"Foot and Mouth, BSE and the Hatfield rail crash could all
have been avoided if the British government had the right approach
to information sharing, at least according to Richard
Stallman. He reckons that all three disasters were largely to
do with bad attitudes to data, and that if ministers understood how
free software works then they would not be in such a mess now,
writes Bill Thompson in Cambridge."
"Stallman, founder of the Free Software Foundation and the man
who created Emacs, was speaking on the first day of the CODE
conference at Queens' College, Cambridge. Not, as you might
reasonably expect, a programming-fest, but instead the acronym for
'Collaboration and Ownership in the Digital Environment', CODE has
brought together an unusual mix of participants to reflect on the
impact free software and open source has had on creativity in the
arts, industry and the sciences."
"The tension between intellectual property rights, the urge to
creativity and the capitalist system certainly needs to be
explored, although there was a definite sense in the morning
sessions - somewhere amidst the sociological, anthropological and
linguistic bullshit that passes for analysis in the more rarefied
corridors of the academy - that the hardcore programmers had gone
out and built a brave new world of free software and now the
academics and lawyers wanted to move in and check out the
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