Linus Torvalds: "Technical people are better off not looking at patents. If you don't know what they cover and where they are, you won't be knowingly infringing on them. If somebody sues you, you change the algorithm or you just hire a hit-man to whack the stupid git."
Political Web: "An analysis of Web sites promoting candidates for House, Senate or Governor in the 2002 election shows that relatively few have tapped the potential of the Internet to stimulate political action on or through their sites."
Ernie the Attorney links to two articles, one passionately in favor of reform in the music business, and one passionately supportive of music industry hacking of users' computers. Ernie says he agrees with both. I find that amazing, but we live in amazing times. Weinberger's third point was particularly stirring, to me: "The very thing the most conservative among us have dreamt of, have died for since the founding of this country, is now within our grasp: free markets, free speech, worldwide. And we're blowing it because some dinosaur companies insist on maintaining their grip on every last dollar before their industry dies. 500 million of us can see how close it is, how the world economy would blossom, how the human spirit would get dizzy with possibility, and we're arguing about how we can best prevent it?"
Jon Hanna wrote a tutorial on RDF. Cute title.
In Business 2.0, Dylan Tweney says a weblog is a "quick-and-dirty, easy-to-use knowledge management system."
Michael Fraase reports live from the opening of Gnomedex in Des Moines.
Megnut: "For those of us that are self-employed, and for those that are unemployed, health insurance continues to be a big expense, and an even bigger pain in the neck." Amen.
Charles Cooper: "Lessig would limit software copyrights to 10 years. After that, the code would wind up in the public domain. I can't think of a better prescription for formalizing the existing constellation of power that favors the Microsofts and Oracles over the small and independent developers."
BBC: "Millions of people using Microsoft's Office and Internet Explorer programs are at risk from security holes that could allow malicious hackers to change files on their computers."
News.Com: Apple to unleash Jaguar OS upgrade.
David Fletcher: New Utah Weblogs.
Is today the third birthday of Blogger? According to my archive, it is. Congrats!
Meg confirms that today is Blogger's birthday. Through the magic of archives, next year we won't have to wonder.
News.Com: Hyperlink patent case fails to click.
Ed Cone: "Comebody could end a political career pretty damn fast by letting out some 2 AM brainfart onto the Web." I don't agree with this prediction. My guess is that when politics and governance move to this medium, it will be a lot more resilient than TV. Remember, in this medium, each voter can have his or her own TV station.
It's gratifying to read about the role weblogs are playing in news from the Middle East, through Lance Knobel's weblog. In 2000 and 2001, Lance and I wanted to offer weblogs to people attending the World Economic Forum annual meeting in Davos. The management of Davos didn't think it was worthwhile. That was one of those times when we absolutely knew we were right, and that one day we'd get a big I Told You So (assuming anyone remembered the proposal). Eventually the world will be run with weblogs, much the way it's run with telephones today. My belief is that when you find a technology of this stature, you deploy as quickly as possible, without worrying. It could be that weblog technology would avert the next international crisis, or deal with its aftermath, more effectively. (Actually there's no "could" to it, to me it's a certainty.)
Here we go. Wired News lifts Tara Sue, and gets Coble's staff to hedge on the Hollywood hacking bill. She's the first candidate with a weblog. Yeah. Soon all races will be run on weblogs. All of them. By the way the Plotkin quotes really sting. How did Tara Sue's weblog get going. Wasn't that the technology industry?
Sanjiva, an IBM SOAP developer, comes from and lives in Sri Lanka. He posted a photo essay of a recent trip he took, with monkeys and elephants.
Happy Friday, one and all. Thinking about Lessig's Hemingway story. Also wondering why Lessig's book isn't on the Web, so we can read his code. So many mealy-mouthed advocates for this guy. That's kind of a clue. They believe in Free Software. All of them paid $21 to read Lessig. Let me know when you get that to parse. (Would they pay the money if they could read it for free on the Web?)
Anyway, I don't trust people who tell me that Hemingway reveals all his source code when nothing could be further from the truth. A writer of prose reveals the final copy and nothing more. He doesn't reveal the life experiences that taught him the lessons that the book teaches. He doesn't tell you which ideas he stole from other books he read. He omits all the blind alleys and dead ends, the characters and plot ideas that didn't make the cut. The novelist omits the text of all previous books, and that's interesting because many if not all authors write the same book over and over, refinining it, narrowing the focus, taking stuff out, amplifying and discussing. Some of my favorite authors work that way. Bottom-line, despite what Lessig says, there's no full disclosure in art.
Yesterday John Robb said something profound about The Commons. It's almost empty. Not many want to put anything in. Or we want to be selective about it. You can read Scripting News and DaveNet for free. You can even use Radio and Frontier for free, for a short period of time while you evaluate the software. But this world, with doctors, hospitals, grocery stores, cars, gas, insurance, medicine, lawyers, etc, requires money. The trick is to have art in your life and make some of it pay. And that in itself is an art.
My core objection to the doctors of You-Give-Me-Your-Source is that there's an art to what you give. Ask anyone who actually knows my work, not people who put me in the same league as $30 billion companies. I give you a lot of my code, but not all of it. Apple does the same with theirs, but they flip it around. No one knows which approach is "right." It's arrogant to think you can dictate the terms of gifts, esp when you aren't yourself immersed in the art. That's what I don't like about Lessig and his followers. They don't do, they just talk. It would be as if I told Bowie or Elvis Costello or Sting how they had to make music for me. Well fuck that shit. I want the music that comes from their creative process. If they want to give me the source, so be it. If they don't that's okay too. Lawyers. Plug in every lawyer joke here.
If you think I haven't been generous enough, check it out. It's like the visitors to an art gallery thinking they're seeing all the art in the world. For once I'd like to see the artists get to blow away the critics. Perhaps that's what the Internet makes possible.
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