Language Selection

English French German Italian Portuguese Spanish

Lawsuit threatens to break new ground on the GPL and software licensing issues

Filed under
OSS
Legal

GPLv2 is one of the most widely used FOSS licenses, if not the most. It is the license for some of the most important and commercially valuable FOSS projects, including the Linux kernel, whose contributors include such uncomfortable bedfellows as Oracle and Google, Intel and AMD, and Cisco and Huawei. If XimpleWare is right, and a license under GPLv2 offers no protection from the licensor's patents, Linux would be a landmine for these companies, and really for any company with fewer patents than IBM.

Even without an explicit patent grant, lawyers advising businesses on FOSS issues generally agree that GPLv2 protects licensees (at least those in compliance with the license terms) from patent suits by licensors. This is because the law provides for an implied license (or judicial estoppel) where a licensor's conduct leads the licensee to believe it will not be sued, or where fairness otherwise demands that the licensor should be prevented from suing. Because the GPL encourages licensees to copy, modify, and distribute the licensed software—all conduct that would infringe any patents on the software absent a license—licensees can reasonably expect that the software's producers won't sue them for doing those things. (Adam Pugh and Laura A. Majerus of Fenwick & West discuss GPLv2's implied patent license in greater detail in this paper.)

Read more

More in Tux Machines

Wayland in Fedora 23 Linux Allows for Use of Multiple Monitors with Different DPIs

Fedora Project, through Christian Schaller, was proud to report on the progress made for the next-generation Wayland display server that it might be used by default on the upcoming major release of the Fedora Linux operating system, Fedora 23. Read more

GNOME Developers Discuss Codenames, GNOME 3.18 Might be Dubbed "Gothenburg"

Allan Day, a GNOME UX designer working for Red Hat and renowned GNOME developer/contributor, opened an interesting discussion on the official GNOME mailing list, about possible codenames for upcoming releases of the acclaimed desktop environment for GNU/Linux operating systems. Read more

Developer lowers Drupal's barrier to entry

From a consumer perspective, I'd like open source to be ubiquitous to the point of invisibility. Using recent Ubuntu distros, I'm always shocked at how professional the environment feels. Just five years ago, you'd need to hunt down drivers and do a bunch of fiddling to get basic things like a sound card working. Now there are so many pushbutton ways to deploy open source tech, from OSes to CMS distros on Pantheon to buying an Android-powered mobile phone. We're not quite to the point where CMS users can feel like open source is transparent; there's still a huge investment in vendors to give you the expertise to manage your Drupal or WordPress site, for example. But we're closer than we were a decade ago, and that's pretty exciting. Read more

Intel invests $60 million in drone venture

Intel is investing $60 million in UAV firm Yuneec, whose prosumer “Typhoon” drones use Android-based controllers. Intel Corp. CEO Brian Krzanich and Yuneec International CEO Tian Yu took to YouTube to announce an Intel investment of more than $60 million in the Hong Kong based company to help develop drone technology. No more details were provided except for Krzanich’s claim that “We’ve got drones on our road map that are going to truly change the world and revolutionize the industry.” One possibility is that Intel plans to equip the drones with its RealSense 3D cameras (see farther below). Read more