Software Patents: Not in New Zealand

In New Zealand, a Patents Bill is about to pass into law. Once it does, software will be unpatentable in that fine country. I say it’s a fine country, not because I’ve been there, but because everyone I’ve met who’s been there says so, and there are hobbits (none of whom I’ve met), and… there will be no software patents.

That’s currently the top story on Reddit, in the form of a nicely balanced article by Paul Matthews of the New Zealand Computer Society. By “nicely balanced” I mean that he and I are on the same side, but that he makes a good effort to prevent the opposing case.

Side Projects in Music, Software, etc.

The Guardian’s music blog describes The curse of the side project. Johnny Dee cites projects such as Robert Plant working with Alison Krauss instead of Led Zep, Alex Turner being a Last Shadow Puppet when he could spend more time being an Arctic Monkey, and so on.

I disagree with the post for three reasons. First, I don’t think that most of Dee’s examples stand up: I’m not a fan of fortune-making reunions, and I don’t think that three quarters of Led Zep, almost three decades after the death of John Bonham, would do anything to change my mind; and I think that The Age Of The Understatement is pretty good.

Second are side projects not mentioned in the post, such as Tom Tom Club and The Postal Service. Third, I think that Plant, Turner, and others should make the music they want to make.

Then it struck me that side projects are important in software. Linux was a side project for a student, del.icio.us made a change from work in equity trading, and so on.

I found the Guardian blog entry via Largehearted Boy, itself a side project of a sort. I find myself firmly on the side of side projects.