[clug] Re: A most interesting read, most interesting

Peter Anderson peter.anderson at internode.on.net
Sat Dec 30 15:04:39 GMT 2006

Randal Crook said:

"I sit here in front of my laptop and am constantly amazed at how the 
Linux and FOSS community and the individual developers and artists can 
make such a beautiful and elegant piece of technology do so many 
wonderful things. Some times I think we let money and the behaviour of 
others blind us to the brilliance of those who create the thing we love. 
The real heroes to me are the coders, artists and contributors to the 
Open Source community..."

I whole heartedly agree.

However, lest I be tagged as a "capitalist lackey" I ought to state my 
personal views. I have previously tried to provide the discussion with a 
quick snap-shot of rights protection from a patent/trade mark/registered 
design perspective and while that system clearly has some problems 
particularly in relation to fast changing technologies such as system 
design and development it is still the best system we have to protect 
the rights of the developers of new ideas. And unlike some 
correspondents to this discussion I am firmly on the side of the 
developer owning the rights to ideas he/she develops. It might seem a 
good utopian concept to believe that ideas are not the property of their 
developers; instead they are the property of society as a whole. The 
logic of how this happens escapes me and its adoption is not something 
that is going to happen in a very long time - most of the world, I 
believe, does not support such a concept. The fact that we have rights 
management laws (flawed as they may be) is clearly an acknowledgement of 
society's view of the ownership of ideas. Our efforts should be directed 
at correcting the flaws in the existing rights management systems.

Given all of the above, I too have the greatest of respect for those 
developers of ideas who then forego their ownership rights and assign 
them over to the community at large. Personally, I support these people 
by making the move to open source systems (he says typing this e-mail in 
Thunderbird on his Ubuntu box). What saddens me is that these people's 
efforts are not fully recognised by some arguments one reads in this 
discussion that try to negate these developer's original ownership 
rights over the ideas they have created (whether by innovation or 
inspiration). If you accept the argument that there is no ownership over 
ideas then by making the idea available to the public via say open 
source licensing these developers are giving us nothing because they 
never owned it in the first place - to me this is a preposterous 
position. I believe that the good these developers do is made even 
greater because they are giving something tangible, something that they 
owned. Good on them and long may they continue to do it.


Peter Anderson

E: peter.anderson at internode.on.net
W: http://www.users.on.net/~peter.anderson/ 
P: +61 (0)2 4472 2274
M: +61 (0)418 249 648

There is nothing more difficult to take in hand, more perilous to 
conduct, or more uncertain in its success, than to take the lead in the 
introduction of a new order of things — Niccolo Machiavelli, /The 
Prince/, ch. 6

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