Thursday, July 19, 2007

Defining Free Services

With Mako's blessing, I have started a wiki page hosted on Freedom Defined for working on the Free Service Definition. Please create an account and help us work out what it means for a service to be free, respecting users' freedom and privacy.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Free Service License

State of Thought I've been thinking about, discussing, and exploring the issue of what I'm calling Free Service Licensing. The core idea is to protect users' freedom when they use services (gmail, flickr, todocue, etc) — to standardize Terms of Service/Privacy Policies so users know how a service will respect their freedom and data. I started brainstorming ideas for what a Free Service License (FSL) could look like/contain. Here's what I have so far: 0. Uses all Free Software 1. Uses free/standard data formats if possible 2. Provides trivial and costless data export for backup/transferability 3. Keeps information private except with explicit permission. 4. Deletes all of user's records within N hours/days of closing account 5. Doesn't log personally identifiable information 6. Limits liability for provider 7. Protects trademark/naming rights of provider Perhaps two versions, a FSL and LFSL, could exist, with the LFSL not containing requirement 0. When I made TodoCue public, I wanted people to know that I respect their freedom. For many reasons, the best I could come up with was this paragraph. Having a standardized FSL would make the decision to become a freedom-respecting service provider simpler and less risky. Naturally, one requirement of FSL services would be that they do not incorporate/contain non-FSL services (like many third-party advertising or statistics providers). Given a critical mass of FSL services or at least mindshare, we might even see FSL versions of Google AdSense, Analytics etc. State of Freedom After I wrote most of the above, I was pointed to work being done by others. The Affero GPL is GPL plus a requirement that service providers must provide source of modified network applications, even if there isn't a transfer of code in the normal desktop-application sense. I am not releasing TodoCue as open source until I figure out what makes more sense: the AGPL, or a different license that goes beyond AGPL, requiring any services that use it to be under the FSL. OSCON, coming up on July 24th, includes Eben Moglen talking about Licensing in the Web 2.0 Era and Tim O'Reilly talking about The Cathedral AND the Bazaar and the "six axes of open source". Alex Barnett posted a good summary of related discussion over the last several months. Update: Havoc just finished his keynote at GUADEC related to this. It provoked a lot of good discussion that I hope will lead to the creation of a Free Service License (or Open Service Definition as Havoc called it), not to mention the Gnome Online Desktop.

Friday, July 13, 2007

Tribune Corrections & BBC Picture Feeds

I created a dapp (here in RSS) of the Chicago Tribune's Corrections page. Next I want a feed with the BBC's pictures inline so I don't miss shots like this (see #2). Update: Announcing the BBC Picture Feed, brought to you by the BBC, dapper, Yahoo! Pipes, and me!

Thursday, July 12, 2007

OpenMoko Neo1973 and iPhone

I shot these while at dinner last night with an awesome group of Chicago techies:
iPhone and Neo1973
iPhone showing TodoCue
The idea of a simple todo app for the Neo1973 was the original inspiration for TodoCue's creation and design. It doesn't render as well on the Neo as the iPhone, but that will change. I need to read up on how to support double clicking and DnD on these devices. I bought a prepaid sim card off eBay for $6 at Harper's suggestion. I'm psyched about the applications we can create on the mass-market Neo1973 coming in October, with it's GPS, accelerometers, 802.11, accelerated graphics, and free platform.