Archive for December 18th, 2015|Daily archive page

Stephen King on (tech) writing |

Useful writing advice that is short and to the point.

Six tips for tech writers from Stephen King.

Source: Stephen King on (tech) writing |

Teaching open source law |

Maru Rabinovitch explains why law schools should include thorough open source license and patent training.

Source: Teaching open source law |


From the article:

Open source legal training is not easy to find, and if available it is not cheap.

Which raises the obvious question:

So, why are law schools not teaching open source law? I see traditional copyrights and patents as a security blanket. Most companies need to know there is a fall-back mechanism in case the company does not reach the expected success. This means that if company doesn’t get the expected returns on a product, they can resort to the patent or copyright infringement claim. This business model, in my view, is why law schools continue to push the copyright/patent curricula instead of considering other open licensing models.

And none of this is new. Back around 2000, when I first started working professionally in open source, I was shocked to see not only that there was such scant academic (legal) interest in open source, despite Lessig’s and Moglen’s presence, not to mention Mitchell Baker of Mozilla, but that the field itself seemed pretty uninterested in professionalising. There were plenty of manifestos–you couldn’t have an open source project without one, it seemed–but zero professional organisations representing the interests of their members, the way that there are for other professions. The lack of such is not necessarily a bad thing, and one can easily argue that the institutional presence of the AMA or MLA or APA inescapably squelches otherwise valuable interventions and innovations. But, the good that does come out of having a strong professional interest in open source is, as Rabinovitch underscores, something that will prove its worth as open source code and practices find their way in the code that public and private sector organisations use every day in every way.

Linux Foundation Unites Industry Leaders to Advance Blockchain Technology

If you know what a blockchain (also block chain) is, you probably learned of it through reading about bitcoin, which uses it. Wikipedia’s definition of a blockchain is useful:

A block chain or blockchain is a distributed database based on the bitcoin protocol that maintains a continuously growing list of records hardened against tampering and revision, even by operators of the data store’s nodes. The primary means by which this is accomplished is through the use of a timestamp server which, batching recent valid transactions into “blocks,” and “taking a hash of a block of items to be timestamped and widely publishing the hash… proves that the data must have existed at the time.” The timestamp of each block includes the prior timestamp, “forming a chain, with each additional timestamp reinforcing the ones before it,”[1] thus giving the database type its name. Each blockchain record is enforced cryptographically and hosted on machines working as data store nodes.[2]

Source: Wikipedia retrieved 18 Dec. 2015 10:26 (-0500UTC)

The point here is that a blockchain can be used in ways beyond bitcoin. Such as for traditional money lenders and managers for whom blockchain answers several issues, not the least of them being security, usability, but also–and importantly–an interested, global community of developers. That the technology is open source is hardly incidental; in fact, it is essential.

New open ledger project to transform the way business transactions are conducted around the world

Source: Linux Foundation Unites Industry Leaders to Advance Blockchain Technology