[sclug] Cheap'n'nasty Tesco Linux machines

Alex Butcher lug at assursys.co.uk
Mon Mar 17 18:51:38 UTC 2008

On Mon, 17 Mar 2008, Tom Carbert-Allen wrote:

> originator? does someone claim title to the concept of open source software? 
> If so, I don't accept this. Are you talking about this Eric Raymond bloke 
> that someone else mentioned?

Yup. Eric and Bruce Perens founded the Open Source Initiative in 1998.
Before then, it was all Free Software, Freeware, Public Domain and
Shareware. Eric wanted a term that didn't have some of the connotations of
'Free Software' which might deter business from getting involved. The term
'open source' did exist before then, but in an entirely different context -
the use of publicly available information (e.g. newspapers) for Intelligence

> Personally I describe myself as an anarchist, but don't have the academic 
> knowledge of politcal systems to label my particular branch of anarchism. As 
> by and large learning this was of no benefit to me. I tend to develop a 
> variation of my beliefs for each interaction anyway.
> If you guys think communism has a bad name, try telling people you are an 
> anachist then defend yourself....

Actually, that's the only reason I dropped the names of Bakunin and
Proudhon! Everyone thinks anarchists are a bunch of petrol-bomb throwing,
flag-waving, balaclava-wearing black-clad hooligans. Well, they're right
about the black-clad in this case... :-)

> I was pondering on the idea of setting a maximum time limit on copyright 
> though? Maybe 0.5-3 years depending on the type of software? Does that work?

There are limits to the terms of the protections provided by copyright,
patent and trademark legislation. Generally, powerful owners repeatedly seek
to have them extended. I think any fixed term enshrined in (generally
slow-changing) legislation is probably a bodge, and at the risk of
complicating an already complicated system, I'd like to see what would
happen if an attempt was made to make the system self-tuning; say, by making
the term of protection proportional to the annual growth in the median
number of creative works per capita within that class. As that measure goes
down, the term of protection is extended so as to (hopefully) stimulate
production, and vice versa. Of course, just like inflation, setting the
'ideal' rate of growth would be more of an art than a science...


Best Regards,
Alex Butcher, Bristol UK.                           PGP/GnuPG ID:0x5010dbff

"[T]he whole point about the reason why I think it is important we go for
identity cards and an identity database today is that identity fraud and
abuse is a major, major problem. Now the civil liberties aspect of it, look
it is a view, I don't personally think it matters very much."
  - Tony Blair, 6 June 2006 <http://www.number-10.gov.uk/output/Page9566.asp>

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