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Exporting Open Source from the US

If you distribute Open Source software containing encryption from the United States, you are subject to US export controls, yes. But are there any real restrictions? The only thing that the law requires you to do (for Open Source) is send an email to crypt@bxa.doc.gov with the URL. So why do SourceForge and Google impose greater restrictions than the law requires? Anybody know?

WordPress Foundation

Yesterday Matt Mullenweg announced the establishment of the WordPress Foundation. It's goals, among others, are "to further the mission of the WordPress open source project: to democratize publishing through Open Source, GPL software".

He further elaborates:

The point of the foundation is to ensure free access, in perpetuity, to the projects we support. People and businesses may come and go, so it is important to ensure that the source code for these projects will survive beyond the current contributor base, that we may create a stable platform for web publishing for generations to come. As part of this mission, the Foundation will be responsible for protecting the WordPress, WordCamp, and related trademarks. A 501(c)3 non-profit organization, the WordPress Foundation will also pursue a charter to educate the public about WordPress and related open source software.

We hope to gather broad community support to make sure we can continue to serve the public good through freely accessible software.

Magic Lantern firmware makes Canon EOS 5D Mark II the camera Canon should have released

I love stories of user-driven innovation. Here's one I just discovered: the Magic Lantern firmware upgrade for the Canon EOS 5D Mark II camera. Trammel Hudson tells the story of his elegant and vital hacks:

Magic Lantern introduction from Trammell Hudson on Vimeo.

Open Street Map helps Haiti relief projects

This afternoon I heard this story on NPR. It's not the first time OpenStreetMap was mentioned as an asset in the relief effort. It was also mentioned three days ago in a story sourced from the Associated Press.

Sahana 2010 Haiti Disaster Relief Portal

On January 12, 2010, a magnitude 7.0 earthquake struck Haiti 15 miles from its capital, Port-au-Prince. On January 14th, the Sahana team, based largely in Sri Lanka, launched its Haiti 2010 Disaster Relief Portal, including a Situation Map, an Organizations Registry, and an Activities Report.

Gource: Open Source visualization of Open Source

Thanks to Greg DeKoenigsberg, I now know about Gource. You should, too. Watch this movie, which speaks for itself:

An Open Letter to the US Navy (that everybody should read)

Marv Langston served as Department of Defense Deputy Chief Information Officer (CIO), where he helped initiate the Global Information Grid, Public Key Infrastructure - Common Access Cards, and led the Defense Department Year 2000 transformation. Prior to that he held positions as Deputy Assistant Secretary of Navy for C4I, Navy's first CIO, and Director of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) Information Systems Office. In 1999, Government Computer Week magazine honored him with an Executive of the Year award. More recently he wrote an Open Letter to the US Navy leadership that I believe applies to all who are thinking about the right go-forward IT strategy for the new year and the new decade.

California's new Open Source policy rings in the New Year

When 2010 was barely one week old, state CIO Teri Takai published ITPL-10-01, which serves to "formally establish the use of Open Source Software (OSS) in California state government as an acceptable practice."

Open Source, MySQL, and trademarks

Greg Stein (Apache developer and all-around nice guy) made an off-hand comment about open source trademarks in an article(How to Screw Your (Open Source Software) Customers). He was talking about how many users of MySQL have actually using a purchased proprietary licensed copy of the software, and not the open source licensed copy. MySQL's business model uses dual licensing: the GPL, and for the folks whom its strictures are unacceptable, a standard proprietary license.

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