Will legal software replace lawyers?

Software won’t replace lawyers, but it will reduce the demand for certain routine legal services and raise the complexity of litigation. Those without the software will be at a disadvantage. It will also cut into the work of paralegals. But not lawyers.

Modern media centers: the hard 20% is socio-legal

Cory Doctorow points out that the first 80% of creating a media center is easy: a decent computer (I used an old Pentium III and an old PowerBook, but you can use newer tech if you’re not a poor student), video out (S-Video to an old-school TV, VGA or HDMI to a new HDTV), big hard drives, maybe network sharing (I used an Airport Extreme I inherited) so you can access media from multiple rooms. But what about content — “the other 20 percent”?

Could you scrap Microsoft Office applications?

IBM’s Lotus Symphony is a free-of-charge alternative to the ubiquitous Microsoft Office suite, based on Sun’s open source OpenOffice software. It purports to remain compatible with Microsoft’s “.doc” format (and newer incarnations), while removing licensing costs (but, not of course, support costs, since people still need training, technical support still costs money, etc.). Now they’ve decided to walk the walk.

New law journal launches that focuses on open source

There’s a new law journal in town: “The International Free and Open Source Software Law Review (IFOSS L. Rev.) is a collaborative legal publication aiming to increase knowledge and understanding among lawyers about Free and Open Source Software issues. Topics covered include copyright, licence implementation, licence interpretation, software patents, open standards, case law and statutory changes.”