Open, Closed, and Free!

Today is the first Document Freedom Day, a "global rallying point for Document Liberation and Open Standards." We here at Linux Journal are all about opening standards and liberating documents, as well as opening documents and liberating standards — and boy do some of them need liberating. It's not too late to celebrate Document Freedom Day, and in the spirit of celebration, this edition of Breaking News is dedicated to all things open and closed.

First up is open social networking, in the form of Google's OpenSocial network. The social network software platform designed as a challenger to Facebook's application dominance got a shot in the arm yesterday with the announcement that Google, Yahoo, and MySpace — the biggest competitors to Facebook and their crony/overlord Microsoft — are creating an OpenSocial Foundation to place the keys to the platform squarely in the hands of users. The move also links Yahoo together with two of the most-talked-about potential allies in an effort to fend off Microsoft's takeover assault — an assault analysts say Microsoft is likely to turn up in the heat on any day now.

Speaking of Facebook, things were a bit too open on Tuesday, as a Vancouver hacker discovered and exploited a glitch in — oh, the irony — the site's new enhanced privacy settings that allowed him access to all sorts of supposedly-private photos. Among the most talked about was a photograph of Paris Hilton and her brother having a beer — hardly the most scandalous photo ever discovered of Ms. Hilton — and an album uploaded by Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg from several years ago. This, of course, punctuates the move we reported on Monday to keep social network fodder out of employment and education decisions, but in the end, it really it's a pretty simple precept: Don't put private stuff in public places.

Next up is Verizon's "Open Access" pledge, the surprising 180 that promised access for any device that could connect to Verizon's network. Verizon won a very desirable chunk of the wireless spectrum just auctioned off by the FCC, including the open-access rules attached to the deal. Questions are now surfacing about just how open that network will be, and who exactly is going to benefit from the rules groups like Google fought so hard to include. Unfortunately, all the answers for now seem to be "we'll have to wait and see."

Last up is Comcast — a paragon of closed-ness if there is one — and their plans to open up their view of your living room. Although they're busy denying it, Chris Albrecht at NewTeeVee is reporting that a Comcast Senior VP told him, on the record, that the company has plans to put cameras into cable devices allowing them to see who's in front of your TV. Comcast claims they have no such plans — surprise, surprise — but from the sound of things, they're pretty well nailed. We often suggest it's time for the tinfoil hats but we're beginning to think we really ought to get one — a lead-lined one.

Now it's time for us to get back to celebrating Document Freedom Day — and to check the price of lead.

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