Eben Moglen believes that Web 2.0 is a bunch of ballyhoo by self promoters. No doubt that the Web has witnessed a revolution, but the real revolution has been the increasing distribution of processing capacity. Today, we have cheap storage. Ten years from now, people will have immensely cheap storage and processing capacity which will allow them to say no to the centralization of information on the servers of any powerful organization that intends to draw inferences from that data for private profit. Then, suddenly the world will be as frightened of the vulnerabilities of Cross Site Scripting (XSS) and Ajax as it is rightly of ActiveX today.
In this over-concentrated network that we have today, we have made some significant progress at defeating a software ownership bottleneck. in the course of this struggle, we have created some allies, very large, very powerful, very capable, and far more committed to our point-of-view than the Microsoft monopolist would ever have been. Still, these allies bring with them now the enormous weight of money which is corrupting in a whole variety of ways to the people who touch it, not surprisingly. We've now got to create for ourselves, some diplomatic and ecological structures which will help to maintain those alliances in good order.
Over the last ten years, Moglen says, we've only talked about open source software and not ever thought seriously about the freedom of use while allowing monopolies to be created. In this philosophical discussion on principle and policy, Moglen talks about the essence of GPLv3 and argues that there's a lot of work to be done about the distortion of the software market, licensing and patents, and the correction of public policy to prevent misuse of freedom.
Eben Moglen is a hacker lawyer. He serves as the professor of law and legal history at Columbia University, is the founder, Director-Counsel and Chairman of Software Freedom Law Center, the director of the Public Patent Foundation and has held visiting appointments at Harvard University, Tel Aviv University and the University of Virginia since 1987. He was a board member of the Free Software Foundation (FSF) from 2000 to 2007 and has been significantly involved in drafting GNU GPL v3.
He was earlier with IBM as a computer programming language designer, received his bachelor's degree from Swarthmore College, a master's degree in philosophy, a JD and a PhD from Yale University. He also represented Philip Zimmermann's defense during the PGP investigations under the US export laws. In 2003 he received the EFF Pioneer Award.
This free podcast is from our Open Source Conference series.