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Legal

As patent trolls fade, a group formed to combat them thrives

Filed under
OSS
Legal

Remember the Open Invention Network (OIN)? That's the defensive software patent community set up to protect Linux against patent aggressors. Well, it recently passed 1,000 members, growing nearly 70 percent over the last year.

Growth of this order is an interesting phenomenon. At a time when the tide seems to be turning on patent trolls as a result of the Supreme Court's decision on Alice Corporation v CLS Bank, why are so many companies still seeking mutual protection in use of the Linux System (a term defined by OIN to indicate a vast range of open source software, not just Linux)? Maybe the small trolls aren't the only problem.

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Samsung didn’t pay Microsoft $1 billion for Android, or did they?

Filed under
Microsoft
Legal

Organizations like BloomBerg and ReCode are refraining from such misleading headlines. The court filing is available publicly which you can read on Scribd. Microsoft says in the document that Samsung paid Microsoft $1 billion in second financial year of their patent deal. From what I understand that is *the* total amount Samsung paid Microsoft under the deal. What we don’t know is what all is covered in these patents. The court document doesn’t specifically says that ‘Samsung paid Microsoft $1 billion for Android patents.

[...]

It seems to be nothing more than a PR stunt. Every-time someone creates such a headline, Microsoft scores a PR point. Microsoft drops the keywords Android, Chrome and Linux every-time it signs a deal with a company even if the deal is about using ancient technologies such as FAT 32 in devices running Linux.

"We never heard of any other deal between the two companies (Samsung and Microsoft) so it can be logically concluded that the deal also covers the use of Microsoft technologies in non-Android or non-Chrome devices such as point-and-shoot cameras, DSLRs, music players, photo-frames, BD/DVD players, TV sets and dozen of other things that Samsung sells

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Open source history, present day, and licensing

Filed under
OSS
Legal

Looking at open source softwares particularly, this is a fact that is probably useful to you if you are thinking about business models, many people don't care about it anymore. We talk about FOSS, Free and Open Source Software, but if we really are strict there's a difference between free software and open source software. On the left, I have free software which most typically is GPL software. Software where the license insures freedom. It gives freedoms to you as a user, but it also requires that the freedoms are maintained.

On the right-hand side, you have open source software which is open for all, but it also allows you to close it. So here we come back to the famous clause of the GPL license, the reciprocity requirement which says, "If I am open, you need to be open." So software that comes under the GPL license carries with it something that other people call a virus. I call it a blessing because I think it's great if all software becomes open.

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Another Open-Source Developer Claims Hyperkin is Illegally Using Code for Retro Console System

Filed under
GNU
OSS
Legal

The makers of the open-sourced emulation software program, RetroArch are the latest to say that video games accessories company Hyperkin is using its program in violation of the GPL license. RetroArch uses a development interface called "libretro" that allows for the "easy creation of emulators and games that can plug straight into this program called RetroArch." It supports 15 different hardware platforms including Android.

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Alice is killing the trolls -- but expect patent lawyers to strike back

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Legal

Open source software developers rejoice: Alice Corp. v CLS Bank is fast becoming a landmark decision for patent cases in the United States.

The Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, which handles all appeals for patent cases in the United States, has often been criticized for its handling of these cases -- Techdirt describes it as "the rogue patent court, captured by the patent bar." But following the Alice decision, the Court of Appeals seems to have changed.

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IPA Font license added to license list

Filed under
GNU
OSS
Legal

We recently updated our list of various licenses and comments about them to include the IPA Font license. It is a copyleft free software license for fonts, incompatible with the GPL.

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Open Source Software Licenses: Which Should You Use?

Filed under
OSS
Legal

Slowly but surely, open source software is taking over. If you don’t believe it, just look at some of the most popular tools that we all use: Firefox, WordPress, 7-Zip, MediaWiki, BitTorrent, Android, plus all of the free alternatives to paid software. But did you know that not all open source licenses are the same?

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Patent trolls and open document formats with open source thought leaders

Filed under
LibO
Interviews
OSS
OOo
Legal

Over on Gordon Haff's blog, Connections, the senior cloud evangelist for Red Hat talked with Simon Phipps, the president of the Open Source Initiative about U.S. software patent cases and the United Kingdom's decision to make ODF its official document format.

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Qt Licence Update

Filed under
KDE
Legal

Today Qt announced some changes to their licence. The KDE Free Qt team have been working behind the scenes to make these happen and we should be very thankful for the work they put in. Qt code was LGPLv2.1 or GPLv3 (this also allows GPLv2). Existing modules will add LGPLv3 to that. This means I can get rid of the part of the KDE Licensing Policy which says "Note: code may not be copied from Qt into KDE Platform as Qt is LGPLv2.1 only which would prevent it being used under LGPL 3".

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More: Protecting Software Freedom – the Qt License Update

The Gentle Art of Muddying the Licensing Waters

Filed under
Microsoft
OSS
Legal

I've been writing about free software for nearly 20 years, and about Microsoft for over 30 years. Observing the latter deal with the former has been fascinating. At first, the US software giant simply dismissed free software as unworthy even of its attention, but by the early years of this millennium, that was clearly no longer a viable position.

As I've charted elsewhere in my "Brief History of Microsoft FUD", it made various attempts to discredit open source, all of which were dismal failures. As it became clear that this strategy would not work, it adopted another, somewhat more sophisticated. This involved trying to match aspects of open source without actually embracing it. The first manifestation of this was "shared source":

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More in Tux Machines

Having offended everyone else in the world, Linus Torvalds calls own lawyers a 'nasty festering disease'

Coding curmudgeon Linus Torvalds has gone off on yet another rant: this time against his own lawyers and free software activist Bradley Kuhn. On a mailing list about an upcoming Linux conference, a discussion about whether to include a session on the GPL that protects the open source operating system quickly devolved in an angry rant as its founder piled in. Read more

The Battle of The Budgie Desktops – Budgie-Remix vs SolusOS!

Ladies and gentleman, it’s the moment you have all been waiting for… the main even of the evening! In this corner, wearing Budgie trunks, fighting out of Ireland, created by Ikey Doherty, the man behind Linux Mint Debian Edition — SolusOS! And in this corner, built on the defending champion, also wearing Budgie trunks, aiming to be the next flavor of Ubuntu, Budgie-Remix! Read more

Leftovers: Software

  • 5 Cool Unikernels Projects
    Unikernels are poised to become the next big thing in microservices after Docker containers. Here’s a look at some of the cool things you can do with unikernels. First, though, here’s a quick primer on what unikernels are, for the uninitiated. Unikernels are similar to containers in that they let you run an app inside a portable, software-defined environment. But they go a step further than containers by packaging all of the libraries required to run the app directly into the unikernel.
  • Cedrus Is Making Progress On Open-Source Allwinner Video Encode/Decode
    The developers within the Sunxi camp working on better Allwinner SoC support under Linux have been reverse-engineering Allwinner's "Cedar" video engine. Their project is being called Cedrus with a goal of "100% libre and open-source" video decode/encode for the relevant Cedar hardware. The developers have been making progress and yesterday they published their initial patches that add a V4L2 decoder driver for the VPU found on Allwinner's A13 SoC.
  • Phoronix Test Suite 6.6 Milestone 3 Released For Linux Benchmarking
  • Calibre 2.65.1 eBook Viewer Adds Driver for Kobo Aura One and Aura 2 Readers
    Kovid Goyal released today, August 26, 2016, a new maintenance update of his popular, cross-platform, and open-source Calibre e-book viewer, converter and library management tool. Calibre 2.65 was announced earlier, and it looks like it's both a feature and bugfix release that adds drivers for the Kobo Aura One and Kobo Aura Edition 2 ebook readers, along with a new option to the Kobo driver to allow users to ignore certain collections on their ebook reader. The list of new features continues with support for right-to-left text and tables to the DOCX Input feature, as well as the implementation of a new option to allow users to make searching case-sensitive. This option can be found and enabled in the "Searching" configuration section under Preferences.
  • Calamares 2.4 Universal Installer Framework Polishes Existing Functionality
    A new stable version of the Calamares universal installer framework used by various GNU/Linux distributions as default graphical installer has been released with various improvements and bug fixes. Calamares 2.4 is now the latest build, coming two months after the release of the previous version, Calamares 2.3, which introduced full-disk encryption support. However, Calamares 2.4 is not as big as the previous update as it only polished existing functionality and address various annoying issues reported by users.
  • RcppArmadillo 0.7.400.2.0
    Another Armadillo 7.* release -- now at 7.400. We skipped the 7.300.* serie release as it came too soon after our most recent CRAN release. Releasing RcppArmadillo 0.7.400.2.0 now keeps us at the (roughly monthly) cadence which works as a good compromise between getting updates out at Conrad's sometimes frantic pace, while keeping CRAN (and Debian) uploads to about once per month. So we may continue the pattern of helping Conrad with thorough regression tests by building against all (by now 253 (!!)) CRAN dependencies, but keeping release at the GitHub repo and only uploading to CRAN at most once a month.
  • Spotio Is A Light Skin for Spotify’s Desktop App — And Its Coming To Linux
    Spotify’s dark design is very much of its identity. No-matter the platform you use it on, the dark theme is there staring back at you. Until now. A bunch of ace websites, blogs and people I follow have spent the past 24 hours waxing lyrical over a new Spotify skin called Spotio.