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Open source career taster days for women

BCS women logoIn conjunction with both Fossbox and Flossie, BCSWomen, the British Computer Society’s specialist women’s group, is organising 3 open source career taster days for women in London next month.

The days involved are 13th, 20th and 28th May and the sessions will run from 10.00 am to 5.00pm.

All the taster days will be held at BCS, 1st Floor, The Davidson Buidling, 5 Southampton Street, London, WC2E 7HA (map).

The cost will be £10.00 plus VAT (i.e. £12.00 in total) per day, but this will include lunch and refreshments.

The organisers are promoting these days as a series of three one-day workshops for women returners aimed at raising awareness of Open Source development as a dual skillset or second career.

The course will aim at building awareness and confidence and help women take some first steps either towards learning to code or to update existing skills and to learn how they might contribute to open source projects. It will also aim to raise awareness of self-training opportunities and of open source career paths and entry points.

Day 1 will include and introduction to FLOSS culture and licensing models, plus programming for Android mobile devices using MIT App Inventor.

Day 2 will comprise an introduction to open source projects and resources, as well as an introduction to Git.

Day 3 will give participants an introduction to programming with Python.

Online bookings only will be accepted and those interested are advised that places are limited.

Full details here.

Snooper’s Charter: mission creep already evident

image of eye staring back from screen
Does your council want to monitor your communications?
Even before the Home Office has even finished consulting on the revised version the Communications Data Bill (news passim), let alone redrafted the Bill, it seems that the associated mission creep long predicted by its opponents has already begun.

Saturday’s Daily Telegraph carried a report entitled “Town halls join rush to use the snoopers’ charter”, which states that council staff, health and safety inspectors and even Royal Mail want to harness the Government’s proposed Snooper’s Charter (aka the Communications Data Bill) to monitor private emails, telephone records and internet use, even though it was originally believed only police, intelligence agencies and the taxman would be able to use it.

Such an extension of surveillance hasn’t gone down well in many quarters including some Tory MPs, one of whom – Dominic Raab – is quoted by the Telegraph as saying:

“This scheme is Orwellian. Intrusive surveillance powers should be limited to pursuing terrorists, paedophiles and villains – not enabling jobsworth inspectors at the Health and Safety Executive or council busybodies to snoop into the private lives of ordinary citizens.”

Well said, Dominic!

In response to a FoI request from Big Brother Watch the Home Office said 36 “groups” had applied. The full list, courtesy of Big Brother Watch is:

1. Ambulance Services (unspecified number)
2. Department for Business, Skills and Innovation
3. Charity Commission
4. Civil Nuclear Constabulary
5. Criminal Cases Review Commission
6. Scottish Criminal Cases Review Commission
7. Department of Agriculture & Rural Development in Northern Ireland
8. Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
9. Department Of Enterprise, Trade And Investment For Northern Ireland
10. Department of the Environment in Northern Ireland
11. Department of Health – Medicines & Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency
12. Department for Transport – Accident Investigation Branches and Maritime & Coastguard Agency
13. Department for Work & Pensions (including functions formerly the responsibility of the Child Maintenance & Enforcement Commission)
14. Environment Agency
15. Financial Services Authority
16. Fire & Rescue Services
17. Food Standards Agency
18. Gambling Commission
19. Gangmasters Licensing Authority
20. Health and Safety Executive
21. Independent Police Complaints Commission
22. Information Commissioner
23. Local Authorities (unspecified number)
24. Maritime and Coastguard Agency
25. Ministry of Justice (NOMS and contracted-out prisons)
26. NHS Services (unspecified number)
27. NI Office (Prison Service)
28. Ofcom
29. Office of Fair Trading
30. Pensions Regulator
31. Ports Police forces – including Dover and Liverpool (number of bodies again unspecified)
32. Police Ombudsman for Northern Ireland (PONI)
33. Royal Mail
34. Serious Fraud Office
35. Scottish Environment Protection Agency
36. UK Border Agency – including Border Force.

We hope of course hope that the Bill doesn’t get through Parliament in the first place due to its mass surveillance elements, but if it does, let’s just hope the Home Office decides that civil servants should get on with the jobs they’re supposed to be doing and also that councils should stick to their traditional tasks like emptying the bins and sweeping the streets. It’s not the role of Whitehall mandarins and town hall officials to spy on the internet and communications use of citizens.

Croatia: government creates open source and open standards working group

Joinup, the EU’s public sector open source news website, reports that the Croatian government is establishing open source and open standards working group.

The working group will provide advice to government ministries and other public sector organisations wishing to adopt open source software and open file formats. The group will offer guidance for the procurement of software-related services and assist with pilot projects.

The group will be hosted by the Ministry of Public Administration, whilst Darko Pari?, the assistant Minister in the Office for e-Croatia, will provide help and guidance.

The working group will be led by Kristijan Zimmer, head of the IT support centre at Zagreb University’s Faculty of Electrical Engineering & Computing.

Home Office rules out wide consultation on Snooper’s Charter Mk. 2

Regular readers will realise that Bristol Wireless has grave concerns about the Communications Data Bill, otherwise known as the Snooper’s Charter (news passim).

As an organisation we contacted the Home Office urging for proper consultation on the Bill, which is currently being redrafted.

However, it now appears that the Home Office is not interested in a wide-ranging consultation on the Bill and has effectively stuck two fingers up at that idea, as evidenced by the response below, which was received from them today by email.

Dear Mr Woods,

Thank you for your email of 21 March about proposals for legislation on communications data and, in particular, about the degree of consultation during the process of redrafting the Communications Data Bill.

Communications data is the context not the content of a communication: who was communicating; when; from where; and with whom. It includes the time and duration of a communication, the number or email address of the originator and recipient, and sometimes the location of the device from which the communication was made. It does not include the ‘what’ – i.e. the content of any communication such as the text of an email or a conversation on a telephone.

A Draft Communications Data Bill, containing measures to maintain the ability of the law enforcement and intelligence agencies to access communications data, was published on 14 June 2012.

The Draft Bill has undergone a very thorough pre-legislative scrutiny process since that point by a Joint Committee of both Houses. This included public evidence sessions with a wide range of public bodies and interest groups, and a call for written evidence which provided an opportunity for public participation. The Committee considered all of this evidence during the scrutiny process and in developing its conclusions. The Intelligence and Security Committee (ISC) has also conducted its own, independent, inquiry into the Draft Bill, as this is an area that impacts on the work of the intelligence agencies.

The Joint Committee reported on 11 December 2012. The ISC issued a summary of their report and conclusions at the same time and published their full report on 5 February 2013. The Draft Bill and Joint Committee’s report are available on the Parliament website at: The ISC report is available at:

In their findings, both Committees have recognised the need for new legislation. The ISC said: “The Agencies require access to CD – in certain tightly controlled circumstances and with appropriate authorisation – in the interests of national security. We recognise that changing technology means that the Agencies are unable to access all the CD they need, that the problem is getting worse, and that action is needed now. We accept that legislation to update the current arrangements governing the retention of CD offers the most appropriate way forward”.

The Joint Committee said: “The law enforcement agencies should be given the tools they need. Reasonable access to some communications data is undoubtedly one of those tools. Our overall conclusion is that there is a case for legislation which will provide the law enforcement authorities with some further access to communications data”.

The Joint Committee made a number of specific recommendations. The Home Office has considered these recommendations carefully, and accepts the substance of them all. In light [sic] of this, the Bill is currently being redrafted. As part of this process the Home Office is undertaking further consultation with key stakeholders on the changes we are making to the Bill in light [sic] of the Committees’ recommendations. This includes law enforcement agencies, other public authorities, technical experts and civil liberties organisations. This process is enabling these organisations to contribute to the redrafting process and the Home Office is giving very careful consideration to the points being raised.

New legislation is needed urgently to plug a growing gap in capability which is eroding the ability of law enforcement agencies to fight crime. The Government remains committed to introducing a revised Bill, which reflects the outcome of the pre-legislative scrutiny process and subsequent discussions, at the earliest possible opportunity. We would expect all those with an interest in the Bill to continue their participation as it goes through the legislative process itself, and the Government will remain open to their input.

Yours sincerely,

B McGuire

So there you have it: Bristol Wireless may have concerns as a small supplier of internet and telephony services, but we’re not a “key stakeholder”, so our views will be ignored.

We have something further to say to the Home Office on the illiberal measures contained in the Snooper’s Charter. The words were said by Benjamin Franklin some 240 years ago:

They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety.

Greece: regions should use open technologies

According to Ellak, a Greek open source advocacy organisation founded by 25 universities and research centres, Greek regional administrations should consider using open technologies, including free software and open data, when drafting their next regional management plans, EU open source public sector website Joinup reports. Last week Ellak sent a letter explaining the advantages of these technologies to the authorities of all thirteen Greek regions.

“Open data and open technologies offer chances to new forms of collaboration. They enable citizens and organisations to participate in regional projects. They make possible new business, both locally and internationally.” Ellak says that by adapting a more cooperative model, public administrations create the conditions that increase the skills of local workforce, offer opportunities to youth and strengthen social cohesion.

Greece’s regions are drafting plans for the next six years and Ellak wants to make sure their plans include free software and open data. The organisation hopes to create a resource centre for these open technologies.

In its letter Ellak recommends that regional authorities contact and support local open source groups and internet activists who can assist public sector organisations in understanding these alternatives and even result in the introduction or development of open technologies.

Debian joins Free & Open Source Software Outreach Programme for Women

Debian logoThe GNOME Foundation started the Free & Open Source Software Outreach Programme for Women, otherwise known as OPW, in 2010. Many other FOSS organisations joined the programme in the January-April 2013 round. Bits from Debian, the official blog of the Debian Project, announced earlier today that Debian will also be joining in the next round of OPW from June-September and offering one internship.

More details about Debian’s participation in the programme can be found on Debian’s dedicated OPW page.

OPW allows applicants to work on any kind of project, including coding, design, marketing and web development. The Debian Google Summer of Code (GSoC) projects will also be offered as possible projects for OPW, but GSoC only allows coding projects. If potential participants have any idea of a non-coding project and want to mentor one, please contact Debian on the soc-coordination mailing list adding [OPW] in subject line.

OPW works in the same way as GSoC except there’s no Google involvement. The same advice that is provided for GSoC mentors works for OPW mentors.

The main goal of OPW is to increase the number of women in FOSS, so all women who are not yet Debian developers or maintainers are encouraged to apply. There are no age restrictions and applicants don’t have to be students.

Applicants need to take the following 3 steps:

  • Choose a project from this list. There are actually two lists, one for GSoC and another with non-coding tasks that can be only offered by the OPW. Those lists may change over the next few weeks.
  • Make a small contribution to Debian. Projects will add a task the applicant must complete as part of the pre-selection process. If no task is provided, you are welcome to ask the mentors of the project. You can also make a different extra task of the one listed to show your skills and interest.
  • Create a page on the Debian wiki with your application. Applicants may use a pseudonym, but in that case, please give Debian about yourself privately by email to the coordinators listed on the Debian OPW page.

Hollyweb? Tell the W3C no thanks!

According to its website, the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) is an international community where its member organisations, a full-time staff and the public work together to develop web standards, whose mission is to lead the Web to its full potential.

These standards have so far been characterised by complete openness: all web standards are open standards.

However, these open standards are now under attack.

There’s a proposal currently before the W3C’s HTML5 Working Group to build DRM (aka Digital Restrictions Management by openistas. Ed.) into the next generation of core web standards. The proposal is called Encrypted Media Extensions or EME.

The people behind EME are the major media companies; having failed to push such illiberal measures as SOPA and PIPA (news passim) through the US legislature, the Big Media moguls are now going through non-governmental channels to try to sneak digital restrictions into every interaction people have online.

image with caption Stop DRM in HTML5
Hollyweb? No thanks, W3C!

Netflix, Google, Microsoft and the BBC are all rallying behind this ludicrous proposal, which – as stated above – flies in the face of the W3C’s mission.

However, a petition has already been set up to oppose the addition of DRM to HTML5 and 3rd May 2013 has been designated the International Day Against DRM.

The petition page is also available in French.

We’d urge everyone interested in open standards and all other forms of openness – such as open data and open source – to sign the petition.

Bristol University moves to Gmail

bris_uni_gmailBristol University’s news pages have announced that email for staff and postgraduate research students at the University of Bristol moved to Gmail over the Easter weekend.

Most staff started to use the new service from Wednesday, 3rd April 2013. They joined 1,000 staff early adopters and 3 pilot departments, who provided very positive feedback on the new service. On 15 April staff and postgraduate research students will also start using Google Calendar.

For the past two years the University has been moving undergraduate students over to Gmail. The service brings benefits such as an email quota of 25 GB and easy access on mobile devices. Students will also be able to keep their Gmail accounts when they graduate, thus providing a lifelong link with Bristol University.

Nick Skelton, Assistant Director of IT Services said: “Google Apps gives us a modern suite of communications tools to meet the needs of staff and students. As the service is provided direct over the internet it will stay up to date with regular improvements and new features. Google makes it easy for our researchers to collaborate with both their colleagues at Bristol and their partners at other organisations, essential for a research-intensive global university such as Bristol.”

Be Skype free: use XMPP

XMPP logo
XMPP – the free and open alternative to Skype
Microsoft will be discontinuing its Windows/MSN Messenger service on 8th April and all current users will be switched to Skype. The Free Software Foundation Europe (FSFE) is advising all Windows Messenger users to take this as an opportunity to embrace open standards such as XMMP (formerly known as Jabber) instead of switching to Skype.

“Crucial technology should not be controlled by a single entity, but instead rely on the sort of open standards that have made the Internet great,” says FSFE’s Matthias Kirschner. “MSN users should switch to open standard technologies, like the XMPP protocol, and free software chat programs.”

XMPP is widely deployed across the internet. This standard is not closed or secret, but is governed by an independent foundation with many stakeholders. It can be implemented in any software and not only gives users the choice of which client to use, but also which servers to trust. By switching all MSN Messenger users to Skype, Microsoft is replacing one locked down technology with another. Acquired by Microsoft in 2011, the proprietary Skype software is widely used for audio and video communication, as well as chatting. Its workings are secret and substantial efforts have been made to prevent reverse engineering.

“Microsoft and Skype have absolute control over all communications going through their network,” says FSFE’s Torsten Grote. “Once aggregated, the power given to Skype by each individual user endangers freedom on a global scale. Skype is already abusing this power with attacks on privacy, data retention, censorship and eavesdropping.”

The ability to communicate freely is vital and this is just what open standards communication methods such as XMPP provide. People that have the ability to run their own XMPP server are strongly encouraged to do so. The more distributed the XMPP network, the more resistant it is to censorship and failures.

People who prefer not to run their own server are invited to use an XMPP service provider that they trust. FSFE, for example, provides a XMPP server for all its Fellows. “The technology that we rely on should never be controlled by only one entity. Ideally we all control it together. We should be careful not to build new walled gardens,” says Grote. “Most companies already agree on XMPP. Only the companies that want to lock-in their users go their own way on this. Even Facebook uses XMPP, but unfortunately they still don’t allow their users to talk to people outside of Facebook.”

Free wifi coming to Severn Beach line

The Severn Beach line, which runs between Bristol Temple Meads and Severn Beach on the Severn estuary, is a fortunate part of the railway network.

Some 50 years ago it was the only branch line in the Bristol area to survive the so-called Beeching axe.

image of Severn Beach line train near Redland
A Severn Beach line train near Redland. Picture courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

Today further good news arrives for Severn Beach line users: First Great Western, the current franchisees for the service, will be fitting the rolling stock with hardware to provide passengers with free wifi.

This announcement is a late addendum to last week’s announcement of the extension of First Great Western’s current franchise to 2016.

First Great Western is already providing free wifi for passengers on the Cotswold line (news passim). Within the Bristol area itself, First bus passengers are already enjoying free wifi in their leather seats on the X1 route between Bristol and Weston Super Mare (news passim).

More details here.

Sign up for Barncamp 2013

The email below has been posted today to the Hacktionlab mailing list.

Hi All,

I’m pleased to announce that the BarnCamp 2013 sign-up is now live and on-line:

More information about BarnCamp on that site and at:

Barncamp 2013 flyer
The view when you open the tent flap in the morning!

You know what to do! 🙂

taz.die tageszeitung receives Document Freedom Germany Award

FSFE logoThe Free Software Foundation Europe (FSFE) and the Foundation for a Free Information Infrastructure (FFII) have awarded this year’s Document Freedom Germany Award to German newspaper taz.die tageszeitung (TAZ) in recognition of TAZ’s exemplary use of open standards.

TAZ is receiving the Document Freedom award because it delivers its electronic paper to its subscribers in a choice of open formats and without digital restrictions (DRM). TAZ subscribers can receive their paper in HTML, PDF and ePub formats, as well as plain text. HTML files form the basis of the World Wide Web. PDF was published as a standard by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) in 2008. Adobe has granted anyone the right to make and distribute PDF files without restrictions. ePub is an Open Standard for electronic books. Rather than being bound to a
particular vendor, users can open files with the .epub extension with a wide range of programs and devices. Plain text files (.txt) can easily be read or opened by any thousands of applications, independent of any platform, product or vendor.

image of the TAZ team receiving Document Freedom Germany Award
The TAZ team receiving the Document Freedom Germany Award

“We are awarding the TAZ with the Document Freedom Award for their long-standing commitment to open standards and continuous efforts in offering their newspaper without restrictions,” says Erik Albers, the FSFE’s Co-ordinator Berlin.

“We use free and open formats because we don’t like to put our readers in a cage – even it it’s made of gold. Only by using open standards without DRM we are able to spread TAZ news media as widely as possible,” says Ralf Klever, TAZ’s Head of IT.

Spanish openistas file complaint against Microsoft

Hispalinux logoReuters reports that Hispalinux, which has some 8,000 members in Spain who either use or develop for the Linux operating system, has filed a formal complaint against Microsoft with the EU Commission’s office in Madrid.

Hispalinux’s complaint states that Windows 8 contains an “obstruction mechanism” called UEFI Secure Boot (news passim) which makes it difficult if not impossible for Windows 8 users to switch to Linux and other alternative operating systems.

The complaint was delivered to the EU Commission in Madrid yesterday morning by Hispalinux head Jose Maria Lancho.

The 14 page complaint states that Secure Boot controls the start-up of the computer and means users must seek keys from Microsoft to install another operating system. Hispalinux said Secure Boot is “a de facto technological jail for computer booting systems…, making Microsoft’s Windows platform less neutral than ever”.

The EU Commission has already fined Microsoft € 2.2 bn. over the last 10 years. If Hispalinux’s complaint is upheld, MS’ coffers could be depleted further by Brussels (and people ask, “What has the EU ever done for us?” Ed. 🙂 ).

Ubuntu Kylin to become reference system in China

Ubuntu Kylin logoAccording to a report yesterday on German IT news website Heise, the Chinese Ministry for Industry & Information Technology has selected Ubuntu as the basis for its reference architecture for operating systems. The China Software and Integrated Chip Promotions Centre (CSIP), part of the Industry & IT Ministry, Ubuntu manufacturer Canonical and the Chinese National University of Defence Technology (NUDT) are working to adapt the Chinese Kylin variant of Ubuntu to the requirements of the Chinese markets under the aegis of the CCN Open Source Innovation Joint Lab.

Ubuntu Kylin is to appear in April this year together with Ubuntu 13.04 with support for the input of Chinese symbols and the Chinese calendar and will integrate Chinese web services. The integration of Baidu Maps, the Chinese Amazon competitor Taobao, payment processes for Chinese banks and Chinese timetables and flight schedules is planned for subsequent versions. In addition, the WPS office suite, which is popular in China, is to be adapted for Kylin.

Ubuntu Kylin is to be widely used as the reference for a flexible, open operating system. The announcement of is part of a Chinese five year plan which should promote the use of open source software and speed up the development of an open source ecosystem.

Wikipedia training coming to Oldham

Wikimedia UK logoA day’s training in editing and using Wikipedia in Oldham (reputed home of the country’s best black puddings. Ed.) has been announced by Wikimedia UK, the charity supporting the work of the US-based Wikimedia Foundation.

The training day will be held on Saturday, 27th April from 10:00am to 4:00pm at Oldham Library, Greaves Street, Oldham, OL1 1AL (map). Attendance is free of charge.

The aim of the day is to increase the number of articles on Oldham, as well nearby Failsworth, Royton, and Saddleworth, plus improving the quality of existing Oldham-related articles.

The course will be run by experienced Wikipedians who’ll provide all the necessary instruction to get attendees editing and using Wikipedia in no time. The workshop agenda has not been finalised yet, but will follow the outline below:

  • Basics of editing;
  • User space: user page; talk page; sandbox; edit summaries;
  • Practical work – 1-on-1 and small group work;
  • Plenary discussion – creating and editing articles;
  • Sources, referencing, WP:V;
  • Practical work – 1-on-1 and small group work (improving and creating Oldham-related articles);
  • Plenary discussion – What’s next; Help!

The library only has 8 computers available, so attendees will need to bring laptops if possible.

Anyone interested can register for the event via Eventbrite, whilst any queries should be addressed to Daria Cybulska on daria.cybulska (at) or 0207 065 0994.

Jordan: JOSA denounces internet censorship in new telecommunications law

According to the news section of its website, the Jordan Open Source Association (JOSA) has formally requested that the Jordanian government remove articles in its draft Telecommunications Law which would allow the government to impose censorship and otherwise control access to the internet. The request was included in a list of suggestions submitted to the Jordanian Ministry of ICT in respect of the draft telecommunications law. The suggestions also included integrating more open web and net neutrality principles into the law.

JOSA stated that this is the first time the Jordanian cabinet has been given such powers, dealing a heavy blow to internet freedoms in the country. JOSA’s president Issa Mahasneh, stated: “The law according to this draft intends to give a legal cover to the Government to decree censorship guidelines, giving the Government the power to decide what Jordanian citizens can access on the Internet or not.”

Mahasneh also deplored the attempt to include an article forbidding ISPs from permitting access to adult material. JOSA has suggested alternatives for safer access to adult material without government intervention, such as the use of content-control software by network administrators in public offices, schools, and universities, as well as the provision of a family-safe internet service by ISPs. JOSA is adamant that it is not the government’s place to decide what content is suitable for Jordanian citizens and advocates a citizen-driven approach using freely available parental control software.

On the other hand, JOSA has welcomed new articles in the draft law that increase fairness and competitiveness in radio spectrum management and advocates freeing more of the radio frequency spectrum to serve new innovations in the field.

Hat tip: Glyn Moody

Another CiviCRM meet-up in London

CiviCRM logoWe’ve received details of yet another meet-up in London for users of CiviCRM, the open source CRM for the voluntary sector, in London next week.

The meet-up will be held on Wednesday 27th March between 5.30 pm and 8.30 pm. The venue will be Manta Ray Media Ltd., Finsbury Business Centre, 40 Bowling Green Lane, London, EC1R 0NE (map).

The agenda for the meet-up is as follows:

  • Welcome & introductions – Dave Melkman (5 mins);
  • Community update – Michael McAndrew (10 mins);
  • CiviCRM Lightning Overview on Membership – Dave Melkman (20 mins);
  • CiviCRM Case Study on Membership – Claire Lathwell/Kirsten Armit from the Faculty of Medical Leadership and Management (20 mins);
  • Break (15 Mins);
  • Session 3 – TBC (20 mins);
  • Gift Aid and Imminent changes – Parvez Saleh (15 mins);
  • CiviCRM Open Workshop (30 mins).

CiviCRM meet-ups are a great way to:

  • Network with the CiviCRM community;
  • Find out how people are making the most out of CiviCRM;
  • Discover if CiviCRM is suitable for your organisation;
  • Learn about what is coming up in future releases.

Anyone wishing to do a presentation at this or a future CiviCRM meetup is asked to contact Parvez Saleh parvez (at)

Registration and more information are available here.

Backports integrated into Debian’s main archive

Debian, the base Linux distribution for lots of other distros (including the highly popular Ubuntu), announced today that the backports service for the next stable release of Debian (version 7, codenamed “Wheezy”) will be part of the main archive. Backports are packages mostly from the testing distribution (and in few cases from unstable too, e.g. security updates) recompiled in a stable environment so that they will run without new libraries (whenever it is possible) on the stable distribution of Debian. Whereas this service was provided in a separate archive, backports packages will be accessible from the regular pool starting with “Wheezy”.

Users of “Wheezy” will have to add the entry below to their sources.list file:

deb wheezy-backports main

Debian users are asked to check their regular mirrors for backports and download the packages concerned from there.

Debian also gives a final note of caution, i.e. this change does not affect the current stable release of Debian (version 6, codenamed “Squeeze”).

Snooper’s Charter: a consultation please, not a CONsultation!

We learn today from the Wild Webmink blog that the controversy over the Communications Data Bill – aka the Snooper’s Charter – is still rumbling on (news passim).

To quote:

The UK’s Home Office continues to push for maximum surveillance powers with minimum accountability in the latest adjustments to the Communications Data Bill. Although the Parliamentary Joint Select Committee said consultation with civil society organisations was needed, there has been almost none and by all accounts the meetings since then have been worthless.

Webmink concludes by pointing out that the Open Rights Group has posted a form on its website so that interested UK citizens and organisations can press for a proper consultation (as opposed to one with the emphasis on the first syllable. Ed.) to be held on the Communications Data Bill.

Python Software Foundation reaches settlement in trademark dispute

Python logo image
Python – saved for software in the EU
The Python Software Foundation blog announced yesterday that an amicable settlement had been reached in the dispute over the Python trade mark in Europe (news passim) between the Foundation and PO Box Hosting Limited, which trades as Veber.

The dispute centred around Veber’s use of the Python name for its cloud hosting services and its application for a figurative trademark incorporating the word “Python”. While the Foundation is the trademark owner for Python in the USA, it did not have a filing within the EU. According to the terms of the settlement, Veber has withdrawn its trademark filing and has agreed to support the Python Software Foundation’s use of the term.

The amicable agreement reached between the two sides will result in a rebranding of Veber’s Python cloud server and backup services, which continue to be available at Veber will rebrand the Python services later under a yet to be determined name.

“We are happy to come to an agreement with Veber,” said Van Lindberg, chairman of the Python Software Foundation. “What the PSF wants most is to support the global community of Python developers. To Veber’s credit, they were willing to recognise the Python brand without protracted negotiations. We are grateful for Veber’s support and we wish them luck in their business.”

The Python Software Foundation expressed its thanks the Python community for its support throughout the dispute, both financially and through their campaigning across EU member states.