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Legal

Judge spanks SCO in ancient ownership of Unix lawsuit

Filed under
Linux
Legal

IBM has had a win in its long court battle with SCO over just who owns Unix and, by extension, whether Linux is an unauthorised clone.

Some quick and simplified history: SCO – short for The Santa Cruz Operation – was a software company that offered a version of Unix for x86 chippery. When Linux came along in the late 90s and started turning into a business, SCO more or less sank and it attacked both Novell and IBM for their role in helping to spread Linus Torvalds' brainchild. At stake was whether those who distribute and profit from Linux should share some of their bounty with SCO. If a court had found in SCO's favour, it would have been bad news for Linux.

The Novell suit ran for about six years, but SCO lost. After that, SCO endured all manner of financial strife, but managed to crawl from the crypt more than once. Last year, SCO managed to secure approval to re-open the case against IBM.

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Also: ENOUGH! Says Nuffer

GPLv2 goes to court: More decisions from the Versata tarpit

Filed under
GNU
Legal

The General Public License Version 2 (GPLv2) continues to be the most widely used and most important license for free and open source software. Black Duck Software estimates that 16 billion lines of code are licensed under GPLv2. Despite its importance, the GPLv2 has been the subject of very few court decisions, and virtually all of the most important terms of the GPLv2 have not been interpreted by courts.

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Patent Troll Kills Open Source Project On Speeding Up The Computation Of Erasure Codes

Filed under
OSS
Legal

Via James Bessen, we learn of how a patent trolling operation by StreamScale has resulted in an open source project completely shutting down, despite the fact that the patent in question (US Patent 8,683,296 for an "Accelerated erasure coding system and method") is almost certainly ineligible for patent protection as an abstract idea, following the Supreme Court's Alice ruling and plenty of prior art. Erasure codes are used regularly today in cloud computing data storage and are considered to be rather important. Not surprisingly, companies and lawyers are starting to pop out of the woodwork to claim patents on key pieces. I won't pretend to understand the fundamental details of erasure codes, but the link above provides all the details. It goes through the specific claims in the patents, breaking down what they actually say (basically an erasure code on a computer using SIMD instructions), and how that's clearly an abstract idea and thus not patent-eligible.

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Android User Takes Apple To Federal Court Over Undelivered Text Messages

Filed under
Android
Mac
Legal

Apple will soon face a federal lawsuit brought on by a woman named Adrienne Moore, who, like many former iPhone users who have switched to Android, is upset that she did not receive text messages after switching platforms. She is seeking unspecified damages, and to make the lawsuit a class action.

Since the release of iOS 5, Apple has experienced issues with users not receiving text messages after switching from iMessage on an iPhone to an Android device. iMessage works by sending messages over the users data plan, theoretically saving that user money on text messages. If a message fails to go through on iMessage, it’s supposed to default back to text message.

However, some users who have switched to Android from iPhone have noticed that their messages get locked up in iMessage and end up never being delivered, even though the sender sees a “Delivered” sign and thinks all is well.

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Groupon says it'll end trademark spat with open-source community (update)

Filed under
GNOME
Legal

Groupon has just told us it'll squash this dispute before things escalate -- let's hope it keeps to its word. The full statement follows:

"Groupon is a strong and consistent supporter of the open source community, and our developers are active contributors to a number of open source projects. We've been communicating with the Foundation for months to try to come to a mutually satisfactory resolution, including alternative branding options, and we're happy to continue those conversations. Our relationship with the open source community is more important to us than a product name. And if we can't come up with a mutually acceptable solution, we'll be glad to look for another name."

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GNOME starts campaign to protect its trademarks

Filed under
GNOME
Legal

GNOME has launched a campaign to raise funds for protecting the GNOME trademarks.

Recently, Groupon launched Gnome, a tablet-based point of sale (POS) system that Groupon describes as a “platform” and an “operating system”.

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Why all software needs a license

Filed under
OSS
Legal

All software developers should add a copyright license. Why? Because open source licensing is all about granting permission in advance

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3 great reasons to give away your precious tech under an open-source license

Filed under
OSS
Legal

Earlier this week, cloud provider Joyent did a surprising thing: It shared its finely tuned cloud software, SmartDataCenter, under an open-source license.

But while it might seem like the company is giving away its high-value intellectual property at a time when Amazon, Google, and Microsoft have made the public cloud market ultra-competitive, Bryan Cantrill, the company’s chief technology officer, actually has some very smart justifications for the move, which he spelled out in a blog post.

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Software Freedom Conservancy and Free Software Foundation announce copyleft.org

Filed under
GNU
Legal

This new site will not only provide a venue for those who constantly update and improve the Comprehensive Tutorial, but is also now home to a collaborative community to share and improve information about copyleft licenses, especially the GNU General Public License (GPL), and best compliance practices.

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Updated UK public information licence adds attribution

Filed under
Legal

The Open Government Licence (OGL) is recommended as the default licence for public sector information in the UK.
The licence is part of the UK Government Licensing Framework. This was launched in 2010 to organise best practices and to standardise the licensing principles for government information. By making government-held information public, the government aims to increase openness and allow others to use the information.
“The OGL permits the use and re-use of a wide range of government and other public sector information”, the National Archives said in a statement published Friday. “This supports the government's policy on transparency and open data.”

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Linux Emerging as Alternative to MS Windows

According to industry sources, Linux-based operation systems of Tmax OS and InfraWare are gaining much attention as alternatives to the Microsoft Windows. The latest version of the Linux has been significantly improved in terms of installation and use, providing a user interface similar to that of the Windows and coming with various software tools for documentation, multimedia utilization, etc. In addition, constraints on the Linux in the financial and public sectors are being removed one after another with Internet environments adopting Web standards. Under the circumstances, the software industry is expecting that the utilization of open-source operating systems will spread to the general consumer market as well as the enterprise market. Read more

NethServer 6.8 Linux Server Fights Spam with DNS-Based Blackhole List (DNSBL)

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Comparing live version upgrade methods

When I review a distribution I always begin by performing a fresh installation of the operating system. This gives the latest version of the project a chance to stand on its own without complications. However, many of us do not perform fresh installations on our operating systems each time we want to upgrade to the latest release. Some of us, in order to preserve settings or installed packages, prefer to upgrade our existing operating system without starting over from scratch. This week I decided to take five open source operating systems through an upgrade process from their penultimate release to their latest version. Read more

Porteus Kiosk 4.0 Modular Linux Web Kiosk Released, Drops Chrome 32-bit Support

Porteus Solutions' Tomasz Jokiel announced on May 30, 2016, the release of the final Porteus Kiosk 4.0.0 Web Kiosk operating system based on the latest GNU/Linux technologies and open-source software. Porteus Kiosk 4.0.0 comes three months after the release of the last maintenance build in the Porteus Kiosk 3.x series, introducing numerous new features and improvements. But first, let's take a quick look under the hood, as the OS is now powered by Linux kernel 4.4.11 LTS (Long Term Support), and it's based on the Mozilla Firefox 45.1.1 ESR and Google Chrome 50.0.2661.102 web browsers. Read more