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The Engineer and the Lawyer

Software Freedom Law Show episode 0x01

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In this episode of the Software Freedom Law Show, Bradley and Karen discuss the differences and similarities of software developers / engineers and lawyers. They also interview their first guest, Scott K. Peterson, Senior Counsel at HP.

Running time: 00:40:24.

Show Notes

Segment 0 (00:43)

  • Bradley and Karen recall the episode numbering debate raised on the first show. (00:56)
  • Karen argues that saying Episode 1 makes it sound like the Star Wars movie. (01:08)
  • Bradley and Karen like Star Trek. Bradley thinks that ST:DS9 was the best series. Karen likes Patrick Stewart.
  • Bradley said the phrase high-order calculus, which was confusing. He was probably thinking of first order predicate calculus, which he studied in graduate school, but he was actually trying to make reference to the fact that Karen studied more complex calculus applications such as differential equations and multivariable calculus. (02:05)
  • Cooper Union, which provides full scholarships to all of its students, doesn't have liberal arts majors.
  • Karen talked about how engineering school can be good preparation for legal writing and for law school, generally. Apparently, physics and math majors score higher on the LSAT. (04:36)
  • Many contracts and/or licenses contain a list of definitions that indicate how certain terms should be interpreted. See section 0 of the GNU General Public License (GPL), version 3 for an example. (04:54)
  • Bradley compared those defined terms in licenses to the #define's in the C preprocessor. (05:52)
  • A statute is a law passed by any legislative body. As the statute is the “letter of the law”, it is usually the first thing lawyers look at when determining what the law is and its application. Interestingly, statutes are also often referred to by lawyers as code. (09:20)
  • Dicta (plural of dictum) are statements contained in a court's decision that are explanatory and not necessarily part of the legal rationale or doctrine of the decision. (09:50)

Segment 1 (11:58)

[Photo of Scott K. Peterson]

Interview with Scott Peterson.

Tags: bkuhn, karen, hp, peterson