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How NOT to Push a New Open Source License, Part 1
September 15, 2011
Bruce Perens recently introduced what he calls a "Covenant" open source license on behalf of Lexis-Nexis, owned by Reed Elsevier, aka "the scientific journal paywall people," for one of Lexis-Nexis' internal projects. It didn't take long for readers on both slashdot and lwn to rip it apart. Of particular concern was the requirement that contributors assign their copyrights to Lexis-Nexis.
Heeding the Lessons of SCO, or Not
September 13, 2011
We recently saw what is being described as the ending of the seven-year-old SCO contract and intellectual property dispute that dragged Linux through the mud before it propelled the open source OS into much broader enterprise use and credibility. You'd think the lessons of SCO would be a shining example for technology companies of what not to do in order to maintain leadership and relevance.
FSF's Star Turn in the Android FUDathon, Part 4
September 09, 2011
"Strike while the iron is hot" -- and the usual suspects have made Android licensing a hot issue. However, the title of the FSF article, "Android GPLv2 termination worries -- one more reason to upgrade to GPLv3," gives the game away. This is about politics, not licensing. About pushing a specific agenda. About promoting the GPLv3 license at the expense of the GPLv2, Linux, Android and reality.
FSF's Star Turn in the Android FUDathon, Part 3
September 08, 2011
Where did this "you are permanently barred from distributing" stuff originate? In digging around, I found a post titled "A Practical Guide to GPL Compliance" at the Software Freedom Law Center dated August 26, 2008, written by the team of Bradley M. Kuhn, Aaron Williamson and Karen M. Sandler.
FSF's Star Turn in the Android FUDathon, Part 2
September 07, 2011
Mr. Smith was kind enough to reply two days later: "Hi Barbara, Thanks for your feedback. I've responded to some your specific points below. I'm aware that a license change in Linux would require significant effort. However, that doesn't mean it can't or shouldn't be done. I wish it was easier for them, but we think they stand to benefit from upgrading even in this current situation. ..."
FSF's Star Turn in the Android FUDathon, Part 1
September 06, 2011
My first thought was that someone was engaging in click-bait journalism. Even the title of the post -- "Android GPLv2 termination worries - one more reason to upgrade to GPLv3" -- is something I would expect from anti-Android trolls, not the Free Software Foundation. The conclusion at the bottom of the article, that companies using Android should urge Linux developers to switch to the GPLv3, is so bad it's not even wrong.
A Tale of Two Licenses
September 01, 2011
Well the wild ride that was August appears to have tapered off a bit as the month drew to a close, so Linux bloggers have finally had a few days to stop and catch their breath. Bartenders throughout the blogosphere have had a chance to restock their supplies, and conversations have, for the most part, returned to normal volumes. There's one exception, however.
Shelter for Linux in the Software Patent Storm
August 18, 2011
Patents, patents, patents. Such a to-do about software patents! The news this week has focused on little else, thanks in large part, of course, to Google's much-discussed purchase of Motorola Mobility. It's fairly widely agreed that patents were the motivating factor behind that purchase -- not at all surprising, given the virtual lawsuit-fest the mobile world has become.
Microsoft's 'Linux Threat Level': Down to Green or Redder Than Ever?
August 15, 2011
Now that Microsoft wants to be Linux's new best friend, there's bound to be no end of sweet nothings and touching gestures emanating out of Redmond. After all, we're pals now, right? Lo and behold! For all you skeptics who doubted the software behemoth's amorous words, consider a few phrasing changes it recently made in its last two annual financial filings.
Commercial Gains Mean Growing Pains for Open Source Community
August 05, 2011
Recent conversations at OSCON, which I've attended since 2004, as well as observations through talks with vendors, users and developers in open source all indicate a common theme: With commercial successes for open source software come some community growing pains. This was also illustrated to some extent by the attendance, content and vibe at this year's OSCON.
The Slim Possibility That Microsoft's SUSE Deal Could Be Good for Linux
August 04, 2011
July was a Microsoft-filled month, and that trend continued right up until the very end. Case in point? Hard on the heels of Redmond's little birthday present to Linux a few weeks ago, the Windows behemoth and SUSE announced last week that they are renewing the years-long patent deal originally signed by Novell but due to expire next year.
Patent Wars: DoJ May Take Preemptive Action as Giants Build Stockpiles
August 02, 2011
A consortium of six major tech players calling themselves "Rockstar Bidco" won a $4.5 billion bid for 6,000 Nortel patents in June. The deal closed last week, but all may not be said and done. The Department of Justice reportedly intends to ask the consortium members just what they plan to do with their new patent stash.
The Future of Android, Part 1: The Legal Squeeze
August 02, 2011
To say Android's popular among consumers is like saying Godzilla's a lizard. It's a question of degree. More than 500,000 new Android devices were being activated daily, and the number was growing at 4.4 percent week over week, Google's Andy Rubin tweeted in late June. comScore's figures show that for the three-month period ending in May, Android was the leading mobile platform in the United States.
Google's Java Jam
July 15, 2011
Sometimes things that are supposedly free for the taking -- such as open source software -- can ultimately cost a wad of dough from the corporate coffers. That could well be the lesson Google learns from a lawsuit Oracle filed last year alleging that Google violated its intellectual property as well as infringed on its copyright for using a variation of Java.
Linux in Cars, or Why Toyota Chose Freedom
July 14, 2011
It's hard to keep up with all the companies joining The Linux Foundation these days, but recently one jumped on board whose name threw a collective hush over the Linux blogosphere. Toyota, that is -- none other than the planet's largest automobile manufacturer in terms of both sales and production. Is there really anything else to say? Linux, you're on top of the world.
More Legal Woes for Google
July 13, 2011
In 2010, Google admitted that when collecting Street View photos around the world it also collected data from unsecured wireless networks. That led to a bunch of lawsuits. Recently, U.S. Federal Judge James Ware refused to dismiss a class action lawsuit based on allegations that Google violated the U.S. Federal Wiretap Act by collecting unsecured WiFi data when taking Street View photos.
Microsoft's Monumental Android-Milking, Money-Making Machine
July 07, 2011
Say what you will about Microsoft and its products, but you have to admit the company has a particular skill at making money. Take Android, for example. Instead of using the wildly successful mobile platform as an example and a model for its own lackluster efforts in that arena, Redmond has apparently opted instead to make its competitor a friend -- a money-making friend, that is.
Microsoft Puts the Squeeze on Samsung
July 06, 2011
Microsoft has reportedly trained its Android patent guns on Samsung Electronics, demanding $15 for every Android-based handset the Korean manufacturer produces. If true, this could be the highest fee demanded by Redmond for its Android patents so far. Microsoft is reportedly getting royalties of $5 per Android device from Taiwanese mobile device giant HTC.
Adobe's Vanishing Linux Air Support: Personal or Strictly Business?
July 01, 2011
Adobe's recent decision to pull support away from Air for Linux might be the first in a series of market adjustments designed to throttle its bottom line with Android rather than the traditional Linux platform. But the move could cost the company a bank roll of good will. Adobe officials do not see their action as hampering relations with the Linux community.
Defense Contractor Heeds Microsoft's Patent War Cry
June 28, 2011
Microsoft scored a victory Monday when defense contractor General Dynamics' Itronix division agreed to pay it licensing fees for using the Android operating system. Itronix makes rugged mobile computers for military, law enforcement, first responder and field service use. Microsoft's assertions of patent rights over Android and subsequent demands for licensing fees are controversial.

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