2/16/2002

In a recent posting (2/12/2002 11:35:07 PM) I suggested that government should secure a regulatory framework that promotes a real choice between different software development models, for instance between open source software and proprietary software. An article Community commentary: Encouraging open code in public procurement policies is founded on the same belief although the author's focus is on how government should exercise its considerable buying power in the marked for software development. The author is Mikael Pawlo - a very smart young Swedish lawyer with a strong preference for open source code. Mikael is an associate of the Swedish law firm Advokatfirman Lindahl. On nights and weekends he works as an editor for the leading Swedish Open Source and Free Software publication Gnuheter, which he co-founded with Patrik Wallstrom.


Yippee! I will be attending this year's PC Forum. PC (Platforms for Communication) Forum is IMHO the best conference on technology to be found. Every year (I have previously participated in PC Forum 2000) Esther Dyson assembles a slate of unique speakers and attendees at the pretty luxurious Fairmont Princess in Scottsdale, Arizona. This year (the 25 anniversary of PC Forum) is no exception. Check out the speaker roster at the web-site. The conference themes are very clever and topical. I am in particular looking forward to hear about open spectrum and wireless broadband. This session will certainly be hosted by Kevin Werbach who is Esther's editor of Release 1.0 and co-organizes PC Forum. Kevin has written very thoughtfully on open spectrum. Joining me from Denmark at PC Forum 2002 will be Gert Birnbacher, chairman of the Danish eBusiness Association, and Nikolaj Nyholm, founder and Chief Technical Officer of Ascio Technologies, Inc.





What a wonderful Saturday morning. Cold outside. But inside: Coffee, newspapers, the fireplace well lit up....and Jeanne and Vilhelm!

2/15/2002

I am a big fan of instant messaging. I have about 30 people listed on my MSN Messenger buddy list. Seeing friends logging on and off the Internet in real-time gives a special sense of nearness and presence. In fact, instant messaging is to me the best way to exemplify what we mean when we talk about cyberspace as presenting us with a special social dimension. As my instant messenger client I use Trillian. From the Trillian web-site: "Trillian is everything you need for instant messaging. Connect to ICQ, AOL Instant Messenger, MSN Messenger, Yahoo! Messenger and IRC in a single, sleek and slim interface." And Trillian is freeware! Not all the instant messaging service like Trillian. See AOL again blocks Trillian instant messaging users. It is of course up to AOL entirely to decide whether AOL will permit Trillian users to log on to AIM. Of course, there might be some anti-trust issues involved. Nevertheless, I think that it is a short-sighted strategy from AOL's part to do this. It will alienate many users. For my part, I have cancelled my AIM account because of this! Let's just hope that AOL sticks with technical defenses and does not involve the legal artillery. We have seen far too many situations were big corporations with deep pockets manipulate the legal system invoking copyright law to the disadvantage of end-users.

2/13/2002

Another application for openness: Open Corporations. Michael Bauer - previously Vice President of Jabber - introduces this concept in his writing Open Corporations: Independent Labels for Rock Star Developers. The Open Corporation is a legal entity established for an open source project that manages copyright, secures royalties, and provides compensation where appropriate to open source developers. As stakeholders in a legally recognized entity, developers are granted equity in the Open Corporation. The method of allocation and the valuation of the equity is defined by the Open Corporation. According to Michael Bauer the Open Corporation will serve as a vehicle to create more sustainable open source business models that support a broader open source developer base.

2/12/2002

I have recently co-authored with Bill Reilly a (too long) article that introduces types of Open Source license agreement. Very useful corrections and comments on early drafts were given by Peter Toft, the chairman of Skåne Sjælland Linux User Group, and Jesper Laisen, Thanks Jesper and Peter!
I like openness and transparency! There seem to be but very few general principles that with good sense can be applied to most phenomena of modern life: Openness is one of them. Open Source is the result of this principle being applied to software. Though no Open Source fanatic at all, I think that putting software under an Open Source makes sense a lot of times both from a moral and economic point of view. But importantly, developers should not be forced to produce Open Source by legislation or other regulation. Open Source should be the result of a choice. However, the choice should be real. Government should work to secure that a competitive market for software development exist, so that there is a real choice between different software types. The most important role of government in the information/network society is to prevent monopolization of information!
Does anyone need a capable webmaster for a web-site or intranet? A cousin of mine has introduced me to Johan Reis - a 28 years old international Dane who has lived for longer period in Scotland, Portugal, Belgium, France and Denmark. Johan has a higher education in communication and has worked within the Internet industry. He is currently studying at the Danish IT-university and is looking for a part-time (2-3 days a week) student job as a webmaster/webmaster assistant. So everyone in need for inexpensive skilled labor check out Johan's CV at http://www.reis.dk/prof.htm or contact him at at johan@reis.dk.

2/11/2002

My modest take on a prediction for the immediate future of information technology: An article Information Technology projected 3-5 years (Informationsteknologien 3-5 år fremskrevet!) published in vol. 1 2002 of the Danish monthly The House (Huset). The article deals in brevity with Digital Rights Management systems, 802.11b and Open Source.

It seems absurd that someone would claim to have a patent that covers the kind hyperlinking which forms the core of the World Wide Web. Nevertheless the is exactly what British Telecommunication (BT) is claiming and use as the basis for a law suit against Prodigy, the internet service provider owned by SBC Communications (SBC is a majority shareholder of TDC - the largest Danish telco). The legal action springs from BT's claim a few years ago to have unearthed a 1976 patent giving it rights to hyperlinks - the ubiquitous tools for moving between online pages and pictures. If the court finds that patent number 4,873,662 on "Information handling system and terminal apparatus" does give BT rights over hyperlinks, its victory would be embarrassing, albeit lucrative. How are we as a society to react against such grotesque attempts to monopolize ideas that should be free for all to implement? Surely not an easy question to answer. The answer is not to ban patenting altogether. Good patents are important for innovation. Bad patents hinders the creativity of others. Let us concentrate on overhauling the patentsystem so that only the good patents are allowed. How this is actually achieved is another story...


Another grey February Monday morning in Copenhagen. Luckily, there are other things than the weather to derive happiness from (see the picture). This kind of weather provides compelling arguments for becoming a true knowledge worker. Once that you have universal broadband access to the Internet, you can pack your rucksack and spend the first two months of the year somewhere nice and warm, for instance at Damai, Bali.