Ho l’impressione che Stephan Wenger di Nokia voglia dare una spallata al WorldWideWeb Consortium (W3C) impegnato nella definizione del prossimo standard HTML5. Teniamo a mente che tra tutti gli enti di standardizzazione, W3C è l’unico a prevedere in una policy esplicita che eventuali brevetti negli standard devono essere rilasciati dai titolari con licenze royalty-free e perpetue.

Il paper segnalatomi dal prof. Fuggetta mi sembra quasi un colpo di rovescio per aggirare questa policy anti-brevetti, dato che Nokia è una di quelle pochissime aziende europee favorevoli ai brevetti sul software. Fa bene invece il W3C a resistere a questo ennesimo attacco della lobby pro-brevetti. Certo OGG Theora non è il formato tecnicamente migliore, la gestione del formato è criticabile, ma è il migliore disponibile. Mi auguro che questo confronto con il W3C serva a far discutere ancora sulle idiozie dei brevetti sugli algoritmi MPEG.

Se ne parla su vari blog e anche sul forum del palmare (parzialmente basato su software libero) Nokia. È possibile seguire la discussione nella mailing list pubblica del W3C.

The protest of people on Facebook made the difference.’  Mark Zuckerberg wrote on FB’s blog

We’ve made a lot of mistakes building this feature, but we’ve made even more with how we’ve handled them. We simply did a bad job with this release, and I apologize for it.

The policy changed from opt-out to opt-in, no stories will be published without users proactively consenting and there is now the possibility to permanently opt-out. MoveOn.org is happy with the result.

I’m surprised by how long it took for Zuckerberg to speak up and I wonder if he really gets what Beacon has done.’  My impression is that Facebook management doesn’t understand the privacy issue at all.’  They’re young, which helps making mistakes but also helps learning.’  I hope they have learned that Facebook has a big responsibility and won’t repeat such mistake in the future. Personally, I’ll focus my attention on other social networks for a while and put Facebook on the backburner it will take some time before they regain my trust.

After many years of working in a non-profit organization I became convinced that the main difference between for-profit business and non-profit business is in the availability (or lack thereof) of dividends. Plus for-profit companies prefer not to pay dividends and markets pressure corporations to act in stakeholder’s interests (not just shareholder’s) … I leave the math to you.
Given these premises I’m not surprised that Mitchell Baker, CEO of Mozilla Foundation, was paid good money in 2006 (see Mozilla Financial FAQ for a breakdown of her $500,000 salary). Charity Navigator’s FAQ (a site that helps US-based donors evaluate non-profit organizations) comment on non-profit’s CEO salaries:

it is important to consider that it takes a certain level of professionalism to effectively run a charity and charities must offer a competitive salary if they want to attract and retain that level of leadership.

And that’s the important bit. According to Charity Navigator, average salary for a charity CEO is $145,000 per year. That’s peanuts, compared to the $14 million compensation received by the average CEO of a S&P company.

Of course, if you pay peanuts you get monkeys, as my father-in-law says, and you don’t want monkeys running your charity. Mitchell has done a good job at Mozilla Foundation and she deserves recognition and an incentive to keep it up. Not only I don’t see a problem but I hope salaries for non-profit CEOs will get higher to attract the best managers.

The problems start if non-profit CEOs compensation is very high compared to total expenses. Peter Brown, FSF’s Executive Director, received about $70k in 2006 (9% of expenses) while Shari Steele, EFF’s Executive Director, received about $150k in 2005 (5% of expenses). Salaries are proportional to the size of the organization: EFF’s income is $2.7 million, compared to a mere $800k for FSF.

Unfortunately this level of transparency is non-existent in comparable non-profit organizations in Europe. I don’t feel comfortable donating without knowing exactly how my money will be spent in detail, especially regarding compensation for the executives.

I have received recently half dozen invitations to join social web2.0 services: Roberto pointed me to twitter during a real life chat in Firenze, other invitations came via email to services like Plaxo pulse, Naymz, hi5, Spook and others. Many people are asking to become my friends on Facebook but I don’t remember meeting them and my email archives since 1997 ignore too. I’m starting to feel overwhelmed 🙂

I like experimenting these tools, but I can’t keep up with the pace they start (and die). All of these services ask me to replicate information I have already written down on this blog or on my Linkedin profile. Signing up to all these services would require me to quit my paid activities and spend more time online than offline. At that point Alex Wright on the NYTimes would be right. But I agree with what Dawn Foster wrote about Social Networks, Relationships, and “Friends”:

my online interactions in social networks do not replace physical interactions with real people, they simply provide a way to augment the relationships I have with my friends.

For me it’s also a matter of following conversations as they were described in the Cluetrain Manifesto:

A powerful global conversation has begun. Through the Internet, people are discovering and inventing new ways to share relevant knowledge with blinding speed. As a direct result, markets are getting smarter—and getting smarter faster than most companies.

Noticing Facebook privacy issues, I still wonder if I should keep considering FB as a legitimate place for conversations or quit (it is possible, although difficult). And when did we start using our real names online? I remember the old days when we all had nicknames and everybody was careful revealing his real identity. What made us change our mind?

Riporto un’iniziativa segnalata da Roberto Galoppini per imprenditori italiani che vogliano presentare idee ad un gruppo di dirigenti esperti e potenziali investitori.

Fabrizio Capobianco, CEO di Funambol, è presente nel comitato selezionatore quindi mi aspetto che anche le iniziative FLOSS saranno ben accette. La scadenza per presentare i progetti è il 20 Dicembre: è ora di spolverare il sogno nel cassetto.

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