ACM considers open access proponents “IP Communists”

A commentary by Dirk Riehle brought my attention to the latest ACM Editorial, where Mr. Vardi states that "the open access (OA) movement found itself in the IP communist camp".  Like Dirk, I find this point of view regrettable and his arguments rather unconvincing.  I publish a lot myself.  Conveniently, Mr. Vardi talks about costs to readers and/or authors, but conveniently leaves out (to a large degree) the role publishers play. This matters, as a lot of the criticisms stems from publishers reaping amazing profits (e.g. Elsevier with a profit margin of 36% in 2010).

I am an entrepreneur, so I am hardly a communist.  I also agree that there are costs that have to be covered somehow.  But having been a researcher, I know that the bulk of the work (writing, reviewing, editing, etc.) is done by volunteers without monetary compensation. There is no justification for the status quo.

If you had the chance to delight a customer a zero cost, would you? Not if you’re #AirFrance

For a long time, Air France in general and the Airport Paris (CDG) in particular have been on my avoid-at-all-cost airlines/airports.  But sometimes, it’s not avoidable, for instance for getting to Toulouse for EclipseCon France.

Every time I have bad experience with a service/product/whatever and I try it again, I really try to open my mind.  Maybe they will delight me this time, inspite of my bad experience in the past.  Turns out I got disappointed again.  This time in a scenario that would have been easy for Air France to fix, and for free on top.

See, I like sitting in an aile seat on planes.  I had one.  It was broken.  It didn’t arrest its position, which was annoying.  So I asked, before take-off, whether there was a way for fixing it, or to reseat me to a functioning aile seat.  The Stuadress was nice but informed me that none was availble.  When I pointed to the ten free aile seats further up front, she informed me that she could not reseat me to business class.  Mind you, this was a one-hour flight from Düsseldorf to Paris.  So "business class" was just a tid bit more leg room, nothing else.  No fancy dinner or anything like that.

Being an avid reader of Seth Godin, he would cringe.  Was I unhappy? Yes.  Was there a way for fixing it? Yes.  Would it have cost the airline anything? Not a cent.  Why does Air France not empower their staff to delight, if it does not cost a thing?  I have no idea.  Just to clarify, I did not feel entitled to be reseated.  It’s the airline’s decision.  I just think that it’s a bad decision that will make me try to avoid Air France even harder (and help spread the word).

In the Stuardesses defence, I saw her talk to her supervisor, after our conversation.  The fact that I didn’t get reseated implies that heir supervisor either was not empowered, or did not care.  One as bad as the other.  Air France, good luck with your ongoing race to the bottom.

“Honest” open standards should come with an open source reference implementation, like #RMF for #ReqIF

In IT Standards and Open Source (Repeat), Dirk Riehle argues that there are two types of standards, "honest" and "dishonest".  He cautions to "be wary of any standard that does not come with an open source reference implementation; it might not be an honest standard." The ReqIF standard comes with a reference open source implementation, Eclipse RMF. Many other activities indicate that there is an honest desire to be open.

Support the #TrueCrypt fork (and download the uncrippled 7.1a)

TrueCrypt is shutting down. I strongly doubt that the official reason (loss of interest) is the true one.  Why release a crippled 7.2 (cannot create new encrypted containers)?  Why remove all references to older versions and to the source code (the source code is not accessible on SourceForge any more)?

May it as it be, I am glad to see that someone already picked up this amazing open source project. So please download the uncrippled 7.1a from the new in Switzerland.  If the project picks up speed and delivers, I’ll certainly make a donation.