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Comment Re: Twitter pledge is too weak (Score 1) 49

An irrevocable patent pledge is intended to be precisely that; it's a legal document that is written to carry weight regardless of changes of ownership or management. Whether it will stand in court when tested remains to be seen, but that problem applies also to free content and open source licenses and other legal tools for sharing of information and ideas. KA can be expected to at least do one thing, which is to use the best available legal tools to create a broader framework of reuse consistent with its mission. It should reach out to experts, such as Creative Commons, to determine which tools to use, rather than relying on a weak implementation drafted by Twitter.

KA can also reject the idea of patents entirely. It has enough goodwill globally that any patent lawsuit against it, aside perhaps from highly protected areas such as video codecs, would likely to be suicidal for the entity bringing it, and a fundraising boon for KA.

Comment Re:Either-Or (Score 1) 49

Although Blackboard has filed patent lawsuits against competitors (and was briefly boycotted for it), it at least has issued an irrevocable patent pledge not to sue open source projects. I suspect ignorance, not foul play, on the part of Khan Academy is the cause.

Ironically, nonprofit Khan Academy's Twitter pledge is less permissive than that of the corporate behemoth, since it reserves the right to sue anyone, for any reason, provided company and "inventor" agree. Not sure OIN is a good fit for its needs given its close tie to usage of patents within "Linux systems". Something like CC's model patent license or a simple, broad pledge never to use patents offensively against anyone may be a better fit.

KA's policy error here is likely the result of swimming in the Silicon Valley ideological soup, where Twitter's pledge is considered remarkable. KA has never been an especially awesome organization when it comes to open source citizenry. For example, it uses the "non-commercial use" restriction for its materials, which is widely rejected within open source and free culture circles like Wikimedia, Linux, etc. Hopefully this will change over time as the organization becomes more aware of the policy discussions around these issues, since a lot of its work is otherwise excellent and world-changing.

Comment Twitter pledge is too weak (Score 4, Insightful) 49

As the summary states, Khan follows Twitter's patent pledge. This is a good first step as far as it goes, but it still explicitly allows for offensive litigation if the "inventor" agrees. That's not sufficient. At the very minimum, Khan should adopt a clear, irrevocable policy never to enforce patents against open source projects, like many Patent Commons participants. Ideally it should partner with Creative Commons to work out an even stronger patent license, consistent with its mission. CC has previously developed model patent licenses and I'm sure they'd be happy to help.

If the Khan Academy user who originally posted in Slashdot in response is reading this -- please bring these resources to the attention of management.

Comment Re:Oracle will not comment. (Score 2) 202

Sure it can. A business is like a golem. It's animated by means of the laws written to establish what it is (notably laws of incorporation, otherwise there would be no business and the boss would be personally liable for everything)

So, write different runes in its head and it will do different things, unfailingly. If it acts like a raging asshole with the power of a million people, it's because you WANT it to act like a raging asshole for some reason, or because someone who wants that wrote the laws.

Personally, I'm cool with 'dissolve all the corporations and the rich CEOs can be personally liable for their misdeeds', but writing new laws to animate these golems is also a possible approach.

Comment Re:can it glide? (Score 2) 95

Not a chance. A flying car even as an RC model won't look anything like that, not even close.

Wings, forget it: way way too small. Props? That size? No way. Stability on two rotors in those positions? Nope. And even if somehow you had something with engines that size that ran props that size and lifted a body that size which I don't think any engines or materials can do, no matter what they are it's depicted as not blasting the ground with unbearable prop wash. Think a Harrier jump jet, because the thrust sources are nowhere near as broad as those of say an Osprey.

Nope nope nope. But it's nice to see people still love the idea of a flying car :)

Comment Re:Knew it (Score 1) 313

But they can't really alter votes themselves, not past a certain margin. There's exit polls and so on. All they can do is try to spin things so that people willingly act against their real preferences.

Bernie's already on the ballots. It's purely GOTV at this point, which we're motivated to do more than ever. I know it seems like a banana republic when stuff like this goes on, but we can still pull it back. That's how Romney didn't end up winning the country, selling it to Bain Capital, and bankrupting it to sell off for parts :)

Actually getting up and going to vote your preference, actually going out to volunteer for the campaign, actually working to inform yourself about what's happening: these things still have value. :)

Comment Re:Oh, and one more thing (Score 5, Insightful) 313

Yeah, that's me. I am a low level data peon typing in the results of canvassing and phone-banking in Keene, New Hampshire. I'm from Vermont, which is how I know about Bernie, and I'm working directly for Bernie's campaign. It's cool, good people, much like the Obama campaigns except more successful.

I've donated to Bernie too :)

I've personally typed data into the VoteBuilder system that Bernie's not allowed to access now, so I'm taking it personally. _I_ typed that data in. I've also given money directly to Bernie's campaign. Do they propose to take that and award it to Hillary too?

I don't know the guy that accessed the data, but I know most of what's on those servers is the voter info, and lots of it is old and obsolete.

I just talked to my boss in the campaign and they're having some kind of meeting and press conference. We actually feel this is a sign that Bernie's doing better than expected and the DNC is panicking. We think they're probably going to give the data back because it's totally impossible to spin 'shutting off Bernie's whole campaign' over one guy who wasn't even a hacker and who went right to the company and told them what he'd done.

On the other hand, if the DNC are dicks and we can't get access to VoteBuilder, we've already seen enough to know the depth of support for Bernie, so we'll just have to go door-to-door without voter lists or data entry. Pure canvassing and ground game, the most important part.

We can tell them what the Democrats are doing to try and stop us (this is why they're bound to give the data back: trying to shut us down that way makes Hillary look very bad. Her people run the DNC and also that database company itself) and we don't technically need VoteBuilder, it just helps organize stuff. You might say maybe we should be knocking on ALL the doors anyway!

They can shut off the computers, but they can't shut off their own voters. And the Dem voters don't have to be turned off, we just need to get out there and talk to people. Bernie's an honest guy and has many great plans that will help the country, even as screwy as it is. We'll give people a chance to vote for Bernie: both in the primary, and then for President. And the country will start growing again, and rebuilding itself, which will put a lot of people to work.

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