By webmink on Mar 05, 2010
Just a reminder that this blog has now moved to Wild Webmink where you will be most welcome to join me from now on.
A reminder: If you are following me here on blogs.sun.com, please change your bookmarks and feeds to read http://webmink.com instead, as I have moved all my blogging there. I'll be turning of the daily link posts early next week. There are several new posts on the new site, especially on ACTA, so you really do want to move!
As a follow-up to my posting on Monday about the new co-ownership license Sun has offered to all the bloggers on blogs.sun.com, I thought it would be good to post a link to the FAQ site and to the license itself (PDF). One interesting extra dimension is that the option to enter into the license is also open to former employees whose blogs are still on display (which is the policy for former employees, unlike some employers I could mention).
I think this is a great and wise step for Sun to have taken. I hope other companies with staff who blog will take the same step.
One of our design principles for blogs.sun.com over the years has been to allow everything and let good sense and existing rules prevent mishaps - at least until it's clear we need a new rule of some kind. It's been almost entirely effective, and the few cases where it hasn't have been quickly addressed by the Sun blogger community on an internal mailing list that almost every blogger subscribes to. Self-policing definitely beats supervision. Another design principle has been to encourage people to be themselves, and mix up the technical and the personal in their blogging. The resulting blogs have often been compelling and we've grown an unmatched bench of authentic, respected voices.
Of course, those principles leave unanswered questions. One of the questions Sun's present context has raised is, "who owns the blog content?" It's not obvious, since the postings include a mix of personal and Sun content, are posted on a Sun property but often in personal time, and so on. To make it crystal clear, Sun has created a licensing option for every employee that simply shares ownership of everything that's posted equally between Sun and the blogger. That allows Sun to continue to host blogs.sun.com in perpetuity and it allows employees to sort out their own uses for their content. I want to write a book for example, and other want to move their blog to their own domain.
The new license was rolled out today, to accompany the handy new function to export all blog content for use with (for example) WordPress. From now on, every Sun blogger has (if they choose to accept the new license) a clear, documented set of rights to their blogging content. Huge thanks to the team of people that made it happen, especially my favourite lawyer, Tiki Dare, who completely "gets" this stuff and without whose quiet and largely unsung help the open source community would be much the poorer.
Apparently I don't blog any more. I got some indirect feedback yesterday that I'm not a blogger because I "only post links". I find this fascinating. When I have the time to write an essay on a particular topic, I post it here. I've done that a great deal over the last five years, and you can find the results easily.
Back in the early days, when I wanted to comment on something in passing, I had to go through the process of creating a full blog entry for it. When I got busy (it happens from time to time and usually involves aircraft), all blogging would stop for the duration of the trip. So over the last month, when I spent 28 out of 35 days travelling, that would have meant the blog going dark for a whole month. People used to complain about that, so I got with Dave Johnson and devised a feed aggregator of the kind FriendFeed has now made available to everyone. The problem with the aggregator was all it showed on those trips was the personal stuff like photos, and that led to more complaints that I'd stopped commenting on open source.
del.icio.us to the rescue! It allows me to construct a daily blog post simply by writing my opinions on what's going on on the Web in pithy (hopefully insightful) analysis displayed together with the link. I've actually had plenty of feedback that people only subscribe to Webmink for the links...
So what's to be done? Are my comments less insightful because they are short? Am I only a blogger when I write essays? I'm sure there are plenty of folk out there who would say yes to both. But fortunately there are still one or two people who think otherwise.
Thoughts and pointers on digital freedoms and technology markets. With a few photos too.