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

Leftovers: KDE/Qt

Leftovers: OSS

Security Leftovers

  • DNS server attacks begin using BIND software flaw
    Attackers have started exploiting a flaw in the most widely used software for the DNS (Domain Name System), which translates domain names into IP addresses. Last week, a patch was issued for the denial-of-service flaw, which affects all versions of BIND 9, open-source software originally developed by the University of California at Berkeley in the 1980s.
  • Researchers Create First Firmware Worm That Attacks Macs
    The common wisdom when it comes to PCs and Apple computers is that the latter are much more secure. Particularly when it comes to firmware, people have assumed that Apple systems are locked down in ways that PCs aren’t. It turns out this isn’t true. Two researchers have found that several known vulnerabilities affecting the firmware of all the top PC makers can also hit the firmware of MACs. What’s more, the researchers have designed a proof-of-concept worm for the first time that would allow a firmware attack to spread automatically from MacBook to MacBook, without the need for them to be networked.

Brocade CEO: Transition To Open Source Will Be Difficult For Cisco

Communications CEO Lloyd Carney said traditional vendors like Cisco will have a tough time adapting to a more software-defined, open source space. That's because traditional vendors like Cisco's revenue streams are tied to closed architectures, Carney said. Read more