Author Archives: Rowan Wilson

API Copyrightability

In my previous post  on what is and is not protected by copyright, I noted that the wide ranging legal battle between Oracle and Google over the Android mobile platform had yet to decide on an important issue – the copyrightability of APIs. Well, that issue is now settled, at least until the appeal; Judge Alsup in … Read more

Between Thought and Expression

Computer programs are treated, for the purposes of copyright law, as literary works. As well as giving some legitimacy to the legion of people out there calling themselves Codepoet, this decision has the effect of making the division between idea and expression a key one in determining what is and is not ownable in a … Read more


Standards in technology are generally considered to be a good thing. Having documented technologies that can be implemented by all means that businesses can compete on equal terms and consumers benefit from the effects of this competition. Of course, before a technology can be standardised, individual technology players need to do the work of innovation … Read more

Why Open?

This question was raised to me recently, and comes up frequently. It’s complicated by the fact that the word ‘open’ means many things to many people, but there are threads of commonality through all of the varying definitions. So the question is: “Why is openness useful to the public sector?” There are many answers to … Read more

Upcoming JISC OSS Watch Webinars

This is just a quick plug for a webinar that I will be running – with the kind assistance of JISC – next Wednesday (7th March) on the topic: “Choosing the right open source licence”. To quote the blurb: There are many free and open source software licences, and while they all broadly attempt to … Read more

Star pupils

Google has been in the news repeatedly over the last six months for closing down some of its many, many side projects. In general these are being mothballed in perpetuity, but in some cases, there is a transition plan. This is the case for Google Sky Map, and for our community it’s an interesting variation … Read more

Nginx and the Open Core model

For years now the Apache HTTP Server has been by far the most widely used web server on the internet. Netcraft publish statistics on web server usage monthly, using a variety of metrics, and this month’s stats show an interesting change. While Apache HTTP Server is still miles in the lead, second place in the … Read more

FOSS Focus

I was thoroughly drawn in by the Amazon ‘Black Friday’ event last week, buying both a phone and a camera, against my better judgement and to the disgust of my bank manager. While trying to suppress my buyer’s remorse by searching the internet for all the marvellous capabilities of my soon-to-arrive devices, I noticed that … Read more