The discussion of increasingly draconian intellectual property laws isn’t exact new at Third Pipe. Manipulation of the political process, bureaucracies and the courts has created a whole new class of oligarchies in our society. It’s one of the foremost reasons why it’s all but impossible for a new competitor to enter mature, research intensive businesses. Governmental grants of exclusive rights to common design elements that have existed for ages like Apple’s newly patented slide to unlock function have perverted intellectual property law to erect overwhelming barriers to any worthy rival interested in competing.
Even crushing barriers can inspire human ingenuity. As lawyers and Oligarchs continued to manipulate law to squelch outsiders. a few freedom loving rebels established the open source movement. When there’s no profit from intellectual property alone and no owner of that property, patent trolling becomes difficult if not impossible. This frees creative people to innovate with impunity with larger communities of contributors that enrich the process. That’s likely why most successful software startups founded in the last decade have managed an open source product rather than a commercial one. That trend is rapidly moving into hardware, with new projects beginning to challenge closed architecture products. Commodity manufacturers are likely to continue to produce more products using open source technology due to reduced R&D costs and faster time to market.
This takes us to the world of pharmaceutical development. Big Pharma is a dominant yet seldom mentioned player in big push to criminalize the free exchange of information and technology via new patent laws. Like the entertainment industry, the drug peddlers have become flat, bloated and stagnant. Industry consolidation forced by laws that unfairly favor the establishment has stifled innovation leaving it without promising new products in the pipeline. Many of the most profitable (and expensive) drugs are going out of patent in the near future freeing them to be produced by rivals and sold for pennies. The likely passage of new laws to extend patents will only bring more stagnation. Fortunately, a few industry rebels are embracing the open source movement:
When Tomasz Sablinski was working in pharmaceutical R&D, he was often frustrated by the demand for secrecy in the clinical trials process—a misdirected effort, he says, to keep competitors in the dark about what drug companies were up to. “The price you pay when you hide what you’re doing is you only get feedback from a precious few people,” he says. “There is very little new blood in the ideation process.”
Then Sablinski read an article about the open-source operating system Linux and he had an epiphany. “If said, ‘If computer coders can do open source, so can drug developers,’” he recalls. “You have to add patients to the mix, because they’re really the reason you’re doing drug development.” (more at Xconomy)
This is worth watching…. and supporting. If the likely roadblocks that Big Pharma’s cronies at the FDA can be overcome. we could see real breakthroughs in the drug business. Not just from the application of fresh new ideas. Open Source means many sources for the final product with good, healthy competition. That could bring a real breakthrough in healthcare by doing an end run around the political and industry establishment that has kept prices high and innovation low.
In case you didn’t know, the search results you see on Google aren’t anything near raw, rather they are baked. The formula is a secret that is more carefully guarded than the colonel’s 11 herbs and spices. That formula is also constantly tweaked to ends that are more for the benefit of Google than you might think. Tweaking can favor internal projects, friends, sponsors and political cronies as well as punish outsiders. That’s all fair game, since when you use Google, you are dining at it’s table. The snack you are enjoying isn’t free. You’re just not paying directly.
While Google competitors came and go, there hasn’t been a truly open alternative that could scale until now. YaCy depends on it’s users for infrastructure and allows you to build and manage your own search profile if you install software that also distributes the search load. Yes, it’s a lot more to do than just Google-ing, but if you’re weary of being Googled, it’s the best alternative I’ve seen so far. It could also be the beginning of the democratization of search. That’s bound the shake up the control freaks in boardrooms and Washington like never before. (more at BBC)
Unwinding the current intellectual property mess probably could be done by permanently barring lawyers from public office and passing new laws after they have departed. With lawyers currently running the show, that will be an uphill battle. The next best hope is Open Source. When no one really owns technology, the marketplace explodes with new possibilities – save one – the innovation stifling patent trolling malaise that bad law enables.
IBM and HP have learned supporting Open Source software development that benefits everyone also provides a vehicle to enhance their bottom lines. Now Intel is joining the ranks of corporate giants who are funding Open Source research. Chipzilla is dangling a $2.5 million per year carrot in front of universities, with strings attached. In return for receiving new technology centers, the participating universities must open source the products of these centers.
So far, most Open source funding has gone to software. Lets hope the deep pocketed corps start funding hardware dev as well. While we’re on the subject, how is it that so much public funded research is never made public?
Try http://openoffice.org. Splish, Splash and no comment from the Oracle.
Great way to handle a PR disaster.
What an embarrassment. Which is putting it politely. Stallman, the great promoter, and we thought defender, of freedom bows to the authoritarian Palestinians on the make up of his planned trip to the Middle East –
The Palestinian boycott has spread to the Israeli high-tech world. Richard Stallman, who initiated the free software movement and launched the Linux operating system, has cancelled his lectures in Israel following Palestinian pressure, according to Gal Mor’s blog “holes in the net.”
Stallman was scheduled to visit Israel in July and to speak at Haifa University, Tel Aviv University and Shenkar College. The Palestinians initiated the visit, but when they understood that Stallman would also be speaking at Israeli universities they told him they would no longer fund the trip. In response, Stallman announced that he would cancel the speaking engagements in Israel, and would be satisfied with visiting the Palestinian Authority regions only.
“I am sorry for the disappointment that I have caused,” wrote Stallman.
clue up Richard, you are still disappointing and I will explain why in a moment.
But first a preamble. I won’t fault the Palestinians in this instance even though their track record has handed victory to the jaws of defeat many times. This boils down to Has Gold -> Sets Rules. You know the line. So if your paying host has other thoughts then chances are one should have inquired as to the itinerary before you accepted the assignment. That’s client engagement 101.
But back to Stallman. Simply put, he has shown himself to at his core to be a Sunshine Solider of the FOSS movement. The great orator of our movement has feet of clay. The reason is thus. For FOSS to be that beacon of free data it must also advocate for the other freedoms — travel, speech, choice. To knuckle to the likes of associations who advocate for the destruction of a democracy in the middle east is to embrace a mindset that manipulation at its basest level is acceptable. That would include using technology, including restricting FOSS to advance those goals. They are presenting you with the noose Richard, they were just kind enough to pay for it.
Mr. Stallman’s proper course of action in the defense of FOSS? Cancel the trip, refund the money. Find a better set of benefactors.
Linux has generally be a good player, playing tag with Microsoft on power usage. Its to the advantage of both camps that they can tweak power usage at the chip level to reduce wattage. This is healthy competition. But it looks like the new Linux 2.6.38 kernel has stubbed its toe –
There’s now a stream of independent users reporting problems now that they know to look for power consumption issues with Ubuntu 11.04 and the Linux 2.6.38 kernel. To this Launchpad bug report, which is about increased power usage in Natty (11.04), there’s now over a dozen people reporting to be affected by this bug. The bug report itself was started by a Canonical software engineer.
Within the Phoronix Forums and elsewhere are also other reports of the Linux 2.6.38 kernel consuming excessive power compared to the previous releases. This is also not an Ubuntu-specific problem as I laid out with it being in the upstream Linux kernel. As such, to no surprise there’s also been Arch Linux reports of the problem too.
This problem isn’t limited to the mobile spectrum of hardware, but desktop users have begun reporting increased power usage according to their AC power meters. Increased power consumption on servers and workstations is also to be expected. There’s also been desktop Intel Sandy Bridge reports of increased power usage too, so even the newest hardware is impacted. As my earlier tests have shown, even older Pentium M and Atom hardware are affected.
Reports have also come in that due to this regression there’s been increased operating temperatures, and as part of this regression, significantly higher wake-ups per second when using a new kernel.
I have no doubt that the kernel team will fix the issue in short order. But it might take a little longer than say, a security exposure might only because it is not functionally defective. Just misbehaving.
If you are running a server farm you might want to hold off on an upgrade for just a bit. Just till they fix this item. No use running up your electric bill.