Language Selection

English French German Italian Portuguese Spanish

Chicken Little and Age-Appropriate Explanations

Filed under
OSS

n the mid 1990s, when I first began running into open source Latest News about open source in my practice, I noticed that open source had a very strange effect on intellectual property lawyers. It was a Chicken Little situation, but instead of crying "the sky is falling" they were crying "the code is infringing."

Nearly ten years later, very few intellectual property lawsuits have actually been filed relating to open source. Roughly, the scorecard looks like this:

  • Trademark infringement suits: 1 (MySQL-NuSphere)

  • Copyright infringement suits: 1/2 (SCO, after modifying the complaint)
  • Trade secret infringement suits: 1/2 (SCO, original complaint)
  • Patent infringement suits: 0

The sky did not fall.

But it is cheap to laugh at us lawyers, who, after all, are paid to be frightened on behalf of others. The only upside for lawyers being reasonable is that their clients like them. The downside is that lawyers get sued for malpractice if they don't give conservative enough advice.

The lawyer who told Bill Gates' competitor not to sign IBM's non-disclosure agreement -- thereby foregoing his opportunity to become the largest software company in the world -- will never be threatened with malpractice claims. But his client probably didn't like him much.

What Were They Scared Of?

Full Story.

More in Tux Machines

GNOME Tracker 1.4 Gets Its First Point Release with Dozens of Improvements and Fixes

Martyn Russell, the developer of the Tracker semantic data storage software for desktop and mobile devices used by default on the GNOME desktop environment, announced the release of the first maintenance version for Tracker 1.4. Read more

blackPanther OS 14.1 (Walking Dead) Unleashed Worldwide, Download Now - Video

The development team behind a very old GNU/Linux operating system, blackPanther OS, had the great pleasure of announcing the immediate availability for download of version 14.1 of their 13-year old distribution, dubbed Walking Dead. Read more

Benchmarking Debian GNU/Hurd 2015 vs. GNU/Linux

After a reminder this week from a Phoronix Premium member about some fresh Debian GNU/Hurd benchmarks, here are some fresh results comparing this version of Debian with the Hurd kernel instead of the Linux kernel. The results for this comparison are done against Debian GNU/Linux Wheezy. For those unfamiliar, Debian GNU/Hurd is the GNU user-land but running atop Hurd -- similar to Debian GNU/kFreeBSD being powered by the FreeBSD kernel. On the topic of Debian GNU/kFreeBSD, I'll probably run a fresh kFreeBSD vs. Linux comparison again soon. Read more

Andalusia revamps its free software desktop

The government of Spain’s Andalusia has revamped its free and open source desktop, aimed to become the region’s standard configuration for workstations and laptops. The overhaul focussed on IT management, system integration, support and system scalability. The new standard corporate desktop, GECOS - Guadalinex Escritorio COrporativo eStandar, is designed to handle tens of thousands of workstations. Read more