Meine Einschätzung der NSA Mitarbeit an Android für ZEIT ONLINE

Gestern Abend erhielt ich eine E-Mail von einem ZEIT ONLINE Redakteur, der mich um eine Einschätzung zu der Mitarbeit der NSA an Android bat und fragte, ob es möglich sei, dass die NSA Hintertürchen eingebaut habe. Der Artikel dazu wurde mittlerweile veröffentlicht und zitiert mich teilweise. Aus Transparenzgründen und zur Steigerung der allgemeinen Medienkompetenz, gebe ich hier mal meine vollständige hastig zusammen getippte Einschätzung wieder: Prinzipiell ist es natürlich möglich, dass die NSA Hintertüren in den Code von Android eingebaut hat. Vor einiger Zeit gab es ja den Fall, dass das FBI Hintertüren in den OpenBSD Code eingebaut haben sollte. … Continue reading

CyanogenMod removes tracking opt-out, reverses decision, but still uses Google Analytics

The most successful and best managed version of Android CyanogenMod is gathering data from users for statistical purposes. The statistics are public and users have the chance to opt-out of being counted. On March 31st this changed. The founder of the CyanogenMod initiative Steve Kondik removed the opt-out feature from the source code (commit). He explained his reasons in the commit message: Not having an accurate count of how many people are using CM is painful. I am making an executive decision to remove the opt-out and always turn stats on. The data is anonymized and there is nothing evil … Continue reading

Android SDK is now proprietary, Replicant to the rescue

I just noticed that the Android SDK is now non-free software. If you go to https://developer.android.com/sdk/index.html#download and click on one of the files, you are presented with lengthy “Terms and Conditions” which for example say: In order to use the SDK, you must first agree to this License Agreement. You may not use the SDK if you do not accept this License Agreement. This sentence alone already violates freedom 0, the freedom to use the program for any purpose without restrictions. Today, the truly Free Software version of Android called Replicant came to the rescue and released a free (as … Continue reading

Compiling KDE Kontact from Source

I’m running Debian Sid, because I like to have a rolling distribution with the latest and greatest software as soon as it is released. Unfortunately, the KDE packagers in Debian lack (wo)men power and still ship 4 year old KDE PIM packages. Using their experimental KDE repository does not help. Since I have multiple annoying issues with Kontact 4.4.11 and because I need it functional for work, I decided to take a rather extreme step: Compiling it myself from the source code repositories. Turns out that it isn’t all that difficult. I documented the process below for those who want … Continue reading

Paying for Free Software

I would like to be able to pay for more Free Software. Usually people think the great thing about Free Software is that it is free as in free beer. They often neglect the fact that it is free as in free speech. This is probably because they rarely or never make use of this freedom. But since many freedoms benefit us only indirectly, it is still worth fighting for them. I don’t publish a newspaper, still I and society as a whole benefit clearly from having freedom of press. Software freedom is important to me and I refuse to … Continue reading

First Experiences Installing the New Kolab 3.0

The Kolab Groupware Solution lets you synchronize your contacts and calenders over multiple devices and easily share them selectively with other users. It is a 100% Free Software and historically close to the KDE community, but you can also use it with a multitude of different clients such as Thunderbird. Ever since the first alpha version of the brand new Kolab 3.0 Groupware Solution was released, I wanted to give it a try. The new features and especially the freshly skinned webclient based on Roundcube got me excited. I’m still running an old Kolab 2.2 server on Debian for personal … Continue reading

Updating Custom Versions of Android Easily

FSFE’s Phone Liberation Workshops (or Android Install Parties) are just taking off. People usually have to learn how to flash their devices because there’s no over the air update that easily updates the operating system. The Free Software initiative OTA Update Center is planning to change this. It will notify you of updates and allow you to apply the update with a click. No more manual flashing procedures necessary. Even though their source code is on github and the app was added to F-Droid, you can still not use it with most ROMs, because the ROM needs to support OTA … Continue reading

What I am missing in CyanogenMod 9

Since CyanogenMod 9 rc1 came out, I’ve been testing it extensively on my phone. I got used to the new look and appreciated the visual speed improvements. I also like the new data usage diagram and predictions. Furthermore, my phone uses a lot less battery power than on CM7. It had power for four and a half days without charging recently. But there are also some features I’m missing from CyanogenMod 9. In good Free Software fashion I created feature requests for them in CyanogenMod’s issue tracker. Here’s my list: Power Control Widget Not Configurable In CM7 multiple Power Control … Continue reading

Der falsche Ausgleich beim Urheberrecht

In der Debatte um ACTA und das Urheberrecht wird oft davon gesprochen, dass man die Interessen der Urheber mit den Interessen der Gesellschaft in Einklang bringen müsse. Das stimmt nicht. Darum geht es nicht. Es geht nicht um einen Ausgleich zwischen den Interessen der Urheber und Nutzer. Die Interessen der Urheber allein haben keinen Wert. Sie sind nicht der Grund für die Existenz des Urheberrechts. Wenn ich Künstler werde, Smilies auf Steine male und das Interesse bekunde, dafür bezahlt zu werden, so hat die Gesellschaft keine Verpflichtung diesem Interesse nachzukommen. Vielmehr möchten wir, dass bestimmte Urheber ihrer Tätigkeit nachgehen können, … Continue reading

XMPP Interview und Document Freedom Award

Wie Matthias scheibt, hat dieses Jahr die 1&1 Internet AG den deutschen Document Freedom Award erhalten, weil sie für alle E-Mail-Kundinnen auch automatisch einen XMPP-Account bereitstellen. Der Document Freedom Day in Deutschland stand also ganz unter dem Motto I’M the World! Ich habe kurz vorher dem Deutschlandradio Wissen ein Interview (leider nur mp3) gegeben und dort XMPP bzw. Jabber erklärt. … Continue reading