A Kfsource Interview with Mark Webbink, General Counsel

David Goldman writes " recently talked with with Mark Webbink, General Counsel for Red Hat Inc. Red Hat is the largest and arguably the most recognized provider of open source technology in the United States. We asked Mr. Webbink about why open source software is important to librarians and legal professionals, wheter the GPL (GNU Public License) is truly anti-competitive as some have maintained as well as the issues surrounding the controversial DMCA. Mr. Webbink also responds critics who claim, open source software is by nature "viral"..."


Public Floods Copyright Office With Fair Use Requests

"The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) says it helped 245 consumers submit comments to the Librarian of Congress and the U.S. Copyright Office requesting protection for certain ordinary uses of CDs and DVDs. The consumer comments support the EFF's Dec. 18 request to the government to grant four exemptions to the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) in order to permit bypassing of certain technological protection measures for copyrighted works."

"Currently, the DMCA prevents users from making the following four uses of some digital media: listening to copy-protected music CDs on certain stereos and personal computers; viewing foreign movies on DVDs on U.S. players due to region-coding restrictions; skipping through commercials on some movie DVDs; and viewing and making fair uses of movies that are in the public domain and released on encrypted DVDs." (from


Study lauds open-source code quality

CNET Says a consulting group that scrutinizes the source code underlying several operating systems has found that a key networking component of Linux is of higher quality in several ways than that of competing closed-source software.
I'd love to see this repeated in other areas.

"Open-source applications...allow anyone to look at the source code. For major open-source applications, such as the Linux kernel, the Apache Web server, etc., dozens or hundreds of people will read the source code either to learn how it works, make modifications or look for mistakes," Trappe said. "Because the development process is also open, these independent reviewers can report the defects they find and even suggest appropriate fixes."


US govt sells music burned on CD-Rs; life is good.

"The major music companies may fret over falling revenue, but one label saw its business jump 33 percent last year — thanks in part to the recordable compact discs that the industry says are hurting its sales," writes Chris Nelson.

That label is part of the Smithsonian Institution, established by an act of Congress. They use ordinary CD-Rs to produce copies of obscure music recordings.

Google Groups has a banner-free, cookie-free link to the complete New York Times story on how Uncle Sam is burning discs to preserve and promulgate good music.

SOURCE: robot wisdom


Library Announces Approval of Plan to Preserve America's Digital Heritage

"Today the Librarian of Congress announced that the Library of Congress has received approval from the U.S. Congress for its "Plan for the National Digital Information Infrastructure and Preservation Program (NDIIPP)," which will enable the Library to launch the initial phase of building a national infrastructure for the collection and long-term preservation of digital content."

"The Library of Congress is grateful for the continuing support that Congress has given us by asking us to lead this critical program to collect and preserve America's cultural and intellectual heritage in digital formats for generations to come," said Librarian of Congress James H. Billington. "Together with other federal agencies and the library, archival, university and private sector communities, we will work to develop a network of collaborative partners as well as a technical architecture that will provide the framework for digital preservation."

"Associate Librarian for Strategic Initiatives Laura Campbell is overseeing this effort for the Library. "I echo Dr. Billington's remarks and add that the Library of Congress has gained an enormous amount of knowledge from its partners in this initiative. We look forward to a continued successful collaboration as we work together to preserve digital materials before they are forever lost." (from LOC Press Releases)


Open source library system a welcome gift

Gary D. Price, of The ResourceShelf sent over This Computer World Australia Story on koha, the first open source integrated library system.
Given its late entry into a crowded marketplace, and its continuing development, Koha has only handful of installations -- 20 at last count. But the developers hope to expand its appeal when Version 2.0 is released, most likely at the end of March. Two recent installations were at the Nelsonville Public Library in the US and Philanthropy Australia.


Why Virtual Reference?

Marcia Keyser compiled this discussion from the Dig-Ref listserv in December, 2002. It\'s a thread based on the Charleston Advisor article, Virtual Reference: Overrated, Inflated, and Not Even Real.
The article describes virtual reference as a bad bargain, slow, difficult to administor and says \"the service allows librarians to pander to readers’ addiction to the new world of 24/7\".

You don’t have to read the article to understand the responses. The respondents quote from it enough to keep you reading. Click below to read more....


Virtual Reference: Overrated, Inflated, and Not Even Real

Here\'s that goes along with the current poll, By Steve McKinzie, Social Sciences Librarian, at Dickinson College, over at The Charleston Advisor.
Steve says the new tool of digital reference really isn’t revolutionary, and it certainly isn’t the implement of the future that will replace traditional reference. Virtual reference may in fact turn out to be a bad bargain, providing libraries with a very limited return, while exacting considerable energy and expense.
He says librarians should be exploring the potential of digital reference, nevertheless, as members of the library community we should keep our heads and shun the high-flown rhetoric.


Is Linux in your Library\'s future?

pv_sapl writes \"Interesting document about Linux from

I know that development and support are two different things. But if the big players like HP/Compaq and IBM phase out the development of their proprietary OSes, what would that mean to vendors like Epixtech/Dynix? Will you trust your next Library Automation system if it ran on Linux? \"

Also, be sure to check out Extranet, \"where technology and libraries meet\"


Beyond the Blackboard

The NYTimes looks Beyond the Blackboard at digital technology that is broadening the concept of the blackboard to that of a large educational window -- with some, incidentally, operating on Windows software.

\'\'The tradition in education is interactive,\'\' says Steve Saxe, a technical program manager for 3M. \'\'With its ability to interact, to and from students with electronic images, you recover the live aspect of presentation and teaching.\'\'



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