Archive for July, 2008

Open Season – an MIS feature on open source in Australia

MIS magazine (Australia) has just published a feature I wrote for them on the uptake of open source software in Australia. A lot of the feature was based on research & interviews I undertook at earlier this year.

Open Season

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Interview with Leo Babauta of Zen Habits on open source as a model for online publishing

One of the fascinating things about open source, to me, is the way that its ideas about freedom of information have inspired everything from software licensing to music mashups. The possibilities, but also the problems, of applying notions of open source licensing to other areas such as publishing were brought home to me on the day that the Zen Habits blog announced it was going open source.

On 7 January 2008, visitors to Leo Babauta’s Zen Habits blog were greeted with a simple message: Open Source Blogging: Feel free to steal my content.  It was a cool moment – a high profile blogger taking the chance that by taking a potential hit in Google rankings/ad revenue, the free & open distribution of his work would actually benefit him more. As he said when he announced the move:  “I think, in most cases, the protectionism that is touted by “anti-piracy” campaigns and lawsuits and lobbying actually hurts the artist. Limiting distribution to protect profits isn’t a good thing.”

(This was before high profile musicians like Trent Reznor turned the major label music distribution model on its head by releasing free music on the internet and still selling out of the “special editions” of the same music packaged for fans and sold at premium price. Another example of copyright being dismantled for the benefit of the content creator.)

I was intrigued to find out why Leo had decided to embrace the open source distribution model for his online publishing, and curious why he’d elected to relinquish copyright altogether rather than opting to use the Creative Commons model (I’d note that my blog, is published under Creative Commons). So I interviewed him to find out more.

I’d also note that at the time of this interview, Leo predicted that if he landed a book deal with a traditional publisher, he expected his book would have to be published under copyright in accordance with the traditional publishing model – and he has in fact since landed a publishing deal. Congrats Leo. 🙂

On with the interview!

» Continue reading “Interview with Leo Babauta of Zen Habits on open source as a model for online publishing”

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For women thinking of attending or presenting at 2009

[crossposted to Linux Chix, Linux Australia,  LCA  and GGD lists, apologies if you see this a few times.]

How would you like a mentor to help you improve your proposal for a talk at

If you’re a female geek (professional or student) and thinking of submitting a tech talk to LCA, then I’d like to tell you that a couple of experienced speakers have volunteered to make some time to read draft proposals & give feedback to women who are interested in presenting at LCA. The idea is to encourage women (especially ones who haven’t applied or presented before) and hopefully increase their chances of getting selected. (I’m not part of the LCA 2009 organising committee, this is not an “official” thing just something I’m organising with the help of a couple of volunteers.)

I’m trying to get this message out to lists frequented by technical women & students, please forward to any mailing lists or friends/colleagues who you’d like to see presenting at in January. 🙂

The timetable I’d like to work to is:

1) You contact me asap ( to let me know you’re interested in having someone vet your talk. I will provide you with contact details of your “mentor” and you will forward your draft proposal to them by this Friday, 25 July (yes, this Friday!)
2) Your mentor will get a week to look at your proposal, and will be asked to send you some feedback by August 1. (so you’ll then have a week to do any further tweaking before submitting your proposal).
4) Call for papers ends on 8 August, hopefully many excellent proposals will be submitted including a record number by women. 🙂

Please note: There are a lot of things you can do yourself to improve your proposal before it even goes to your mentor. Please check out the following.

Information on LCA for people wanting to give a paper: » Continue reading “For women thinking of attending or presenting at 2009”

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Radio appearance tonight on RRR

Hello internets. I’ll be on RRR’s computing & technology radio show Byte into IT tonight from 7pm til 8pm.
You can tune in on the old fashioned radio (102.7FM in Melbin) or you can stream it live from the new fangled internet radio here.

Comments (1) 2009 – Call for papers is heading down south to Tasmania in 2009, so if you fancy a trip down south and you have some technical knowledge you’d like to share – put your name forward as a speaker! Ben Powell from the “March South” organising team emailed me to let me know that the Call for Papers is now on. Check out the details at the LCA page. You can also suggest a “mini-conf” topic.

I tried to get some more tidbits of news out of him, but could only get this: “We have two international speakers confirmed so far and I’m currently chasing the final one who is likely to be local.” So it looks like they’re continuing the tradition of having 2 overseas keynotes and 1 local keynote. That’s good to hear. 🙂

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