I’m waiting for my talk to start. I don’t have network in the room, and there is evidently no way to get it. This is unfortunate, as a number of my examples would benefit from having network access.
I just spoke with Adam Turoff, who is here for the Golden Penguin Bowl. I’m sorry I’ll be missing that. That could have been fun.
We also talked about Calendrical Calculations. For those of you not privy to the extended conversation, C.C. is a wonderful book containing algorithms for a plethora of non-Gregorian calendars. It comes with Lisp code, as well as translations into several other languages. I would like to write Perl modules using these algorithms. However, the “license” that comes with the book forbids using the algorithms for commercial purposes. Well, if I go to the trouble of writing the modules, I will release them to CPAN under the Artistic/GPL joint license, and I don’t intend to put any caveats in there about commercial uses.
There appears to be no way for them to patent their algorithms, and so it appears that, legally, I can do what I want to do. However, I don’t want to make enemies of these fine gentlemen. I would much rather win them over to the Open Source/Free Software mentality, and have them grant me permission on their own, without coercion. The tricky thing will be if they refuse, what can I do then. Hopefully, I can get someone to ghost-write a note to them, being more persuasive.
The book is fabulous. I don’t believe that releasing modules to CPAN will hurt their sales. I recommend this book to anyone interested in calendars. The information in here is fascinating. But smarter people than I, have said that the license agreement that comes with the book is a Very Bad Thing, and, even though it seems legally insupportable, they would still shun using the algorithms, because they have no interest in getting into a legal fight – even one that they would certainly win. Of course, with the way that silly laws like the DMCA are going, they might actually win. Then I’d be broke *and* a loser, instead of just broke.
By the way, there appears to be a GPL C implementation of these algorithms. I need to talk to that guy, and see what kind of arrangement he has with the authors, if any.
Oh, and regardless of how this all turns out, I encourage you to pick up a copy of Calendrical Calculations, by Ed Reingold and Nachum Derschowitz.