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Speaking of lawsuits…

…there’s been a recent update in another lawsuit, the Thomson Reuters vs Zotero case. Zotero, an open-source reference manager that works directly inside Firefox (whose praises I sung before) are currently being sued by Thomson Reuters (maintainers of Endnote, a proprietary reference manager software package), claiming that Zotero (or rather, George Mason University, where the Zotero developers are based) reverse-engineered their Endnote software in breach of the Endnote license agreement. The background is described in more detail on these blogs: DLTJ (part 1, part 2, part 3 and part 4) and Martin Feldstein (part 1 and part 2).

Particularly notable is Martin Feldstein’s initial opinion (that Thomson Reuters’ case may have merit) changing as he learned more and more facts about the case. It is extremely good academic practice to seek to back up hypotheses with evidence and to let go of the ones that are not supported, and as such, extremely laudible. Others, take note.

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Firefox without plugins? You’re doing it wrong (updated 26 May 2009)

A particular passion of mine, that I have rather neglected since my first post, is the advocacy of open source software where possible, particularly for non-specialist work-related tasks, such as web browsing and word processing. For my PhD, I write all my documents using OpenOffice (and occasionally LaTeX), and save them using open formats. Of course, I don’t stubbornly neglect proprietary formats completely, mainly due to necessity. For example, to give a slide presentation, I may need to export my slideshow to a Microsoft Powerpoint or Adobe PDF, unless I’m fortunate enough to be able to plug my own laptop into the projector system (which can be a rather cumbersome process) or the host’s computer has OpenOffice installed on it.

EDIT – This article has been updated (26 May 2009).

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