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BitTorrent and Google’s IP

Tech: Sam Ruby on Foo Camp. Foo camp sounds cool; a little bit circle-jerky, but still interesting. But that’s not what I wanted to write about — the thing I wanted to mention was BitTorrent; it just struck me recently — one key thing about BT that makes it great is that it’s designed by the UNIX philosophy — make one tool that does one thing very well, and make it pluggable, so it can be used by other things easily.

It doesn’t have a GUI to search for torrents — the user does that in their web browser, mail, by swapping notes on napkins, whatever. It just does P2P file transfer very very well — and that’s file transfer of some file or another, hence legality issues around P2P are side-stepped. BT is cool.

Patents: Cluetrain on patents:

Well, Google is (jm: going after patents). And the VCs are paying for it. Hell, some of them insist on it. That’s what I gathered last night, while schmoozing at the opening evening at PC Forum. First, Larry Page, Google’s founder and CEO, told me he hates patents and would rather not deal with them as an issue at all. Then Google board member and lead VC John Doerr surprised a small gaggle of patent skeptics (including Page, Dave Winer and myself) that he loved patents. Patents are one of the things that make America great, he said, and went on to insist that they encourage innovation, cure cancer, raise the dead, and bring peace in our time. (Or something like that. Whatever, he likes patents a lot). So don’t expect Google to abandon their hunt for patent lawyers anytime soon.

Listening to John, I began to think one problem is that just caring about patents puts your mind inside the system, where it gets stuck to intellectual flypaper. Or worse, political flypaper.