Wikipedia to shut down Wednesday in SOPA protest

Anger grows against online-piracy bill


Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales has announced that the "encyclopedia anyone can edit" will go dark this Wednesday in protest of the Stop Online Piracy Act, aka SOPA, that's dividing Washington DC – not to mention pitting online content providers against ISPs, search-engine sites, civil libertarians, and others.

Wales tweeted on Monday that the English-language version of Wikipedia would go down at midnight this Wednesday, Eastern standard time (5am in the UK), and come back up in 24 hours.

Jimmy Wales tweets warning to students regarding anti-SOPA Wikipedia blackout

The ever-thoughtful Jimmy Wales tweets advice to the English-speaking students of the world

According to another Wales tweet, the web-stats service ComScore "estimates the English Wikipedia receives 25 million average daily visitors globally" – 25 million users who will be without its services during the SOPA-protest outage.

In still another tweet, Wales said that the goal of the protest "is to melt switchboards! :-)", presumably those of such SOPA promoters as Representatives Lamar Smith (R-TX), John Conyers (D-MI), and Marsha Blackburn (R-TN).

Not all Republican lawmakers are pro-SOPA, by the way. As The Reg reported last week, 11-year House Judiciary Committee member Darrell Issa (R-CA) told a "Congress Talks Tech Policy" panel at CES that "The bottom line is you've got to throw [SOPA] away."

The heat is rising in the SOPA debate. Over the weekend, for example, three top Obama-administration officials issued a statement that said, in part, "While we believe that online piracy by foreign websites is a serious problem that requires a serious legislative response, we will not support legislation that reduces freedom of expression, increases cybersecurity risk, or undermines the dynamic, innovative global Internet."

Presumably at least partially in response to the White House's statement – and a possible Obama veto – SOPA author Smith has dropped the DNS-blocking provision of the controvertial bill – an action also taken by Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT), sponsor of the Senate's equivalent, the PROTECT IP* Act.

At least one content provider, the ever-irascible Rupert Murdoch, was less than pleased with the Obama administration's stated stance, huffing in a tweet that "Obama has thrown in his lot with Silicon Valley paymasters who threaten all software creators with piracy, plain thievery."

And now Wikipedia, one of the web's 800-pound gorillas, has thrown in its lot with other SOPA protesters, including Reddit, which announced last Tuesday that it will go dark this Wednesday from 8am until 8pm Eastern standard time.

Wales notes that the lights-out move was "a community decision at Wikipedia" – but added that there is "still time to vote," pointing Wikians to his site's Wikipedia:SOPA initiative/Action page, where the debate continues. ®

* Bootnote

Following the silly fad of giving bills acronymic monikers, the PROTECT IP Act's full name is "Preventing Real Online Threats to Economic Creativity and Theft of Intellectual Property Act".


Other stories you might like

  • Assange can go to UK Supreme Court (again) to fend off US extradition bid

    Top Brit judges may consider whether an American prison is just too much

    Julian Assange has won a technical victory in his ongoing battle against extradition from the UK to the United States, buying him a few more months in the relative safety of Her Majesty's Prison Belmarsh.

    Today at London's High Court, the Lord Chief Justice of England and Wales Lord Burnett approved a question on a technical point of law, having refused Assange immediate permission to appeal to the UK Supreme Court. The WikiLeaker's lawyers had asked for formal permission to pose this legal conundrum about Assange's likely treatment in US prisons to the Supreme Court:

    Continue reading
  • They see us Cinnamon Rolling, they're rating: GeckoLinux incorporates kernel 5.16 with familiar installation experience

    A nice, clean community distro that works well

    Most distros haven't got to 5.15 yet, but openSUSE's downstream project GeckoLinux boasts 5.16 of the Linux kernel and the latest Cinnamon desktop environment.

    Some of the big-name distros have lots of downstream projects. Debian has been around for decades so has umpteen, including Ubuntu, which has dozens of its own, including Linux Mint, which is arguably more popular a desktop than its parent. Some have only a few, such as Fedora. As far as we know, openSUSE has just the one – GeckoLinux.

    The SUSE-sponsored community distro has two main editions, the stable Leap, which has a slow-moving release cycle synched with the commercial SUSE Linux Enterprise; and Tumbleweed, its rolling-release distro, which gets substantial updates pretty much every day. GeckoLinux does its own editions of both: its remix of Leap is called "GeckoLinux Static", and its remix of Tumbleweed is called "GeckoLinux Rolling".

    Continue reading
  • Running Windows 10? Microsoft is preparing to fire up the update engines

    Winter Windows Is Coming

    It's coming. Microsoft is preparing to start shoveling the latest version of Windows 10 down the throats of refuseniks still clinging to older incarnations.

    The Windows Update team gave the heads-up through its Twitter orifice last week. Windows 10 2004 was already on its last gasp, have had support terminated in December. 20H2, on the other hand, should be good to go until May this year.

    Continue reading
  • Throw away your Ethernet cables* because MediaTek says Wi-Fi 7 will replace them

    *Don't do this

    MediaTek claims to have given the world's first live demo of Wi-Fi 7, and said that the upcoming wireless technology will be able to challenge wired Ethernet for high-bandwidth applications, once available.

    The fabless Taiwanese chip firm said it is currently showcasing two Wi-Fi 7 demos to key customers and industry collaborators, in order to demonstrate the technology's super-fast speeds and low latency transmission.

    Based on the IEEE 802.11be standard, the draft version of which was published last year, Wi-Fi 7 is expected to provide speeds several times faster than Wi-Fi 6 kit, offering connections of at least 30Gbps and possibly up to 40Gbps.

    Continue reading
  • Windows box won't boot? SystemRescue 9 may help

    An ISO image you can burn or drop onto a USB key

    The latest version of an old friend of the jobbing support bod has delivered a new kernel to help with fixing Microsoft's finest.

    It used to be called the System Rescue CD, but who uses CDs any more? Enter SystemRescue, an ISO image that you can burn, or just drop onto your Ventoy USB key, and which may help you to fix a borked Windows box. Or a borked Linux box, come to that.

    SystemRescue 9 includes Linux kernel 5.15 and a minimal Xfce 4.16 desktop (which isn't loaded by default). There is a modest selection of GUI tools: Firefox, VNC and RDP clients and servers, and various connectivity tools – SSH, FTP, IRC. There's also some security-related stuff such as Yubikey setup, KeePass, token management, and so on. The main course is a bunch of the usual Linux tools for partitioning, formatting, copying, and imaging disks. You can check SMART status, mount LVM volumes, rsync files, and other handy stuff.

    Continue reading

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2022