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Published my book electronically, under a Creative Commons license
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My book No Lobbyists As Such - The War over Software Patents in the European Union is now available for download: www.no-lobbyists-as-such.com/NoLobbyistsAsSuch.pdf

The PDF file has a size of approximately 2 megabytes. In order to read the document, you need Adobe Acrobat Reader. By the way, I have also published a German edition of my book on www.softwarepatente-buch.de.

Originally I had planned to self-publish my book in print. After the official announcement of my book in late March, I received inquiries,

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Senior researcher at Chinese Ministry of Commerce believes software patents stifle innovation
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The FFII’s Swpatcnino page continues to be the most up-to-date and complete collection of links to news items concerning software patents. Here’s an interesting article that I became aware of on that page: Shanghai Daily - IPR protection hot potato not black and white

The article talks about IPRs (intellectual property rights) in general, and patents are only one of the legal devices that are counted among them. With respect to software, I prefer a clear distinction to be made between copyright and patents, and only in a few exceptional cases I consider it accurate to refer to copyright, patents and other rights by the collective term IPRs.

A significant part

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MyComponents: Version 2006.4.4 released - Maintenance Release
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It gives us great pride to announce the release of MyComponents V4.4 native Delphi/Kylix VCL suite. This update includes mainly fixes to issues as it has been reported to Support and on this and other forums.

What's new?

New: RemObjects' DataAbstract driver 3 and 4 API included.
Fix: Various issues as has been reported to SciBit Support

This update is free of charge for all customers whom own a 2005.4.x MyComponents serial. Everyone still using a pre-2005.4 MyComponents may upgrade to the newest version by logging into their Secure accounts: simply click the Secure link at the top of this page.

Previous articles concerning MyComponents 4.x are:
MyComponents 2005.4.3

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ZDNet article on EU patent policy mentions my concerns about the EPLA
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There has been some confusion in the media in recent days, following some statements made by European Commission vice president Verheugen at a pro-patent propaganda event in Brussels. Verheugen’s remarks could be interpreted as signs of optimism that the EU Community Patent (a unitary patent for the Single Market) might materialize in the foreseeable future. However, at a closer look it seems that the Commission is already trying to position other legislative measures as the near-term priority. One of them is the London Protocol, which would bring down the language requirements for European patents, and the more important one is the European Patent Litigation Agreement (EPLA).

I have given some comments about this to ZDNet for

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Sorry, no Normalization or Sakila Videos
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After looking through my raw files, the audio for the Database Normalization session at the MySQL UC2006 was missing. In addition I never managed a recording of the Sakila session due to the laptop crash.

All is not lost, interested viewers can see the Normalization session from PHP Quebec 2005 and my Rough Version of the Sakila session as subsitiutes.

Managing Hierarchical Data Session Now Online
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I have finished the rendering on the Managing Hierarchical Data With MySQL session:


Requires Flash

Camera Envy
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On top of everything else I saw at the MySQL UC, I saw enough snazzy digital SLRs to make me green with envy (curse you Stewart, Mike, George, Colin, Jeremy and Julian!)

So, I decided to whip up a way out-there camera wishlist to rule them all! I may not actually have any of this, but when some generous millionaire buys it all for me I shall have the mightiest setup of all at the next uc!

Ok so it is just an excuse to play with the wishlist plugin for wordpress.

UC2006 Closing Thoughts
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This post recorded mid-day on Friday.

The MySQL User conference has ended and I find myself waiting for my flight home — a good time to gather thoughts.

I personally think the conference was a great success. We had over 1500 attendees and the feedback I heard on the conference was very positive. I did hear a few asking for the sessions to be longer than 45 minutes and I do agree that 45 minutes can be a bit cramped, especially for a speaker who is re-using a session previously delivered in a longer block, but overall the response was great.

I had three sessions this year, and those sessions seemed well received by the attendees I spoke to. I am *very* glad that I backed up my slides to a keychain drive and ghosted my drives before leaving as it made the crashing of my laptop an annoyance rather than an unmitigated disaster. I worry that the

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New Speaker/Book Photo
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Update: High Res Versions at http://www.openwin.org/mike/wordpress/wp-gallery2.php?g2_view=core.ShowItem&g2_itemId=1198

This year there was a nice little bonus, Julian Cash was on hand to take photos of the staff with a proper studio setup. I’ve seen some of his work before and liked it, and was looking forward to a session. When the photo sessions were announced, we were asked to bring a prop that represented ourselves or our work or personality. I actually forgot about the prop requirement but went for a session on the way to my Hierarchy talk and walked in carrying a stack of books to give away. Julian took one look and pronounced ‘Great Prop!’ upon seeing my stack of books. It was not

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Scaling with Mixi
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Mixi is a massive social networking site in Japan, nice user interface demo.

Began in late 2003 with 10,000 users and 600K pageviews a day. As it became clear that the site was viral, the question became how to scale out before getting overwhelmed.

In the first year they went from 600 users to 210,000 users.

2,000,000 users in the second year.

Now 3.7 million users, with 15,000 new users per day. Japan has 86.7 million users.

Site has 70% active users (logging in at least every 72 hours). Average user spends 3 hours 20 minutes on mixi a week. 35th on Alexa worldwide, 3rd in Japan.

Mixi now gets more traffic than Amazon Japan.

Mixi uses LAMP (perl), memcache, squid. Fedora for Linux.

Requests go mod_proxy to mod_perl, then either memcache or a set of MySQL servers divided by blogs, messages and other.

Using more

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I’ve finished my last of three sessions, finally getting through my hierarchies session. With the laptop failure, speaking just was not as enjoyable this year as in previous years when there were no such concerns to distract me from giving the audience a good session.

The Hierarchies session seemed well received, with the room packed and audience members up against the back wall. I do wish I had not been opposite the Second Life session, as I was quite interested in how they scale.


Managing Hierarchies

Sakila Sample Database -

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Reporting the Swag
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As I mentioned previously, I’ll be reporting on the conference swag along with the sessions at this year’s MySQL User Conference.

The first candidate? The SCO Giant Pen

Check it out!

It?s Alive!!
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I love our IT guys. One call to the Cupertino office and one of the IT guys drove to the conference center with the discs needed to reinstall Windows and Office.

I’m now getting everything patched and ready to deliver my session on Managing Hierarchical Data. Sadly there is no recording of the Sakila session because I had to deliver it on a conference-provided PC.

Lessons learned:

Do not sit near high voltage lines and work on your laptop. The only explanation I have for the issues is that I sat near a thick power cable for the lights during the keynote, perhaps it was not well shielded and corrupted files.

Keep your slides in at least three places. When I left I copied my slides from my desktop to my laptop and also to a keychain drive. When my laptop failed I was annoyed but did not panic because I was able to simply insert my keychain into the

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The System is Down
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Just a warning to everyone that I will not be posting many blog entries from the UC today, my laptop is suffering from an unknown issue that I need to diagnose and repair before I can do any work from it.

On the bright side there is a great blogger contingent here this year and there is plenty of content to go around.

Session attendees: I will get content online as soon as I can.

Tutorial: Secure Your PHP and MySQL Web Applications
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Session by Laura Thomson, OmniTI. Laura is author of a number of popular PHP and MySQL books.

Session will be on security at the developer level and is written from a programmer’s perspective.

Many developers plug along without any knowledge that they have security problems, security awareness is a relatively new thing. This session is not about guru-level knowledge, it is about developer-level practices.

MySQL Security Basics

  • Do not run your mysqld as the unix root user. Run it as a purpose-created user.Do not use the purpose-created user for anything else. MySQL root user is not related to the Unix root user.
  • Set permissions on DB data files directory so that only mysqld user can access them.
  • Disable symlinks to tables with –skip-symbolic-links unless
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Rough Cut - Sakila Session
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For those who can’t wait for next week or who won’t be at the UC, I’m posting a flash recording of a rough practice run of my Sakila DB session that I will deliver next week. I wanted to get a feel for duration without audience questions or closing activities. I came in at 30 minutes so I am comfortable that with audience questions it should be good.

Feedback is of course appreciated.

See it at http://www.openwin.org/mike/video/sakila.html

My Session Plan For the User Conference
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So, here’s the rough plan of what I will attend next week:

Monday AM:

Secure Your PHP and MySQL Web Applications, Laura Thomson

Monday PM:

Data Warehousing with MySQL, John Paul Ashenfelter

Tuesday AM:

Welcome!, Arjen Lentz

State of the Dolphin, Kaj Arnö, David Axmark, Michael (Monty) Widenius

Introduction to Database Normalization and Joins,

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Conference Prep
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I leave for the MySQL User Conference this Saturday. In the meantime, I’m working on final preparation. This involves things like tweaking my slides, configuring my laptop, packing, getting a haircut, and all the little things you need to do before attending a conference for a week.

Tweaking my Slides - Going over my slides, doing test deliveries to check time and content. Once I have them how I want them I push them online so attendees can follow along. Tweaking happens even this late into things because I can be a bit of a perfectionist with the slides (most slides even have a good number of notes).

Configuring my Laptop - Because I work from the desktop when at home, I take some time to make sure the laptop has all updates and a good defrag before I head out. I also ensure that my slides are on the laptop and that its desktop is clean so attendees

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Free Books at the MySQL UC
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Just in case the HypnoToad did not convince you to attend my sessions at next weeks’s conference, I’ll up the ante.

Thanks to Apress and O’Reilly I’ll be giving away several MySQL related books at each session.

There, now you have to come. And of course watch this space for session notes.

Sample Database has an Official Name and License
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Well, after consulting with licensing guru Zak Greant and talking to one of the official powers that be at MySQL, I now have a name and a license for the new sample database.

The name? Sakila. Yup, no issues with using the name I have been using so far, which is a good thing.

The license? The new BSD license. This should make it as easy as possible for authors to use it in their books and articles without any licensing concerns at all.

I’m trying to clean up a bug I found and flesh out the docs a bit more, I hope to post what could be considered a release candidate tomorrow.

And remember, come to the session on Sakila at the MySQL UC.

My Sessions at the MySQL User Conference
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(Click to be Controlled)

The hypnotoad commands you to attend my sessions at the MySQL User Conference. All Glory to the HypnoToad!

Covering More Than Just Sessions at This Year?s User Conference
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At last year’s MySQL User Conference I got the idea that it might be fun to create a web site that cataloged the various swag that one receives at such events and I registered www.swagreport.com while the idea was fresh in my mind. Well, I finally got around to loading up Wordpress and getting something started.

So, this year you can look forward to not only knowing about at the sessions I attend, but you can also keep up with the swag.


P.S. Anyone else attending conferences who would like to document their swag let me know and I will get you added as an author.

Tutorials I?ll be Attending at the MySQL UC
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One nice thing about speaking at the User’s Conference is that you get admission not only to the conference, but also to the Monday tutorial sessions.

This year I plan to attend two tutorial sessions:

Secure Your PHP and MySQL Web Applications

This one is delivered by Laura Thomson, whose writing and sessions I always love, can’t miss this one.

Data Warehousing with MySQL

John Paul Ashenfelter is a cool guy who really knows his stuff, I missed this session last year and don’t plan to miss it again.

As usual, you can expect a flurry of notes come conference time.

The EPLA is the new attempt to make software patents enforceable in Europe
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A few days ago I had a series of meetings in the European Parliament, and I heard that Microsoft and SAP are already lobbying politicians to support the European Patent Litigation Agreement (EPLA).

There are still three days left to answer the European Commission’s patent policy questionnaire, but it’s a foregone conclusion that the pro-software patent camp wants the EPLA more than anything else.

Let’s forget about the community patent for the time being. Yes, officially it’s the priority of the EU, but it isn’t going to happen anytime soon. There is too much resistance against it. The FFII and I will keep an eye on developments concerning the community patent, and you’ll hear from us if anything important happens on that front, but my recommendation is that most

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European Inventor of the Year award - and what?s wrong with it
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On May 3 and 4, 2006, the European Commission and the European Patent Office will jointly present the European Inventor of the Year Conference & Gala.

There is no question that the world in general needs innovation, and so does Europe. I am all for honoring true inventors. However, this particular award series and event looks, at least in part, like an attempt to reinforce some common misconceptions and fallacies concerning innovation policy.

The involvement of the European Patent Office and the selection of nominees based on the patents they received makes a connection between patents and inventiveness that is only half-true at best. While the official and original idea of the patent system is to protect and reward inventors, the reality of more than 180,000 patent applications filed at the

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First English-language reviews of my book
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A couple of really nice articles mentioning my forthcoming book, No Lobbyists As Such - The War over Software Patents in the European Union, have been published during the last several hours:

Jay Lyman wrote a very comprehensive and competent review for NewsForge.

W. David Gardner wrote that the book “foretells a new crusade” against software patents in Europe. Dave’s article, which succeeds in putting my book into the current political perspective, first appeared on TechWeb, then also on ITNews.com.au, an Australian site that belongs to the same network (CMP), and on

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Announcement of the book ?No Lobbyists As Such - The War over Software Patents in the European Union?
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This site already went online a few weeks ago to launch this blog. Now, finally, it contains information about my forthcoming book “No Lobbyists As Such - The War over Software Patents in the European Union”. For your information, here is the related press release:

Florian Mueller’s book “No Lobbyists As Such”

tells the story of the successful resistance
against the EU software patent directive

Starnberg, Germany (March 28, 2006) — Florian Mueller, the founder of the award-winning NoSoftwarePatents.com campaign, has announced his forthcoming book, No Lobbyists As Such - The War over Software Patents in the European Union. On approximately 380 pages, Mueller tells the story of the legislative process that ended in July last year with a landslide vote of the

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Saber rattling gets louder: Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer hints at possibility of Microsoft litigating against Linux vendors and/or users
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In an interview with Forbes, Microsoft’s CEO Steve Ballmer stops short of announcing patent litigation against “Linux”:

Well, I think there are experts who claim Linux violates our intellectual property. I’m not going to comment. But to the degree that that’s the case, of course we owe it to our shareholders to have a strategy. And when there is something interesting to say, you’ll be the first to hear it.

This is almost like announcing that there will sooner or later be an announcement of Microsoft starting patent litigation against “Linux” vendors and/or users.

By “intellectual property” he must mean patents. IP is a broad term and includes diverse rights,

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Piia-Noora Kauppi MEP: driving force behind today?s EP decision against mutual recognition
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This evening I received some very important information on how today’s decision of the European Parliament against the mutual recognition of national patents came about:

Piia-Noora Kauppi MEP, who heads the Finnish delegation to the conservative EPP-ED group (the largest group in the European Parliament), took the key initiative in the EPP-ED group meeting last evening in Strasbourg. A “group” in the European Parliament is, simply speaking, an international group of likeminded political parties from multiple European countries. The German CDU/CSU (MEP Lehne’s party) and British Conservatives are particularly well-known member

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MEP Lehne pushes for EU-wide mutual recognition of national patents
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At noon today, the European Parliament will vote on a 67-item resolution concerning innovation policy. The proposed item 43 “calls on the Commission to ensure proper protection of intellectual property rights and to present as soon as possible a proposal for harmonisation and mutual recognition of patent laws in Member States […]“. While “mutual recognition of patent laws” is a term that can be interpreted in different ways, there is no doubt what the sponsor of this article, Mr. Klaus Heiner Lehne MEP (a German conservative), has in mind: the mutual recognition of national patents by the EU member states.

I recently received a copy of a memorandum that he sent to some of his MEP colleagues on November 29,

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