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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 #349 Period ending 11 March 2010

OSWALD #349 Period ending 11 March 2010

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

Well, no signs of ARM smartbooks, . Lots of government related stories this week, with a number of stories commenting on Indonesia getting beaten up for promoting Open Source. Other major news stories include a take over bid for Novell (some stories allege the bidders have a history of breaking up the companies they take over) and a patent suit by Apple against HTC (which has upset a lot of people). There are two articles titled "Good Artists Copy, Great Artists Steal". One about Steve Jobs, the second by Jonathan Schwarz. The Schwartz article is valuable because it provides an insight into how patent protectionism works.

>From my blog:

Verbatim distribution with attribution ok.

Other distribution - email me.



Brendan Scott

Open Source Law

***** Other

137 years of Popular Science Magazine now online

A special shout out to our tipster @RussHogg who told us the entire 137 year archive of Popular Science Magazine is now available for online free browsing. You can view the entire collection's issues as they appeared at time of publication. It's definitely fun to go back in time and view cutting edge science throughout the years.

Google Responds To Privacy Concerns With Unsettlingly Specific Apology [The Onion]

Responding to recent public outcries over its handling of private data, search giant Google offered a wide-ranging and eerily well-informed apology to its millions of users Monday.

Internet overtakes print in news consumption among Americans

The Internet has surpassed newspapers as a primary way for Americans to get news, according to the Pew Internet and American Life Project.

***** Off Topic

Dell Mistakenly Charges $100k For Linux Netbook

As can be seen in the screenshot above, Dell is asking over $100,000 for the Linux version of its Mini 10n netbook, which can't be right (we hope).

Roasted Laptop

I was in one of those moods yesterday, and dug out the laptop and managed to figure out how to take the thing apart and get the video card out. I wound the oven up to 200 degrees C and put the card in for 9 minutes. I figured I had nothing else to lose.

***** Government/Policy

Document Freedom Day 2010

What if you couldn't read your private letters anymore, or even open that album with pictures from your honeymoon? What if you couldn't exchange those files with friends, because the software used by each one of you can't talk to each other? To help you make your documents future-proof, we celebrate Document Freedom Day on March 31.

Vermont Adopts Open Source Software Policy

That calculus has become more complex -- and potentially more attractive -- for public-sector CIOs like Tucker who are trying to keep IT services afloat with diminished budgets. The rise of open source software that comes packaged with vendor support is especially attractive, Tucker said, because cash-strapped government agencies wouldn't have to add staff for support and management.

Senate Leader Blasts Tech Industry, Plans Net Freedom Law

"I will introduce legislation that would require Internet companies to take reasonable steps to protect human rights or face civil or criminal liability," Durbin said.

Urgent: Please Help Head Off Website Blocking in UK

Lib Dem peers are seeking to amend the Digital Economy Bill to allow site blocking for copyright infringement. This could lead to unwanted blocking of sites accused of copyright infringement, including sites like Youtube, and a massive chilling effect as any site with user generated content could easily fall foul of provisions like this.

EFF: Unintended Consequences - Twelve Years Under the DMCA

EFF's report details the numerous harms stemming from the DMCA's ban on circumventing DRM, including Apple's attempts to lock down the iPhone and force users into its App Store. Also new in this year's report is the account of hobbyists threatened by Texas Instruments for blogging about potential modifications to the company's programmable graphing calculators as well as the story behind the legal attacks on Real DVD and other products that create innovative new ways for consumers to enjoy DVD content they have legitimately purchased.

Linux Australia Funds Important Legal Research on Free Software Compliance

So, if you, not holding copyright, see someone breaching the GPL, you can't sue them in copyright to enforce compliance.

SCALE 8x: Free software legal issues

Fontana proposed several steps that vendors, projects, and distributions could take to better rationalize the system. These players should discuss and hopefully come to broad agreement on the boundaries between free and non-free behavior -- acts such as nominally free projects shipping non-free code, putting portions of their code under non-free licenses, or applying anti-free interpretations to the licenses.

N. Korea develops operating system with Windows-like GUI, Linux guts

The North Korean government appears to have developed its own graphical Linux-based "Red Star" operating system, though its people still prefer that symbol of Yankee high-tech imperialism, Microsoft Windows.

The OSI Categorically Rejects IIPA's special pleadings against Open Source

Singling out a single country like Indonesia for policies that can be found across the European Union (not to mention within US civilian, academic, military, and intelligence communities) is a blatant case of selective enforcement, one which hides the absurdity of the claims by the narrowness of their application. The sheer hypocrisy of the claims made by the IIPA should cause anybody to doubt the merits of those claims

Victoria expands Linux e-voting rollout

The machine must be able to run Linux, as the commission has requested Linux drivers for the components. "

78% of adults believe Internet access a fundamental right; 50% want no regulation

Four of every five adults believe access to the Internet is a fundamental right, and more than half believe it should never be regulated, according to a new survey.

Open Source Saves the Day (and Lots of Dosh)

It's really got everything: yet another troubled child support system that never worked properly, with an open source solution not only addressing most of the problems, but doing it at a tiny fraction - as in *one-thousandth* - of the cost. Amazing.

Electronics Manufacturers Use US Legal System to Thwart Hardware ‘Hacks’‘hacks&

Electronics manufacturers are taking legal action against users in the United States who communicate how to unlock or "hack" hardware devices. However, manufacturers' use of their hired legal guns to crack down on hacking, which they say infringes on their intellectual property ownership rights, is a point of debate.

Special 301: FOSS users. Now we're all Communists and Criminals

The culprit this time is something called "Special 301", an annual review of the status of foreign intellectual property laws carried out under the auspices of the Office of the US Trade Representative (USTR) which is an Executive Office of the President. It's definition of criminal would make criminals of every single user of FOSS.

Michael Geist to keynote PublicACTA April 10 (NZ)

"New Zealand has emerged as a leading global voice on ACTA and I'm delighted to have the chance to participate in this important event.

China not expected to sign ACTA

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

Apple Sues HTC for Patent Infringement

The lawsuit was filed concurrently with the U. S. International Trade Commission (ITC) and in U. S. District Court in Delaware.

Steve Jobs 1996: Great Artists Steal (video) [Re: HTC suit]

The comment was made during a 1996 PBS documentary called "Triumph of the Nerds," and looks a smidge hypocritical in light of today's events. As does this one: "We have always been shameless about stealing great ideas."

Updated: New Zealand seeks to restrain ACTA

He says with respect to the requirement of a three strikes policy for ISPs as a pre-requisite for safe harbour, "New Zealand is opposed to the condition altogether".

Dow Jones Baloney

This copy is for your personal, non-commercial use only. Distribution and use of this material are governed by our Subscriber Agreement and by copyright law. For non-personal use or to order multiple copies, please contact Dow Jones Reprints at 1-800-843-0008 or visit

Copyright infringement - inside the legal minefield

The real question in the case was whether the fact that iiNet's customers were file sharing unlicensed copies of films and TV shows over iiNet's internet connections meant that iiNet had a responsibility to stop them doing so. If it did not do that AFACT said, it had effectively condoned that infringement and was liable itself.

Joint European Parliament ACTA Transparency Resolution Tabled, Vote on Wednesday

A joint resolution on Transparency and State of Play of ACTA negotiations from virtually all party groups in the European Parliament was tabled earlier today. It will debated tonight and faces a vote on Wednesday. If approved, the resolution marks a major development in the fight over ACTA transparency.

***** Applications/Gadgets

Who Needs Exchange Anyway? cebit/20100302 newsletter cebit.html

Zarafa is a complete Open Source groupware suite that can be used as a drop-in Microsoft Exchange replacement for webbased mail, calendaring, collaboration and tasks. The features include IMAP/POP3 and iCal/CalDAV capabilities, native mobile phone support, the ability to integrate with existing Linux mail servers, a full set of programming interfaces, and a comfortable look and feel using modern Ajax technologies.

Sub $200 Android tablets arrives: is the iPad doomed?

The new 7 Inch Archos tablet running Android on the other hand is clearly aiming at the iPad crowd. Its major selling point: the price, with some models going for as low as $179 (for the 2GB version), less than half the price of the iPad

Intel's New Convertible Classmate PC Doubles as E-Reader

It is available with either Microsoft Windows or Linux operating system.

Google releases "Living Stories" code

For all of the advances and changes brought about by online publishing, the way that news is reported online has changed remarkably little from print days. The speed of publishing has changed, and readers are able to access information on new and exciting devices: But the actual layout of a news story has remained more or less static.

Rugged railroad computer runs Linux

The Linux-compatible MicroSpace MPCX28R is suitable for passenger infotainment, security, and other railway applications, says Kontron.

Google open sources reMail

According to reMail founder and Gmail Product Manager Gabor Cselle, the iPhone OS mail client is being open sourced because he and his team will instead be focusing on other projects at Google.

FBReader - e-book reader for Linux desktops

Cortus - Is this the smallest ever CPU core running Linux?

Availability of uCLinux for the APS3 family of processors has been announced by Cortus. This version of Linux is ideally suited to low-power, high-performance, embedded systems. The APS3 family of processors comprises modern, powerful processors, specifically designed for embedded systems, featuring a tiny silicon footprint, says the company.

***** Reports

Multimedia Codecs and Moral Quandaries

Fortunately, those voices are few and far between these days (either that, or they've moved onto other, "Freer" distributions), and Ubuntu developers are able to place pragmatism before philosophy when it comes to putting proprietary hardware drivers and other essential closed-source software in the Ubuntu repositories. [OSL: This is not to be wished]

Linux Fund Brings Spend -and-Support Model to the UK

Last July, the Linux Foundation hit on the bright idea of combining many geeks' favorite activities -- supporting Linux and buying geek gear -- with a Tux-themed Visa Card that donates back to Open Source advocacy. The Linux Fund has been offering their own card since 2007, and as of Friday, is extending the opportunity to the UK.

Free Live Streaming from CeBIT Open Source Forum

For the second time in a row, CeBIT will be devoting an entire section to the topic of open source. The event will be supported by international industry associations and representative bodies such as the Linux Foundation, Linux International, the Free Software Foundation Europe and the LIVE Linux Association.

Linux is doing just fine on servers

Today, many businesses buy generic x86 servers and then add Linux to them. Many of the companies I know have made Linux servers out of older servers or workstations. Still others buy cheap new x86 servers without any operating system and then put a free Linux distribution on them.

Novell Soars on Takeover Offer;jsessionid=THAFLERXQNTMRQE1GHRSKH4ATMY32JVN

Novell shares soared 28 percent in after-hours trading today after institutional stockholder Elliott Associates offered to purchase the entire company for $5. 75 a share in cash, or $1 billion.

Ubuntu One Music Store is Coming to Rock Your World

The news has been confirmed. Ubuntu One Music Store is how it is going to be called. And it will be there by default in Rythmbox Music Player in Ubuntu Lucid 10. 04.

Open-source hardware takes baby steps toward the gadget mainstream

Always Innovating Inc. , for example, encourages outsiders to contribute to the development of its ARM-processor-based tablet/netbook hybrid, the Touch Book. Weighing 1. 8 lbs. , the device features a touch screen, a removable keyboard and a customized Linux operating system distribution. It can run for 10 hours on a single battery charge.

Open-Source Software: Bad, Evil and Un-American

The IIPA recently submitted its Orwellian-sounding "2010 Special 301 Report on Copyright Protection & Enforcement," an annual review of intellectual property protection and market access practices in foreign countries, to the U. S. Trade Representative. Ten countries make the "priority watch list" of naughty boys this year (down from 13 last year), including Indonesia.

Ubuntu 10.04 To Support iPhone/iPod Touch?

Several users have reported that upon installing the third alpha release of Ubuntu 10. 04 Lucid Lynx, their iPod Touches and iPhones are recognised by the operating system. You can browse your iPhone/iPod with the file manager, and Rythmbox can work with them as well.

Ubuntu's Linux Retail Strategy Gears Up for 2010

"Retail is a tricky environment, but we are seeing growth there," Silber said. "I don't expect it in the form of a box set of Ubuntu, but I expect it in the form of Ubuntu pre-installed on machines that consumers are buying in retail environments. "

Of Android and the Fear of Fragmentation

Keep in mind that part of the impetus for the Android foray in the first place was to get mobile OS development moving more rapidly. So here we are, with rapid iterations (multiple OS upgrades in under a year!) and yes, some growing pains.

Microsoft, I-O Data in patent deal

"We're pleased to reach this agreement with I-O Data," said David Kaefer, Microsoft general manager of intellectual property, in a statement announcing the latest deal. "Microsoft has a strong track record of collaboration with companies running Linux-based offerings, and this agreement is a reflection of our commitment to partner with industry leaders around the world. "

Novell profits increase in 2010's first quarter

Despite posting a slight fall in sales, network group Novell saw its profits and doubled earnings per share increase in the first quarter of 2010.

Guest post: 2010 - Threats to copyleft

The heart of the problem does not lie in the number of licenses, but in their incompatibility. I do not think that license proliferation is a failure of the FLOSS movement, it is rather the entire contrary: a testimony of the attractiveness of FLOSS models.

[Simon Phipps'] Last Day At Sun

I've not decided what to do next (well, apart from sell photos!), but I see so many friends finding exciting opportunities that I'm not especially concerned for now. I intend to keep blogging, so I doubt anything I do will be much of a secret.

Why I don't Use Apple products

As a scientist, I see evidence everyday about how the openness of ideas and technology have positively affected society and prompted further innovation. One person or company makes a discovery and other groups are able to refine the discovery and make new discoveries using the previous advancement.

Good Artists Copy, Great Artists Steal

So when they created their web application platform, . NET, it was obvious their designers had been staring at Java - which was exactly my retort. "We've looked at . NET, and you're trampling all over a huge number of Java patents. So what will you pay us for every copy of Windows?" Bill explained the software business was all about building variable revenue streams from a fixed engineering cost base, so royalties didn't fit with their model. . . which is to say, it was a short meeting.

Magnatune sends check to GNOME Foundation thanks to Rhythmbox

A long while ago, I pledged Magnatune to pay 10% of its sales due to Rhythmbox (a fantastic music player for Linux), back to the GNOME Foundation. Today, I wrote the check.

CodePlex refresh, FOSS projects more compatible with Windows

The function of the organization is to encourage more commercial software vendors to get involved with open source software development. Microsoft's role in forming the CodePlex foundation reflects the company's growing acceptance of the open source development model and willingness to collaborate with other commercial vendors on open source technology.

IE Drops Like a Rock, Eroded by Chrome and Firefox

Janco notes that from February 2009 to February 2010, IE dropped 6. 21%, from 70. 99% to 64. 78%. "The major findings are that in the last 12 months Microsoft's browser market share has continued to erode - Microsoft lost over 6% in the last 12 months;

***** Snippets

Watching the Sun Set

An open letter to Dell regarding Ubuntu, or “go big or go home”

CodeWeavers Releases Crossover Office 9.0 for MAC and Linux

Taxing every citizen for Microsoft Windows problems? Are we insane?

Fighting a Flood of Counterfeit Tech Products

Windows Security Gets Boost from Open Source ClamAV

Codeplex Foundation: The High School Musical Of Open Source?

CeBIT 2010: Linux Foundation's Jim Zemlin Outlines Reasons for Linux's Success

Linux and kids: What are the best ways to teach children about open source?

Analysis: How to get Linux to boot in one second

More Linux and BSD insight into Intel i830m video from David Gurvich

BBC claims angry iPlayer plugin mob 'conflated' open source term

Google open source guru says Android code will be in Linux kernel in time

Moonlight's Olympic-sized failure,2001102868,339301546,00.htm

Google sheds light on Chrome OS Netbook security

400,000+ lines added in Linux 2.6.34-rc1 kernel

The Linux desktop is already here

Microsoft's Internet Driving Licence: stupid, unworkable and unenforceable

VirnetX's future depends on Microsoft lawsuit
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