Checoeslovaquia

Our former country, Czechoslovakia, was replaced by two new countries, Czech Republic and Slovakia, in 1993. When I was in Belgium (country separated from the Czech Republic just by a single neighboring country – Germany) several years later they didn’t know where the Czech Republic was but they knew about Czechoslovakia. It’s interesting the change has still not been propagated to some relevant places, even in the area of postal services.

The last FSF bulletin has arrived to me recently with a hand written note below my address on the envelope:

fsf-envelope.jpg

The word “Checoeslovaquia” looks like a Spanish version, maybe it was already added in the U.S. or the letter was mistakenly sent to Chile or the letter arrived to Europe through Spain, who knows. It’s funny that a post officer somewhere didn’t know about the Czech Republic but someone was able to resolve the problem by identifying the target country as the former Czechoslovakia.

Anyway the June FSF bulletin has reached me!

25 years of Electronic Frontier Foundation

Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) celebrates 25 years of its existence this month. AFAIK the EFF makes a lot of useful work defending civil liberties, fair competition and consumer rights in the areas of computing and the Internet.

One of good ways to participate is to financially support the EFF if you haven’t done so yet. Remember, we must fight for our rights all the time otherwise we lose them.

Dunajská vlna & Čankišou

I’d like to promote two of the current music crowdfunding campaigns on Hithit that are approaching their ends. They ask money for new CDs and while they’ve already gathered more than two thirds of the target amounts, they haven’t reached the targets yet (as of today). IMO both the campaigns are very much worth to support.

Dunajská vlna was founded by two members of the former legendary band Dunaj (the best known representative of the so called Brno alternative) and one new member. They’d like to make a CD of Dunaj songs that haven’t been available to buy for long time. They also start working on new music. I’m sure they won’t disappoint us and we can look forward great music of true Dunaj roots.

Čankišou is a Brno band making great music, let’s say some very special sort of world music. They are great on CDs and they are even better live. I’ve been twice at their live shows and they were superb experiences. So if you are in the Czech Republic, I can recommend choosing one of the contributions containing tickets.

Starting another week

Real life makes a lot of things hard to achieve and I feel quite exhausted after last weeks. But there were also many good news last week: Someone finally escaped the danger of death and is back at home with good chances for complete recovery. My soul got another pardon. I should get the required signatures for my new Debian key. IceCat got a new maintainer and may become properly maintained. One of the Firefox security plugins finally started working for me. I got a bunch of interesting software tips. I’ve found a way to replace some proprietary software devices with free software ones at my home. Some important work got done in time.

I’m sure the following days won’t be easy and the bad part of the world will continue to undermine useful activities. But listening to good news can help us proving that life is still maintainable and there is even some progress.

International Day Against DRM

Today is the eighth International Day Against DRM. I consider DRM unethical, dangerous, threatening our freedom and serving no useful purpose. A lot could be said on the topic, but I’ll try to give just an illustrative example instead.

When I looked for works of George Orwell in Czech e-shops I found that they were mostly out of print. They were also unavailable as e-books — except for his two most important works, which were (and still are) only available with DRM. That means reading Nineteen Eighty-Four or Animal Farm requires installing a secret software on your approved and supervised reader, you are not allowed to read the book without special permission and you may be reported every time you open it. And we all remember the infamous Amazon incident, don’t we? That all happens for “protection” of whoever, but certainly not the more than half a century dead author. Truly Orwellian.

What can we do? Above all, please don’t ignore the problem nor accept the DRM game passively. Tell about the problems of DRM to your friends. Raise your voice against accepting DRM as an official W3C standard. We must fight for freedom otherwise we lose it. There is still hope: This year, it’s possible to buy the first Czech e-book of George Orwell’s writings that may be read without supervision, on non-approved readers and without spyware installed on them. An interesting book, looking forward it!