GNU Love Wallpaper

Since a couple of time, I am using a modified version of Alison Upton‘s colorized drawing of a penguin hugging a wildebeest as my laptop’s desktop wallpaper. Several people seeing this picture have since asked me about its meaning. Lately, a colleague asked me for a copy of the picture. Since the original artwork is published under the free Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License, I decided to share my modified version with the world, rather than sending out individual copies per e-mail. Continue reading

Infinite Scrolling

Among the more recent diseases of web design are the so-called infinite-scroll pages; websites that (apparently) have no end so you can continue scrolling down until you get frustrated and give up. (Lately, there has been a nice xkcd comic about those pages, too.)

While – with a few notable exceptions like, say, picture results in search engines – personally, I think these pages are just another annoyance to the web user, I was still interested how they could be implemented. Not very surprisingly, Continue reading

Offener Brief an den Landesdatenschutzbeauftragten von Rheinland-Pfalz

Donnerstag, 23. Januar 2014

Sehr geehrter Herr Dr Globig,

vielen Dank für den interessanten Vortrag, den Sie am Dienstag im Rahmen des Karlsruher Dialogs zum Informationsrecht am Karlsruher Institut für Technologie (KIT) gehalten haben.

In der anschließenden Diskussion habe ich Sie gefragt, inwiefern Sie beim Landesdatenschutzbeauftrageten Rheinland-Pfalz Wert darauf legen, darauf hinzuwirken, dass Schüler im Informatikunterricht nicht nur lernen, die proprietären Produkte eines einzigen Software-Konzerns zu konsumieren, sondern sie auch oder sogar nur in freier Software zu unterrichten. Wenn ich Ihre Antwort richtig verstanden habe, meinten Sie, dass dieser Aspekt für Sie keine große Bedeutung habe, weil Sie nicht davon ausgingen, dass Software sicherer sei, nur weil sie frei ist. Ich würde mich freuen, wenn ich Ihnen kurz darlegen dürfte, weswegen ich der Meinung bin, dass freie Software tatsächlich ein entscheidender Baustein dafür ist, dass jeder einzelne sein Recht auf informationelle Selbstbestimmung in einer digitalen Welt effektiv wahrnehmen kann.

Zunächst möchte ich kurz definieren, was ich unter freier Software verstehe. Leider ist das Wort frei in der deutschen (wie übrigens auch in der englischen) Sprache mehrdeutig. Die lateinische Sprache hat die beiden unterschiedlichen Wörter gratis (wie in Freibier) und libre (wie in Freiheit). Freie Software ist keine Frage des Preis’ Continue reading

Federal Court of Justice doesn’t Revoke Freedom-Related Decision

Some time ago, I have noted that almost all freedom-related supreme court decisions in Germany

[…] more or less read like: A wants to stop B from doing something. The LG and the OLG stay with A but the BGH finally confirms the freedom of B.

Today, it seems that an exception (I ZR 80/12) to this (undesirable, and – if accurate – frightening) rule was published [1].

In a lawsuit between the Gesellschaft für musikalische Aufführungs- und mechanische Vervielfältigungsrechte (GEMA) and the file hosting provider RapidShare the former acted as the plaintiff demanding the defendant to stop providing access to 4815 illegal copies of music recordings that have been uploaded by unidentified users to the servers of the defendant. The Federal Court of Justice of Germany (BGH) has confirmed the decisions of the Landgericht (LG) and Oberlandesgericht (OLG) Hamburg that obligated the defendant to cancel access to copies of the works enumerated by the plaintiff and take reasonable care that they won’t be uploaded again.

This decision is in line with Continue reading

Degrading Germany’s Dignity by Narrow-Minded Decisions

On April 17, the criminal proceedings against the single still-alive putative member and four accused co-perpetrators of the German neo-Nazi terrorism group National Socialist Underground (NSU) will start at the Oberlandesgericht (OLG) München. The NSU is, most notably, accused of having exploded a bomb in Köln in 2004, injuring 22 people, committing murders on eight Turkish and one Greek business owners between 2000 and 2006 in various cities of Germany and shooting down two police officers in Heilbronn in 2007, killing one of them. As things are looking today, the proceedings will take place without a single attendant of the victim’s home countries. The OLG has decided to use a meeting room in its own premises that is capable of about 250 people. A significant fraction of those will be occupied by people directly involved into the trial. From the remaining seats, 50 have been reserved for accredited press journalists, the other are intended for the general public. The court says it has assigned the seats for journalists on a first-come-first-serve basis, which caused the available seats to be vanished within minutes. Not a single journalist or state official of Turkey or Greece has thus received a seat. [1] The OLG has since been heavily criticized in public by both, German [2] and Turkish [3] media and politicians but did not reconsider its decision. Furthermore, it did not even accept German journalists whom had been lucky enough to receive a seat, voluntarily giving up upon it in order to enable a Turkish colleague attendance [1]. Continue reading

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