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Top Ten Open Source Legal Developments: 2008

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OSS
Legal

Last year was the one of the most active years for legal developments in the history of free and open source (“FOSS”). http://lawandlifesiliconvalley.com/blog/?p=27 This year, 2008, has seen a continuation of important legal developments for FOSS. My list of the top ten FOSS legal developments in 2008 follows:

1. First Major Appellate Decision for a FOSS License. Last year, the District Court in San Francisco in Jacobsen v. Katzner decided the first case under US law interpreting an open source license. That decision had the potential to significantly undercut the ability of FOSS licensors to enforce their license. However in August, the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (”CAFC”) overturned the District Court decision and strongly supported the right of FOSS licensors to obtain copyright remedies for breach of FOSS licenses: such remedies include injunctive relief (an order by the court to the licensee to obey the license) and statutory damages of up to $150,000 for each infringed work. http://lawandlifesiliconvalley.com/blog/?p=64

2. Final End of the SCO Attack on Linux.

3. First Settlement of Patent Infringement Litigation For an Open Source Community.

4. Major Litigation on GPL.

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Linux on the desktop isn't dead

At LinuxCon this year, the creator of Linux, Linus Torvalds, was asked what he wanted for Linux. His response? "The desktop." For years, the call to Linux action was "World Domination." In certain markets, this has happened (think Linux helping to power Android and Chrome OS). On the desktop, however, Linux still has a long, long way to go. Wait... that came out wrong. I don't mean "Linux has a long, long way to go before it's ready for the desktop." What I meant to say is something more akin to "Linux is, in fact, desktop ready... it just hasn't found an inroad to the average consumer desktop." Read more