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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 #345 Period ending 10 February 2010

OSWALD #345 Period ending 10 February 2010

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

In IP news this week, the Australian Federal Court downs the content companies in the iiNet case - providing internet access is not, of itself, authorisation of copyright infringement. In other news, a school in NZ has switched to Open Source, and California seems to be encouraging it's adoption. Norway says that OOXML (ie the format used by recent versions of MS Office) is not suitable for their public administration. In addition, some residual news is flowing through on Oracle-Sun.

>From my blog:

Verbatim distribution with attribution ok.

Other distribution - email me.



Brendan Scott

Open Source Law

**** Off Topic

Can you trust Chinese computer equipment?

What you may not know is that the United Kingdom's MI5 -- Americans can think of this as a combination of the FBI and CIA -- has reported that the Chinese government has been giving UK executives electronics with built-in security holes.

Ultra-Precise Quantum-Logic Clock Puts Old Atomic Clock to Shame

The quantum-logic clock, which detects the energy state of a single aluminum ion, keeps time to within a second every 3. 7 billion years.

***** Government/Policy

Open source route frees the mind

"We could have free Microsoft software provided by the ministry if we wanted it but we went back to first principles," says deputy principal Mark Osborne. "As a brand-new school, we looked at our vision and values and asked whether proprietary software would help or hinder us in achieving those. "

A fight over freedom at Apple’s core

But the App Store has a catch: app developers and their software must be approved by Apple. If Apple does not like the app, for any reason, it is gone. I Am Rich was axed from the Store after it was ridiculed in the press. Another app, Freedom Time, never made it in. It counted down the days to the end of George W. Bush's US presidency, and that was deemed too politically sensitive. An e-mail reader was denied because it competed with Apple's own Mail app.

New approach sought with open source desktops

Horizons, covering a large area of the mid-North Island, has agreed to participate in the Public Sector Remix project, devised by the NZ Open Source Society.

OOXML not suitable for Norwegian government, says study

Microsoft's XML-based office document format, OOXML, does not meet the requirements for governmental use, according to a new report published by the Norwegian Agency for Public Management and eGovernment (DIFI). The agency wants to start a debate over the report as part of its work on standards in the Norwegian government.

Open Source Software - Rational or Risky Business?

I received quite a few comments this past week following the publishing of California IT Policy Letter 10-01 which formally establishes "the use of Open Source Software (OSS) in California state government as an acceptable practice. "

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

Studios crushed: ISP can't be forced to play copyright cop,iinet-wins-film-industrys-case-torn-to-shreds.aspx

In a definitive defeat for film studios--and in a first case of its kind worldwide--Australia's Federal Court has ruled that ISPs have no obligation to act on copyright infringement notices or to disconnect subscribers after receiving multiple letters.

The Google Books Settlement Culture Clash, and What About Fair Use?

Miss the point of the Internet much? I mean, really. Why would I pay to find out what Publisher's Marketplace thinks of the Google Books Settlement?

Patent nonsense

For society, however, the loss of competition through the granting sole rights to an individual or organisation is justified only if it stimulates the economy and delivers goods that change people's lives for the better.

Damages: Federal Circuit Again Demands More Substance from Damages Experts

On appeal, the Federal Circuit took issue with the damages calculation — holding that the lower court had “relied on speculative and unreliable evidence divorced from proof of economic harm linked to the claimed invention.”

Black Duck patents OSS software license conflict analysis

"I am appalled to discover this patent claims, as a novel invention, things that I've done regularly, with a mix of my brain and a computer, since at least 1999," he wrote. "I can't see how this patented process isn't obvious to everyone skilled in the arts of FLOSS license evaluation and computer programming. Indeed, the process described is so simple-minded, that it's a waste of time in my view to spend time writing a software system to do it. With a few one-off 10-line Perl programs and a few greps, I've had a computer assist me with processes like this one many times since the late 1990s. "

UCLA professors banned from posting videos online

On Nov. 30, 2009, Patricia O'Donnell, manager of Instructional Media Collections and Services, distributed a letter notifying professors that beginning winter quarter 2010, they were no longer allowed to post videos to their course Web sites using such video streaming systems as Video Furnace, which allowed teachers to manage and distribute videos online to their students.

Patent Office Grants EFF Request for Reexamination of Dangerous VOIP Patent

The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) has won reexamination of an illegitimate patent on voice-over-Internet protocol (VoIP) that could cripple the adoption of new VoIP technologies.

Remarkable third trial coming for RIAA's first P2P defendant

When Jammie Thomas (now Thomas-Rasset) became the first alleged P2P file-swapper to take her case all the way to trial and verdict, no one suspected that she would actually have three trials and verdicts, but that's the case today, as the RIAA rejected a federal judge's decision to slash Thomas-Rasset's damage award. Instead, we're headed to a truncated third trial on the issue of damages.

Patent Litigation Weekly: Shutter Closing on Massive Photo-Sharing Patent Suit

...reexamination requests filed with the United States Patent and Trademark Office by Yahoo Inc. appear to have knocked out nearly all the patent claims at issue.

***** Implementations

London Stock Exchange Linux switchover set for September

The platform is based on Linux and Unix environments and uses an Oracle database.

***** Applications/Gadgets

Facebook's "HipHop" PHP translator

Facebook has announced the release of its "HipHop" tool under the PHP license. "HipHop for PHP isn't technically a compiler itself. Rather it is a source code transformer. HipHop programmatically transforms your PHP source code into highly optimized C++ and then uses g++ to compile it.

Nokia N900 Linux tablet reviewed

iFreeTablet: the GNU/Linux Answer to the iPad

The iFreeTablet, unlike the Apple tablet priced output estimated around 600 EUR, moves around 300-400 EUR and software features can evolve with the help of the free software comunity developers.

X2 launches iTablet for Windows and Linux

X2 iTablet will run Windows or Linux

Intel taps student's robot for processor demo

The robot uses Intel's 1. 60GHz Atom Z530 and US15W chipset. It runs on the Ubuntu open-source operating system.

***** Reports

The Great Oracle Experiment

For the first time, we get to see what happens when a company that has built up an immense global business empire on the basis of its proprietary software takes over some of the most important open source projects around.

Free PR2 Robots Offered to Open Source Robotics Researchers

10 lucky research organizations will stand to benefit from Willow Garage's PR2 Beta Program, under which they will each be granted free use of one PR2 robot and earn the privilege to participate in the advancement of open source robotics development.

Android and the Linux kernel community (Android code removed from kernel)

This means that any drivers written for Android hardware platforms, can not get merged into the main kernel tree because they have dependencies on code that only lives in Google's kernel tree, causing it to fail to build in the kernel. org tree.

ARM: our netbooks will fly with or without Windows

"What's holding it back is people's love of the Microsoft operating system and that fact that it's familiar and so on. But actually the trajectory of progress in the Linux world is very, very impressive. I think it's only a matter of time for ARM to gain market share with or without Microsoft. "

Save "Sita Sings the Blues" from the Flash format: can you convert FLA?

There's only one sad thing about this for free software fans, and that's that "Sita" was made using proprietary software, and the "source code" is in a proprietary format: Adobe Flash's "FLA" format, to be precise. Paley has posted these files on the Internet Archive, but she doesn't know how to translate them into any free software friendly format (and neither do I). Can you help?

Symbian OS goes open source

Symbian has annouced that it has completed the migration of its entire platform to open source. The move, which was completed four months ahead of schedule, now makes billions of dollars of code available to developers for free.

>From Alfresco to Canonical

You can read Canonical's announcement of my appointment here, as well Alfresco's here. I am excited, humbled, and, candidly, torn by this opportunity.

Packaging Open Source, by Mark Webbink

The context of the article is specifically packaging Linux with an application into a software appliance, but the descriptions of the licenses and how they work are broadly useful in other contexts as well.

What Happened to Red Hat Exchange?

Evans added that Red Hat's channel effort through VARs and system integrators is now growing nicely, and that's why Red Hat Exchange is no more.

If Obama guts NASA, the Open Luna Foundation looks bright

The Open Luna Foundation has a plan to use open source software and hardware and most importantly an open source community methodology to put a permanent outpost on the Moon.

Sold out: Microsoft's Linux business is booming

According to Microsoft, a total of 475 customers have used an undisclosed number of the coupons. Based on those figures, each of these customers has bought, on average, just over half a million dollars worth of coupons.

Open source means freedom from 'anti-features'

Proprietary vendors are using "anti-features", features that no user would ever want, to protect intellectual property, Benjamin "Mako" Hill, from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, told the linux. conf. au open source conference last month.

Learning with the computer using open source

An American developer studying in New Zealand is using the open source Python programming language to build an educational voice and vision dialogue system as part of his doctorate thesis.

***** Snippets

Miguel de Icaza speaks

Library (of Congress) Explores Ways to Release Open Source Software

Firefox for Mobile Has Been Officially Released

Why Ubuntu server installations will surge in 2010

CodePlex Foundation Picks Paula Hunter as Executive Director

The Latest, Greatest, Scariest, and the Future of Information

Mozilla Sponsors GNOME Accessibility Efforts

Raising Money for Open Source Projects: How Can We Improve?

Happy camper

Cisco's Backdoor For Hackers

Microsoft to drop Linux, Unix versions of enterprise search

Linux Enthusiasts Raise Over $33,000 to Help Save Lives

Let your inner Video Director loose: "We're Linux" Video Contest 2010

Has the Irresistible Rise of Begun?

HTML5 Theora Video Codec for Silverlight

10 Ways that Enterprises use Linux

Linux can compete with the iPad on price, but where’s the magic?

Dell Ubuntu Order Experience

Best Linux Distributions of the Decade (2000-2009)

Top 10 areas where open source leads the way

Linux Professional Institute Partners With Novell for Linux Certs

Is Canonical Becoming The New Microsoft?

Memo to Dell: Sort Out Your Ubuntu Strategy
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