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Russell McOrmond's blog
The story in ITBusiness.ca gave a good overview of a problem experienced by one of the teachers in the Toronto District School Board (TDSB). News stories have tight deadlines, and there is much more that we have learned since the deadline for that story. As the policy coordinator for CLUE I have received multiple replies to questions from Jill Worthy, the superintendent for the district that includes Monarch Park Collegiate.
An article in ITBusiness.ca by Sarah Lysecki discusses the Linux lab we reported earlier.
Many people have been asking for for more details on the high-school teacher who had his Linux Lab dismantled. Mr. Montgomery has offered to do a question-and-answer with us.
A newsforge article by Bruce Byfield includes:
It is great to see that some members of parliament are taking the time to learn more about FLOSS. While this introduction to the event focuses on using FLOSS to save money, it also provides an opening to discuss some of the policy issues facing our part of the software sector.
I wrote the following as a reply to an ITBusiness.ca article written by Shane Schick titled Truth, justice and the open source way which discussed FLOSS and the patent system.
I believe that FLOSS is to software what the patent system was for tangible inventions of physical things in the past.
Historically we had limited communications technologies and mobility slowing down collaboration. Inventions of tangible things took a lot of time and energy to move from design to prototype to distributable product. Within this context patents solved important problems. Without governments granting a temporary monopoly to the first inventor there would be too much risk to trying to develop ideas, and too much of an incentive to keep the ideas secret. Far too many inventions were kept secret and lost with the death of the inventor. A patent filing required a full disclosure of the invention such that someone skilled in the art could study, replicate and improve upon it, with the 20 year monopoly representing the slower realities of the day.
I have been complaining for years that the incumbent "software manufacturing" firms have been justifying radical FLOSS crippling changes to the law using invalid statistics. The statistical method that the BSA (and it's Canadian arm with the Orwellian double-speak name of "Canadian Alliance Against Software Theft") use largely include the use of FLOSS software as if it were "infringement".
Their methodology is simple: Count the number of computers shipped to a region and "estimate" the demand for software from BSA members. Then count the amount of software BSA members shipped, subtract the two, and declare the difference as "piracy".
I have been invited by the executive to be a policy coordinator, working for CLUE in Ottawa. My focus will be on the federal government and federal policy, but will also be collaborating with other CLUE members on other levels of government as well.
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