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

Massive Ubuntu Touch Update Coming to Phones and Tablets This Summer

We reported the other day that the Ubuntu Touch developers had a great session during the Ubuntu Online Summit for the next major release of the world's most popular free operating system, Ubuntu 15.10 (Wily Werewolf). Read more

Ugoos UM3 TV box dual boots Android and Ubuntu

The Ugoos UM3 is a small box that you can plug into your TV to run Android apps. But unlike most devices that fit that description, this one can also run Ubuntu Linux. That means you could use it to stream videos from YouTube or Netflix, play music from Pandora or Spotify, or play Android games. Then you could reboot the device and switch operating systems to run full desktop apps including LibreOffice and Firefox. Ugoos offers a larger model called the UT3S which sells for about $179. But the Ugoos UM3 costs about $50 less. Read more

4 things governments need to know to adopt open source cloud - Red Hat

Open source cloud platforms, like OpenStack, can allow public sector agencies to connect systems and share data easily. Here are four things governments need to know to make open source cloud a success. Read more

Open source key to preserving human history, argues Vatican

Ammenti explained that, in order for the manuscripts to be readable, the Vatican Library opted for open source tools that do not require proprietary platforms, such as Microsoft Office, to be read. "We save it as a picture as it's longer life than a file. You don't rely on PowerPoint or Word. In 50 years they can still just look at it," he said. Read more