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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 #371 Period ending 17 August 2010

OSWALD #371 Period ending 17 August 2010

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

The enormous news this week has been Oracle's patent lawsuit against Google for using Java in the Android operating system - and also the fact that such a suit was foretold many years ago (see also: More news of Android tablets and tablet like devices - I have been hanging out for ARM based Linux netbook form factors forever. Also more software patent related news.

>From my blog:

Verbatim distribution with attribution ok.

Other distribution - email me.



Brendan Scott

Open Source Law

***** Off Topic

Microsoft's 2010 software 'most complicated lock-in decision in years'

"Microsoft wants more of your money," said Burton Group analyst Guy Creese. "This is going to be a pretty complicated decision, one that may lead to lock-in. ... If you go forward with all of the 2010 products you will be a Microsoft shop for the foreseeable future because the offering is so monolithic. "

Suit alleges Disney, other top sites spied on users

A lawsuit filed in federal court last week alleges that a group of well-known Web sites, including those owned by Disney, Warner Bros. Records, and Demand Media, broke the law by secretly tracking the Web movements of their users, including children.

***** Government/Policy

Q&A with Richard Stallman

Australians should stop being distracted by the minor issue of refugees that come from Asia, and start focusing on the real threat: Tyrannical government policies that come from Asia.

A joint policy proposal for an open Internet

We have been guided by the two main goals: 1. Users should choose what content, applications, or devices they use, since openness has been central to the explosive innovation that has made the Internet a transformative medium. 2. America must continue to encourage both investment and innovation to support the underlying broadband infrastructure; it is imperative for our global competitiveness.

Rare Sharing of Data Leads to Progress on Alzheimer's

"It was unbelievable," said Dr. John Q. Trojanowski, an Alzheimer's researcher at the University of Pennsylvania. "It's not science the way most of us have practiced it in our careers. But we all realized that we would never get biomarkers unless all of us parked our egos and intellectual-property noses outside the door and agreed that all of our data would be public immediately. "

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

Oracle Sues Google Over Android: What's Up with That?

First and foremost, let's remember that for Oracle as much or more than any other company, this will be all about business, and not ideology. That means dollars and cents, which means that it's either direct revenues lost or available that are at issue, or an indirect economic motivation that has to do with a threat to, or an opportunity for, profits in some other fashion.

Free but Shackled - The Java Trap

April 12, 2004 If your program is free software, it is basically ethical--but there is a trap you must be on guard for. Your program, though in itself free, may be restricted by nonfree software that it depends on. Since the problem is most prominent today for Java programs, we call it the Java Trap. [note date]

Viacom Appeals 'Flawed' $1 Billion YouTube Verdict

When Viacom (VIA) lost its $1 billion copyright infringement lawsuit against Google-owned (GOOG) YouTube in a landmark legal decision earlier this year, there was little doubt the massive media conglomerate would appeal. And so it has.

It's Back: Totally Unnecessary And Damaging Fashion Copyright Bill Reintroduced

We've discussed over and over and over again how the fashion industry absolutely thrives without copyright protection. In fact, much of the research shows that it thrives because of the lack of copyright.

Moglen: Bilski decision set back patent reform for more than a decade

At LinuxCon, Software Freedom Law Center chairman Eben Moglen said the late June decision -- which extended to one business process the same patent protections that traditionally covered machines -- will keep trollers in business and open source companies on guard.

A weak case for software patents

The blog gives a distorted view of Red Hat's patent portfolio program in support of this argument. The argument is interesting, and suggests that there's still a steep hill to climb to get to a rational patent policy for software.

Citing Possible Bias, ACLU Asks Rader to Recuse Himself in Myriad Case

In a motion filed quietly in late June, Christopher Hansen of the American Civil Liberties Union and Daniel Ravicher claim that remarks made by Federal Circuit Chief Judge Randall Rader at a biotechnology industry event show he may have a biased view of the case in question, Association of Molecular Pathology et. al. v. U. S. Patent and Trademark Office et. al, and should not be one of the three judges to decide the appeal.

***** Applications/Gadgets

Pure fun, but not for the faint hearted

In short, it's a Linux computer the size of a pack of cigarettes. It looks like a toy laptop, but it isn't. It's fully functional. And best of all, it was only $99. I decided I had to have one.

Dell Streak Review

If you were to ask the folks at Dell they'd certainly err on the side of tablet, but this does little to change the fact that it's basically a very large example of any of the latest Android-based Smartphones you can read about here or elsewhere.

HP preps Android e-reader as WebOS tablet pushes to 2011

Yet, a HP tablet of a different kind may end up running Android after all. FCC images of an Android-based "Zeen" e-reader were recently posted by Engadget, along with subsequent tips about the device.

Asus to release Eee Tablet with Linux in October for $300

The Eee Tablet will run a Linux OS, but not Google's Android mobile operating system, which has long been the rumor. The Linux distribution on board was developed by Asustek, said Jerry Shen, CEO of Asustek, speaking with reporters after the conference.

Notion Ink Adam Coming in November, Finally

Here's a quick summary of hardware features: Android operating system; nVidia Tegra 2 GPU chipset; USB OTG [On the Go] ports which allow you to plug in and power USB flash drives and even portable hard drives...

***** Reports

Open source investment set to grow in 2010

The study by Accenture found 69% of 300 large organisations questioned anticipated increased investment into open source software.

Copyright assignment - Once bitten, twice shy

The GPL, or any other software licence, depends upon the framework of copyright law. Copyleft is a hack on copyright law that puts the rights and responsibilities back into the hands of the user.

Oracle Loves Linux, Has Advice for Improvements

The comments come as industry watchers, open source advocates and others are looking for signs of how Oracle will proceed with its new Sun assets -- and most importantly for the crowd at LinuxCon, what might happen now with Oracle pushing forward on both its Unix efforts with Sun Solaris as well as Linux. [Not suing over open source might be a good start?]

Exit costs of lock-in: Anticipate or it's too late!

When discussing 'migration' costs from one platform or piece of software to another, I noted many people fail to understand the idea of 'exit costs'.

Ubuntu and the importance of community

The Ubuntu community comprises a large group of individuals from many backgrounds, not just the stereotypical bearded geek. With such a vast and diverse group of people, there has to be some form of governance.

Linux Foundation Helps Vendors Comply with FOSS Licenses

Linux and its associated open source technologies come with an array of licenses which which enterprises need to comply. In an effort to help make license compliance an easier endeavor, the Linux Foundation today announced a new compliance program, including tools and resources for open source licensing.

Qualcomm Pushes For Less Linux Fragmentation

He added that Qualcomm's business is not about championing one particular operating mobile Linux environment over any other but, like other developers, the company faces the challenge of having to develop optimizations for Android, MeeGo and LiMO mobile Linux implementations.

Novell takes SUSE Linux to the cloud with Amazon

This new offering will be available around the world, and you can pay for using it on an hourly basis. Essentially what Novell is doing here is making AWS a SLES reseller. In the background, Novell will be doing the heavy-lifting on support, but business users will have only one throat to choke if there are any problems: AWS.

A Guest Post from IBM's Jean Staten Healy

Businesses and consumers are fast creating a mobile world -- there will be nearly one trillion Internet-connected devices in 2011 -- and open standards such as Linux are necessary to make this new world work.

Apertus: The open source cinema project

The idea of creating a free (as in free speech) and open cinema camera based on an Elphel 333 started in spring 2006

Gluster Brings Open Source to Unstructured Data

Gluster is an open source startup that most people in storage have never heard of. Yet its value proposition could spell trouble for the big boys and potentially send the prices of proprietary hardware crashing down.

LinuxCon Analysts: Linux Is Winning

"Congratulations, you're on the winning team," Jeffrey Hammond, principal analyst at Forrester Research, the LinuxCon audience. "Linux has crossed the chasm to mainstream adoption. "

Android Leads Smartphone Sales Surge in 2Q: Gartner

Smartphone sales continue to increase at a breakneck pace, according to the latest data from Gartner, and makers of Android-based devices are the clear beneficiaries as this market starts to mature and sort itself out.

Project Harmony Takes Aim at Open Source Contribution Agreements

A new effort spearheaded by Amanda Brock, general counsel at Canonical, the lead sponsor of Ubuntu Linux, is trying to help solve the problem of contribution agreements. The effort is called Project Harmony, and it's a multi-stakeholder project that aims to help provide some clarity and uniformity to software contribution agreements.

Virgin America CIO Lauds Open Source Savings

Virgin America is one of the U. S's newest airlines and its IT infrastructure is mostly open source.

***** Snippets

Easy Root App Removed From Android Marketplace

Where would we be without open source software?

Open Source and Economics: How the Hold Up Problem Explains the Flash Wars

LinuxForums Introduces Classified Section for Advertisers of Products, Software

Breaking down barriers for women in open source

Why can't free software lead to hardware innovation?

24 Addictive Free Linux Games (Part 2 of 3)

Digg, dug, buried: Linux

LinuxCon: Linux's Future in the Spotlight

How Do You Use Linux - The Survey

Canonical Begins Tracking Ubuntu Installations

Dumping Windows, moving on with Linux

LinuxCon: Exploits Show Linux Is Vulnerable

Ubuntu Probably the First Ever Linux Distro to Overshoot Popularity of Linux

Desktop Linux: Great for the Environment, Bad for Economy?

Should OpenSolaris Die?

Why Android should be in the main Linux kernel #LinuxCon

Open Source Projects that Changed the World

Study: Big Biz Falls in Love With FOSS, but Not Just 'Cause It's a Cheap Date

The consistent failure of Linux to grab even 1% of the desktop OS market

Ubuntu Kernel Developer releases Firmware Test Suite

NO JOINT INFRINGEMENT despite Strategic Partnership, Jnt. Distribution Agrmnt, Packaged Sales

War of the Peppermint Gargantuas

Is the Linux Kernel In Trouble?

AMD Gets Back To Working On The Geode Linux Driver

Open Source Business Intelligence Software Ranked by Analysts

Free Technology Academy working to offer more Free Software online teaching

Thousands Play Starcraft 2 on Linux with Wine

ON TEST: Ubuntu Netbook Edition

The Future of OpenSolaris

eWEEK Readers Stick With Windows XP

Google Enhances Android Mobile OS With Voice Commands

The final verdict is in: OpenSolaris is no more.

Linux Security, Then and Now

Linux KVM Eyes 'World Domination'
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