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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

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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

Filed under
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

Filed under
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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Patent trolls have one fewer legal loophole to hide behind

Filed under
Legal

Using this form, patent trolls can attack their victims without having to explain why they think the patent has been infringed. A similarly weak charge in any other lawsuit could be brushed aside early in the process. By using the approved, simple form, the attacker can ensure its victims are unable to successfully stem the attack in an inexpensive "motion to dismiss."

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What Google's petition to the Supreme Court really means

Filed under
Android
Google
Legal

Google makes a series of compelling points in its petition. The company asserts that there's split opinion on the applicability of copyrights to APIs in the circuit courts -- a classic cue to SCOTUS to intervene -- and the matter is "a recurring question of exceptional importance." These points alone seem strong to me. But Google also says CAFC has made a serious error that ignores the precedent of earlier SCOTUS decisions and violates the distinction between copyright and patent as monopolies.

On the first point, Google refers back to the SCOTUS Lotus v Borland case in 1996. Google points out that "methods of operation embodied in computer programs are not entitled to copyright protection," then asserts that the Java class APIs are a method of operating the Java class implementations. Since Android's implementations of the Java APIs are Google's original work, the company claims copyright does not apply.

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Free Software & Money

Filed under
OSS
Legal

In fact, it is not really that money and Free Software are strange bedfellows. Not only is there nothing prohibiiting anyone to generate revenues with Free Software, it is even encouraged. We have adopted a (sane) practice for years, which is to provide binaries and source code of entire Free Software stacks for free. Reading the GPL you may notice that this is not at all something to be expected; if anything, you may sell your binaries tomorrow, and only give away your source code. The unhealthy part comes when the expectation that not only all this should be free, but that your time, expertise and your entire work should always remain free.

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Google, Oracle Java API copyright battle lands at Supreme Court

Filed under
Android
Google
Legal

The legal fracas started when Google copied certain elements—names, declaration, and header lines—of the Java APIs in Android, and Oracle sued. A San Francisco federal judge largely sided with Google in 2012, saying that the code in question could not be copyrighted. But the federal appeals court reversed, and ruled that the "declaring code and the structure, sequence, and organization of the API packages are entitled to copyright protection.

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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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UNIX Industry Banks on Linux Strategies

Struggling UNIX server makers are strengthening their Linux strategy in line with the open-source application environment. The move is aimed at maintaining remaining customers, since users are increasingly abandoning UNIX servers. However, it is receiving a lukewarm response from the market. According to industry sources on Dec. 22, server vendors such as IBM and HP are concentrating on the development of products so that the Linux operating system and related applications can be used as UNIX servers. Read more

Mageia Beta Delayed, Christmas Quiz, and 7 Best Alternatives

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Christmas rest for the braves

We planned initially to release Mageia 5 beta 2 around the 16th of December. We still have some work left to complete to release a proper beta 2 that would drive us through to the final release. Releasing development ISOs is a good way to test all the functions of the installer with the largest possible scope of use cases and variety of hardware. We still have some issues left with EFI integration and some tricky bugs in the installer. So in order to allow some time to fix them and also to still enjoy the Christmas period with friends and family, it has been decided to delay beta 2 until the 6th of January 2015, the initial date of the RC, and then postpone the final release. Read more

Enterprise Advances Brought Linux Success in 2014

For Linux, 2014 could easily be labeled the year enterprise really and truly embraced Linux. It could just as easily be labeled the year that nearly forgot Linux on the desktop. If you weren’t Docker, containers, OpenStack, or big data ─ chances are the spotlight didn’t brighten your day much. If, however, you (or your product) fell into one of those categories, that spotlight shined so brightly, it was almost blinding. Let’s glance back into our own wayback machine and see where Linux succeeded and where it did not. The conclusions should be fairly simple to draw and are incredibly significant to the state of Linux as a whole. Read more