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Tuesday, February 15 2005 @ 06:14 PM EST

I stopped in at LinuxWorld just for a quick look around today, kind of unexpectedly, actually, and I learned some interesting things. First, I met Bill Claybrook, which was certainly an honor. I learned he works for Novell now. I hope he will write something for Groklaw some time. And I learned that HP's Martin Fink is a very clueful guy. He gave one of the keynote speeches, and as usual Stephen Shankland gets it right on the money, if you want to read his article.

Fink talked about license proliferation, OSI, the GPL, and patents, not in that order, and what I walked away knowing is that HP gets the GPL. I can't tell you how surprised I am to be writing that. Or, I guess I should say Martin Fink gets the GPL and how important it is to the success of Linux. He said it's the GPL that gave Linux its wings to fly. I asked Fink's PR assistant to please send me a transcript of his remarks, so I can share it with you.

He tore into OSI, saying they are approving too many licenses and he hopes to do something about it, wearing his OSDL hat. As it happens, I agree with him, so that was a welcome speech. He says, in his view, it is licensing that makes Open Source work, and we have now too many licenses, nearly 60. In his view, that represents a clear and present danger to what makes FOSS work. He'd like OSI to change direction, and I gather he intends to do all he can to make it change. He also spoke about software patents.

Open source is built on copyrights, he said, despite some who claim Open Source is an "IP killer", but patents are different. He understands the feelings of those who oppose software patents, that it's a hindrance to their art, and he understands that business views patents as a way to to recoup its investment. But his point was that here we are, now, in a society that has software patents, and so his view is, go ahead and oppose software patents if that is how you feel, but it's naive not to apply for patents if you can. It's what you do with a patent that matters, not that you have one, he said. You can read Shankland's piece for more details.

I also attended Novell's Jack Messman's press conference. The most important thing he said was that Open Enterprise Server, which I gather is a merge of two operating systems, NetWare and SuSE Linux, has achieved EAL 4+ certification, which is important for governments, and he also announced the Hula project, a kind of OS replacement for Microsoft Exchange/Lotus Notes, and Novell is open sourcing NetMail's code to kick it off. Here's Peter Galli's article with more on the code they are open sourcing and another from eWeek. Also, here is Jack Loftus's account, and here's David Berlind, with more info on Hula. LinuxWorld was, as Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols had predicted, all about business.

A phoned-in question from a journalist asking Messman about the SCO case drew this response. He said Novell maintains they own the copyrights and the patents. He told the room they could go to Groklaw and see the documents. He said they think SCO has changed the nature of their discussion from IP violations to contract violations. Novell owns the code; they own the copyrights; and they own the patents. When he told the room they could go to Groklaw to see all the documents, I blushed. Intensely. I was mostly trying to be incognito all day, but anyone watching closely probably could have figured out who I was just by my skin color at that moment. I wanted to introduce myself to Mr. Messman, but by the time I finished talking with someone else, he had left the room. I wanted to introduce myself to several people there, actually, before the day was done, but I was too shy to follow through most of the time. I am a piece of work, no doubt about it.

I did win a tee shirt from Sun Microsystems, which says Freedom on the front and on the back. Some of the booths give you stuff if you watch their sales pitch. IBM's salesman gave me the brushoff, because I wasn't in the right category he was looking for. It made me smile. Anyway, so I wandered over in time to hear a Sun guy ask his group some questions from his spiel about StarOffice. And if you remembered the answer from the spiel, you got a tee shirt or a sweatshirt or whatever. I hadn't been there for the demo, but won the shirt because I knew that is XML. So, I hope you are proud of me.

Here is the funny thing. Groklaw was mentioned all day. Mr. Messman mentioned it. And there was a Penguin Bowl, a fun thing with questions for two teams, analysts and media people. And one question was from a Groklaw story. It was so funny being there with almost no one knowing who I was. I felt it today for the first time. Groklaw matters.

Yet, Groklaw would not qualify for entrance as media to LinuxWorld. Isn't that a scream? Actually, Groklaw can get in anywhere Linuxy now, but a blog doesn't normally qualify as media as far as LinuxWorld is concerned. I qualified, because I have written for pay elsewhere, but if all I had done was Groklaw, and Groklaw wasn't yet well known, I couldn't have gotten in with a media badge. One of life's little ironies. See, that's why the world needs Groklaw, to show them that their hierarchies have some gaps.

Because I'm so shy, I spent all day trying to do things I couldn't get the courage to do. Then I'd go hide in the ladies' room a while, and then pull myself together and I'd try again. We had a fire reported, and the alarm went off, and I could smell smoke as I tried to find my way out, but by the time I got to the bottom floor, they sounded the all clear. By then my allergies were off and running, and my eyelids swelled up, so that didn't help me want to meet anyone. I tried all afternoon to introduce myself to a journalist I know through email, and I actually spent hours in the media room trying to build up to do it, and gave up. I had to leave before the day was done, to get going on my way back home, so I left, then felt so stupid, I turned around and marched myself back in and forced myself to do it, awkwardly, no eye contact, and ran off again.

I make *myself* laugh, actually, but not at the time, if you know what I mean.

And here's what else happened. I saw Project Looking Glass, and I fell in love at first sight. No kidding, guys. It's how things are supposed to be. Please, please come up with some great ideas for 3D and make it happen. The Sun demo guy showed me what it can do, and here's what I learned. They know how to do it, but they don't know what to do with it. They would like ideas. Even if you don't know how to implement the idea, they want to hear about it.

I gave them my idea on the spot, but if you have an idea for using 3D, now is the most fun time there is, the ground floor. It's all in the research stage. You have to have the right kind of graphics card to get Looking Glass to work, and there are driver issues, but a knowledgeable and helpful guy watching the demo with me told me to stroll over to the EmperorLinux booth. They sell custom configurations for laptops. If you want a laptop with GNU/Linux on it, preinstalled, they will do it for you, and they'll do whatever you like. So you choose your distro, whatever accessories you want, and they will partition and customize it to your taste, so all your hardware is supported right out of the box, tied together by their "custom kernel". And you get a year of tech support by phone and email. And yes, I checked, and you can get it set up to work with Looking Glass.

It's so pleasant to see a 3D graphic. Sun had a picture of leaves of a tree, and I just felt comfortable visually in a way 2D never makes me feel. I want the Internet -- everything -- in 3D. And I so want to be able to have 3 browsers, 2 text editors, and some apps running at once and yet be able to see them all without clutter. When I saw Looking Glass's jukebox, a circle of CDs that spin around, and you click on the one you want when you want it, I understood immediately that you could do something similar with all the applications and all the documents you are working on or holding for later viewing, so you could keep track of where everything is in a natural way. That's how I work, and now that I've seen Looking Glass, nothing else is enough. Oh, and each element is transparent, if you want it to be, so you finally feel in control of what is happening. I simply fell in love with the thing. And it was against my will, because it's Sun and I'm still mad about the CDDL and I'm mad that they asked us for questions and then never answered them, but hang it all, Project Looking Glass is simply wonderful. I don't care who came up with it. It's out there now, and thank heaven, they released it under the GPL.

It was my first LinuxWorld. My first conference, actually. Of course, all day I wondered if any of you were there too. Were you? I am sorry I missed you, because it was such an agony for me to be around so many strangers, I seriously doubt I'll ever try such an outing again. It's just not me. I'll have to stick to what I do best, which is write. I'm very glad I forced myself to do it today, though, because I understand exactly what to do with Groklaw post-SCO.


LinuxWorld | 264 comments | Create New Account
Comments belong to whoever posts them. Please notify us of inappropriate comments.
Authored by: grouch on Tuesday, February 15 2005 @ 09:45 PM EST
Post corrections as a reply here, please.

"The power of the Web is in its universality. Access by everyone regardless of
disability is an essential aspect." -- Tim Berners-Lee, inventor of the WWW

[ Reply to This | # ]

Authored by: Anonymous on Tuesday, February 15 2005 @ 09:47 PM EST
All of us who stop by here on a regular basis are glad that you went to
LinuxWorld and enjoyed your day.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Off topic (OT)
Authored by: grouch on Tuesday, February 15 2005 @ 09:49 PM EST
Post off topic comments here, please.

"The power of the Web is in its universality. Access by everyone regardless of
disability is an essential aspect." -- Tim Berners-Lee, inventor of the WWW

[ Reply to This | # ]

PJ, c'mon, tell it!
Authored by: grouch on Tuesday, February 15 2005 @ 09:59 PM EST
"...because I understand exactly what to do with Groklaw post-SCO."

You can't leave us hanging with that! You want a class-action suit for mental

"The power of the Web is in its universality. Access by everyone regardless of
disability is an essential aspect." -- Tim Berners-Lee, inventor of the WWW

[ Reply to This | # ]

Ideas for 'Looking Glass' ....
Authored by: Anonymous on Tuesday, February 15 2005 @ 10:16 PM EST
We can give SUN ideas for 'Looking Glass' when they agree to release Solaris
under the GPL. Maybe you can work something out with Scott.... :)

[ Reply to This | # ]

Don't be shy.
Authored by: Anonymous on Tuesday, February 15 2005 @ 10:17 PM EST
I remember when i first started doing b2b direct marketing. I had to walk from
business to business and pitch them.

Anyways, everyone first starts off watching a pro do it. Just standing there
gave me confidence. The next day when I had to go on my own, the first person i
pitched made me really nervous. I few businesses later I was a new man.
Nothing could take away that shyness ever again.

I also became one of the top sales people. 6 months later I quit. I got bored.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Authored by: belzecue on Tuesday, February 15 2005 @ 10:19 PM EST
You go, girrrrl :-) It's gonna be a while before this grin on my face wears
off. PJ, Woody Allen was there, and he wants you for his next film! hehe.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Fink's Main Point: Patents Loom
Authored by: Anonymous on Tuesday, February 15 2005 @ 10:27 PM EST
OSS is going to have to either license them, cross-license them, or face charges
of infringement. Wishing it away isn't going to work.

[ Reply to This | # ]

So does this mean. . .
Authored by: Anonymous on Tuesday, February 15 2005 @ 10:37 PM EST
. . . that PJ lives in the Boston area? Would be hard to just casually, 'happen
to drop by', unless she were in Boston to start (although I suppose she could
have been travelling there on other business).

[ Reply to This | # ]

I was at LinuxWorld - Sorry I Missed You
Authored by: OmniGeek on Tuesday, February 15 2005 @ 10:39 PM EST
I'm reading this article and thinking, "Wow! I probably walked right by PJ
and never even knew it!" and feeling like I was unknowingly in the vicinity
of an important celebrity. (That was you, PJ. You are an important figure to
this community.)

It sounds like it was well worth your while to go. My advice: Next year, go
again. Don't let shyness stop you. We all have issues and things we find hard to
do, and it's worth doing them. It was especially worth doing this one, 'cause
this stuff matters and you are making a difference. (And the blinky ice cubes
and HP Tux keychain are fun!)

just my $2*10E-2...

My strength is as the strength of ten men, for I am wired to the eyeballs on

[ Reply to This | # ]

I was there today as well
Authored by: Carter on Tuesday, February 15 2005 @ 10:51 PM EST
Actually, I am here for the full week.

PJ, I can't believe that you were here and no one knew. I may have passed you in
the hallway and never realized it. Next year, post-SCO, maybe you will be making
one of the keynote speeches!

By the way, Sys-Con Media is here as well. I am going to see if Maureen O'Gara
is in attendance, so I can speak my mind about her anti-Open Source rantings.

[ Reply to This | # ]

HP - it's not naive to be right
Authored by: star-dot-h on Tuesday, February 15 2005 @ 10:55 PM EST
"it's naive not to apply for patents if you can." said the HP guy
(after a whole lot of really good stuff, I'm sure).

You know, many people don't seem to be able to mention RMS without using that
word, describing him as "naive". I know, I used to do it myself.

What I have discovered is that when someone wants you do do something that is
wrong or you are opposed to they first tell you it is "naive" not to
do it, every one else does it, if you don't someone else will. Heard that
before? RMS, it turns out, is not wrong, never was. If it is not wrong to oppose
patents, how on earth is it right to aquire them?

Two wrongs don't make a right, sorry.


Free software on every PC on every desk

[ Reply to This | # ]

PJ, we love you back
Authored by: qu1j0t3 on Tuesday, February 15 2005 @ 11:01 PM EST
And just to see the words "post-SCO" in your lovely handtyping makes
me happy...

[ Reply to This | # ]

If you think you were blushing a lot...
Authored by: Adam B on Tuesday, February 15 2005 @ 11:20 PM EST
IBM's salesman gave me the brushoff, because I wasn't in the right category he was looking for. It made me smile.

Boy, if you think you've been blushing a lot lately, imagine how much blushing is going on at the IBM corporate headquarters right now. Don't take this as a crack at you at all, but seriously, you probably ought to be making more from IBM than he is right now.

That is, if it wouldn't create the appearance of impropriety. ;-)

[ Reply to This | # ]

Authored by: Anonymous on Tuesday, February 15 2005 @ 11:22 PM EST
Oh, a lot of people have social phobia. You might want to read up on it or see a
counselor. I understand they have some pretty effective treatments for it

[ Reply to This | # ]

Authored by: charlie Turner on Tuesday, February 15 2005 @ 11:53 PM EST
Your first LinuxWorld.... I am spacing back to the spring
of '71 when a bunch of us doofs from the neighborhood sorta put a band together,
and practiced a bunch, and then we auditioned to play at a dance at our school
(jr high)... We won the audition. Woops! Now we gotta get on stage in front of a
bunch of friends and do something. Talk about blushing, stammering, and
fumbling. We did live through the experience, as you did here ,too. And, we
found that as time went on, and we got in front of people more, our knees didn't
buckle quite so much, and we didn't sweat quite so many gallons, and we only
turned pink, instead of red.
Relax, your second LinuxWorld will go that much easier, as will the 3rd , and
4th, etc.
Remember, all of the folks there are just people,too, like all of us.


[ Reply to This | # ]

I'm a pushover
Authored by: Anonymous on Tuesday, February 15 2005 @ 11:56 PM EST

Thank you MY Dear.

[ Reply to This | # ]

    What consitutes prior art?
    Authored by: Anonymous on Wednesday, February 16 2005 @ 12:00 AM EST

    HP seems to be saying that the good guys have to take out patents to fight off
    the bad guys who are taking out patents.

    But it takes a lot of money to take out a patent. And a huge amount of money to
    gather a war chest patent portfolio.

    Which puts the little guy out of the picture -

    Or useful only as another pawn in hands of consortia of large corporations as
    they fight their corporate wars with one another.

    Cannon fodder.

    But -

    Instead of fighting patent portfolios with bigger patent portfolios, can the
    little guy do his bit to fight the big guys off by being the first to publish
    prior art?

    I.e., if you publish an idea on the web first - say, you were the first person
    to come up with the idea of "One-Click Shopping" before Amazon
    patented it - and you wrote about it on your blog and posted on some Internet
    bulletin boards - would that constitute prior art sufficient to stop the idea
    from being patented?

    Or more formally - can some organizatrion - say the OSDL or Groklaw - have a
    hairbrained ideas repository site (call it the "Open Source Patent
    Incubator Project" or some such) that Open-Source types can formally
    present every idea they can think of - no matter how elementary or how
    far-fetched - so that when some corporation comes along later to try to patent
    that idea it will be too late for the corporation to do so?

    Can a formal procedure for this be put into place one step short of a formal
    patent filing?

    Can this all be put in one place (or a few places) and be formalized and
    sheparded by the legal community that is supportive of Open Source?

    Uh - is this already being done and I am not aware of it?

    If so - should it be getting more publicity than it currently has?

    The basic question - can we somehow be spoilers of the whole anti-free software
    patent process?

    Maybe the Open Source community can turn the whole idea of the patent wars on
    it's head . . .

    Maybe this could actually be good for Open Source?

    Just like - arguably - the SCO fiasco could be considered, in a backhand way,
    good for helping Open Source get its legal act together?

    I know, I know - I am not a lawyer.

    As I get shot down, well - it was just a layman's silly idea.

    Still - I am glad you made that meeting.

    Ya make people think of things they might not otherwise have considered.

    You Open Source Idea Incubator, you.

    Don't be shy -


    [ Reply to This | # ]

    PJ, if you felt proud today, you deserved to ...
    Authored by: dmarker on Wednesday, February 16 2005 @ 12:24 AM EST

    Groklaw is something to be very proud of even if there are
    people out there with different agendas who think otherwise.

    I can't tell you how good it feels to see the tables turned on some of those in
    our industry who actively practice deception & legalised theft, but who are
    being bowled over by honest & open appraisal and analysis of their actions
    esp in the legal sphere.

    Your impact on our industry is going to be remembered for a long time & I am
    sure will spawn other equally effective blogs that help squash those who would
    stoop to bastardry to achieve their goals.

    Doug M

    [ Reply to This | # ]

    Authored by: ssavitzky on Wednesday, February 16 2005 @ 12:34 AM EST
    Glad to hear you're getting to trade shows. Hope you can make it to the San
    Francisco LinuxWorld this August. (SF is a great place to be a tourist.)

    A tip, from one shy person to another: hook up with someone who _isn't_ shy who
    can show you around and introduce you to people.

    The SCO method: open mouth, insert foot, pull trigger.

    [ Reply to This | # ]

    Authored by: blacklight on Wednesday, February 16 2005 @ 01:20 AM EST
    "I am a piece of work, no doubt about it"

    So am I. Your contribution (groklaw) was the vehicle and platform that made mine
    possible, and gave them a powerful context to operate in. The multiplier - not
    just additive, effect of thousands of knowledgeable contributors is still a
    wonder to behold.

    As for your shyness, don't worry: I am still far more at ease kicking total
    strangers (and giving them a chance to return the favor) around in a dojo than
    simply introducing myself to them. And I believe that kicking people around is a
    lot more obnoxious.

    [ Reply to This | # ]

    Authored by: blacklight on Wednesday, February 16 2005 @ 01:33 AM EST
    I am wondering why anyone would want to pick Boston as a venue for Linuxworld:
    these Boston drivers are a menace. The only rights you get as a pedestrian is
    the right to jump out of the way as they barrel through the red lights.
    Otherwise, you hereby grant them the right to run their vehicles over your legs.

    [ Reply to This | # ]

    I have recommended this article to friends
    Authored by: Totosplatz on Wednesday, February 16 2005 @ 02:49 AM EST

    Here I always thought I was the one who was shy. Lots of people would benefit greatly from reading this.

    All the best to one and all.

    [ Reply to This | # ]

    Authored by: Anonymous on Wednesday, February 16 2005 @ 03:01 AM EST
    Interesting insight into PJ the person. Thanks for that.

    [ Reply to This | # ]

    Authored by: JohnPettigrew on Wednesday, February 16 2005 @ 05:31 AM EST
    Yet, Groklaw would not qualify for entrance as media to LinuxWorld. Isn't that a scream? Actually, Groklaw can get in anywhere Linuxy now, but a blog doesn't normally qualify as media as far as LinuxWorld is concerned. I qualified, because I have written for pay elsewhere, but if all I had done was Groklaw, and Groklaw wasn't yet well known, I couldn't have gotten in with a media badge.
    Actually, I think you're not quite right here. I don't think that merely having a blog should be enough to allow someone to acquire a press pass, in the same way that publishing a fanzine on paper won't get you one.

    A press pass should be reserved for people who can show that they are likely to write something that will be read by a reasonable number of people. So, Groklaw should obviously get one! But random Joe Blogger, no, I don't think so.

    [ Reply to This | # ]

    Novell gets it (GPL)
    Authored by: radix2 on Wednesday, February 16 2005 @ 06:51 AM EST

    Spotted in a press release about Netmail (now Hula) - they definitely understand
    the community process :

    From Swerk @ /. (

    "I'm a (newish, but still) software engineer at Novell, and I'd like to
    answer your questions quickly from my little point of view.

    The rationale behind this is that we'd like to put out something that's simple
    at first but can seed an ecosystem of its own, and, with some luck, one day
    become "the Apache of collaboration". Netmail was a good fit because
    there were very few issues IP-wise in releasing the code, and because it's a
    young and extensible base that has the potential to evolve into a killer
    enterprise-level system. If we were to open up GroupWise, for example, (if that
    were even possible, which it isn't) we'd be saying to the world "hey, come
    on and help out with our finished, mature product", which isn't nearly as
    stimulating as "hey, come on and help shape the future of
    collaboration!" The latter may be a smidge optimistic, but that's honestly
    what we're shooting for, if I understand Nat correctly.

    As for transferring development of Netmail to the open Hula project, here's what
    I know and (I hope!) am allowed to say: Netmail was a very small team. The Hula
    team is bigger. So no, we're not just tossing it out and watching to see who in
    the OSS community should be the project leader. It's still our project, though
    everybody is free to fork if they decide we're headed in the wrong direction.
    That does two things: it forces us to stay honest and on the up-and-up with the
    OSS community, and (as of right now, no turning back) it gives to the world a
    useful piece of free software that can and will get more and more useful over

    There was a joke made in the hallways here (and possibly elsewhere in these
    comments) in reference to South Park. Step 1: Release Hula. Step 2: ??? Step 3:

    Step 2 is to play the game right, to give OSS folks what they want and what they
    need to help us build (or build themselves, if they so desire) a really sweet
    communications system. Something that there would be demand for at the
    enterprise level. Right now, Hula is mail and calendar. A year from now, I would
    be very surprised if it did not include IM, some form of VOIP, and some things I
    can't even imagine right now. Apache, QT, MySQL, and so on have shown that there
    is money to be made from a free-as-in-speech, free-as-in-beer tool if: 1) It's
    good, and 2) An ecosystem develops around it. That money, of course, is what
    Novell is looking for in the end, and I've got to say I'm pretty excited to see
    the way we're going after it. Microsoft built a proprietary community around
    Exchange, and it has dominated collaboration for years. I'm rooting for Hula's
    free, open community that was officially born today.

    So there's two cents from a rookie Novell programmer."

    And I have to say that after 20 years I still love what Novell does for my
    (various) networks... Can anyone say "Bang for buck"?

    [ Reply to This | # ]

    Open Source patenting
    Authored by: Anonymous on Wednesday, February 16 2005 @ 07:17 AM EST
    The open source comminity should form some "patent-holder
    organisation" and cooperate through some webportal to discuss existing
    patents and file for new patents. This way we could have thousands of open
    source fans with great ideas gathering lots of patents in this organisation.
    These patents would then be used to protect Linux and other free software
    through cross-licensing, etc..

    I think that an "open source" "patent-holder organisation"
    like this, could easily get more patents than the big companies, thus beeing
    able to counter all threats from those companies - protecting free software.

    We could also let microsoft taste the bitterness of patents by suing them if
    they infringe on any patent :) (money earned this way would be donated to free
    software projects / fsf / eff / etc).

    [ Reply to This | # ]

    "I felt it today for the first time. Groklaw matters."
    Authored by: cybervegan on Wednesday, February 16 2005 @ 07:44 AM EST
    We've been telling you that for years, PJ.

    Glad you beleive it now.

    Thanks for what you've done and we hope you can carry on doing it as long as you
    want to.

    Thanks also for showing us your human, emotional, fragile side. That takes
    courage and strength - which more than makes up for it. I'm glad you're
    beginning to think "post-SCO", too - that sort of underlines that
    although there will always be something threatening the Free and Open Source
    Software world, the SCO tirade will be over one day. Soon, hopefully.


    Software source code is a bit like underwear - you only want to show it off in
    public if it's clean and tidy. Refusal could be due to embarrassment or shame...

    [ Reply to This | # ]

    Take A Friend To LinuxWorld
    Authored by: Anonymous on Wednesday, February 16 2005 @ 07:47 AM EST

    Personal recommendation? Take a friend with you to your next big event like
    that. Having someone you already know and can talk with can make all the
    difference in the world. The friend could encourage you to introduce yourself,
    pat you on the back when you overcome your natural shyness, and give you someone
    to lean on while you bolster your nerve.

    I used to attend Comdex in Vegas much the same way, always tried to take a
    friend along with me. We would help each other by pointing out interesting
    booths that we might have missed, talk about the exciting things we saw, and one
    of us could run interference with a booth salesman while the other tried to get
    a closer look at something... oops, did I say that out loud? ;)

    Seriously, it made all the difference in the world. Plus, I've found it's
    easier for me to introduce myself to someone if I'm simultaneously introducing
    whoever I'm with. Less spooky, less shyness-inducing.


    [ Reply to This | # ]

    PJ - In reply to your comments on Sun from Simon Phipps...
    Authored by: eamacnaghten on Wednesday, February 16 2005 @ 08:04 AM EST
    PJ Simon Phipps has answered to your comments re Sun's CDDL. He seems to be saying the same as what that HP guy said. Link.

    I am glad you enjoyed LinuxWorld - hope to see you on one of those panels one day.....

    Web Sig: Eddy Currents

    [ Reply to This | # ]

    Authored by: jseigh on Wednesday, February 16 2005 @ 08:06 AM EST
    I've done a couple of software patents so I have a pretty good feeling for some of the issues involved. I also have an open source project, atomic-ptr-plus, which is based in part on those patents. IBM owns the patents but they let them lapse. But it gets a little more interesting. IBM has other RCU patents so I have to hope I'm not infringing on the other patents.

    In addition, the project involves a number of ideas that are non-trivial and patentable. I usually just disclose the ideas to put them into public domain. It's the cheapest way to protect my right to use my own ideas, I don't have the wherewithal to patent them. And giving them to EFF to patent for an opensource patent pool isn't very feasible in my opinion. The value of a patent for patent pool purposes isn't as obvious as you may think.

    But the right to use my own ideas ends as soon as I get a letter from lawyers from somewhere claiming they own the idea, either from some vague patent they own or from scraping my disclosures from usenet and patenting them themselves. Either way, I don't have the wherewithal to fight it.

    The problem with patents as I see it is that it's an unlevel playing field, individuals vs. corporate interests. The outcome of any contests between the two is decidedly one sided.

    [ Reply to This | # ]

    Authored by: Anonymous on Wednesday, February 16 2005 @ 08:32 AM EST

    I know what it is like to be painfully shy. I'm blind in one eye, deaf in one
    ear, and partially deaf in the other. So I can miss a few things in
    conversation in a crowded room. And fear of rejection has been a big deal for
    me. There are a couple of things that really helped me that I heartily

    First is Toastmasters. Once you've been through a couple of their "table
    topics" impromptu speeches, you'll get a clear sense of how to come up with
    something to say when you *don't* know what to say. And once you do a speech on
    Groklaw, your "hobby", people will come up to you after the speech to
    ask questions of you to learn more. I know because I like to write, too. No
    one can interrupt me when I write. Public speaking forces me to bring the most
    salient points to attention and speak them.

    The second item to consider is a local improvisation class. Improvisation is
    the foundation of all acting skills, true. But more important, it gets you
    beyond the "oops, I just embarassed myself" feeling. The point of
    comedy in improvisation *is* to embarass yourself. That's why we laugh at Lucy.
    But you will see that all the world is a stage. After that, you will have fun
    at improvisation, and walking up to a stranger at Linuxworld will seem like a
    piece of cake by comparison.

    And if you're feeling really bold, take a class in Stand Up Comedy. You're a
    very funny writer, so I gather that you'd be mind blowing on stage.

    I've done all three and I've enjoyed every minute. Now I do stand up for a
    hobby (hosting a show next month). Once I had a taste, I couldn't get enough,
    even with my disabilities.

    I offer this to you as encouragement. I also see how important it is for you to
    talk to the people who attend such functions. For now, you are an enigma to
    most people and at the same time, very personal, engaging. I'm sure that those
    attending Linuxworld would be pleased to see that you are there. If anyone knew
    that you were there, you'd be getting some attention, no doubt.

    I hope you find this information helpful. I read your site everyday for your
    humor, candor and up to date information from the world of open source. I look
    forward to learning more here as I develop the resources and skills to live in
    the open source world.



    [ Reply to This | # ]

    Authored by: seanlynch on Wednesday, February 16 2005 @ 09:25 AM EST
    As usual, I was too busy to attend. Just started at a new client and am already
    knee deep in development work. I hope everyone has a good time and enjoys
    Beantown. It should not suprise anyone how business oriented these shows are
    becoming. Linux has been a major player for 4 or 5 years, and will only continue
    to grow.

    Its amazing how much Linux is used in the financial sector. Its just part of the
    whole system. At this client they use Z/OS, AIX, Solaris, Linux, WinXP. Nobody
    thinks Linux is limited, or inferior. WinXP is limited to desktops, while Linux
    rubs shoulders with the enterprise guys in the server room. Tux knows who to
    hang with and he'll be getting those five nines real soon.

    Linux is quickly moving from the server rooms to becoming the development
    platform of choice. Even if production deployment is on a commercial Unix. It
    won't be long before some of the bosses notice that their development systems
    run better than their production systems.

    Time marches on and Linux grows slowly and surely.

    [ Reply to This | # ]

    Authored by: prmills@earthlin on Wednesday, February 16 2005 @ 10:13 AM EST
    Nice try "PJ." This may have blown your cover for me. This post has
    the earmarks that "PJ" is probably a pseudonym. It would be
    interesting to know who you REALLY are.

    By the way, I have been following Groklaw for a long time, like an addict. I am
    passionately excited about Linux, though I am stuck at my office with (HISS) SCO
    Unix. Have been on the system long before the present SCO. I am trying to go
    from Unix to Linux. I know people are going to accuse me of being a hidden SCO
    promoter. It couldn't be more wrong.

    Please don't flame me, but OpenEMR for medical offices would cost me more than,
    or as much as, the highest priced Windows XP systems (GE, Soft-Aid). Pennington
    quoted me $18,000! I was shocked. Well, I could never go to Windows, never. So
    here I am, stuck with SCO Unix! I have called my vendor several times,
    suggesting they migrate to Linux, but they are concerned that Linux has
    copyright issues that Microsoft will exploit. Never say FUD doesn't work!

    I am hopeful that over the next couple of years I will be able to go over to
    Linux at the office. My wife uses a Linux server for a home business and we are
    very happy with it. So I am hopeful, that in time, Linux will be cost effective
    for me at the office.

    Can anyone give me info on medical packages being shown at LinuxWorld. That is
    what I am really needing.

    [ Reply to This | # ]

    Publish as Prior Art - EFF should step up
    Authored by: Anonymous on Wednesday, February 16 2005 @ 10:23 AM EST
    Background - I work for a major international company and I am the holder of one
    patent with others in the works. IANAL.

    Defensive publication can be a very viable strategy. A lawyer is needed to make
    sure you do it right. This is something that the EFF could do for the

    1. Create a legally acceptable repository where it is easy for FOSS people to
    submit ideas. Call it the FOSS Public Domain Idea Journal
    2. These ideas will be published with an official publication date.
    3. The USPTO and WPTO would be notified.
    4. You might also officially send a copy of this journal to certain companies -
    so that they will know that this idea is now in the public domain.

    A potential problem with this strategy is that a company with a smart lawyer can
    take your half baked idea in the public domain, improve it, and file a patent on
    the improvements. If the improvements are really needed to make the idea work -
    you've just cooked your own goose. But hey - that's free enterprise in action.

    It's much easier to head things off at the pass before someone files a patent
    and the patent office grants it. Opposing an existing patent is expensive.

    Unfortunately the patent examiners are overworked and can miss prior art - even
    though they are very good and very smart.

    My company has several people who routinely monitor patent publications and send
    official objections citing prior art. We don't like it when people get patents
    that restrict our freedom to operate.

    [ Reply to This | # ]

    PJ please read: The Introvert Advantage
    Authored by: Bob Miller on Wednesday, February 16 2005 @ 10:26 AM EST
    Introversion is nothing to be ashamed of. It is who we are and it has a big
    role in defining what we like and dislike.

    I strongly recommend the book, "The Introvert Advantage: How to Thrive in
    an Extrovert World" by Marty Olsen Laney. According to Laney, the gene
    responsible for introversion has been identified, and some of the brain
    chemistry changes it causes have been mapped. So it's no more something to be
    ashamed of than are blue eyes or male pattern baldness or any other genetically
    determined trait.

    If you understand and can predict your mental response to overstimulation (which
    is what LinuxWorld was, though it was just right for an extrovert) you'll be
    better able to pace yourself and accomplish things you want to. The book helped
    me to do that, and I'm able to do a lot more now (and actually enjoying things
    more often).


    [ Reply to This | # ]

    Shyness is a disease
    Authored by: Anonymous on Wednesday, February 16 2005 @ 01:32 PM EST
    Zimbardo's book shyness shows that it's a disease. I like this book very much.
    It helped me a lot to understand what's going on and to find a the way to fight
    it successfully.

    [ Reply to This | # ]

    Who is he speaking for?
    Authored by: Anonymous on Wednesday, February 16 2005 @ 03:03 PM EST
    here we are, now, in a society that has software patents

    He's using some kind of Royal "We", I presume? I don't live in a country that has software patents. And I'll fight to keep it that way if I possibly can. As far as I'm concerned, spending the considerable amount of money and time needed to get a patent is a foolish waste of resources that could better be devoted to the fight against stopping software patents becoming a reality here.

    Furthermore, it's pointless getting a patent unless you have the substantial resources needed to defend it against Microsoft when Microsoft infringes it. Think $millions here.

    [ Reply to This | # ]

    Authored by: rdc3 on Wednesday, February 16 2005 @ 03:53 PM EST

    Consider a university research lab that has developed some innovative and patentable software technology of potentially broad application.

    What is the best strategy to follow in support of the following four objectives?

    1. Working towards the minimization or elimination of software patents.
    2. Providing the open source development community with a competitive advantage over proprietary developers with respect to application of the technology.
    3. Providing some leverage to the open source community with respect to patent cross-licensing and protection against patent infringement suits.
    4. Providing funding for continuing the university research.

    Is not the best possible strategy for all four goals that of patenting the technology and making it available to open-source under some form of "patentleft" provision?

    1. If the technology is significant, but not available to proprietary developers, then proprietary developers may have an interest in participating in the reform of the software patent system.
    2. In the interim, open-source developers would have a competitive advantage over proprietary developers with respect to application of this particular technology.
    3. The worst effects of software patents on the open-source community may well be mitigated through creative use of patent laws by the community itself, just as the concept of copyleft has been instrumental in the growth and protection of the community.
    4. Commercial developers that wish to use the technology in proprietary applications may be a valuable funding source in support of continued open-source research programs.

    From a practical perspective, at least, I think that the open-source community needs to develop a notion of "patentleft" and needs to encourage university researchers and others so inclined to use such a mechanism to protect fundamental innovations for the public good. My real question (as opposed to the rhetorical question above) is how do we go about developing a good "patentleft" license that can apply in such cases and would be compatible to the greatest extent possible with existing open-source copyright licenses?

    [ Reply to This | # ]

    Nice article:LinuxWorld
    Authored by: SilverWave on Wednesday, February 16 2005 @ 04:17 PM EST

    Nice article :LinuxWorld

    Yep this site is one on my homes!
    ... you are concerned by issues that concern me and excited by cool computer stuff..Looking Glass etc.

    What more could you ask for :-)

    And don't sell yourself short - you are shy but you pushed yourself past the pain to do your job.. commendable! Glad you had some fun!

    "They [each] put in one hour of work,
    but because they share the end results
    they get nine hours... for free"

    Firstmonday 98 interview with Linus Torvalds

    [ Reply to This | # ]

    LinuxWorld next year - Grocklaw
    Authored by: Anonymous on Wednesday, February 16 2005 @ 04:33 PM EST

    How about next year's Grocklaw stand? Only qualifying IBM people may attend!

    You should get enough volunteers here to put it together and run it. Now that
    would be a statement and might help your future plans

    [ Reply to This | # ]

    HP and GPL
    Authored by: Anonymous on Wednesday, February 16 2005 @ 05:23 PM EST
    Doesn't HP basically support the Debian Project - the nerd's linux, the purest
    of purists? The greatest flavour since chocolate?

    It doesn't surprise me that they "get" the GPL I reckon they love

    [ Reply to This | # ]

    License proliferation concerns go way back
    Authored by: dwheeler on Wednesday, February 16 2005 @ 06:21 PM EST
    Bruce Perens, back in 1999, warned about license proliferation: "Do not write a new license if it is possible to use one of the ones listed here. The propagation of many different and incompatible licenses works to the detriment of Open Source software because fragments of one program cannot be used in another program with an incompatible license." Indeed, given the popularity of the GPL, it's wise to at least select a GPL-compatible license, as this essay shows.

    [ Reply to This | # ]

    PJ, I'm glad you 'get it'...
    Authored by: Anonymous on Wednesday, February 16 2005 @ 07:59 PM EST
    We have known for some time how important Groklaw is. It is conceivable that
    SCO would not be in their present uncomfortable position were it not for you and
    Groklaw. Regarding your desire to met some of the other 'celebraties', I can
    only say I'm sure the majority of attendees would have desired to met you. I
    know had I been there and known you were, I'd have been looking. I hope this
    was a memorable and enjoyable outing for you.

    [ Reply to This | # ]

    At least you publish using a name.
    Authored by: Anonymous on Wednesday, February 16 2005 @ 09:42 PM EST
    I don't even have the nerve to post as anything but an anonymous coward.
    Strangely, I don't find this distressing. At an early age I chose a career
    where I could prosper without relying on any social skills. As I approach
    retirement I don't think I would have changed anything. As I look around me I
    think I have done better than most of those around me with 'better' social
    skills. I think I am basically happier and healthier. I don't think that
    trying to be more extroverted would have made me any happier or healthier. I
    realize that many people have offered you advice in good faith but don't feel
    that it is necessary to do anything. Just try to find what feels good to you
    and don't feel obligated to press yourself too far beyond your comfort zone.

    [ Reply to This | # ]

    Project Looking Glass will never fly.
    Authored by: Anonymous on Thursday, February 17 2005 @ 01:30 PM EST
    Microsoft keeps doing things the same way because they want to keep a consistent
    look and feel so people don't have to keep being re-trained.

    Project Looking Glass is just as useless as the Macintosh Gui Interface. There
    is nothing that can be done with the Gui Interface that can't be done with the
    old reliable command line interface and an ascii monitor!!!!!!

    The sooner everyone realizes this we can go back to a more efficient way of
    getting things done. Forgetting about the GUI interface will free up thousands
    of megs of ram and thousands of megs of disk space.

    [ Reply to This | # ]

    Anon @ LinuxWorld
    Authored by: Ikester on Saturday, February 19 2005 @ 01:47 AM EST
    Perhaps it was better that PJ kept a low profile at LinuxWorld. I can only
    imagine her embarassment at being followed by dozens of fans, past even more
    bowing and chanting, "We're not worthy! We're not worthy!"

    [ Reply to This | # ]

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