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Legal

Apple- and Microsoft-backed patent group ends its war on Android

Filed under
OS
Android
Microsoft
Mac
Legal

And just like that, the Rockstar Consortium's lawsuit campaign against Android is over. The patent holding group (backed by Apple, BlackBerry, Ericsson, Microsoft and Sony) has sold all of its commonly held patents to clearinghouse RPX for $900 million, or a fraction of the $4.5 billion the total patent pool was worth a few years ago. Rockstar will accordingly drop the lawsuits that it still had left, including those leveled against HTC, LG and Samsung. Don't worry that RPX will promptly turn around and sue someone else, either. It already has a deal to license those patents for defensive purposes to a group of 30-plus companies, including Google and Cisco, while the Rockstar companies get to keep their licenses.

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Advocacy group: ‘ICT procurement is broken’

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OSS
Legal

Public administrations in the EU are hindering competition by asking for specific brands and products when procuring software solutions, says OpenForum Europe, an organisation campaigning for an open, competitive ICT market. “No progress has been made in recent years. In fact the practice of referring to brand names in public procurement has become more widespread”, OFE says.

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Defending the Free Linux World

Filed under
Linux
Legal

Co-opetition is a part of open source. The Open Invention Network model allows companies to decide where they will compete and where they will collaborate, explained OIN CEO Keith Bergelt. As open source evolved, "we had to create channels for collaboration. Otherwise, we would have hundreds of entities spending billions of dollars on the same technology."

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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

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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

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

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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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