2003 April 16

(entry last updated: 2003-04-16 18:19:44)

I’m back, and what a difference a week makes in Boston’s weather. I realize that it’s not going to last, but it’s nice to find the same weather here that I left in North Augusta!

Not surprisingly, I have a lot to dig out from under here, so postings will be slow today – and I have a lot to catch up on!

  • Will patents pillage open source? – an optimistic writeup, methinks. For example:

    As a business strategy, squeezing the open-source community for license royalties leaves a lot to be desired. Suddenly unleashing IP claims on a large installed base isn’t exactly conductive to attracting customers and business partners. Many analysts, for example, view SCO’s lawsuit as the last desperate gasp of a marketplace loser; in its quarter ended Jan. 31, SCO posted a net loss of $724,000 on revenue of $18 million.

    This insight into the culture of open source does not necessarily translate into a limit on the patent. If SCO wins, IBM still has to pay. The author does go on to point out that the suit’s reliance upon trade secrets is a real weakness in the claim, but the real answer is the collective ability of the open source community to work diligently to overturn patents through demonstration of prior art.

  • I guess the trial balloon got shot down: Apple denies it bid for record label – worries in advance of earnings reports?

  • Independents on the state of CD sales, from the CSMonitor.

    While executives at those labels wail about the industry’s imminent collapse, indie labels and artists are singing a much happier tune. Profits are up – in some cases by 50 to 100 percent. That’s in contrast to overall album sales, which dropped about 11 percent in 2002.

    …You won’t hear many of these labels’ artists on pop radio – and ironically, that’s one of the secrets to their success. By avoiding the major expenses associated with getting a tune on the air – which can cost upwards of $400,000 or $500,000 per song – independent labels are able to turn a profit far more quickly, and share more of those profits with their artists. Another secret of their success is that the labels target consumers – namely, adults – who are still willing to pay for their music, rather than download it for free.

    Note the interesting age bias; is that a consequence of know-how or a cultural difference?

  • This EETimes article summarizing critiques of Palladium by Rivest and Diffie is worth a read [Slashdot: Cryptographers Find Fault With Palladium]

    “The right way to look at this is you are putting a virtual set-top box inside your PC. You are essentially renting out part of your PC to people you may not trust,” said Rivest in an interview after the panel.

  • James Speth has re-released his iCommune music sharing software for the Mac/iTunes, this time without the Apple code that got him in trouble the first time around.

  • As the Register points out, the threat of DMCA prosecution of security researchers hasn’t gone away.

  • And publishers have apparently elected to shy away from this XBox hacker’s work for similar reasons. [Slashdot: Testing Microsoft And The DMCA]