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The Open Source Law Weekly Digest or OSWALD first launched late in 2002. Since then it has been regularly providing updates on all things open source related. The focus of this newsletter is on business, rather than technical developments in open source. Another strong component of the newsletter is IP news, as it is of interest to me and has an effect on open source.

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OSWALD #341 Period ending 13 January 2010

OSWALD #341 Period ending 13 January 2010

Welcome to the Open Source Law Weekly Open Source Digest (OSWALD)

With the advent of CES this edition has a lot of applications related stories, with everyone being particuarly excited by Google's Android Phone Nexus One. There has also been a fair bit of noise about qualcomm powered smartbooks which are due to hit the market over the next six months. An academic report suggest that a disproportionate number of IT litigants are patent trolls.

>From my blog:

Verbatim distribution with attribution ok.

Other distribution - email me.



Brendan Scott

Open Source Law

***** Year in Review/Year in Prospect

Year in Prospect,339028299,339300347,00.htm

Year in Review

***** Open Standards/ODF

Dedication to Open Source and Open Standards Threatened in Leaked EU EIF Document

A leaked version of the EIF version 2 has raised serious alarm among open source and open standard advocates. ComputerWorld UK writer Glyn Moody describes one aspect of the changes: "But it gets worse: not content with totally eliminating the concrete definitions of open standards in Version 1, Version 2 then goes on to re-define 'closed' as just another shade of openness, but without any of the openness. "

Microsoft joins IE SVG standards party

Microsoft has applied to join a World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) Scalable Vector Graphics working group, IE senior program manager Patrick Dengler has blogged.

Here We Go Again: Video Standards War 2010

With the multiyear HD DVD Blu-ray battle still a recent memory, we have a new standards face off in video, just as we do in eBooks, and just as it looks like we may in on-line print, where a new consortium led by the News Corporation and others is launching a standards-based "digital newsstand. " All of these devices, of course, are targeted at you and I, and each has the potential to not only extend the woes of the music/video/print vendors behind these standards battles, but to waste your money and mine as well.

***** Off Topic

Microsoft dumps upgrade pricing for Office 2010

Microsoft today disclosed retail prices for Office 2010, and said it has no plans to offer "upgrade" editions -- the discounted versions for users who already have an earlier edition on their PCs.

Windows goes rental

In short, Microsoft isn't making it possible to rent its software. You still need to buy it, before you can 'rent' it out to other users.

***** Government/Policy

Monty Still Trying to "Save" MySQL

You can read the latest missive on Widenius' blog. The petition and arguments against the acquisition are at HelpMySQL. org.

Danish Schoolchildren Complaints About OpenOffice

In Denmark in an open letter to the mayor, city council and the IT manager in Lyngby-Taarbaek Municipality, the Virum School student council is now targeting sharp criticism against the decision to replace Microsoft Office with OpenOffice.

LCA 2010: Boost for open govt mini-conf

Conference co-organiser Susanne Ruthven announced on the conference mailing list that Laurence Millar, former chief information officer for New Zealand, Stephen Schmid from the office of the chief information officer Australia and Andrew Stott, director of digital engagement for the United Kingdom, would all be speaking at the miniconference titled "Open and the Public Sector".

On Selling Exceptions to the GNU GPL

The practice of selling license exceptions became a hot topic when I co-signed Knowledge Ecology International's letter warning that Oracle's purchase of MySQL (plus the rest of Sun) might not be good for MySQL.

California blesses open source as 'acceptable'

California's official open-source policy doesn't make its adoption mandatory, but California citizens may take heart that it's now acceptable for the state to save them money by intelligent adoption of open-source software. Perhaps this will spark increased adoption of open source within the state.

***** Patent/CR/DRM News+Policy

Green Dam Is Named in U.S. Piracy Lawsuit

A $2.2 billion lawsuit that targets the Chinese government and several international computer makers is the latest twist in the saga of China's controversial Green Dam software, which last year was introduced to filter Internet content on individual computers.

Microsoft asks for rehearing in Word case – but why?

France considers taxing Google and other Internet portals,0,2042038.story

Officials say the levy would level the playing field between online firms that offer free music and films and the publishers that lose revenue as a result. [Compare: "all successful innovators should be taxed to level the playing field between the innovators and the old firms that lose revenue as a result"]

Patent Trolls: They Do Exist

The database helped Mark Lemley, the William H. Neukom Professor of Law and the director of the Law, Science Technology Program, determine that patent trolls account for nearly 30% of suits in the IT industry, depending on who is defined as a troll, he said. The clearinghouse data shows that trolls are "disproportionately owners of the most-litigated patents -- the ones that show up in dozens of different lawsuits," he added.

Help Stop EU Software Patents – Again

The European Parliament voted 648 to 14 to reject the Computer Implemented Inventions Directive. The bill was reportedly rejected because, politicians said, it pleased no-one in its current form. Responding to the rejection the European Commission said it would not draw up or submit any more versions of the original proposal.

Software Auditors Crack Down As Recession Bites

The report, entitled "Surviving A Software License Audit", reveals that the economic recession has prompted software vendors to crack down on compliance in an attempt to ensure they get every penny of revenue to which they are entitled. Vendors are also delivering an ever-widening list of reasons for alleged non-compliance, according to Forrester analyst Duncan Jones.

Wikipedia Citations in Patents Up 59 Percent

The number of U. S. patents issued last year that contain one or more references to Wikipedia articles totaled 809, a 59 percent jump from 2008.

Google could be granted copyright immunity in UK law

Conservative Lord Lucas is proposing a specific new clause so that. . . "Every provider of a publicly accessible website shall be presumed to give a standing and non-exclusive license to providers of search engine services to make a copy of some or all of the content of that website, for the purpose only of providing said search engine services . . . "A provider of search engine services who acts in accordance with this section shall not be liable for any breach of copyright. . . "

Head of Microsoft-beating i4i explains next moves in XML lawsuit

But Owen says that is not the case at all and points out that the judges found that Microsoft "wilfully" infringed the patent. It turns out that the two companies are not strangers.

South Butt Creator Fires Back at North Face

According to its motion filed in December in the U. S. District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri, North Face says Winkelmann, a biomedical engineering student, has caused it "irreparable harm" by producing his parody clothing line, The South Butt (motto: "Never Stop Relaxing").

***** Applications/Gadgets

Freescale Unveils A Smartbook Tablet Running Android And Linux At CES 2010

Freescale Semiconductor has unveiled for CES 2010 the future of the smartbook category with a tablet reference design featuring a 7-inch touch screen with up to four times the viewing area of a typical smartphone and based on a form factor that is approximately one-third the size and volume of today's typical netbook.

Move over BoxeeBox, here comes PopBox!

All three run embedded Linux OSes, and all are expected to sell for less than $200.

Lenovo shows off Skylight

Using the ARM chip architecture, Lenovo's Linux device represents a significant move away form the common Intel/Microsoft Windows model for computers.

Google Rolls Out Nexus One, Its Rival to the iPhone

The Nexus One, which was built by HTC, a Taiwanese electronics manufacturer, has a 3. 7-inch screen and runs the latest version of Google's Android operating system.

Linux e-reader boasts 11.5-inch display

The Skiff Reader's display is claimed to be the largest (11. 5 inches) and highest-resolution (UXGA) among e-readers, and the first to offer LG Displays' stainless-steel foil display technology, touted for greater durability.

TinyOgg: convert Youtube videos to Ogg

TinyOgg is a service designed to get rid of Flash-based videos by converting them to the free Ogg format. It is not the only service to accomplish this, but it exists to replace some existing services that are built upon non-free, non-published source code.

CES: Lenovo unveils hybrid tablet laptop with 'two brains'

But pull off the 11. 6-inch multi-touch-enabled screen, and it powers up as a full tablet in its own right, running Lenovo's custom Skylight touch-enabled version of Linux via a 1GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon ARM chipset and a reported 16GB of flash memory.

The next generation of Linux notebooks arrives at CES

As 2010 dawns though, Lenovo and HP are both back in the pre-installed desktop Linux game.

Freescale's Linux smartbook aims to take bite out of Apple

Semiconductor maker Freescale will this week announce the outline of a cheap rival device it hopes will be adopted by computer makers to boost its in-house chip technology.

New SUSE/Moblin Linux netbook from MSI arrives

How well will Novell do at this? Today, on January 7th, at the CES (Consumer Electronics Association), we'll find out. MSI is releasing the first shipping of SUSE Moblin on its MSI U135 netbook.

Iomega iConnect Revealed [Wireless Data Station Lets Your Thumb Drives Act As NAS's]

The iConnect is compatible with Windows, Mac and Linux

Linux, Loss, Laptops, and Lower Costs. Oh, and value too.

Dell Picks AT&T for Android Smartphone

Dell today announced it has chosen AT&T as its exclusive U. S. carrier for its upcoming lineup of Android-based smartphones, known as the Mini 3. Dell has already chosen China Mobile, Vodafone and Claro Brazil as partners outside the U. S.

EtherPad source code is free, now what?

The source code release came on December 17, accompanied by the proclamation that AppJet's goal "is to let the world run their own etherpad servers so that the functionality can live on even after we shut down etherpad. com. "

The $99 Cherrypal laptop - it runs Linux and you can buy it RIGHT NOW (but is it for real)

The way the company both hits the $99 price point and makes a little profit at the same time is to a) ship with free, open-source Linux and b) offer minimum specs but actually build the laptops with whatever the cheapest components are at any given time.

Songbird Preinstalled on Philips GoGear Players

The browser and Songbird music player developed out of the Mozilla project have come together in a cooperative framework with Philips in the 2010 models of their GoGear MP3 player series.

Notion Ink Adam stripped bare and our in-depth video hands-on

Come past the break to find out more about buttery smooth 1080p playback (with a handy HDMI out), Notion Ink's plans for modifying the Android OS, and more on the likely pricing of the device which is set to land in quarter two of 2010.

H.P. Working on ‘Half-Pint’ Android Tablet

Hewlett Packard is working on numerous tablet devices that will come in a variety of sizes, shapes and operating systems, including Windows 7, Google's Android, and possibly the open-source operating system Linux.

Dell Toughens Up With Ruggedized OptiPlex PC

The OptiPlex XE supports Microsoft Windows 7, Vista, XP, POSReady1 for point-of-sale systems and Ubuntu Linux.

Lenovo spins Snapdragon Android phone

Lenovo unveiled a Qualcomm Snapdragon-based Android smartphone aimed for a 1H 2010 release in China, says eWEEK.

***** Reports

Smartbook Playing Field Wide Open for Linux

In the meantime, a new buzzword may be dominant at the Vegas electronics show: smartbooks. First seen from Sharp in November with their NetWalker PC-71 device, these handhelds are, as you might expect from the name, somewhere between a smartphone and a netbook. These ultra-small devices are always connected to the Internet via 3G cellular networks and will provide productivity apps, via their Linux platforms, for users.

Apache Ready to Unleash Another Decade of Innovation

The Apache Software Foundation has arguably been the leading force for open-source software (OSS) over the last 10 years and promises to continue being a force in the new decade.

FSF's LibrePlanet and GNU Hackers Meeting to be held at Harvard Science Center March 19-21, 2010

The Free Software Foundation (FSF) has announced the 2010 dates for its LibrePlanet international free software community conference. The three day event will be held in Cambridge, Massachusetts, at the Harvard University Science Center, from March 19th to March 21st, 2010.

Does VMware buying Zimbra from Yahoo make sense?

We don't know for certain that VMware, the giant proprietary virtualization company, is buying Zimbra, the open-source e-mail server company, from Yahoo -- that's just the news from the rumor mill.

Microsoft: an end to open hostilities?

First branded as a communist plot, then derided as a form of cancer, before being upgraded to merely a 'grey spectre', free and open source software (FOSS) has had a pretty rough ride from Microsoft over the years.

Linux gives me confidence

Then and there I realised something. I had such confidence in the Linux operating system that even though I was not sure exactly how to save such a completely borked upgrade I was sure I could.

Fujitsu Gets, Gives Value to Linux

So how did Fujitsu, a company with a strong history selling mainframes with proprietary operating systems, become such a leader in the Linux ecosystem?

On Copyright Assignment

First off: there's no right answer. Just like I say during my licensing talks at conferences: it (licensing or copyright assignment) is a choice that needs to be made, and that choice needs to be compatible with your goals, your morals, your business needs (if any), your sense of community (if any) and your desire to deal with administrative details.

How Social Networking Works

How do the social networks manage millions of users and hundreds of millions of updates? The answers lie in open-source software and thousands of servers. Let's take a look behind the doors of a few top social networks -- Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, and MySpace -- and see exactly how they pull their tricks off.

Red Hat CEO On Recession, Virtualization, Ballmer;jsessionid=CH3HVROL3NLHTQE1GHPCKH4ATMY32JVN?articleID=222200556&pgno=1&queryText=&isPrev=

Whitehurst said many Linux conversions have been from Unix in the past, but during the recession, "more and more conversions [come] from Windows users. "

Microsoft offers Oracle-phobes MySQL migration tool

In the past, Microsoft has worked hard to improve the Window performance of open-source database MySQL, hoping to stop the deployment drain from Windows to Linux. But now, Microsoft has released early software to help bring MySQL users into the closed-source company's database fold.

***** Snippets

Chrome: Linux's best Web browser?

8 of the Best Free Linux Business Intelligence Software

Shipping Version of Presto Linux Makes Netbook Users Long for the Beta

Does Android 2.0 Really Have MS Exchange Support?

The Great Open Source Netbook Interface Race

ASTRO - Android file manager

The GPL Barter Cycle - A Graphic

The Linux Commercial Contest

Avatar Movie Made Possible With Linux

Linux on Netbooks - with PICTURES!,1000000567,10014719o-2000498448b,00.htm

jolicloud - another Linux for Netbooks,1000000567,10014763o-2000498448b,00.htm

Android, Not Microsoft Slate, Big Winner at CES: Analysts

When One Linux Project Wins, All Linux Triumphs
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