Life

Mozilla Drumbeat festival report--Add your notes

Right now the demand for access to learning is rising like the average temperature throughout the globe, flooding traditional institutional capacity. At the same time the web offers all-new possibilities for how we can both connect and share information.

How can the practitioners of the open-source software movement develop and share new tools and practices to foster learning?

What are the most successful ways to supplement and to replace the traditional university's functions of knowledge transmission, socialization, and accreditation? » Read more

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How Red Hat democratized our corporate citizenship program

Community contribution has long been an important topic at Red Hat. After all, our company was built on the open source software development model and much of the code our software developers write is contributed back to the open source community. For many years, Red Hat also funded a modest US charitable giving fund--appropriate for our size, while allowing us meet our commitments to our stakeholders.

Then in 2008, a contrasting set of events changed our entire approach to charitable giving. Namely, the economic recession and the good fortune of Red Hat.
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Theft! A History of Music —Part 3: If I could turn forward time...

Imagine a 20-year-old musician publishing his work today. Let's pretend he's living the fast and reckless life of a rock star and will die young at 45. Because the copyright term has been ratcheted up to life of the author plus 70 years (or 95 years from publication for corporate works), you won't be able to sample his work without permission (for your heartfelt tribute song, of course), until 2105. But since you're not living his rock star lifestyle, maybe you can hang on another 95 years to grab your chance. » Read more

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Herding cats for social equity

It seems that no matter how often you do it, organizing nearly one hundred right-brained people is a little like herding cats.

They came from all walks of life. Some studied at prestigious art schools. Others are self-taught. Some are already retired from careers in publishing, or as curators of large galleries; others are still in high school. An eclectic mix of » Read more

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Theft! A History of Music—Part 2: Copyright jams

Our society and its lawmakers are notoriously bad at predicting the effects of new technologies. I think of the ongoing battles over new distribution formats, like the assumption that "the VCR [would be] to the American film producer and the American public as the Boston strangler is to the woman home alone." Jennifer Jenkins, one of the authors of Theft! A History of Music, has an even more basic and older example: musical notation. » Read more

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Sony chooses open

Phrases I considered for this post's title ranged from "surprising choice" to "sign of the apocalypse." More than a few years ago, I remember buying my first piece of Sony hardware--a video camera. It was one of the first that also let you take digital stills, which it saved to a tiny, purple, proprietary Sony memory stick that was an expensive pain to replace or get a spare of. And that was how I first learned that Sony was mostly only interested in Sony. » Read more

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Charity in the modern age: How do I give without getting got?

As 2010 winds to a close, many of you are celebrating, spending time with loved ones, perhaps considering your good fortune (and desiring to share it with those who've had less luck). Others are eyeing the start of fiscal year 2011 and preparing to balance the books--and do their good deeds for the taxman. Whatever your motivation, your intent is for your money to get to a place it’s needed.

But how do you make sure? » Read more

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Diaspora private alpha just released

For those who have been patiently waiting, the first round of Diaspora alpha invites has been distributed. They're planning to first bring in those who contributed via Kickstarter way back when this all began. Next those on their mailing list will start receiving their invites. » Read more

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Theft! A History of Music—Part 1: Plato and all that jazz

Why did Plato argue that remixing should be banned by the state? What threats did jazz and rock 'n roll pose? And what does all of that mean for the conflicts between artists and copyright today? » Read more

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Telling the open source story - Part 1

As open source software becomes more mainstream, it's easy to forget how amazing it is. Countless individuals, donating their time and sharing their brainpower, work to build a shared infrastructure on which the world's computing is done. Amazing. Even more amazing, in survey after survey, the big reason open source contributors give for their participation is that it's "fun." Even more amazing than that is the rate at which this technology improves because people are having fun building it.

Wikipedia, the free internet encyclopedia that anyone can write or edit, is no less amazing. Yet as it gains legitimacy, the exciting story of how it is created and renewed--daily, perpetually--is de-emphasized. Yes, Wikipedia is imperfect. By design, it will always be a work in progress. But because there is a collective human impulse to share knowledge, the fact that anyone can improve it any time they want, means that someone always will.

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