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

GParted 0.20 Improves Btrfs Support

GParted 0.20.0 is out today with a release that primarily improves Btrfs support. The improved Btrfs support comes via now handling support for resizing Btrfs file-systems that span multiple devices. GParted 0.20 also has GRUB2 restoration steps added to the help manual plus various translation updates. Read more

Ubuntu Touch RTM Update Is Out, Has Better Performance and Beautiful New Indicators

Ubuntu developers had some minor problems in the week before with all sorts of bugs that were popping out. They postponed the release of a new update for the Ubuntu Touch RTM and, at one point, they even got everyone to focus on fixing the problems and nothing else. Now they have a new version out and progress really shows. Users who already have Ubuntu Touch on their phones might have noticed that the number of features added to the system have diminished drastically, but that's the way it should be. The system is getting closer to its final stages and there is little reason to add new options now. The current form of the OS is not very far from the official release, so only fixes remain to be made. Read more

Ubuntu turns 10: A look back at desktop Linux standard bearer

Tech pundits differ, to say the least, on a lot of topics in the world of free and open-source software, but it’s inarguable that Ubuntu has been the most influential Linux desktop distribution of the past decade. On the occasion of its 10th anniversary, here’s a brief look back. Read more

Forking Debian, Celebrating Ubuntu, and Best Desktops

Debian and Ubuntu dominated the headlines today with various topics. The community is is celebrating Ubuntu's 10 years and Mark Shuttleworth announced the next codename. Debian lost a contributor and released 7.7 over the weekend while the threat of a fork is pushing a freedom choice. In other news we have Gentoo and 4MLinux reviews as well as the chance to vote for the best Linux desktop environment. Read more