slef is currently certified at Master level.

Name: MJ Ray
Member since: 2001-02-11 21:55:32
Last Login: 2009-01-18 23:36:02

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See my website for the full current details and my email address.

Current Projects: Partner in a Free Software programming, training, web development and publishing workers' co-op, helping with LUG communications, teaching a bit, revising my book for publication and trying to make helpful and encouraging suggestions about various projects. That and 1001 other things.

Past Projects: Sapphire WM,, writing good lecture courses, IceWM-related websites, FMPorts, some DOS programs.


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Recent blog entries by slef

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Rebooting democracy? The case for a citizens constitutional convention.

I’m getting increasingly cynical about our largest organisations and their voting-centred approach to democracy. You vote once, for people rather than programmes, then you’re meant to leave them to it for up to three years until they stand for reelection and in most systems, their actions aren’t compared with what they said they’d do in any way.

I have this concern about Cooperatives UK too, but then its CEO publishes and I think there may be hope for it yet. Well worth a read if you want to organise better groups.

Syndicated 2015-02-20 04:03:00 from Software Cooperative News » mjr

Outsourcing email to Google means SPF allows phishing?

I expect this is obvious to many people but bahumbug To Phish, or Not to Phish? just woke me up to the fact that if Google hosts your company email then its Sender Policy Framework might make other Google-sent emails look legitimate for your domain. When combined with the unsupportive support of the big free webmail hosts, is this another black mark against SPF?

Syndicated 2015-01-22 03:57:00 from Software Cooperative News » mjr

Social Network Wishlist

All I want for 2015 is a Free/Open Source Software social network which is:

  • easy to register on (no reCaptcha disability-discriminator or similar, a simple openID, activation emails that actually arrive);
  • has an email help address or online support or phone number or something other than the website which can be used if the registration system causes a problem;
  • can email when things happen that I might be interested in;
  • can email me summaries of what’s happened last week/month in case they don’t know what they’re interested in;
  • doesn’t email me too much (but this is rare);
  • interacts well with other websites (allows long-term members to post links, sends trackbacks or pingbacks to let the remote site know we’re talking about them, makes it easy for us to dent/tweet/link to the forum nicely, and so on);
  • isn’t full of spam (has limits on link-posting, moderators are contactable/accountable and so on, and the software gives them decent anti-spam tools);
  • lets me back up my data;
  • is friendly and welcoming and trolls are kept in check.

Is this too much to ask for? Does it exist already?

Syndicated 2015-01-08 04:10:54 from Software Cooperative News » mjr

GPG Transition Statement

Rather late but I guess that just confirms it’s really me, right? ;-) The signed text and IDs should be at

Thank you if you help me out here :-) I’ll resign keys in a while.

Syndicated 2014-12-30 10:34:09 from Software Cooperative News » mjr

Autumn Statement #AS2014, the Google tax and how it relates to Free Software

One of the attention-grabbing measures in the Autumn Statement by Chancellor George Osborne was the google tax on profits going offshore, which may prove unworkable (The Independent). This is interesting because a common mechanism for moving the profits around is so-called transfer pricing, where the business in one country pays an inflated price to its sibling in another country for some supplies. It sounds like the intended way to deal with that is by inspecting company accounts and assessing the underlying profits.

So what’s this got to do with Free Software? Well, one thing the company might buy from itself is a licence to use some branding, paying a fee for reachuse. The main reason this is possible is because copyright is usually a monopoly, so there is no supplier of a replacement product, which makes it hard to assess how much the price has been inflated.

One possible method of assessing the overpayment would be to compare with how much other businesses pay for their branding licences. It would be interesting if Revenue and Customs decide that there’s lots of Royalty Free licensing out there – including Free Software – and so all licence fees paid to related companies are a tax avoidance ruse. Similarly, any premium for a particular self-branded product over a generic equivalent could be classed as profit transfer.

This could have amusing implications for proprietary software producers who sell to sister companies but I doubt that the government will be that radical, so we’ll continue to see absurdities like Starbucks buying all their coffee from famous coffee producing countries Switzerland and the Netherlands. Shouldn’t this be stopped, really?

Syndicated 2014-12-04 04:34:00 from Software Cooperative News » mjr

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slef certified others as follows:

  • slef certified paulr as Apprentice
  • slef certified thom as Journeyer
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  • slef certified ElCoronel as Journeyer
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  • slef certified khazad as Apprentice
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Others have certified slef as follows:

  • thom certified slef as Apprentice
  • mobius certified slef as Journeyer
  • slef certified slef as Journeyer
  • angelsun certified slef as Journeyer
  • ishamael certified slef as Apprentice
  • RyanMuldoon certified slef as Apprentice
  • suso certified slef as Apprentice
  • khazad certified slef as Apprentice
  • jao certified slef as Apprentice
  • Denny certified slef as Journeyer
  • ebizo certified slef as Journeyer
  • ElCoronel certified slef as Journeyer
  • ks certified slef as Apprentice
  • dan certified slef as Apprentice
  • fxn certified slef as Apprentice
  • jono certified slef as Apprentice
  • dalinian certified slef as Journeyer
  • greve certified slef as Journeyer
  • Waldo certified slef as Journeyer
  • chalst certified slef as Master
  • alfons certified slef as Journeyer
  • whytheluckystiff certified slef as Journeyer
  • mattr certified slef as Journeyer
  • iDunno certified slef as Journeyer
  • johnb certified slef as Journeyer
  • Chicago certified slef as Journeyer
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