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Legal

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

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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

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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)

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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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Charting new licensing territories with the Open Definition standard

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OSS
Legal

The CC BY and CC BY-SA 4.0 licenses are conformant with the Open Definition, as are all previous versions of these licenses (1.0 – 3.0, including jurisdiction ports). The CC0 Public Domain Dedication is also aligned with the Open Definition.

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Let's Pay for Open Source with a Closed-Source Software Levy

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OSS
Legal

This column has often explored ways in which some of the key ideas underlying free software and open source are being applied in other fields. But that equivalence can flow in both directions: developments in fields outside the digital world may well have useful lessons for computing. A case in point is a fascinating post by James Love, Director of Knowledge Ecology International (KEI), a non-governmental organisation concerned with public health and other important issues.

It is called "The value of an open source dividend", and is a discussion of the problems the world of pharma faces because of the distorting effect of patents - problems it shares with the world of computing...

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More in Tux Machines

New Releases

  • Security-Oriented Qubes OS 3.2 Improves the Integrated Management Infrastructure
    Today, September 29, 2016, Joanna Rutkowska announced the general availability of the second point release of the Qubes OS 3 stable series of the security-oriented and open-source Linux-based computer operating system. Qubes OS 3.2 is a maintenance release, which means that it mostly adds general fixes and improvements to various of the distribution's core components and functionalities, including the integrated management infrastructure that was introduced as part of the previous update, Qubes 3.1, allowing users to also manage the "insides" of a virtual machine.
  • Alpine Linux 3.4.4 Is Out, Ships with Linux Kernel 4.4.22 LTS, OpenSSL Patches
    Today, September 28, 2016, Alpine Linux creator and lead developer Natanael Cop has the pleasure of announcing the release of the fourth maintenance update to the latest stable Alpine Linux 3.4 server-oriented operating system series. Alpine Linux 3.4.4 is out as the most advanced version, powered by the recently released, long-term supported Linux 4.4.22 kernel and bringing up-to-date components to make your Alpine Linux-based server(s) more stable and reliable than ever. Most of the core components have been updated, but the most important one is OpenSSL 1.0.2j, which received the latest security fixes, just like in the rest of the GNU/Linux distros.

Leftovers: Software

  • Web Publishing and Development: Free Tools Abound
    Are you involved in DevOps and web development, or are you aiming to be? If so, you're probably very aware of many of the tools from the open standards and open source arenas that can make your work easier. Still, these are always spreading out at a fast clip and there are some applications and tools that are rarely discussed. Here at OStatic, we try to regularly update our collections focused on them. In this post, you'll find our latest roundup of free resources for web development that range from complete online courses available for free to unsung applications.
  • Phoronix Test Suite 6.6.1 Released
  • Skype for Linux Alpha 1.9 Adds a Dark Theme, Notification Muting
  • GNOME Calendar Pencils In Great New Features
    GNOME Calendar is one of the few decent desktop calendaring apps available on Linux — and it's going to get better.
  • The future of GNOME Calendar
    Today, the Calendar Team had the first meeting in history. Isaque, Lapo, Renata, Vamsi and I attended it, and the meeting was extremely productive! In fact, we were able to sketch out the general direction that GNOME Calendar will head towards.

More Android Leftovers

  • ​Google beats back Oracle again in Java Android case
    To recap, Oracle claimed the 37 Java application programming interface (API) packages Google used to develop Android are covered by copyright. Of course, that's not really the issue. True, the the US Federal Circuit Court of Appeals foolishly ruled that APIs could be copyrighted. But the US District Court for the Northern District of California ruled in May 2016 that Google's use of the Java APIs were not subject to copyright licensing fees. Instead, Android's use of the APIs was covered by "fair use."
  • Google’s Open Source Fuchsia OS: The Mystery Linux Distro
    Few things are more tantalizing than a good mystery, and Google is making waves for an open source-centric mystery that may end up having profound implications. It all started in August when an extensive and unusual code repository for a new operating system called Fuchsia was discovered online, and now the growing source code set is on GitHub. Thus far, Google officials have been mostly mum on the aim of this operating system, although they have made a few things clear in chat forums. Two developers listed on Fuchsia's GitHub page — Christopher Anderson and Brian Swetland — are known for their work with embedded systems. The Verge, among other sites, has made a few logical deductions about the possible embedded systems focus for Fuchsia: “Looking into Fuchsia's code points gives us a few clues. For example, the OS is built on Magenta, a “medium-sized microkernel” that is itself based on a project called LittleKernel, which is designed to be used in embedded systems,” the site reports. The GitHub postings that confirm that Fuchsia is based on Magenta are particularly notable because Magenta has had applications in the embedded systems space. Here are some direct quotes: "Magenta is a new kernel that powers the Fuchsia OS. Magenta is composed of a microkernel as well as a small set of userspace services, drivers, and libraries necessary for the system to boot, talk to hardware, load userspace processes and run them, etc. Fuchsia builds a much larger OS on top of this foundation."
  • As Blackberry pulls out of handset business it has some big patent strategy calls to make

Leftovers: Ubuntu

  • Budgie-Remix Makes Progress With Ubuntu 16.10 Base, Beta 2 Released
    Budgie-Remix, the unofficial Ubuntu spin making use of the Budgie Desktop, has released its 16.10 Beta 2 milestone following this week's Yakkety Yak Beta 2 release. Budgie-Remix is re-based to the latest Ubuntu 16.10 Yakkety package changes. In addition, a number of the Budgie-0Remix packages have been working their way into Debian proper and thus are available to Ubuntu 16.10 users via the official channels. Now available this way is the budgie-desktop package, Moka icon theme, Faba icon theme, and the Arc theme. The Ubuntu repository has also pulled in the Budgie artwork and wallpaper packages too.
  • Yakkety Yak Final Beta Released
  • Canonical Launches Commercial Support for Kubernetes
    Canonical, the lead commercial vendor behind the open-source Ubuntu Linux operating system, is getting into the Kubernetes market. Canonical now offers a freely available implementation of Kubernetes as well as commercial-support options. "I have no doubt that Kubernetes will be one of the major container co-ordination systems," Mark Shuttleworth, founder of Ubuntu, told ServerWatch.
  • [How To] Build an Ubuntu Controlled Sous-Vide Cooker
    I’ll be honest with you from the off: I had zero idea what sous-vide cooking was before I started writing this post. Wikipedia dutifully informs me that’s Sous-Vide is a style of cooking that involves a vacuum, bags, and steam.
  • Mintbox Mini Pro Linux Mini PC Launches For $395
    This week a new version of the popular Mintbox Mini Linux PC has been launched for $395 in the form of the Mintbox Mini Pro which is now equipped with 120 GB of SSD mSATA together with 64-bit AMD A10-Micro6700T system-on-a-chip with Radeon R6 graphics and features 8GB of DDR3L. The latest Mintbox Mini Pro is shipped preloaded with the awesome Linux Mint 18 operating system and includes a microSD card slot a serial port, and a micro SIM card reader. The new Mintbox Mini Pro is the same size as the original and measures 4.3 x 3.3 x 0.9 inches in size and weighs in at around 255g. The Linux mini PC incorporates a fanless design and features an all-metal case made of aluminium and zinc.