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

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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.)

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NVIDIA Linux OpenCL Performance vs. Radeon ROCm / AMDGPU-PRO

Earlier this week I posted some benchmarks of GPUOpen's new Radeon Open Compute ROCm OpenCL stack that premiered last month and they are working to make completely open-source. In those initial benchmarks I compared the ROCm 1.4 OpenCL performance to the existing AMDGPU-PRO OpenCL implementation on Linux. For those wondering how these two Radeon OpenCL stacks compare to NVIDIA, here are some fresh benchmarks. Read more

Leftovers: Ubuntu and Debian

  • Download Links & Torrents for Debian 8.7 GNU/Linux
    Debian 8.7 GNU/Linux has been released at January 14th 2017. This is an update for Debian 8 (stable, Jessie) mainly for fixing security issues. Here I listed download links for 64 bit and 32 bit versions including torrent links. This article is intended as simple guide for new comers into Debian.
  • This Dev Is Working on a Way to Run Android Apps on Ubuntu Phone
    I’m writing about this way too early, but I figured it may help stoke a few fading hearts among the Ubuntu Phone faithful in light of recent news. Ubports developer (and all round awesome dude) Marius Grispgård has revealed that he’s working on a way to run Android apps on Ubuntu Phone.
  • Ubuntu 17.04 Zesty Zapus Release Schedule
    Ubuntu 17.04, which has got codename 'Zesty Zapus', is currently penciled in to ship on 13th April, 2017. The release date for Ubuntu 17.04 has now been firmed up as are the other development milestones leading up to the mid-April, currently we know that Unity 8 is going to be the interesting feature which will be shipped in 17.04 and swap partitions will likely to be replaced by swap files as mentioned by Canonical's Dimitri John Ledkov, and rest what's new coming in this release we don't know.

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