korea, Sudan, and Syria, may not post content to, or access content available through, Last week, began automatic blocking of certain IP addresses to enforce those conditions of use.

In all the commentary I am seeing, nobody has asked the very simplest and perhaps most obvious of questions: Why now?

These terms have been in place for nearly 7 years now. (The Entities list has existed since 1997)

Lets forget for the minute that one hell of a lot of the software hosted by Sourceforge is developed with the help of, or even entirely by, people living outside the U.S.

Lets also bear in mind that SourceForge has claimed that this is because of the “transfer and export of certain technology” to foreign persons and governments on the sanctions list, yet doesn’t give any details about what this technology is?

Surely everything on SourceForge can’t contain dangerous technology? Why not just restrict the programs which contain those technologies?

Not to mention the fact that everybody knows that any idiot, never mind some evil axis human overlord wannabe wouldn’t be able to use a proxy or Tor to get past the IP filtering!

Or is there something more at play here?

Google and China perhaps? Did the U.S. government pay SourceForge a call and “politely” remind them that these laws exist? Maybe because the government wants to show that it is willing to enforce it’s laws and send a subtle hint to China that the hacking of U.S. companies and theft of their I.P. might get them added to these lists?

I find it very hard to believe that the guys at SourceForge have had a sudden moment of conscience and, out of the blue, decided to comply with laws that have existed for almost 12 years and to their own terms and conditions which they have ignored for the past 7 years.

Video: Robots Are Taking Over The Web

The video speaks for itself:

This is a truly crucial time for the Internet, the most powerful and interactive medium humans have ever seen. Recent actions by Facebook to monitor activity on the web and share our private information with our personal contacts and marketers, tells us quite clearly that the new media giants cannot be trusted.


Free / Open Source Video Editing Solutions

I’m waiting for the release of Ubuntu Studio so that I can build a mini studio. In the meantime I’m on the lookout for a good video editing package.

I know Vista and XP come with Windows Movie Maker but I would like something with a little more power and flexibility.

Obviously I want the best performance at the best possible price so I will primarily be looking for a free or open source solution that I can install on one of my Windows machines.

It’s not that I’m a cheapskate but the software won’t be a permanent fixture as it will have a lifespan dictated by the release date of Ubuntu Studio.

Here’s a list of what I have found so far:

Open Source video editing software

Jahshaka :

The worlds first open source, hardware accelerate editing and effects system!

LiVES : Linux Only. Can Run on Windows or XBox using a bootable cd.

VirtualDub :

VirtualDub is an easy to use video capturing and processing program that works with any Video for Windows compatible device. It helps you to get video onto your computer by capturing it from a source like your web cam or other input device, and also to edit existing video files you may have.

Video Editing Freeware

AviTricks : Does not look impressive at all!

ZS4 Video Editor :

ZS4 Video Editor is video editing and compositing software which aims to provide media experts with a facility to combine a variety of media types (currently photos, videos and audio files) into one (or more) output file(s).
ZS4 Video Editor can be used like an object oriented photo-manipulation program with a timeline: things that can be manipulated in a photo (workshop) program can be manipulated in ZS4 using parameters which alter over time.

That’s not an impressively large list, but I still lack the time to install and commit a few hours to checking all of these packages out so I’m going to ask for your recommendations.

Which video editing software do you use and why?

Looking forward to Ubuntu Studio

I hadn’t heard of Ubuntu Studio until today.

Ubuntu Studio. A multimedia creation derivative of Ubuntu.
Ubuntu Studio is aimed at the linux audio, video and graphic enthusiast as well as professional.

It could be just the thing I’m looking for in order to finally put together a mini studio for myself.

And this should get audiophiles hot under the collar:

The developers are looking into a real time kernel which will significantly improve the latency between the included audio software and your audio hardware (most importantly lightning fast companionship with JACK). Remember, the lower the latency the better. We are hoping the proposed kernel is good for at least 2-3ms. If you’re at all excited by the audio capabilities of Ubuntu Studio, the inclusion of this kernel will be well worth the wait.

I am the CC King of Spam!

Well, not really, but if folks keep sending me emails that have been forwarded 200 hundred times and packed with addresses in the CC (Carbon Copy or Courtesy Copy) field then I could quite easily be if I wanted.

I have no need to start scraping the internet for addresses all I have to do is sit back and wait for them to come to me. Yesterday, I received 9 different forwarded messages, and could have scraped more that 1300 addresses between the lot of them.

Here’s a quick tip folks. Every email client allows you to put addresses into the BCC, Blind Carbon Copy (Wikipedia link) field. If you put the addresses you want to forward your email to in the BCC field other folks won’t be able to see who you emailed it to, and the folks you receive it won’t know who else you emailed it to.

This is also handy when you’re writing important emails and want somebody else to have a copy to , for security, else without the original recipient knowing that you simultaneously sent multiple copies or who you sent them to.

BCC is for protecting the privacy of others. When you forward an email to 20 people who’s only connection to each other is you, you’re putting their privacy in danger. They may not want me to have their email.

There’s also a good chance that their email address could end up in the hands of a spammer because you were a lazy sod and didn’t bother using the correct field (BCC instead of CC) when spamming your friends with the latest virus filled PST file.

But you, dear CC abusers, are not alone in the blame.

The developers of many (many – not all before the Open Source Advocates flame me) Open Source email clients don’t display the BCC field by default. It usually has to be enabled by via  a menu option. But then again, if you’ve switched to Open Source then I would have considered you informed enough to have figured this out for yourself. Unfortunately, looking at the header file of some of these emails, it’s quite obvious that many open source users have just forwarded blindly.

Also proprietary software developers such as the guys at Microsoft behind Office 2007 are to blame.

When you create a new email in Outlook it shows the “To” field and the “CC” field. There’s not a sign of the BCC field. It should be there if folks are expected to use it.

Also, when you click the “To…” button, or the CC one, to add addresses without typing them, the BCC field is shown, but it is last on the list, it should be second. Drop CC to the end. It’s a small design change but it would make protecting each others privacy a lot easier as it’s more likely to be selected first.

Better yet, how about a dialog box appearing every time you use CC asking “Are you sure you want to ruin your friends privacy and give these emails to spammers?

I propose not just moving BCC above CC, but instead of it standing for Blind Carbon Copy, how about changing the meaning to “Before Carbon Copy”. After all that’s how it should be used.

The French may go Open Source

It looks like France are going to follow the way of Bergen in Norway and Munich, Germany in giving open source operating systems a chance to compete to win state business.

The move by the French government to give open source the chance to compete against Microsoft is a financial one, as the French government is apparently strapped for cash according to Yahoo news.

Could this be yet another loss for Microsoft?

HP Expands Open Source Support To MySQL & JBoss

Good to see that Hewlett Packard are continuing to make strides into the Open Source world. MySQL and JBoss have partnered up with HP to work on jointly on testing and engineering support. Hp will certify and support MySQL and JBoss on it’s servers.

This is a good move for HP, who recently teamed up with Novell to provide Linux on it’s desktop PC’s. It has also promoted Linux on it’s Intel based servers and was one of the first companies to indemnify Linux customers against legal actions by the SCO group.

HP has shown significant interest in open-source software since its merger with Compaq Computer, but is still lagging behind IBM in the Linux market. This move can only be seen as positive for all involved. HP extends it’s reach in the Linux market. MySQL (the leading opensource database program) extend their customer base, and JBoss (Java based application server) will have it’s status as one of the leading choices for running Java-based Web applications secured.

And of course, the open source community benefits as well… A merger made in heaven then.