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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 #373 Period ending 31 August 2010

OSWALD #373 Period ending 31 August 2010

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

Well, just when you thought patent stuff couldn't get any worse, Paul Allen has initiated patent claims against all and sundry. That, and ongoing stories about Oracle v Google, have been the major stories this week. Good news though, with a patent on an HIV drug invalidated. Bad luck to all you people who died in the meantime because you couldn't get access to the patented therapies.

Good news for the Brits, whose government has released some source code back for Drupal. Bad news for the Aussies, with a story saying that Australian governments don't know how to buy open source. Microsoft says they love open source, even though "Linux is a cancer that attaches itself in an intellectual property sense to everything it touches."

>From my blog:

Verbatim distribution with attribution ok.

Other distribution - email me.



Brendan Scott

Open Source Law

***** Off Topic

Upgrading to Windows 7 isn't Cheap

A recent Gartner report showed what many of us already knew: Moving to Windows 7 from XP is expensive.

Retro computers on display to fans at festival

More than 2,000 retro-computing fans have descended on Bletchley Park for Britain's first Vintage Computer Festival hosted by the National Museum of Computing.

***** Government/Policy

The United Kingdom Switches to Drupal and Releases Source Code

In keeping with the spirit of free and open source software, the government of the UK made some additions to Drupal. They have released these additions as free software to the development community. The code released is a Drupal CKAN module.

Aussie Govts don’t know how to buy open source

Despite the potential benefits, however, government uptake of open source is surprisingly low. Why? Because government purchasing practices inadvertently hinder the procurement of open source. Government purchasing guidelines favour business models that build closed systems and apply lock-in tactics over the sharing and collaborative business practices used by open source communities.

The Made-To-Order revolution: custom flexible manufacturing is here

However, ever since the computer was invented, the trend has been slowly reversing. Programmable machines can make many different parts instead of just repetitively churning out the same ones. For many years the cost and flexibility advantages of this were taken up by industry, because the equipment was still very expensive. But by the turn of the 21st century, most manufacturing equipment for most kinds of consumer products had gotten down to the budget of a small shop or a very serious hobbyist.

IBM and EU Partner to Enable the Digitization of Historic European Texts on a Massive Scale

Unlike past digitization projects where the result has been static, online libraries of texts, this unique widescale effort, called IMPACT (IMProving ACcess to Text), will offer new tools and best practices to institutions across Europe that will enable them to efficiently and accurately continue to produce quality digital replicas of historically significant texts and make them widely available, editable and searchable online.

Tim Berners-Lee: The year open data went worldwide

So, today I'm back just to show you a few things, to show you, in fact, that there is an open data movement afoot, now, around the world. The cry of "Raw data now!" which I made people make in the auditorium, was heard around the world. So, let's roll the video.

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

Still more on Oracle vs Google

"The tech industry loves a good vendor slugfest, and the upcoming legal battle between Google and Oracle has all the makings of a truly spectacular one."At issue is Dalvik, the unique, Java-based runtime at the heart of Google's Android smartphone OS. Oracle, which gained stewardship of the Java platform when it bought Sun Microsystems in 2009, claims Dalvik knowingly, willfully, and deliberately infringes on Java intellectual property. According to a complaint filed with the U.S. District Court in San Francisco last week, Oracle is seeking a halt to any further Android development, destruction of all infringing Android software, and for Google to pay damages, both actual and statutory."

Paul Allen Sues Apple, Google, Others Over Patents

They're the everyday fixtures of the Internet experience: pop-up stock quotes on a website, suggestions for related reading near a news article, videos along the side of your screen. Now, Microsoft Corp. co-founder Paul Allen says he owns the technology behind all these ideas, and he's demanding that some of the world's top Web companies pay up to use them.

Pirate Bay Receives Notice To Keep a Torrent

The founder of the small software company Coding Robots was shocked when he found out that one of his works had been cracked and shared on The Pirate Bay. However, instead of asking The Pirate Bay to remove the torrent the company’s founder did quite the opposite. He sent a ‘Notice of Ridiculous Activity’ because the crack didn’t live up to his expectations.

So the patent mess started from Java and not .NET.. what an irony!

Not that I had put all my developing faith into Java, anyway, I've worked with PHP and Python during the last couple of years but it's certainly an irony seeing the patent mess to come from Java instead.

Jury Invalidates One of EFF's 'Most Wanted' Patents

Good news in the fight against bad software patents: a jury in the Eastern District of Texas recently found the Firepond/Polaris patent (U. S. Patent No. 6,411,947) invalid. This patent was on EFF's "Most Wanted" list, targeted because it claimed nothing more than a system using natural language processing to respond to customers' online inquires by email.

Big Win for Copyright Collectives

Some writers groups have reacted angrily to the education exception, claiming it will cost them millions in revenue and arguing that it amounts to an "expropriation of property. " Yet a new decision from the Federal Court of Appeal provides powerful evidence that these fears are exaggerated with the new expanded fair dealing rules still striking a reasonable balance between creators and users.

HTC Files Answer with Counterclaims to Apple's Patent Infringement Suit

This could get interesting. HTC has filed its answer to Apple's complaint [PDFs] against them for patent infringement, with affirmative defenses and counterclaims.

District Court Adopts “Technical Barriers” Approach to California Computer Crime Law

The Electronic Frontier Foundation filed an amicus brief arguing that the court had to construe the state statute narrowly to exclude TOU violations under the void for vagueness doctrine. The District Court agreed, and held that the statute is violated only when some sort of technical barrier is breached.

Transcript: Andrew Tridgell on Patent Defence

The following is a transcript of a talk given in New Zealand, 2010. Andrew Tridgell discusses why reading patents is usually a good idea, how to read a patent, and how to work through it with a lawyer to build a solid defence. For the free software community, Tridgell also suggests how cooperation could help scare off patent holders.

U.S., Russian Patent Offices Strike Fast-Track Deal

The U. S. Patent & Trademark Office and its equivalent in Russia are launching a one-year pilot program on Sept. 1 to fast-track each other's approved patent applications.

Steve Jobs Is Watching You: Apple Seeking to Patent Spyware

Essentially, Apple's patent provides for a device to investigate a user's identity, ostensibly to determine if and when that user is "unauthorized," or, in other words, stolen.

The Ultimate Patent Troll: George Selden, the Patent Attorney Who Claimed He Invented Cars

Selden demanded licensing fees from automobile manufacturers, but some, like Henry Ford, refused to pay, and, after a legal battle lasting 8 years, Ford finally prevailed. The Selden patent had nothing to do with the actual manufacture of cars as they were being built then, or now.

Microsoft appeals $290 million patent verdict to Supreme Court

In the i4i case, Microsoft was sued for patent infringement, losing at trial and failing to overturn the sizable jury verdict. The company has removed the technology from Word to comply with a court injunction.

Killer Patents

Thanks to patents, it's also a lot more expensive than it should be. The example that PUBPAT cites, which tells you all you need to know, is that back in "December 2003, Abbott raised the price of its Norvir brand version of Ritonavir from $1. 71 a day to $8. 57 a day. "

***** Applications/Gadgets

Pocketbook 302 eBook Reader review

The Pocketbook 302 is the latest Linux-powered eBook Reader from GreenReader. co. uk.

Transmission, a specialized audio operating system for mobile music making

New features include an improved user interface (UI) for easier navigation, Linux real-time kernel version 2. 6. 31 and the debut of Stretchplayer an audio file player that allows a user to change the speed of a song without changing the pitch.

Matterhorn: Open source lecture recording tool

The free open source software can be used to capture time-controlled images from several cameras as well as the lecturer's computer screen. The system sorts the material into video portals, learning platforms or data storage media for editing.

Borders taking orders for two Android tablets

Borders is now taking pre-orders for two seven-inch Android tablets, the $200 Cruz Reader and the $300 Cruz Tablet, and says the first of the devices will ship by the end of this month.

Dell's First Smartphone Aero with Android 1.5 Doomed?

A close look at the spec sheet for Dell's first smartphone to hit the market, the Android-powered Aero, does include some impressive features for an entry-level handset priced at $99 with an AT&T contract, but it's missing one thing: the version of the mobile Linux OS it is running.

Critics' Choice: Smartphone Review Roundup of Droid 2

The Droid 2 ships with Android 2. 2, a significant upgrade to Google's smartphone OS. The upgrade rollout to other Android phones has been messy, however.

Review: ZaReason Verix Laptop

Specifically, a laptop with muscle. So I asked ZaReason to send me a review unit, the Verix 1656 with Intel's Core i7 and maxed out RAM.

Netbook's first with dual-core Atom

The Eee PC 1015PEM provides up to 13 hours of battery life, running either Windows 7 Starter Edition or the Linux-based "Express Gate" operating environment, the company says.

***** Reports

A Win-Lin situation: moving a small office over to Linux

He is quick to point out that the cost savings of converting to Linux will be obvious after using it for a year. "The conversion itself will most likely cost money but in the end it will be more stable, faster and more efficient," he adds.

Microsoft: 'We love open source'

"We love open source," says Jean Paoli of Microsoft in a recent interview with Network World. "We have worked with open source for a long time now. " The mistake of equating all open source technology with Linux was "really very early on," Paoli says. "That was really a long time ago," he says. "We understand our mistake. "

CodePlex Foundation Aims to Evolve Commercial Open Source

Hunter stressed that the CodePlex Foundation is not a proxy for Microsoft, though Microsoft is currently the lead sponsor.

Entertainment and Hypocrisy

It's the KDE logo! Disney animators are using Free Software on their desktops! Disney affirms our rights under the General Public License! After all, if it's good enough for them, it's good enough for the rest of us, right?

11 Biggest Open Source Success Stories That is Changing The World As We Know It

These changes were largely brought about by a string of Open Source success stories that happened over the years.

Red Hat heads into the clouds, not into an acquisition

Get over it people. Red Hat is not getting acquired anytime soon. I know, I know, you'd heard all the rumors. Here's the truth as I see it: If Red Hat gets acquired anytime soon, I'll eat my fedora. It's not happening.

Marten Mickos defends honor of Ubuntu's Koala food

Eucalyptus - an attempt to mimic Amazon's EC2 infrastructure cloud inside private data centers - was created as an open source project at the University of California, Santa Barbara. But after its founders took the project commercial with the formation of Eucalyptus Systems, they adopted what Mickos calls an "open core" business model.

Leveraging proprietary software at the expense of customers

As I have stated before, practice like this can be completely avoided by using open source software, which is immune to upgrade pricing, licenses, and other flaws of proprietary software.

The long, sordid tale of Sun RPC...

Every so often, we would check in with Sun and see if they were willing or able to relicense this code. Simon Phipps was very interested in solving the problem, but there were various concerns on Sun's side that prevented them from taking action, but in February 2009, Simon told the crowd at FOSDEM that Sun was going to "change the license to Sun's copyrights in the RPC code to a standard 3-clause BSD license". Unfortunately, Sun never actually made this change.

Red Hat offers its cloud APIs as industry standard

As the industry call for cloud interoperability grows more fervent, open-source enterprise software company Red Hat has submitted its cloud platform, Deltacloud, to the DMTF (Distributed Management Task Force) as a potential standard for cloud interoperability, the company said Wednesday.

Oracle takes over JavaOne conference

Next month's revamped JavaOne conference, the first under Oracle's jurisdiction, will feature a keynote presentation from Oracle CEO Larry Ellison, as well as the latest on Java technologies ranging from the GlassFish application server to the JavaFX rich media platform.

Which Licence is Best for the Future?

Arising as it did from the increasingly heated - and arid - discussions of the Open Core business model, this is a rather unexpected, if welcome turn of events.

Makers of Pianoteq Talk Piano Modeling, Developing for Linux

Its rigorous approach to modeling has attracted a lot of attention in the virtual instrument world, and the fact that it targets Linux alongside Mac and Windows challenges notions that commercial software can't make it on the free operating system.

The CIO and Patent Lawsuits

That's because as Keith Bergelt CEO of the Open Invention Network (OIN), a non-profit, patent-protection consortium, observed, "Patent lawsuits have been doubling for the last three to five years, and I expect this trend to contribute. "

GCC - 'We make free software affordable'

GCC and GNU Emacs are the two facets of the GNU operating system that have probably done more than any other to take GNU and free software from idealistic concept to a utilitarian reality. Having previously looked at GNU Emacs and the Hurd, Richard Hillesley looks at the history and progress of GCC.

Software Freedom Law Center Opening Branch in India

The Software Freedom Law Center (SFLC) will announce the opening of its new international branch in India at the upcoming Software Patents and the Commons conference in New Delhi. The expansion will allow the SFLC to continue its mission of promoting and defending Free, Libre, and Open Source Software (FLOSS) on a global scale.

Open-sourcing SETI

Given the financial constraints on NASA and other government programs, it makes a lot of sense to open-source the Search for Extra-Terrestrial Intelligence. The more ears on the array, the more likely it is that if there is some signal, it will be caught. The SETI director explained there's a very small number of people involved in the process, in an article in The Space Review:

***** Snippets

Is 10 years of RHEL support still sufficient ?

Valve Says - No Steam For Linux

Which Linux is the most popular Linux?

Is Linux Publicity Targeting the Right Market?

OpenSolaris Governance Board resigns

Are open source defences crumbling?

Open Source: Like A Damned Phoenix

The dirty little secret about Google Android

Dumping Windows, moving on with Linux, update

Top Free Linux for Netbooks

Android 2.2 Update Goes Awry

Proof SCO Knew IBM Was Involved in Linux From 1998 Onward

The New Browser Wars: Chrome vs. IE vs. Firefox

Dreamwidth Studios: Bringing the Corner Store to Open Source Publishing

Illuminating the Illumos Project

Top 10 Android Business Apps

Fork me? Fork you!

Bossie Awards 2010: The best open source software of the year

The Technology Behind the OpenStack Cloud Computing Project

58 Open Source Replacements for Small Business Software

Windows, Linux servers grow at Unix's expense

11 Apache Technologies for the Enterprise

OpenSolaris Governing Board Resigns

6 of the Best Free Linux Customer Service Trouble Ticketing Software

Debian at 17: As Important as Ever

Novell sees decline in revenues and profits

Online collaboration with Feng Office - the ultimate alternative to OpenOffice.o

Fenec Mobile Browser Lands on Android and Nokia N900

PlayOnLinux 3.8 has been released

Novell: What, Still No Deal?

JavaOne conference may get a rival

Mozilla unveils alpha browser for Android
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