What’s the cost of using blockchains?

In the past few weeks I’ve written about that blockchains are a kind of distributed ledger, and how they can be useful. But in these posts I left with a few unanswered questions that I’ll try to answer here.

So far everything about blockchains seem wonderful. Blockchains will allow software, people and organisations to transact with each other in more transparent and democratic ways where authenticity can be verified in a decentralised manner. If more software was built like this we would no longer need to pay with freedom, privacy and surveillance. But what do we have to pay with instead? There ain’t no such thing as a free lunch. Continue reading “What’s the cost of using blockchains?”

What is Vault 7? And how not to be spied on

Have you heard about the latest Wikileaks release called Vault 7?

The short version: If you ever were sceptic about “USA is spying on everyone on the Internet” you can stop being sceptic now… Since 7 March we know, for a fact, that they’re capable of hacking into, listening and recording on pretty much any server and any private device with an Internet connection. It’s actually real. Continue reading “What is Vault 7? And how not to be spied on”

Why I do free software

Free software is software that respects users’ freedom and the community around them. Users of such software are able to use, copy, distribute, study, change or improve the software. “Free” in this case refers to the freedom, not the price, of the software. “Free software” does not mean “non-commercial”. A free program must be available for commercial use and it can cost money. In fact, commercial free software is a very important part of the ecosystem.

Many things in life are “free” in this sense (remember we are not talking about the price). Concrete things like furniture and cars or more abstract things like scientific research all have the aforementioned freedoms. You can use, copy (if you have the tools), distribute, study, change or improve these things as you like. Would you ever buy a table that you’re not allowed to re-paint? Or buy a car you’re not allowed to change tires on? I don’t think you would.

Continue reading “Why I do free software”