Brendan Scott
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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 #353 Period ending 6 April 2010

OSWALD #353 Period ending 6 April 2010

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

There are a heap of standards-related stories this week, with Alex Brown, the erstwhile defender of OOXML in ISO writing a blog post very critical of progress on OOXML standardisation. In the UK the BBC plans to lock out open viewers, and in the EU the digital agenda doesn't give enough recognition to open standards.

Hardly newsworthy anymore, but SCO has lost its case again, this time before a jury (an appeals court felt the decision on who owned the Unix copyrights was better decided before a jury than a judge). Who knows if they'll go third time lucky?

Given commitments, it is unlikely that another OSWALD will go out before the end of April (there is a small possibility one will go out this weekend, but don't count on it), so see you then... I will catch up missed news after that.

>From my blog:

Verbatim distribution with attribution ok.

Other distribution - email me.



Brendan Scott

Open Source Law

***** Open Standards/ODF

Digital Agenda - letter to the European Commission

We are writing to you to express our concern over the content of "Digital Agenda for Europe" that shall be presented in late April. According to information we have received the commission may not include a reference to the importance of open standards for interoperability in the final communication. Such an omission would be damaging to the interest of our members, the European software sector and users.

Alex Brown: "Without action, the entire OOXML project is now surely heading for failure"

Alex makes a number of statements, and reaches a number of conclusions, that are likely to startle those that followed the ODF-OOXML saga. The bottom line? Alex thinks that Microsoft has failed to fulfill crucial promises upon which the approval of OOXML was based. He concludes that unless Microsoft reverses course promptly, "the entire OOXML project is now surely heading for failure. "

Official Statement Objecting BBC/OFCOM Proposal

The Linux Foundation, on behalf of its members, would like to register its serious objections to the current BBC/OFCOM proposal, which would impose content management controls on new free-to-air high definition channels. The plan, which involves restrictively licensing the Huffman codes used in the electronic programme guide, would have a negative effect on open source applications and would distort the markets which have built up around those applications.

***** Off Topic

Microsoft's big gamble with free Office

In addition to the free, browser-based Office Web Apps, Microsoft is also offering PC makers the ability to install a basic version of Office on new computers. The new program, Office Starter, includes a stripped-down version of Word and Excel. PC makers, retailers and Microsoft can all make money if the PC buyer later upgrades to a paid version of Office.

***** Government/Policy

Open source textbook writing experiment in italian school

This change, when it will actually happen, will surely lighten the load on the children backs, but not necessarily the one on their parents' wallets (Adiconsum, a consumer association, said that the savings could be as low as 10%). The reason is that those digital textbooks would still be protected by full copyright, therefore traditional editors may continue to ask whatever price they want for them.

Document Freedom Day 2010 in The Netherlands

Document Freedom Day is a global day for document liberation. It will be a day of grassroots effort to educate the public about the importance of Open Document Formats and Open Standards in general. Every year on the last wednesday in March, we celebrate his day.

Hacker vows to fight Sony PS3 update, restore Linux support

He then questions the right of companies like Sony to remove advertised features from hardware after it has been sold. He asks what would happen if Apple removed Web browsing from the iPhone if an exploit was found in Safari. "Legally, they may be within their right to do so, but we have to show them it's the wrong move for the future of the product and the company. "

Italian Court OKs Preference for Open Source

The Court points out: "It is not understandable how the the choice of a Public institution with regard to a feature, and not a product . . . can be deemed as a breach of antitrust law". Furthermore, the Court clarifies that "The concepts of Free Software and software whose code can be inspected do not refer to a particular technology, brand or product, but they rather express a legal feature".

What's your school project? An alternative to Microsoft Windows!

Thumbs down for software patents in NZ

"Open source, or free, software has grown in popularity since the 1980s. Protecting software by patenting it is inconsistent with the open source model and its proponents oppose it. A number of submitters argue that there is no `inventive step' in software development, as `new' software inevitably builds on existing software. "

An open letter to Victoria A. Espinel, US "IP Czar"

I am distressed to find you considering yet more draconian measures to impose disruptive market controls on an economy which is already flailing and thrashing due to the excessive influence of corporate monopolists on government decision making. "Intellectual Property" is killing us as a society, by actively impeding the much more important and fundamental goals of "Intellectual Freedom. "

EduPunks Say School Yourself!

""What we're doing now as EduPunks is we're kind of taking the same concept, the same ethos of the punk era and we're applying it to education," says Steve Wheeler, a self-proclaimed EduPunk educator at the University of Plymouth. "We're doing it ourselves. We're using our own tools. We're bypassing the educational systems that have been put in place by the corporate companies and institutions. That's EduPunk. ""

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

Elan Asks to Block iPad Imports Over Screen Patents

Taiwanese chip and touchscreen maker Elan Microelectronics Corp. has asked the U. S. International Trade Commission to ban the import and sale of some Apple Inc. products -- including the almost-in-your-hands iPad -- alleging patent infringement.

Court: Essentially All Gene Patents Are Invalid

In a powerful move away from standard thoughts on patentability standards, the district court for the Southern District of New York has held that Myriad's patents claiming "isolated DNA" do not qualify as patentable subject matter under 35 USC 101.

Microsoft's i4i patent appeal denied

The United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit denied Microsoft's latest request, for a rehearing with 11 judges, on Thursday.

Second Circuit Rules for eBay in Counterfeit Goods Case

The Second Circuit on Thursday resolved the issue in online retailer eBay's favor, upholding the dismissal of trademark-infringement claims made by Tiffany over the sale of fake goods on the auction site. ... So long as eBay takes steps to remove listings it knows are bogus -- and isn't otherwise willfully blind to fraudulent sales -- it can avoid liability, the court ruled.

U.S. examining Apple patent claim against Google partner

The U. S. International Trade Commission will look into Apple Inc. 's complaint against HTC Corp. , a key partner of Google Inc. that makes mobile phones based on the Internet giant's software.

With Trial Win, DataTreasury Licensing Campaign Gets Boost

"This particular case involves check processing, which every bank in the nation has been doing for 200 years," says Bartlett. "And yet [DataTreasury] somehow got a patent on it. "

***** Implementations

The Large Hadron Collider switches on- the end of the world will be powered by GNU/Linux

I am particularly pleased too because free software will be at the heart of this colossal human endeavour. GNU/Linux has been, is and will continue to power CERN's efforts.

***** Applications/Gadgets

Why have an Iphone if you can have a Bphone? Linux, rotating screen, Cool

The first MeeGo release

Today is the culmination of a huge effort by the worldwide Nokia and Intel teams to share the MeeGo operating system code with the open source community.

Cool: fastest linux on the road

This is the Mavizen electrical superbike, and it runs a custom Linux operating system!

***** Reports

Novell Wins! SCO Loses!,1518,686622,00.html

"Ding Dong! The SCO is dead. Which old SCO? The Wicked SCO! Ding Dong! The Wicked SCO is dead!"Yes, it's true. After just more than 7-years of SCO lawsuits, SCO has lost its last real chance of causing Linux and the companies that support it-IBM; Novell, and Red Hat--any real trouble."In a U.S. District Court decision that came down today, March 30th, 2010 , the jury confirmed that Novell, and not SCO, owned Unix's copyrights. Without the copyrights, SCO has nothing."

The Taxes of the Tech World - Linux, Microsoft, and More!

Recently Dell began denying purchasers of their Linux desktop machines the ability to get a refund on their "Windows Tax", the carefully hidden cost of Windows included in the price of the machine they just purchased. So why are they doing this? Well, they claim that Windows doesn't cost them anything. In some ways that's actually true, but not in the same way Linux is free.

GNU/Linux and freedom: non-free software hidden in your GNU/Linux distribution

Most people with an interest in software freedom will turn to GNU/Linux as their operating system of choice. Few realize however, that the vast majority of GNU/Linux distros are not entirely free. Imagine migrating away from Windows, only to find that by installing GNU/Linux you are accepting a restrictive Microsoft license!

Mozilla’s Q1 2010 Analyst Report – State of the Internet

While we are careful to ensure the data we collect and metrics we track are fairly limited, we feel compelled to share and evangelize the little wisdom we're able to extract from our numbers.

Lexmark's Linux Secret

There is one printer manufacturer though that as of last year has begun supporting Linux from top to bottom with their entire line-up of printers. Not only are they providing CUPS drivers, but also they are even printing Tux in the corner of every box they ship right besides the Windows and Apple logos. Do you know who we are talking about? Probably not, but it's Lexmark.

You may want to avoid hacking your open source CMS

According to Gottlieb, when The Onion went with Drupal 4. 7, they had to "hack the core" to allow for the high visitor volume they expected to their very funny and popular website. What The Onion couldn't anticipate was that Drupal would eventually solve this problem. The trouble was that by the time they released updated versions, The Onion's hacked version was so different from the original, it could no longer afford to upgrade without sacrificing its substantial customizations.

Enforcement of the GNU GPL in Germany and Europe

GPL enforcement is successful in Europe. In several court decisions and out of court settlements the license conditions of the GPL have been successfully enforced. In particular, embedded systems are the main focus of such compliance activities. The article describes the practice of enforcement activities and the legal prerequisites under the application of German law.

Open Innovation's Challenge: Letting Go Is Hard To Do

But the tighter their control, the harder it is to attract outside participation. Sharing seems particularly challenging for large companies that are used to having their own way and running their own ecosystems.

Enterprise cloud put to the test

we invited cloud vendors to provide us with 20 CPUs that would be used for five instances of Windows 2008 Server and five instances of Red Hat Enterprise Linux - two CPUs per instance. We also asked for a 40GB internal or SAN/iSCSI disk connection, and 1Mbps of bandwidth from our test site to the cloud provider. And we required a secure VPN connection.

***** Snippets

7 Cool Firefox Ad-ons

A community of FOSS lawyers?

OpenSSL 1.0.0 released

Oracle's Linux Server Slant

The GPLv3 in Plain English – The Parts Microsoft Worries About

NVIDIA Drops Xf86-video-nv Support: No Open Source for New Cards

QA with IBM's Dan Frye: "Everything Has Changed"

Solaris Is Dead. Long Live Linux

The iPad's Linux Competition

One Android To Rule Them All?

What will come after Linux?

PlayStation Pull-Back Hurts Inexpensive Supercomputing

IE Extends Its Slide in March; Other Browsers Gain
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