Language Selection

English French German Italian Portuguese Spanish

The open source patent war

Filed under
OSS

Due to the fact that Linux is free software and belongs to no-one, it is often assumed that Linux is "surrounded by legal uncertainties."

However, Linux is no more or less prone to legal uncertainties, by which we usually mean potential patent infringements, than any other software application or platform. The problem is not the software nor the license, but the legal framework within which the software industry operates. Software patents have become part of the standard software industry model but are antithetical to the objectives of open source software and are seen as problematic for the good health of future software development by free software developers.

The problem for proprietary software companies is that free software pulls the rug from under traditional software models. By definition free software is collaborative. Numerous individuals, hardware companies and academic establishments contribute to the code that is contained in a Linux distribution, and all have a vested interest in its success. The customer gains because the software is free and tends to be more adventurous, versatile and secure. The only potential loser is the traditional software vendor.

So it has been suggested, sometimes by the software vendors themselves, that those who are threatened by the competitive success of open source might seek to challenge Linux through the courts, on the grounds that the software, and Linux in particular, might include "stolen IP", and infringe the patents or copyrights of others. This is unlikely. The accusation has often been made, but the code is there for all to see, and no convincing evidence has ever been presented of any infringement.

The more likely action is of the type affected by Microsoft in its recent agreement with Novell.

Full Story.

More in Tux Machines

Android Leftovers

Leftovers: OSS

Ubuntu 16.04 Review: What’s New for Desktop Users

Ubuntu is a tricky distribution. As much as I love it on my home server, my desktop is a different ballgame. In my experience, releases between LTS versions have many new technologies that may or may not survive in the next LTS. There were many technologies or features that Canonical thought were ambitious -- HUD, experimenting with menus, online dash search, Ubuntu Software Center, etc. -- but they were abandoned. So, if I were to use Ubuntu on my desktop, I would still choose LTS. Read more

Workflow and efficiency geek talks Drush and Drupal

I started using Drupal because I needed an open source content management system (CMS) to use in several community projects. One of the projects I was involved with was just getting started and had narrowed its CMS selection down to either Drupal or Joomla. At the time I was using a different framework, but I had considered Drupal in the past and knew that I liked it a lot better than Joomla. I convinced them to go with the new Drupal 6 release and converted all of my other projects for consistency. I started working with Drush because I wanted a unified mechanism to work with local and remote sites. My first major contribution to Drush was site aliases and sql-sync in Drush 3. Read more