Prior Art and the Turtle

Way back in 2006, I gave a presentation that I titled "Prior Art and the Turtle". It had to do with the development of open source software but it could apply to any number of human endeavours where we build on the work of those who came before us. I've attached the slides as images.  When we talk about how wonderful the community development model of open source software is, someone invariably quotes Isaac Newton from 1676. "If I have seen further, it is by standing on the shoulders of giants." Let's jump back in time to 1651 when a …

Eccentric Pithiness

There are things you find yourself saying time and again throughout your life that, after a while, starts to sound like a quote you should be attributing to someone. And so you go looking for that quote and you can't find it. Either you were wickedly clever and spectacularly erudite, you conclude, or you took the heart of someone else's pithy rendering and ran it through your mental coffee grinder so many times that now it really is yours. Or not. One bit of wisdom I'm fond of repeating is "Cultivate your eccentricities early in life. That way, when you …