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

KDE: Simple by Default, Powerful When Needed

KDE (back when it was still the name of the desktop environment) and our applications historically stood for powerful features and great flexibility and customizeability. This is what our users love about our software, this is why they choose Plasma and KDE software instead of one of the other Free desktop offerings. And it is also something they would fight tooth and nail for if we wanted to take it away (as many a KDE maintainer who dared to remove a feature he thought was unnecessary can tell). Read more

BitTorrent Bleep alpha released for Android

As an alpha it still has some issues “As with any Alpha, there are some known issues and bugs to work out. Android users will need to set the app to “Wi-Fi Only” unless you have an unlimited data plan; this is only for the time being while we iron out and issue related to battery and data-plan. And while you can move a username from desktop to mobile, Bleep does not yet support moving an existing account from Android to the desktop. And while you can receive messages on multiple devices; messages sent will not be seen across all devices. As with our previous release, communications happen only when all parties are online – you cannot send offline photos or group chats asynchronously.” Read more

During Akademy 2014

This year there were lot of fast track (10 minutes) talks on different areas around KDE. All of them were quite interesting, some of them are: Bruno Coudoin talked about how and why GCompris moved to QtQuick with the support of KDE. What all challenges project faced while moving from GTK to Qt. Daniel Vrátil talked about his one year journey with Akonadi Martin Gräßlin gave an overview of current state of Kwin in adding Wayland support and future plans. Kevin Ottens talked about KDE craftsmen where analysis was on the way we handle our software production, how can we make our software even better. Kai Uwe Broulik talked about current status of Qt port on Android and iOS. Currently, 3 iOS apps in Apple store and 8 Android apps in Google play since December 2013. Read more

Leftovers: Software