Language Selection

English French German Italian Portuguese Spanish

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

Filed under

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

Huawei Watch Review: Best Android Wear Smartwatch Available

The Huawei Watch currently offers the best option on the Android Wear platform. The Huawei Watch looks elegant and offers great design as well as multiple attractive style options depending on the buyer’s cash flow. Even iPhone owners can take a look. If an iPhone owner prefers a stainless steel round watch, then the Huawei Watch is a usable option at a lower price than the Stainless Steel Apple Watch. Android Wear works well on iPhone, but does not give users the same level of integration. The most important features work fine, including notifications and fitness tracking. We give the Huawei Watch a hearty recommendation. It is worth paying a little more for this attractive and well-designed Android Wear smartwatch. Read more

Linux Kernel 4.1.10 LTS Is Now Available for Download with Networking Fixes

After announcing the release of the Linux 4.2.3 kernel, Greg Kroah-Hartman has informed the world today, October 3, about the release and immediate availability for download of the tenth maintenance version of the Linux 4.1 LTS kernel series. Read more Also: Linux 4.3-rc4 Kernel Released: Adds A New & Better String Copy Function Linus Torvalds Announces Linux Kernel 4.3 RC4 on the Eve of the Project's 24th Birthday

How Debian managed the systemd transition

Debian's decision to move to systemd as the default init system was a famously contentious (and rather public) debate. Once all the chaos regarding the decision itself had died down, however, it was left to project members to implement the change. At DebConf 2015 in Heidelberg, Martin Pitt and Michael Biebl gave a down-to-earth talk about how that implementation work had gone and what was still ahead. Pitt and Biebl are the current maintainers of the systemd package in Debian, with Pitt also maintaining the corresponding Ubuntu package. The pair began with a brief recap of the init-replacement story, albeit one that steered mercifully clear of the quarrels and stuck to the technical side. Initial discussions for replacing the System V init system began as far back as 2007, but pressure grew in recent years, included considerable demand from system administrators and upstream projects (typically wanting specific features like support for logind or journald). Once the Technical Committee had made its decision to adopt systemd as the default, Pitt said, "the real work" began. Read more (paywalled before)

Linux 4.3-rc4

You all know the drill by now. It's Sunday, and there is a new release candidate out there. Things look fairly normal. We have noticeably fewer commits than rc3 (which was fairly big), and I don't see anything unusually alarming. The statistics look pretty normal too: just under half of the patch is drivers (drm continues to be noticeable, but there's infiniband, mmc, input layer etc). About a quarter is arch updates (m68k, MIPS, x86) and the final quarter is solidly "misc" (doc updates, tools, scripts, scheduler, mm..). The appended shortlog gives a flavor of the details. Linus Read more