Eben Moglen’s invited talk at IBM Research

About 3 weeks ago Eben gave an invited talk at IBM Research about Copyleft Capitalism, which I’m kicking myself for not driving down to see in person. Fortunately it has been posted to Google Videos:

(direct link for those whose RSS viewer doesn’t do flash)

The talk weighs in at 91 minutes, and is really worth watching the whole thing. Unfortunately the audience isn’t miked, so there are some areas of silence which are a little awkward, but that doesn’t detract much from the talk. Eben is an incredibly engaging speaker, and weaves a wonderful narative around free software, and the software commons.

While there are so many interesting points that Eben makes, I found the most fascinating one to be about how creativity can not be contained and controlled. When the industry attempts to do so you get bursts of irrational creativity, such as Perl. Perl is about getting things done, and it does so by hook or crook, based on whatever made sense to go into the language during last saturday’s hack fest. While it disgusts many of the purists in language design, it shows that sometimes “just get it done” does work. Beauty isn’t everything. (Steve Yegge’s take on perl is also hillarious and dead on.)

This is one nugget of dozens in the talk. I think I’ll need to go back and watch the thing at least once more to make sure I’ve absorbed it all.

Dague’s Rule 47: if Eben Moglen is speaking anywhere within driving distance, I must travel to the talk.

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