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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.
Keeping the Desktop Dream Alive: Q&A With Linux Foundation's Jim Zemlin, Part 2
June 21, 2011
Where is Linux going? For Part 2 of this interview, LinuxInsider continued speaking with Linux Foundation Executive Director Jim Zemlin to discuss Linux in a wider variety of technologies, new programs intended to make it easier for businesses to switch to open source computing, and open source's ability to compete in the consumer mobile space.
Study: Android App Peddlers Struggle to Close the Deal
May 31, 2011
Google's Android Market may be rapidly catching up to Apple's App Store in terms of sheer quantity, but app sales still vary greatly between the two, according to an analysis released on Friday by Distimo. The numbers give Apple a clear advantage in sales of applications. The report found that in March and April of this year, six paid iPhone applications generated 500,000-plus downloads in the United States.
So, What's the Deal With MicroSkype?
May 31, 2011
Well, the Linux bloggers down at the blogosphere's Broken Windows Lounge had just barely finished chanting Skype's funeral dirge last week when word came that there might be reason to belt out another round. Sure enough, turned out Skype has decided to cut its ties with the free and open source Asterisk telephony system.
For FOSS Firms, Data Means Dollars
May 18, 2011
"Data" -- it's the new buzzword in the open source world, according to Tuesday's keynote speakers at the Open Source Business Conference, being held in San Francisco. "The kind of data we're collecting today is way harder to store and process than it used to be," said Mike Olson, president and CEO of Cloudera.
Is Linux In Trouble, or Is It Just Something About East Texas?
April 28, 2011
Hardly a week goes by here in the Linux community without some company or other claiming that Linux and everyone who uses it is violating their patent -- or patents, more frequently. Not uncommonly, it's Microsoft doing the suing. Most recently, however, it was Bedrock Computer Technologies, a company -- many would say "patent troll" instead -- that has apparently taken it upon itself to sue not just Google, but many more.
Does the DoJ Have FOSS' Back?
April 26, 2011
In a move designed to protect the free and open source software community, the U.S. Justice Department has intervened in an intellectual property case involving four dominant IT enterprises. The transaction involves software developer Novell and a consortium made up of Microsoft, Oracle, Apple and EMC. The case could be a landmark in broadening the use of the Linux operating system and other open source software worldwide.
Alas, Groklaw, We Hardly Knew Ye
April 18, 2011
Here in the world of technology, it's an everyday occurrence to see new companies and organizations spring up out of nowhere and begin to play an active role. What's far less common, however, is to see one disappear -- particularly one that has been an extremely productive and well-respected part of the community for years upon years. That, however, is essentially what happened a week ago.

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