New Models in Legal Research
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  • Linus’ Law: “Given a large enough beta-tester and co-developer base, almost every problem will be characterized quickly and the fix will be obvious to someone.” from Eric S Raymond’s The Cathedral and the Bazaar which refers to the first undeniable disruption to well, what WRM calls the 20th century Iron Triangle. Volunteers produce brownies for the PTA, they don’t challenge major industrial corporations like iBM and Microsoft. But that is exactly what Linus Torvalds and his merry band of programmers did. Interestingly, the Linux programmers learned that it was usually NOT the person who was good at spotting the problem who had the skill set to fix it. I don’t think our categories of thought are adequate to understand software. It’s a bit like the wave and particle theories of light. You can both give it away and you can charge a little or a lot for it – and it works either way. So here we have networking harnessed to performing legal research helping fix the bug of patent trolling, but until we understand the implications of a networked world things like this will keep surprising us. It takes time. About 300 years elapsed between the invention of interchangeable type and machines with interchangeable parts because it took that long to construct both the mental and physical infrastructure required.

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