Wired Shifts to Creative Commons License for Photos

November 8, 2011

The traditional content producers, represented by organizations like the MPAA and the RIAA, keep squealing about the terrible losses they claim to suffer from intellectual piracy.  From the amount of wailing and gnashing of teeth, one would think that Western civilization as we know it was about to vanish.  Fortunately, there is an encouraging counter-trend of organizations agreeing to make significant amounts of content freely available on the Internet.  I’ve mentioned several of these here, including The Royal Society, Princeton, Yale, and the National Academies Press.

Today Wired announced on its Web site that it was making photographs taken by its staff photographers available free under a Creative Commons license.

Beginning today, we’re releasing all Wired.com staff-produced photos under a Creative Commons (CC BY-NC) license and making them available in high-res format on a newly launched public Flickr stream.

Although you should check the actual license [CC BY-NC]  for details, this basically provides that you may copy, distribute, and transmit the work, or an adaptation thereof, for non-commercial use, provided that you properly attribute the original creator. (As you may have noticed, this blog is also licensed under a Creative Commons license.)  Not all photos will be covered; some, for example, are obtained by Wired from third parties (e.g., AP, Reuters)  and come with their own licensing terms.

I think Wired is to be commended for taking this step; I hope others will follow.

Microsoft Patch Tuesday, November 2011

November 8, 2011

Today is the second Tuesday of November, so, according to its usual schedule, Microsoft has released this month’s batch of security bulletins and patches for Windows and related software.  This month, there are four patches for four identified vulnerabilities.  One patch has a maximum severity rating of Critical, two are rated Important, and one is rated Moderate.    All supported versions of Windows are affected; for a breakdown of patches by version and severity, check this month’s preview post.   Further details, and download links, are in the Security Bulletin Summary for November 2011.  Microsoft says that three of the patch installations will definitely require a system restart, and the fourth may require one, depending on the configuration of your system.

One of the bulletins (MS11-084) concerns a vulnerability in the kernel  mode handling of True Type fonts; however, this does not appear to be the flaw exploited by the recent DuQu malware variant.

As always, I recommend that you update your systems as soon as you conveniently can.

The Internet Storm Center at the SANS Institute has, as usual, released their summary of this month’s patches, along with their severity ratings for client and server systems.

Mozilla Releases Firefox 8.0

November 8, 2011

The folks at Mozilla have released a new major version, 8.0, of their Firefox browser for Mac OS X, Windows, and Linux.  The new version incorporates a number of changes, including:

  • Add-ons installed by third party programs are now disabled by default
  • Added a one-time add-on selection dialog to manage previously installed add-ons
  • Added a preference to load tabs on demand, improving start-up time when windows are restored (that is, you will not have to wait for all tabs to be loaded  to access just one of them)

There are also improvements in support for a number of new HTML 5 elements, performance enhancements, and a number of security fixes.  More information is available in the Release Notes.

You can obtain the new version via the built-in update mechanism, or you can download a complete installation package, in a variety of (human) languages.

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