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.
As one whose livelyhood and fortunes have gone from boom to bust over my lifetime, I can attest that living on the cutting edge of technology can disrupt fortunes and futures. As an individual of modest means, my only choice has been to adapt.
The power of basic computing and open networks has revolutionized and democratized. That has threatened the business of governmental tyranny and the big media oligarchy. They will use brute force to hold onto power rather than adapt to take advantage of new technology. The them, the lions share of a shrinking pie is preferable to a dominant position in a rising tide that lifts all fortunes.
New media author and self publishing pioneer Cory Doctorow presents a bleak reality that can only be overcome by the diligence of the average citizen.
Zombie former software maker returns to troll again. SCO to sue IBM one more time. I wonder if the judges that keep agreeing to hear these cases ever get performance reviewed.
A $7K open source electric car? A group of German designers say it’s true.
Dead canary in Apple’s smartphone goldmine? US Cellular rejects iPhone over heavy handed T and C’s.
Making knowledge more free in academia: Washington State adopts Open Courseware.
As cord cutting becomes the hottest home entertainment trend, Google toys with entering the the pay TV biz. It’s pretty obvious that making the poorly received Google TV platform viable is a big priority. Subscriptions are the the most likely key to getting Hollywood and alphabet networks the on board. To get the newly cable free consumer on board, GTV channels need to be a la carte or so cheap that no one cares about paying for what they don’t watch. That’s a tall order, even for the almighty searchzilla.
Thanks to Google for this one: The return of full blown browser wars is here. The return of cut throat competition will push the envelope farther, faster.
Knowledge is power. Elitists in the ruling class have been fighting a battle to control the free movement of information among the the masses for many thousands of years. Disruptive technologies like writing, printing and large scale literacy began to erode the control of knowledge that ushered in the existence of democratic societies and republics. Advances were slow until the Internet opened the exchange of knowledge on steroids. We now live in an era when the fastest growing segment of knowledge and knowledge work is open, with free access for all.
Still leading the cutting edge of Open Source is the Computer Science community. A consortium of academia and corporate entities have recently agreed to share basic research with the masses. Not only is this disruptive to the old, outdated proprietary technology model that dominates the tech industry today, it is shaking the very foundations of the old guard power structure of academia:
If there is one area where the Web and Internet publishing is truly fulfilling its promise, it has to be the free and open availability of scholarly research from all over the world, to anyone who cares to study it. Today’s academic does not just publish or perish, but does so on the Web first. This has made science and scholarship not only more democratic — no journal subscriptions or university library access required to participate — but faster and better.
And many of the most prominent scientific and engineering societies are doing everything in their power to put a stop to it. They want to get paid first. (Matt Blaze)
In the greater realm of basic research, Computer Science is the tip of the iceberg. It does continue to provide cutting edge models that often apply well in other disciplines. If applied to other sciences, open research could provide explosive advances in areas like physics, biotech and manufacturing. I believe this is the natural course of evolutions for all researchers if they are left to their own devices. The old guard and political class are likely to run abundant interference. Fortunately, the masses out number them.
Android everywhere: Boeing’s new flying plastic cattle car uses Android to power its entertainment systems.
Defending Android: Google buys 1023 patents from IBM.
Juniper pushes edge router speeds to 3.8TB, promises even more soon. Backhaul capacity for 1GB broadbend connections was really never a problem after all.
AT&T powers up LTE Sunday. Pretty much a non event unless you are willing to pay large for a small bucket of bits.
Time to switch on the BIOS virus protection / write protect: Rootkit for BIOS found in the wild.