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Legal

M-Cam casts doubts on Microsoft's Android patent portfolio

Filed under
Android
Microsoft
Legal

The company then assessed "Microsoft’s alleged Android portfolio and commercially scored the U.S. granted patents using M-Cam’s commercial asset underwriting systems. This assessment measured the commercial strength and transferability of each patent. Commercial patents are linked directly with cash flows and may have a basis for licensing."

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Open source's identity crisis

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Interviews
Legal

For Karen Sandler, software freedom isn't simply a technical matter. Nor is it a purely ideological one.

It's a matter of life and death.

Sandler, Executive Director of the non-profit Software Freedom Conservancy, says software freedom became personal when she realized her pacemaker/defibrillator was running code she couldn't analyze. For nearly a decade—first at the Software Feedom Law Center, then at the GNOME Foundation before Conservancy—she's been an advocate for the right to examine the software on which our lives depend.

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Qualcomm DMCA Notice Takes Down 100+ Git Repositories

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Development
Legal

Using the US Digital Millenium Copyright Act (DMCA), Qualcomm has forced GitHub to take down over 100 Git repositories on the basis of "Cyveillance has recently discovered the unauthorized publication, disclosure, and copying of highly sensitive, confidential, trade secret, and copyright-protected documents on the below web site. Specifically, we have confirmed that the documents whose locations and filenames identified below are confidential and proprietary to Qualcomm and were posted without Qualcomm’s permission."

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THE NEW 501(C)(3) AND THE FUTURE OF FREE SOFTWARE IN THE UNITED STATES

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Legal

I believe what the IRS is inadvertently requiring here is copyright assignment. Since Yorba does not require copyright assignment from our contributors, the IRS appears to think our software cannot be a public work.

Copyright assignment is controversial in the free software community. (A nice overview can be found here; the controversy up-close and in-person can be found here and here.)

I hope I’m wrong about this. I doubt they’re going to start enforcing this in the future for organizations that already enjoy exemption. If they do, it will be a royal mess for those projects having to contact every author of every non-trivial contribution and get them to sign over their rights. This is all a big if, of course.

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Something Rotten in the State of...Europe: the Unified Patent

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Legal

That's particularly the case for software patents, where the US experiences shows us how much damage trolls can cause. The UPC will open up Europe for software patent trolling on a massive scale.

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FSF statement on Court of Appeals ruling in Oracle v Google

Filed under
Android
Google
Legal

The situation then is substantially similar to the situation today. The key difference is that some of Google's affirmative defenses to claim non-infringement have been eliminated by this new ruling. The FSF now sincerely hopes for the next best thing to Alsup's original ruling: that Google is successful in its fair use defense.

Notwithstanding our support of Google's fair use defense, the FSF urges caution to all prospective Android users. Even though the core of the Android system is free, every Android device sold comes pre-loaded with a variety of proprietary applications and proprietary hardware drivers. The FSF encourages users to support the development of Replicant, a distribution of Android that is 100% free software. The FSF also encourages users of any Android-based system to install F-Droid, a free replacement for the Google Play app that allows users to browse, install, and receive updates from a repository of free software Android apps. Replicant uses F-Droid as its default repository.

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A settlement between Apple and Samsung may be on the horizon

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Legal

The long and drawn out battle between Samsung Electronics and Apple over the ownership of various intellectual properties may be coming to a close.

According to The Korea Times Samsung and Apple have resumed discussion of settling their patent disputes. Recent developments such as Apple’s deal with Google show that times may be changing on how these types of disputes are handled. There is a different air surrounding these discussions compared to the countless court battles and negotiations that preceded.

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Ending the Embedded Linux Patent War Before It Begins

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Legal

The next big intellectual property battle has been forming over hardwired and programmable chips made for mobile devices that leverage Linux code. However, the Open Invention Network has strategically deployed forces to keep Linux-powered smartphones, tablets and other computer technologies out of harm's way. Its goal is to create a patent litigation no-fly zone around embedded Linux.

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Oracle continue to circumvent EXPORT_SYMBOL_GPL()

Filed under
GNU
Legal

So, in the face of a technical mechanism designed to enforce the author's beliefs about the copyright status of callers of this function, Oracle deliberately circumvent that technical mechanism by simply re-exporting the same function under a new name. It should be emphasised that calling an EXPORT_SYMBOL_GPL() function does not inherently cause the caller to become a derivative work of the kernel - it only represents the original author's opinion of whether it would. You'd still need a court case to find out for sure. But if it turns out that the use of ktime_get() does cause a work to become derivative, Oracle would find it fairly difficult to argue that their infringement was accidental.

Of course, as copyright holders of DTrace, Oracle could solve the problem by dual-licensing DTrace under the GPL as well as the CDDL. The fact that they haven't implies that they think there's enough value in keeping it under an incompatible license to risk losing a copyright infringement suit. This might be just the kind of recklessness that Oracle accused Google of back in their last case.

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Interview with Ciaran Gultnieks of F-Droid

Filed under
Android
GNU
Legal

This is the latest installment of our Licensing and Compliance Lab's series on free software developers who choose GNU licenses for their works.

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More in Tux Machines

Canonical Joined The Khronos Group To Help Mir/Wayland Drivers

Canonical's specific involvement with the Khronos Group isn't listed and we haven't seen Canonical names closely associated with any major specs out of the different working groups to date. However, Oliver Ries, the Head of Engineering Product Strategy at Canonical, wrote into Phoronix that they joined the group for pushing their display server agenda with trying to work towards an underlying driver standard for Mir/Wayland. Oli noted in his email, "Canonical has joined Khronos in order to help establish the necessary driver standard that is required for Mir (and Wayland) to succeed. We have specifically contributed to the current standard proposal/draft." Read more

Local Motors: Cars Should be Open Source Hardware

There are several open source initiatives already underway to enable open source software in cars, including the Linux Foundation's Automotive Grade Linux group. But so far those projects have been mostly focused on the in-vehicle infotainment centers, which provide the user interface for the car and its entertainment system but not to the car's internal systems. That's not enough to fully transform the industry, Rogers said. “You need to know how to hack the hardware in the car, because that's what defines how you can drive it and how you can run it.” Read more

Intel Sandy Bridge Gets A Surprise Boost From Linux 3.17

Besides the recent work to support OpenGL Geometry Shaders for Sandy Bridge in Mesa, users of Intel "Sandy Bridge" HD Graphics can also be thankful for the forthcoming Linux 3.17 kernel. Early testing of Linux 3.17 has revealed that for at least some Intel Sandy Bridge hardware are OpenGL performance improvements with the newer kernel code. Read more

Open Source Okavango14: The Heartbeat of the Delta

We can hear this heartbeat by listening to what the environment tells us through sensors and testing. I proposed that we build low cost sensors using open source hardware and software. In recent years there has been quite a disruption in computing ability as a result of the prevalence of smartphones. Increasingly small and powerful components and processors have created an opportunities that we would have never thought possible. One of the results of that is the single-board Raspberry Pi computer. Originally, the Raspberry Pi was created to enable students to learn hardware and software development. For the Okavango Wilderness Project, we are using them to take environmental readings and send those to us for inclusion into the Into The Okavango website. Jer will cover this more in his expedition post. We are using them to measure water temperature, pH, conductivity, total dissolved solids, salinity, and specific gravity. Read more