Much is fixed

Word of this blog leaked out faster than I expected, with people correctly
pointing out that the blog was far from technically up to snuff (e.g.
the RSS feed didn't validate at all — thanks, Ted!). I've backed away from
using blosxom 3 alpha (t'is alpha!) and am using pyblosxom 1.0. I also
like being able to hack the code. Let me know if there are other things
I'm doing wrong.

First pyblosxom plugin: draft mode

I like to be able to tweak the content of entries without having to worry
about whether these changes will affect someone's RSS feed. Since Pyblosxom
doesn't have a real “staging” model for posts, I wrote this plugin which
lets me see draft posts using (very weak) password protection, and then
'turn them on' simply by renaming the file (i.e. mv draft-foo.txt
). Enjoy.

We the natives

I remember back in the late 80’s walking around saying things like “someone should write a sociology thesis about this internet stuff.” Lo and behold, people did. Similarly in the last decade, open source seemed to all involved as something worthy of academic study. So when I read Siobhan O’Mahony’s paper on The Role of Non-Profit Foundations in Community-Firm Software Collaboration (PDF), I felt somewhat like any subject of an ethnographic study must feel when the academics poke at them to try and understand their odd ways. From my point of view (especially with respect to the Python Software Foundation), O’Mahony does a great job of analyzing the interactions between the various actors. There’s more to be said, of course, but it’s a good start. O’Mahony is one of the more cogent analysts of the sociology of open source, and is someone I’ll keep an eye on.

From a different academic perspective, seek out talks by Rishab Aiyer Ghosh, who does a good job of explaining how open source is interesting from a macroeconomic viewpoint given the disparities among world economies. Rishab is also the founder of First Monday, a publication that I somehow only recently heard about. Great material.

Two smart lawyers arguing

Last May, I had the pleasure of participating in yet another conference
on open source
. Some of the topics covered were the “same old, same old”,
but there was one set of exchanges that really struck me as unique—the
debate between Eben Moglen, counsel for the FSF, and David McGowan, a
self-described “capitalist tool”. The video archives are available (although uptime seems spotty), and I encourage people interested in legal issues surrounding the GPL in particular to listen in. Of particular interest:

  • Eben Moglen’s speech (Day 1, Morning Session, Part 2)
  • David McGowan’s counter-speech (Day 1, Afternoon Session, Part 1)
  • The discussion period between the two of them (Day 1, Afternoon Session,
    end of Part 2)

(Oh, how I wish I could address into parts of the debate with better
instructions than “see Question 7 in the afternoon Q&A”. Yes, Jon, you’re right.)

I’m not sure how much it will come across to viewers of the videos, but both lawyers presented (to me) stunning displays of rhetorical skill. It was one of the most enjoyable sequence of talks I have heard, which is somewhat scary to contemplate. As one audience member said at the end in the Q&A, “I believe everyone of you completely when you talk, even though you’re completely contradictory”.

Visit the Conference Archives

(I would serve the most relevant bits from my own site if I could, but KMDI only publishes streaming video).