There’s an almost religious belief in the Valley that charging for content is bad. The only business plan in sight is ever more advertising. One might ask what will be left to advertise once everyone is aggregated. How long must creative people wait for the Web’s new wealth to find a path to their doors? A decade is a long enough time that idealism and hope are no longer enough. If there’s one practice technologists ought to embrace, it is the evaluation of empirical results. To help writers and artists earn a living online, software engineers and Internet evangelists need to exercise the power they hold as designers. Information is free on the Internet because we created the system to be that way.

Last month the US Federal Trade Commission cleared the plan by Google to buy DoubleClick. While expressing concern about the privacy implications of the deal, the US authority said that aspect could not be considered in its review. European antitrust authorities, who hold the same view, are set to rule on the matter later this year after the European Commission in November launched a probe, arguing that the merger "would raise competition concerns." According to Cornelia Kutterer, from the European consumers association BEUC, which is partly funded from EU coffers, many ordinary cybersurfers overestimate the level of privacy they enjoy on-line.

Jobs did not pocket the profit from the 120,000 stock options he exercised in 2007, Apple said in the regulatory documents. The options — granted to Jobs for his service on Apple's board of directors — were set to expire in August 2007 so he exercised them and held on to all of the shares. Under a reimbursement agreement, the company repays him for the expenses of operating his private plane when it is used for company business, an arrangement that cost Apple $776,000 in 2007, according to the filings.

The Apache Web server, which powers most active sites on the Web, has 135,916 lines of code, with a defect rate of 0.14 bugs per 1,000 lines. Three have been fixed, seven have been verified, and 12 remain. The PostgreSQL database system contains 909,148 lines of code, with a 0.041 defect rate. A few projects, including the Free Software Foundation's glibc or Gnu C Library, even have gotten the defect count down to zero.

While much has been made about MySQL's open-source model -- MySQL CEO Marten Mickos said the deal validated open source as a "superior way of building software and developing a business" -- King said Sun's interest in the company was "less about open source than developing a stronger middleware and services organization." Realizing the importance of the database to growing numbers of businesses, Sun opted to buy its own offering rather than partnering with the likes of Oracle, he added.

Yahoo’s collaboration is appalling, and Yahoo is not the only American company helping the Chinese government repress its people. Microsoft shut down a blogger at Beijing’s request. Google, Yahoo and Microsoft censor searches in China. Cisco Systems provided hardware used by Beijing to censor and monitor the Internet. These companies argue that it is better for the Chinese people to have a censored Internet than no Internet. They say that they must abide by the laws of the countries they operate in. But the Chinese Constitution guarantees freedom of speech, the press, association and assembly. Those guarantees may be purely symbolic, but these companies — which loudly protest Chinese piracy of their intellectual property — have not tried to resist. What they are resisting are efforts in Congress that could help them stand against repressive governments.

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