Bryan Ruby


Thoughts, Words, and Deeds

Opinion: Google News, Bloggers, and the Belgian courts

From time to time we like to see the giants fall.  However, I think in this particular case if the giant falls so does the little guy.  If the Belgian court's recent ruling against Google becomes the "standard" that all sites will be judged, the ruling would likely have a negative effect for most bloggers and the readers who visit those blogs.  As reported by CNET:

A Belgian court on Tuesday ordered the search giant to refrain from showing excerpts of articles from French- and German-language Belgian newspapers on Google News and Google's Web search site for Belgium, reaffirming an earlier ruling by the same court against the company. However, in a nod to Google, the court reduced the daily fine Google faces if it fails to heed the order, from $1.3 million to $32,500.

Please don't take this as legal advice, but I think this ruling is just plain silly.  The fact is most bloggers and many news sites take excerpts from other articles and place it in their own article (with proper references, of course).   In fact, I have to wonder since I put the above citation from CNET into this post am I now breaking Belgian law?  If you're a visitor of sites such as Linux Today, NewsForge, Slashdot, Digg, and the infamous CMS Report...well according to this Belgian court  you may be visiting a site that is breaking Belgian copyright law.

Luckily, most countries have copyright laws that state the use of excerpts and facts from other articles are allowable and do not infringe copyright.  For example, regarding copyright law in the United States:

Implementing a Taxonomy

I came across a very good article with regards to taxonomy titled, Search in Focus: Implementing a Taxonomy by Penny Crosman.  The article is a month or two old, but I haven't run across it before so maybe others haven't either.

Search engines don't know the difference between reading glasses and drinking glasses, but a taxonomy puts your query in context. We outline several ways to build taxonomies, ranging from the tough but potentially more accurate approach of building from scratch to the easier but potentially compromised approach of buying a prebuilt taxonomy or using automated clustering software.

Also be sure to check out the author's 10 Reasons To Use A Taxonomy.   Both of these articles were posted on Intelligent Enterprise.

The first time I heard the term taxonomy really wasn't until I started using Drupal.  It can take awhile to learn how best to use (and not to use) taxonomy in Drupal, but I've always found that there was enough help around to figure how best to utilize it for my sites.  Even after a couple years, I find I'm still learning how best to use taxonomy as the way I implement it seems to vary from site to site.  I also have yet to figure the best way to address what I call taxonomy bloat.  That's the tough part of learning, it all takes time and experience.

Web 2.0 is for the Right Side of Your Brain

John Newton, Alfresco, has written an interesting posts regarding "Web 2.0".  I find the article interesting because I think Newton does bring up some new ideas or at least something that hasn't been talked about in some time.  Newton has observed that the main audience for those of Web 2.0 appear to be users that tend to think on the right side of your brain.  Newton also takes it one step further by saying perhaps it is time we start taking into account the personality types of users when it comes to CMS development.

This was a real revelation for me. However, I don’t think that John and Caterina shared my excitement. Maybe it’s already bleeding obvious. The next day I did a Google search on “Web 2.0” and right brain and didn’t find a lot. However, for me it is profound and it is something I think that we can apply immediately to the development of Alfresco. I am going to explore the concept more and I believe that there are implications from Myers-Briggs personality types in how they interact with the Internet.

Taking this further, this might also mean why those who are "left brainers" are kind of annoyed with this whole Web 2.0 terminology.  It has been my experience that while the general public still craves Web 2.0 those involved in the project are exhausted of hearing the phrase be used so much these days.  If you know anything about Myers-Briggs personality types you know there may be some truth to why some of the strongest groups that dislike the Web 2.0 concept appear to be the hard core developers.

Drupal Newbies and Contributed Modules

The Newbie Issue

DrupliconI received an interesting e-mail the other day through the contact form at my site regarding the social bookmarking "features" I have for my posts.  The questions asked to me are quite common among new users of any Web content management system.  While the questions in this particular e-mail I received would be more appropriate to be asked and answered in the forums at Drupal.org, there were some things in the message I felt the need to address though my blog.

The first e-mail went like this:

I am new to Drupal publishing, and I noticed your "Bookmark/Search this post with: Delicious Digg Google Yahoo Technorati Icerocket " feature. How did you code that? Or- where could I find out how to do that? I have searched Drupal.org but find it frustrating to search, and searching for modules is so frustrating I gave up. Scrolling through the categories is about the best I could do. I found the Submit to Digg one- but your system seems so much more simple.

The second e-mail though is what caught my attention and depending on interpretation somewhat alarmed me.

Identifying Open Source Winners and Losers

Very interesting article from InformationWeek, How to Tell the Open Source Winners from the Losers.

There are 139,834 open source projects under way on SourceForge, the popular open source hosting site. Five years from now, only a handful of those projects will be remembered for making lasting contributions--most will remain in niches, unnoticed by the rest of the world. For every Linux, Apache, or MySQL, dozens of other open source efforts fizzle out.

That's a dilemma for the many companies that are expanding their use of open source. Corporate developers and other IT professionals must get better at divining the winners and ignoring the losers. The wrong picks can lead companies down a rat hole of support problems and obsolete software.

Not sure if I agree with everything in the article.  For example, the 9-point checklist  of what is required for a successful open source project is surely up for debate.  However, the article is a very good starting point for companies and their IT managers to identify the more successful projects.   According to the article, some of the up-and-comers in open source include Alfresco (CMS), Subversion (version control), and Hyperic (system management).

It's funny though, I remember visiting SourceForge quite a bit years ago.  These days though, I seem to find the project directory through "word of mouth" via the blogs.  Amazing how blogging continues to change the IT landscape.