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Re: BitTorrent Open Source License (Proposed Changes)

It amuses me to make the comparison between Mr. Kellogg's credentials
and my own.  I am no undergrad either; shedding that status took me
four tries, two universities, and just over seven years.  I graduated
in Physics with no distinction to speak of, in December 1995, and it
was rather an anticlimactic affair as I had effectively been in the
astronomy Ph.D. program for a year and a half.  I didn't last much
longer in it, though -- I was a lousy excuse for a grad student in
almost every respect, and though I respected several professors, the
one that I admired (and the only one remotely likely to supervise my
Ph.D. thesis) broke his neck in a car wreck the next summer and died
not long thereafter.

Besides, I got married that summer, and marriage focuses the mind
wonderfully.  I went back into industry (by way of the quick-and-easy
sysadmin path) and, two jobs later, split to co-found a shoestring
software startup with a buddy.  (In the meantime, I had witnessed for
the second time the beginnings of the collapse of a company due to a
botched million-dollar deal involving contract terms that did not
reflect the economic reality of the exchange.)  The startup was a
textbook example of "experience is what you get when you don't get
what you thought you were gonna get"; I got a lot of experience in the
next six years or so.  I've been back in the corporate game for a
couple of years now, racking up my lifetime score to date to a total
of four Fortune 500 companies, two US government agencies, two
universities (not counting mere dabbling), and numerous flavors of
start-up and small business.

Along the way, I have been involved in negotiating some rather complex
business relationships with contracts and statements of work and
pricing schedules attached.  I have seen first-hand the operations of
almost every class of software license there is, with trade secrets
and patents and copyrights and trademarks and a dozen kinds of dollar
incentives flying fast and thick.  I have watched people use contract
language to game pundits and public opinion and the stock markets and
the tax system and international trade.  Corporate legal staff and
outside counsel have been known to come to me for a briefing on the
facts of what legal risks I see myself and my colleagues taking, for
editorial review of the factual portions of contracts, and in some
cases to compare notes on the applicable law itself.

Among my peers I am considered the person to ask to evaluate the
primary literature on almost any topic from psychopharmacology to
French Renaissance performance practice -- if you can get me to turn
my attention to the problem long enough not to just shoot from the
hip.  I may not get the right answer but you'll find out things about
the field that you never expected.  What authority does that grant me?
 Absolutely none.  But once I've put a thousand hours or so into
thinking about a given topic, I generally have something to say, and
some evidence to back it up.   And it makes for an interesting life.

- Michael

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