There was recently a good suggestion on Slashdot about how to fix license complexity:
The open source community is a pretty open and pretty tight knit community. Not only do most people know most the other people, but there's a lot of open and public information about people from their own blogs to LinkedIn to Facebook to lots of media coverage. So when I read this quote in the Register, I had to laugh:
"First off, I'm actually perfectly well off. I live in a good-sized house, with a nice yard, with deer occasionally showing up and eating the roses (my wife likes the roses more, I like the deer more, so we don't really mind). I've got three kids, and I know I can pay for their education. What more do I need?"
"Copying open source is not a violation of copyright." That's what I got out of the JMRI lawsuit, i.e. Jacobsen vs Katzer, i.e. the model railroad story. Here's what I understand:
We've helped a lot of people create an open source policy. The most common question is, can you share a real, live policy with us? The answer is no, I can't share anyone else's policy with you (nobody wants to share them for some reason) but I can share what I know about them and I can point you at a few resources:
Chris Anderson (author of the Long Tail) has a really thought provoking post Can Open Source be giving comfort to the enemy? He talks about how he works on unmanned drones in a very open source fashion and that his work is being used around the world, including Iran. Right now, as far as he knows, it's all enthusiastic hobbiest but what if a terrorist uses his open source technology? What if they post questions on the forum? (Ignoring the fact that you probably wouldn't know they were terrorists.) How far does the "no discrimination" rule of open source really go?
The Peer-to-Patent project launched two months ago to very little fan fare - at least very little fan fare for such a big step.
The GPLv3 is quickly moving in. If you remember, we polled the OpenLogic Expert Community back in April and they said that the GPLv3 would move in quickly:
There's a really interesting paper posted on the MIT website, Understanding knowledge sharing activities in free/opensource software projects: An empirical study, that did an in depth analysis of the Debian mailing lists. They came up with all sorts of interesting statistics like:
One of the hard parts of international travel is that it costs $1/minute to use most cell phones. That makes staying in touch with those at home pretty expensive. I use Skype to call home but for that I have to be on a computer, in a quiet place, and I have to initiate the call.
I'm not a big fan of Tshirts as "spread the word" marketing. (I think Tshirts are great marketing tools for other reasons though.) But Fabrizio Capobianco's "235 more reasons to love open source" tshirt definitely works to spread the word. I managed to snag an XXL one at OSBC and everytime my boyfriend wears it I end up explaining what open source is and what Microsoft has done at least two or three times. His whole softball team - and all of Longmont - now knows about open source software and the 235 patents that Microsoft is threatening with.
Matt Asay wrote a post called "Who decides what distribution is?" and while he did a great job of explaining copyright, I don't think he got the answer right about distribution. He summarizes his post with:
Dana Blankenhorn argues that since Linus Torvald doesn't want to be the CEO of Linux, Jim Zemlin (head of the Linux Foundation) should step up to the task. I'd argue that we don't need a CEO of Linux. As a matter of fact, Linux has reached the popularity and fame it has because it doesn't have a CEO. (Just a benevolent dictator of the code base - which is very different.) The reason Linux is successful is because it's open source and its fate is in many people's hands! That said, we could always use rock stars, promoters and spokespeople - go Jim!
IDC says the top two reasons companies don't use more open source is:
So I blogged that SCO lost - I didn't get a chance to explain what that meant. (We were expecting over 70 people to the house that afternoon and my significant other might have shot me if I'd sat down to blog!) So what does it mean that SCO lost? I'm not an attorney (I seem to say that a lot) but here's my quick recap:
SCO has officially lost. Groklaw sums it up well, Court Rules: Novell owns the UNIX and UnixWare copyrights Novell has right to waive.
I arrive at this site by way of Wikipedia where I've looked up 'folksonomy'. It is, apparently, a venue for storing, sharing and, ostensibly, discovering new bookmarks. Here's where the tagging comes in. You put in a bookmark, and you tag it. Others can find it.
We'd like, for instance, to have sample projects and tutorials for the open source projects in our library. These might be created by our engineers on staff or by the open source project developers themselves. Folks are leveraging video to do this to very nice effect, like on the Ruby site. Most of the time this approach is called screencasting, sometimes it's just called video. Sometimes it's named for the technology used to make the recording, like 'Webinar'. Whatever the name, it seems to effectively remove a level of abstraction from 'documentation'.
I've been researching the opportunities 'Web 2.0' or 'semantic Web' provides for creating 'content', content having become the catch-all term for a company's documented efforts to communicate with customers/users. It includes what we used to think of as 'documentation' or 'technical communication,' as well as marketing and sales materials and help, all pictures and instructional materials etc. I'm interested in the burgeoning disciplines of organizing (Information Architecture) and managing that content on a company-wide basis (Content Management), as well as the specifics of the technologies and strategies for communication that have opened up as a result of emerging technologies. Over the next few months, as I research and think about this, I'm going to post a bit about what I'm learning. Interspersed in these ruminations will be my thoughts on another topic I've recently had the good fortune to get involved with in a serious way, usability.
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