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Permanent link to archive for Friday, December 21, 2001. Friday, December 21, 2001

DaveNet: How to help peace

Hey is today the shortest day of the year? Or is it tomorrow? 

Jeremiah: "I'm only 16, so I still have (estimate here) 70-75 years ideally left until I'm outta commission. Think of how much more knowledge I can gain in that time." Right! 

Meryl Evans: "Oh the weather outside is frightful. But the monitor is so delightful. And since we've no place to jog. Let Us Blog! Let Us Blog! Let Us Blog!" 

Jeff Polaski: The Twelve Bugs of Christmas

Year-End Google Zeitgeist

Scott Hathaway needs help with Python and SOAP. 

Python 2.2 is released

IEEE Spectrum: "To succeed in a world of micromarkets, Locke contends, a company's marketing needs to embrace today's welter of on-line forums, in such a way that participants in those forums are willing to describe and endorse a company's products without appearing to be empty shills." 

New motto for SN? "Greasing the skids since 1997." 

Deborah Branscum: "Girls rule!" Totally. 

Library News Daily is going to be a daily read for me. 

Annova: "Grammy bosses blacklist performers who are to perform on rival show the American Music Awards, an awards organiser claims." 

Yes Jason, I am listening. And congrats on being chosen Yahoo's weblog of the year. I am jealous!  

Mike Sanders knows how to manufacture flow. Blogger of the Century? Well I guess the century is still pretty young.  

Robert Barksdale wants to know if this is O'Reilly's next big hit. I have to admit that I've dreamed about that too. It's got all the elements that make an O'Reilly hit, imho. Start with this page for an idea of chapter one or a foreword.  

Chris Chapman has an idea for a prerequesite book, one that would come before a Radio book. He's right about that. You have to get immersed in the culture first. At least knee-deep. 

New motto for SN? "Leaving skidmarks since 1997." 

News.Com takes Segway for a test drive. 

Emmanuel Décarie: "Salut univers!" Killer app. 


Lessig: "When the system protects Hemingway, we at least get to see how Hemingway writes. We get to learn about his style and the tricks he uses to make his work succeed. We can see this because it is the nature of creative writing that the writing is public. There is no such thing as language that conveys meaning while not simultaneously transmitting its words. Software is different: Software gets compiled, and the compiled code is essentially unreadable; but in order to copyright software, the author need not reveal the source code. Thus, while the English department gets to analyze Virginia Woolf's novels to train its students in better writing, the computer science department doesn't get to examine Apple's operating system to train its students in better coding."

Lessig's analogy doesn't work. You can not see how Hemingway wrote, you can only see the words he published, the publication does not reveal the process. Similarly with software, students are free to study the published work, and use that as prior art (patents notwithstanding). Lessig's analogy is wrong.

Further, I can sing a song I heard on the radio, but with published source, anyone would be able to sing the song as well as the person who created it.

There's a reason why open source software hasn't produced very many memorable melodies. Programmers have to make a buck to keep programming. It's pretty simple.

He says programmers give the public nothing in return for copyrights. How insulting. We give our time and our ideas, just like lawyers and college professors.

There's no equivalent of source code in his two professions. If there were, I could just invoke the Lessig Defense in court and get the exact same result, every time, and even better not have to bother with a lengthy trial.

Or take Lessig's course from 1989 and get just as well educated. Software is unique among creative and thoughful work, in this way. The source gives you an exact replica of the original. And software needs to be upgraded. It costs money to do that. That's why we don't publish the source code, so we can keep working on it.

He's got some good points about orphaned software.

Evan Williams picks up the ball. In fact Frontier is over 13 years old. And btw, my education cost money too. I wasn't just born knowing how to write software. It takes a long time to get proficient enough to write usable software. I can't believe we have to justify ourselves at this level to a learned man such as Lessig. But it seems we do.


Last update: Saturday, December 22, 2001 at 3:34 PM Eastern.

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