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Patent pools offer open source a new incentive--and a new source of power

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Software

It's been talked about for years, and now there are well-endowed and well-researched organizations claiming to offer open source software some protection from patent lawsuits. The very announcement of these efforts--even before they have a chance to prove successful--are an historical watershed for open source and free software. For the first time you get back something tangible for open-sourcing. And this leads to another key change in the terrain: it now becomes critical how "open source" is defined, and who has the power to define it.

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I've been a regular desktop Linux user for just about a decade now. What has changed in that time? Keep reading for a look back at all the ways that desktop Linux has become easier to use -- and those in which it has become more difficult -- over the past ten years. I installed Linux to my laptop for the first time in the summer of 2006. I started with SUSE, then moved onto Mandriva and finally settled on Fedora Core. By early 2007 I was using Fedora full time. There was no more Windows partition on my laptop. When I ran into problems or incompatibilities with Linux, my options were to sink or swim. There was no Windows to revert back to. Read more