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

KDE Applications 14.12 - New Features, Frameworks Ports

Today KDE released KDE Applications 14.12, delivering new features and bug fixes to more than a hundred applications. Most of these applications are based on KDE Development Platform 4 but the first applications have been ported to KDE Frameworks 5. Frameworks is a set of modularized libraries providing additional functionality for Qt5, the latest version of the popular Qt cross-platform application framework. KDE app dragons This release marks the beginning of a new style of releases replacing the threesome of KDE Workspaces, Platform and Applications in the 4 series which ended with the latest KDE Applications update last month. Read more

What To Expect In 2015: Robots Join The Open-Source Revolution

The number of downloads doubled in 2014, to 3.5 million, and Gerkey expects adoption to spike again with the release of ROS 2.0 this summer. The upgrade will coordinate swarms, improve walking, and support smart sensors—basically, assimilate the world’s robots. Read more

New Input Drivers Coming For Linux 3.19 Kernel

One of the latest pull requests for the Linux 3.19 kernel is the input driver subsystem pull, which includes numerous updates along with a few new drivers. The new drivers will benefit some Google Chromebooks in running the latest upstream kernel. Read more

Docker and the Linux container ecosystem

Linux container technology is experiencing tremendous momentum in 2014. The ability to create multiple lightweight, self-contained execution environments on the same Linux host simplifies application deployment and management. By improving collaboration between developers and system administrators, container technology encourages a DevOps culture of continuous deployment and hyperscale, which is essential to meet current user demands for mobility, application availability, and performance. Read more