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 #389 Period ending 24 December 2010

OSWALD #389 Period ending 24 December 2010

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

Merry Christmas for 2010. This is a longer Oswald than normal as it covers a longer period (a little short of two weeks. The next won't be out till the new year.

Things of note this week include a lot of speculation about Google's (GNU/Linux/)ChromeOS, including some comments about the loss of data in the cloud as a result. The EU has put together some guidelines for adoption of software which appear to require the public service to give consideration to open source solutions. However, without a change in the way procurement works (ie letting licence fees subsidise marketing) it will probably not change much. There's also a story about a possible back door in OpenBSD

Standing notice:

If you haven't already done so, now is the time to rush out and become a member of OIN. As Pamela Jones of Groklaw reports, sign up before closing on the Novell sale and you get a perpetual licence over the Novell patents which are in the OIN pool. Tell your business colleagues. See:

>From my blog:

Verbatim distribution with attribution ok.

Other distribution - email me.



Brendan Scott

Open Source Law

***** Open Standards/ODF

A Call to Support a New Public-Private Partnership In U.S. Standards Development

On December 8, the U. S. National Institute of Science and Technology (NIST) issued a public Request for Information on behalf of the recently formed Sub-Committee on Standards of the National Council of Research and Technology.

Why Mozilla doesn't back Free Flash players

"Our strategy is to invest in the web. While Flash is used on the web, it lacks an open process for development with open specifications and multiple competing implementations. Creating an open source version of Flash wouldn't change the fact that Flash's fate is determined by a single entity. "

FSFE welcomes revised European Interoperability Framework

The European Commission today published its long-awaited revision of the European Interoperability Framework. This document aims at promoting interoperability in the European public sector. The document is the result of a prolonged and hard-fought process. Free Software Foundation Europe accompanied this process and offered input to the European Commission at various stages.

LibreOffice Gets OIN Patent Protection

The Document Foundation, the organisation behind LibreOffice, has joined the Open Invention Network (OIN), to further extend the free software ecosystems.

EC Takes One Step Forward, Two Steps Back in Openness

Last Thursday the European Commission took a major step forward on the "openness" scale. The occasion was the release of a new version of the European Interoperability Framework (EIF) which definitively endorsed the use of open source friendly standards when providing "public services" within the EU. This result was rightly hailed by open source advocates like Open Forum Europe.

Microsoft, Standards, and Incompatibility: 1991-2010 -- And a Novell Smoking Gun

Pursue a product development strategy that prevents IBM from claiming Windows compatibility. Prevent Windows applications from running correctly on OS/2. . . . Reposition OS/2 as impractical and incompatible in the minds of customers.

***** Off Topic

If banking were more Open Source, we would need less Wikileaks

Banks are important. The world economic crisis is due for a good part to insufficient transparency in banks. Wikileaks next document drop may target banks. And a small group of activists is trying to solve those bank problems in a (Open Source) way that may make Wikileaks less necessary.

FOXLEAKS: Fox boss ordered staff to cast doubt on climate science

Sammon's orders for Fox journalists to cast doubt on climate science came amid the network's relentless promotion of the fabricated "Climategate" scandal, which revolved around misrepresentations of emails sent to and from climate scientists at the University of East Anglia's Climatic Research Unit.

***** Government/Policy

Return of Vaman in an E-Governed E-Society

Ours is a success story of open source applications and my other Brother judges, who are at present concerned with Computer committee of the court will tell you about it . However the process of shifting over to open source and open format was done at the time when I was associated with the computer committee of the court and obviously I was requested to speak about their relevance in e-governance and e-society.

Is 2011 the year of open source in the public sector?

As budgets tighten, governments around the world are firming up their open source pledges.

New EU Software Rules Give FOSS the Inside Track

New public procurement rules for technology issued by the EU encourages open specifications and open source software. Public administrations may decide to use less open options if open technologies don't exist or don't meet their functional interoperability needs. However, critics say the rules should include provisions for more funding for critical open source projects.

Microsoft-Organized Consortium Buying Novell Patents Are Apple, Oracle, MS, and EMC - Updated 5Xs

Don't forget that if you sign up with Open Invention Network before this deal closes, you will have a license in perpetuity to all those patents, and more, and these Machiavellian dudes won't be able to mess with you. Here's the article that provides information on where to sign up and who qualifies and what is required.

Patents do not protect small firms, says trade body

Patents do not give protection to inventive small businesses because they are impossible to enforce, an organisation claiming to represent small technology companies has said.

Yahoo Just Killed… Consumer Confidence In Them

Yahoo was one of the first stories that TechCrunch broke back in 2005. There are a ton of people that have a ton of data in it. It's still a valuable tool to those people. It has millions of users. Yahoo just gave them all the middle finger.

Spanish Parliament rejects anti-downloading law

A Spanish parliamentary commission on Tuesday rejected a controversial bill aimed at "protecting" copyrights from internet downloaders.

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

Patent v Copyright mentions in Google's ngrams

Discussing The Music Industry Comically Speaking, With Mimi & Eunice

Mike's recent post about OK Go is just crying out for some Mimi & Eunice cartoons. Rather than make him go back and edit it, I'll just illustrate it here:

Google's Motion to Dismiss Paul Allen's Patent Infringement Complaint Granted

Paul Allen's patent infringement complaint against the world and its dog has been dismissed.

Ars Technica: Paul Allen's patent infringement lawsuit dismissed

OraGoogle - The Jockeying for Position Begins in Earnest with Dueling Protective Orders

Novell's patents bought by Microsoft, Apple, EMC, & Oracle

Now, thanks to Germany's anti-trust body, the Bundeskartellamt, we know that Microsoft's CPTN Holdings partners were Apple, EMC, and Oracle.

Red Hat joins charge to fend off patent madness

Court Reverses Copyright Ruling for WoW Creators

The federal appeals court in Seattle said that Michael Donnelly did not violate copyright law by selling his Glider software, which allows a player to automatically move through World of Warcraft's (WoW) early levels. But the court did find that Donnelly's company, MDY Industries, violated part of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act.

How Much Does File-Sharing REALLY Cost Record Companies?

That's not enough, said Lime Wire. The company insisted the plaintiffs should show actual damages, which to it means record companies should be ordered to produce information on costs such as royalty payments on the musical works alleged to have been infringed.

Nokia Sues Apple for Patent Infringement in EU

In the latest salvo of a protracted legal battle, Nokia sued Apple on Thursday in Britain, Germany and the Netherlands, alleging that the U. S. technology company used 13 of its patents, including a basic touch-screen maneuver, without its permission.

Author Slams eBook Piracy, Son Outs Her As a Music Pirate

"You have a pirated MP3 collection," Jo added, helpfully. "We copied the first 1500 songs from one place and 300 from another. "

Harvard Shocker: Crimson endorses university '3-strikes' penalty

Copyright defense restricted

Dividing 4-4, the Supreme Court on Monday upheld a lower court's denial of a discount retailer's right to buy overseas a consumer item that is protected by copyright -- in this case, a Swiss watch -- and then bring it back into the U. S. for re-sale without the copyright owner's consent.

Intellectual Ventures: Independence Day Take II

the eventual outcome is well understood. To wit: Complete usurpation of the U. S. Patent system. The outcome is a, gigantic tax/toll collector controlling the pulse of innovation in the U. S. or, like the movie, extermination of innovation.

Copyright Enforcement Tail Wags Internet Dog, Cont’d; or, What the Hell Ever Happened to Due Pro

The bad news is that the US government apparently believes it has the power to do what COICA purported to authorize it to do even without new statutory authority.

Microsoft quietly shuts down Office Genuine Advantage program

with no public announcement, Microsoft quietly retired one cog in its antipiracy machine. Office Genuine Advantage was officially shut down as of Thursday, December 16, and virtually all traces of the once-controversial program have been scrubbed from Microsoft's web site.

USTR's Request for Comments on ACTA

USTR is requesting written comments from the public on the final text of the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) in connection with consideration of U. S. signature of the agreement. [And what good would putting in a comment at this late stage do?]

Congress Approves Patent Pilot Program For Federal Judges

"Patent litigation often costs litigants over $10 million and can inject crippling uncertainty into a business. This legislation launches a 10-year program to support efforts of courts to help businesses and individual inventors who patent ideas. "

Owning Culture

Before we jump on the Hollywood lobbyists' bandwagon, however, let's take a moment to think about how copyright affects writers and readers. Is `intellectual property' the best way to describe our relationship to our work?

ITC to Hear Motorola's Patent Infringement Case Against Microsoft

The U. S. International Trade Commission (USITC) has voted to institute an investigation of certain gaming and entertainment consoles, related software, and components thereof. The products at issue in this investigation are gaming and entertainment consoles that, inter alia, utilize wireless technologies and technologies that decode digital video content.

Harvard Newspaper Staff Apparently In Need Of A Lesson On Copyright Basics

Really? Perhaps the student editors at the Crimson can take a walk over to the office of Felix Oberholzer-Gee, who is a professor at Harvard, and has done a nice study debunking almost everything the editors state above. The study shows that as intellectual property laws were ignored to a greater degree, the amount of creation actually increased.

***** Applications/Gadgets

Oracle Updates OpenOffice 3.3 and Debuts Cloud Office 1.0

Bitcoin - Open Source Virtual Currency Project

"Bitcoin is the gold standard of digital currency. The availability of bitcoins can not be manipulated by governments or financial institutions and bitcoin transactions occur directly between two parties without a middleman. "

Silicon Valley Start Up Kno Ships Educational Tablet

Kno, short for knowledge, is a 14. 1 touch-screen tablet that blends textbooks, course materials, note-taking, web access, educational applications, digital media and sharing.

***** Reports

Good News Out Of Unigine's Linux Game Competition

It looks like next year will be great for the Linux gaming scene while this year has not really experienced any ground-breaking AAA-title game releases

Who uses Linux and Open Source in Business?

Netflix is not only using, but also contributing, to numerous open-source projects. They're in good company.

Linux Embeds Itself Yet Further

This lends Linaro's focus a particular value: it is about spreading open source in one of the fast-growing sectors. Moreover, it's one where free software's low/zero cost, robustness, small size and customisability are crucial advantages over traditional proprietary solutions.

WhamCloud: Open Source Lustre Moves Forward

The filesystem of choice for many of the top 500 supercomputers is the open source Lustre filesystem. Lustre started off as a Sun Microsystems effort and is now under the stewardship of Oracle.

Breaking News on EFF Victory: Appeals Court Holds that Email Privacy Protected by Fourth Amendment

In a landmark decision issued today in the criminal appeal of U. S. v. Warshak, the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled that the government must have a search warrant before it can secretly seize and search emails stored by email service providers.

Google's ChromeOS means losing control of data, warns GNU founder Richard Stallman

Google's new cloud computing ChromeOS looks like a plan "to push people into careless computing" by forcing them to store their data in the cloud rather than on machines directly under their control, warns Richard Stallman, founder of the Free Software Foundation and creator of the operating system GNU.

OpenBSD/FBI allegations denied by named participants

Amidst startling accusations revealed by OpenBSD founder and lead developer Theo de Raadt today that 10 years ago the US Federal Bureau of Investigations paid developers to insert security holes into OpenBSD code, some confusion about the accusations has already emerged, with one named party strongly denying any involvement.

Donate (or Fund Your Project) via CrowdFunding

By now most of you have heard of crowdsourcing, the ability to get masses of people to do work for you, oftentimes menial tasks for low pay. An extension of this concept is crowdfunding, whereby masses of people fund your project.

WindowBuilder becomes new open source project with major code contribution to Eclipse Foundation

Today we are announcing Google's donation of the source code and IP for two of these products to the open source community through the Eclipse Foundation.

Google Launches New Book Database

The digital storehouse, which comprises words and short phrases as well as a year-by-year count of how often they appear, represents the first time a data set of this magnitude and searching tools are at the disposal of Ph. D. 's, middle school students and anyone else who likes to spend time in front of a small screen.

Red Hat Buddies up With Eucalyptus

Eucalyptus Systems has struck a partnership with Red Hat that should ultimately ease the deployment of Eucalyptus private cloud platform on Red Hat software

Myriad Group Sues Oracle America Over Java Licensing

Oracle America, known as Sun Microsystems before its acquisition in January by the Redwood City, California-based company, developed Java and agreed to license it on fair terms to industry partners, lawyers for Myriad said in court papers filed Dec. 10 in federal court in Wilmington, Delaware.

Facebook and Social networking: Tim Berners-Lee closes the stable door after the horse has bolted

Facebook and Twitter are closed and locked in, they chip away at the founding principles of the internet; the web is therefore broken into "fragmented islands" . They, and Google, leave users in a "data dead end". Social networking sites become "a closed silo of content". Their success leads to monopoly and that stifles innovation.

Humble Indie Bundle #2 Just Made One Million Bucks

The $1,000,000 in sales for the second bundle are from over 131,000 sales. While Linux game sales account for only about 25% of the revenue (Mac OS X is about the same too with Windows taking the rest), on average the Linux gamer is contributing significantly more money as part of this pay-what-you-want drive.

Linux rules the Clouds

What I hadn't realized was just how much better Linux, and in particular, Canonical's Ubuntu, was doing on in the market place.

Free Fonts Forever

Today, Google and Ubuntu have released a new free, open font to the Web: the Ubuntu Font Family.

Kunlun platform aims for sub-$100 Android phones

The Kunlun platform aims for what many believe will be the fastest growing segment of the Android market in the next few years: mass-market phones aimed at emerging giants like China, India, and Brazil. Kunlun initially targets the Chinese market, but is touted as a common platform to create Android devices that can be easily adapted for other markets, as well.

KDE and the Document Foundation join Open Invention Network

The KDE e. V. and the Document Foundation (TDF) have both joined the Open Invention Network (OIN) as licensees, expanding the organization's roster of supporters.

***** Snippets

Conference on free / open source software in Lviv

Non-Profits Lead The Way With Linux

Android will be using ext4 starting with Gingerbread

FSF essay argues freedom over quality

Open Ballot: what was the biggest Linux event in 2010?

5 open source ERP projects to watch

Hurry! Win a $50 Gift Card to Store

Gnu Juris Penguinus

Nvidia and AMD Release New Video Drivers for Linux

Best Gifts For the Linux Geek, Make Your Own Railgun, and More

Oracle Releases MySQL 5.5

Humble Indie Bundle is Back in Action, Pay What You Want for a Set of 5 Impressive Games

Living in the Cloud: A JoliCloud Chrome Experiment

Have yourself a very Linux Christmas

What do we need? Vendors or Users?

Easy Linux for Your Grandparents

Roll your own Linux distribution with Novell's SUSE Studio

Creative suite for Linux: an update

Survival Of The Fittest

Why Hulu Plus Sucks, and Why You Should Use It Anyway

Oracle Tops Wall Street Earnings Estimates

Creating and Reading eBooks on Linux with Calibre

IBM tosses in freebie Linux with Power servers

Oracle butts into online collaboration space with Cloud Office

First Sun, now Novell

Linux Foundation Appoints New Fellow

Apache Software Foundation leaves JCP - What does this mean?

'Software vendors are mere stewards for ideas'

Ubuntu Myopia Continues Among Users

The Document Foundation joins Open Invention Network

Android 2.3 code hits the net

User Familiarity != Software Superiority

2010: The Year in Free and Open Source Software

Should SMBs Consider Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6?

Jolicloud: Cloud enabled and not just for netbooks

Tomdroid: Now with One-Way Sync

How the Android stole Christmas; a holiday tale of no tablets

5 Biggest Tech Winners for 2010

"What's this 'DEEE-bee-en' you write about?" Or will Linux ever make its move on the desktop?

A Very Chrome-y Christmas

Red Hat 3Q Profit Climbs 59% On Higher Sales, Margins
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