This Week In Techdirt History: July 10th -16th

from the oh-the-memories dept

Five Years Ago

This week in 2011, we saw several examples of misuse and abuse of intellectual property. After a big riot in Vancouver, some rioters tried to use copyright to hide their identities only to have that plan completely backfire; Michael Jackson’s estate tried to block a prank caller from selling a recording because it contained Jackson’s voice; a company in Sturgis, South Dakota trademarked the name of the town and started suing over the sale of souvenirs; and Newport Television was abusing the DMCA to shut down criticism.

Meanwhile, the monkey selfie copyright conflict was getting underway: we received a request from the photographer’s news agency to take down the photos, and so we explained in more detail why the photo was likely in the public domain, while David Slater made his own case for ownership.

Ten Years Ago

This week in 2006, we saw the BPI start asking UK ISPs to start disconnecting people when provided with “unequivocal evidence” of copyright infringement, and the UK’s indie labels joined the fight as well — but at least one ISP was not convinced by the evidence they were provided with. Meanwhile, the BPI was also pushing to get music sharing on the agenda for the G8 summit. In the US, Hollywood’s own newspaper made the case that congress shouldn’t just be helping Hollywood when it comes to copyright, and we also wondered how long the RIAA would be allowed to continue abusing the legal system. The entertainment industry was also trying to get its way by attaching some of its desires to a telco reform bill, and there was a major development on another critical front related to freedom of speech when the FCC’s decency fines were increased tenfold.

Fifteen Years Ago

This week in 2001, we saw a questionable study spelling doom and gloom for movie theatres due to piracy, while music retailers were complaining about their own doom at the hands of record labels and their legal online offerings. Metallica finally closed the book on Napster, having successfully killed the service, and we saw that some of the biggest fighters in the copyright battles were radical librarians defending their industry.

Microsoft (which was in the midst of a disastrous weeklong MSN Messenger outage) was caught bullying poor school districts for copying software, while Apple was quietly reclaiming the education market for itself. Infamous grocery startup Webvan died its long-anticipated death and the future was looking questionable for Tivo, too. And we saw two very bizarre complaints coming out of the UK: Prince Charles denounced computer games, and a Nobel Prize winning scientist decided to pin the death of British engineering on Lego, of all things.

Twenty-Four Years Ago

The open source revolution got rolling in the 1990s, and Linux was its flagship product — but before Linux (though not by much) there was 386BSD, the precursor to FreeBSD and NetBSD, version 0.1 of which was released on July 14th, 1992.

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Comments on “This Week In Techdirt History: July 10th -16th”

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Lawrence D’Oliveiro says:

Linux Versus The BSDs

Why did Linux become so popular, while the BSDs remain stuck in a niche?

The use of the GPL for the Linux kernel has to be a significant factor. Others have mentioned that a lot of startup companies tried to commercialize some BSD variant or other, only to go bust, taking their code with them. Whereas companies that did the same thing with Linux left their code behind for others to build on.

So the Linux community has been able to benefit from the “standing on the shoulders of giants” effect, while BSD has not.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Linux Versus The BSDs

As Er4ic Raymond discusses in the, how open the development process is makes a significant difference to how fast the software is devellopped. Linus Torvalds was the first person to really embrace a totally open development model, along with an ability to delegate parts of the development to others. Linus also only worries about the Kernel, and leaves the building the necessary userland tools, and the putting together of a complete system to others, while each of the BSD flavours is a kernal and userland intergarted into the same development tree.
In summary, the Linux ecosystem is much more anarchistic than the BSD ecosystem, along with Linux being more accomodating to variations in how problems are solved. This makes it easier for users of the system to partake in its development.

Lawrence D’Oliveiro says:

Re: Re: the Linux ecosystem is much more anarchistic than the BSD ecosystem

For “anarchistic” one might say “decentralized”. Using distributed version-control systems for Linux (first BitKeeper, then Git) certainly played their part. While the BSD folks still seem to think CVS is a good idea.

Linus Torvalds famously made some disparaging remarks about those who say that “Subversion is CVS done right”. One might rephrase his comment to say “Anybody who says Subversion is CVS done right … is a BSD fan”. 😉

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