Correct, there is no "world" overpopulation issue. For more info, see the Wikipedia page on world population growth. A few areas of the world have a massive growth rate (mainly central Africa, plus a few countries in southwest Asia), and many of those are almost certainly overpopulated (since they cannot really support themselves).
But most of the world is around the replacement rate or lower. In many areas, the current population will go extinct if current rates continue. Even in the U.S., the total fertility rate in the United States estimated for 2009 is 2.01 children per woman, which is below the replacement fertility rate of approximately 2.1 (it's more than 2 due to premature death, etc.). In other words, the current US local replacement rate isn't enough to sustain the current US population. Immigration keeps the US population numbers going up; it's not due to internal replacement. The rates for many other industrialized nations are even lower. So for most countries, there is no explosive growth; instead, they are shrinking. Even if you think world overpopulation is an issue, the birth rate is slowing overall.
Most announcements about the "world population" figures don't make it clear that population growth isn't the same everywhere, and that rapid growth is actually really localized. It'd be just as accurate to say "the US local population is declining" since it is.
The problem here is that someone needs to organize these things.
True, but not relevant. The necessary organization and infrastructure can be done quite cheaply, if organizations are willing to move from the past to the present.
Someone has to pay for the bandwidth, buy and run the servers, spend effort soliciting reviewers, run the reviewing software, respond to questions, request ISBNs, submit the work to indexing sites, etc etc etc..
I think you're grossly overestimating the costs if they switch to an exclusively digital realm, which is where they need to go. Bandwidth and running basic servers (which is all that's needed) are commodities. WebHostGiant will provide bandwidth and basic servers for $2.79/month with no bandwidth maximum. A serious journal will want more than that, yes, and there are other requirements too. For example, you'll need DNS registration (which companies like GoDaddy or 1and1 will do for cheap). But really, these are highly-competed commodities, so we're talking about petty cash budgets in most companies. You could probably set up the technical infrastructure for less than $100/year, plus 20 hours of volunteer time for the initial setup. Just get 5 people to contribute $20/year and you're done. The exact number isn't important; what's important is that it is REALLY REALLY small compared to paper-based publication.
Yes, you need some code to manage reviews, but not much. Existing programs can do the job; you really don't need more than a Wiki or mailing list. You can get some efficiencies using specialized programs, but their development could be amortized across lots of different journals (it's perfect for creating as open source software; there are probably several such programs already). It's clearly possible; Wikipedia's MediaWiki, for examples, wasn't developed by a for-profit organization, and it handles scales far beyond what journals require. You need an ISSN, not an ISBN, for a magazine, and that's a one-time expense.
The "soliciting reviewers" and so on can be done by volunteers, as is already often done.
The basic problem is that paper publishers haven't noticed that the digital economy is VASTLY cheaper (or they're scared BECAUSE they realize this).
Open access journals address this by having a publication fee, or by advertising, or by seeking volunteers and asking for charity. Paying for publication gets blurry with vanity press, and advertising ends up sucking up to the advertisers.
So stop pushing the paper. Push the bits, and let people print what they want. For academic works, what people (should) want is the information, not the pretty binding.
Volunteering and charity seem wonderful, but have to compete with lots of other worthy causes.
Absolutely true. But if it's easy, it's not too bad. Also, volunteering for journals is considered something valuable in many academic circles, so it's not just charity in many cases. The paywalled journals depend on volunteerism already, so it's not a change in that respect. And when people don't feel exploited, they're more likely to volunteer.
In CS, most of the major publishers allow you to post a copy of your paper on your personal website (as long as you also link to the official version). Finding papers outside of the paywalls is only difficult when the authors are in industry (but those aren't the publicly funded papers you're talking about anyway).
Fair enough. But typically CS researchers are writing papers because they want to get information out to the widest possible audience that would be interested. Paywalls just get in the way, for reasons that are now obsolete.
We're going to see more of this sort of thing. Almost everyone assumes that all software is copyrighted, or that only the copyright holder can release software as free/libre/open source software (FLOSS). Neither are true!! This matters when the US government gets involved, because its "normal" rules are really different from most organization's.
For example, if a government employee develops software as part of his official duties, then in practically all cases that software is NOT subject to copyright in the US (per US law 17 USC 105). It's not just that the author doesn't have copyright; there IS no copyright in the US. Also, when a contractor writes software, the government often receives all the release rights as if it was the copyright holder yet it is not the copyright holder (these are called "unlimited rights"). In this case, the government can release the software as FLOSS, on its own initiative, even though it is NOT the copyright holder. For more details, see: Publicly Releasing Open Source Software Developed for the U.S. Government.
The US government spends billions of dollars each year developing software. It's my hope that, over time, it will release more of the software it develops to the people who paid for it.
I wrote PhD thesis using Open Document Format (ODF) and it worked out very well. I used OpenOffice.org, but I expect that LibreOffice would work at least as well. You can translate to many other formats (e.g., with "Save As" or external tools).
As with any big writing effort, one key is to separate formatting from content. You should FIRST set up a template with that does all the formatting, including all the paragraph types you'll need and the right format for them. Then write your document, selecting the paragraph types for each paragraph as appropriate. Do NOT embed formatting commands in the document itself - paragraphs should NOT have font settings, etc., but instead these should be controlled by the paragraph's paragraph type. In my case, I created an OpenDocument template for George Mason University (GMU), and gave it to GMU so others could share it. If you create a template, please share it with others.
I have paper tape for various programs I wrote for a DEC PDP-8. I've occasionally shown the paper tape, just to show how much better things have gotten since then.
I also have an Apple ][+ and an Apple
As far as I'm concerned, what matters for games is if they are FUN. 100 FPS doesn't matter if it's boring. There are games that are text-only, or run on 40x40 pixel blocks, that are lots more fun, and that makes them better games.
Crafty is not open source software, though its license has similarities to an open source software license. Crafty is for "personal use only", which means that it fails the Open Source Definition criteria "No Discrimination Against Fields of Endeavor".
Crafty's main.c file says: "All rights reserved. No part of this program may be reproduced in any form or by any means, for other than your personal use, without the express written permission of the authors. This program may not be used in whole, nor in part, to enter any computer chess competition without written permission from the authors. Such permission will include the requirement that the program be entered under the name "Crafty" so that the program's ancestry will be known."
NONE of these should have been granted a U.S. patent. This is ridiculous!
U.S. law (Section 101 of Title 35 U.S.C.) defines what is patentable subject matter: "Whoever invents or discovers any new and useful process, machine, manufacture, or composition of matter, or any new and useful improvement thereof, may obtain a patent therefor, subject to the conditions and requirements of this title." Gestures are not processes, machines, manufactures, or compositions of matter, so they are NEVER supposed to be patented.
Gestures are basically signals, and signals are specifically NOT patentable. The Federal Circuit has ruled that signals are not statutory subject matter, because articles of manufacture (the only plausible category) do not include intangible, incorporeal, transitory entities (in In re Nuitjen, 500 F.3d 1346 (Fed. Cir. 2007)).
This is another example of unwarranted interference by the government in the free market. Is there really a need to grant monopolies to companies for specific gestures? No. It's not justified by any law. What's more, it harms society. Just imagine if each car company had to have a radically different interface due to patents - it would harm safety! This just worsens the digital divide, with no legal or societal justification.
We need the courts to require a re-review of every patent, at no cost to defendants, before any case is tried, and for the courts to assume that the patent office is a registration of claim, not anything meaningful. There are too many bad patents to believe otherwise.
(Disclaimer: I'm not a lawyer, and speak only for myself. I'm sure not impressed by the work of some lawyers, though.)
"The way of the world is to praise dead saints and prosecute live ones." -- Nathaniel Howe